How to Get the Best Deals in Minneapolis

As the largest city in Minnesota, Minneapolis has much to offer every visitor. If you’re planning a trip to this Twin City, keep reading for some tips on how to get the best deals during your stay.

Visit During Winter

Image via Flickr by rtclauss

Image via Flickr by rtclauss

While summers in Minneapolis offer warm sunshine and temperatures averaging 80 degrees, this is also the time of year when hotels have the highest rates. However, if you truly want the most affordable hotels in Minneapolis and you can handle the snow, book a trip to the city in the winter. While the area sees around 40 inches of snow every year, the city does a good job of keeping the streets and sidewalks clear. Plus, there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you busy even if you can’t spend much time outside.

Take Advantage of a Free Museum

If you’ve come to Minneapolis for a little culture and learning, there are no better places to explore than some of the area’s museums. There are many museums around the city that offer free admission, either on specific days or year round — such as The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, which is just slightly south of Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. The museum houses around 100,000 objects of art ranging from prehistoric to modern times and some of the most popular exhibits include the Native American and Asian art collections.

Another popular museum in the city is the Bell Museum of Natural History. Here, you can explore a living rainforest, see the gallery, and look at dioramas replicating many habitats around Minnesota. Plus, visitors on Sunday can enter the museum for free.

Spend the Day at the Beach

While many people don’t picture Minneapolis as a place for a beach getaway, the diverse lakes around the city are the perfect spot to enjoy some sun, sand, and water. The city has 12 beaches in its park system that, along with the opportunity to swim and sunbathe, also include amenities like playgrounds, bike paths, walking paths, picnic areas, and volleyball courts. Most of the beaches have lifeguards on duty and Lake Nokomis Main Beach offers an open swim area outside of the buoys for adults.

Enjoy Free Beer

If you work up a thirst while having fun exploring Minneapolis, you can take advantage of free beer samples at breweries around the city. Surly Brewing Company offers free tours and allows you to sample a few of their seasonal, special, and regular beers. Or, if you happen to be visiting on St. Patrick’s Day, head on over to Nomad World Pub to enjoy free beer. However, make sure you empty your bladder before you go because the free beer will only last until someone gets up to use the bathroom.

If you’re interested in learning more about planning a trip to the area make sure you read the guide on Minneapolis on Hipmunk’s Hotels in Minneapolis page. Also, please share your favorite tips for getting the best deals in the city in the comments below.

Author Bio: Kristen McCalla is a Hipmunk writer and avid blogger who lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her husband, cat, and dog. When she’s not writing on her blog, 31 Million Seconds, she enjoys traveling and exploring all over this beautiful country.

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Historic Highlights of Richmond You’re Probably Missing

Richmond, VA, has a long and distinguished history, and many local museums willing to put it all on display for you. However, one of the best ways to experience the city’s storied past is to step outside the museums and set foot instead on grounds that have been carefully preserved since their glory days. Don’t miss these historic highlights on your next visit.

Enjoy an Elite Escape at The Maymont Mansion

Image via Flickr by Redden-McAllister

Image via Flickr by Redden-McAllister

The Maymont Mansion is a stunning example of the opulence of the Gilded Age. This Victorian country estate was once the home of James Henry and Sallie May Dooley. The mansion was completed in 1893 and the couple lived out the remainder of their days on the property. Major Dooley died in 1922 and his wife passed away in 1925. With no heirs, the mansion became the property of the city of Richmond.

Today, guests can tour 12 restored rooms on the first and second floors, taking in lavish details like white onyx hearthstones and silk damask wall coverings. Eight restored rooms in the servants’ quarters offer an intriguing look at the lives of staff members. Book an affordable room at the Clarion Hotel Central on and stay less than 15 minutes from this local highlight.

Visit Presidential Graves in Hollywood Cemetery

President James Monroe’s tomb, also known as The Birdcage, is a National Historic Landmark in the Hollywood Cemetery. It features ornate Gothic Revival architecture that indeed gives it the appearance of an elaborate birdcage of cast iron. President John Tyler has a tall monument nearby. Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederate States of America, is buried here as well in an area known as Davis Circle. A life-size statue marks his grave.

View Stunning Brickwork at Mankin Mansion

Mankin Mansion was once home to the founder and owner of a major brick foundry, Edward Thurston Mankin. Appropriately, the 7,000-square-foot mansion is an architectural landmark featuring stunning brick walls and walks with intricate designs. Today, the property serves as an elegant bed and breakfast. If you prefer simpler accommodations but still want to swing by the mansion for a glimpse, consider a cheap nearby alternative like the Candlewood Suites Richmond Airport.

Take a Stroll to the Byrd Park Pump House

Byrd Park has many highlights including 1.3 miles of walking trails, three lakes, and Poplar Vale Cemetery. The pump house, however, is easily overlooked amid these popular attractions. It was built in 1882 to provide water for the city of Richmond, but it was more than a glorified building for plumbing purposes. The pump house also featured an open-air dance hall that was a popular gathering place through the swing era.

After World War II, the dance hall’s popularity began to wane, and in the 1950s the First Presbyterian Church purchased the building for just $1. The structure is a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture.

Get more tips on planning an unforgettable Richmond escape in this Richmond guide. Share your own favorite spots in the comments below.

Author Bio:

Mandi Rogier is a resident of sunny central Florida who regularly contributes to several travel blogs and websites, including Hipmunk. In her free time she enjoys visiting nearby theme parks, taking family road trips, and planning girlfriend getaways. 

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Planning a Trip to Louisville, Kentucky – Top 5 Things to Do

Visiting Louisville is a treat. It’s America’s third largest National Preservation District of Renaissance Victorian architecture. Downtown is alive with activity, and tourist attractions are plentiful.

Where to Stay in Louisville, Kentucky

photo credit: Onasill via photopin cc

photo credit: Onasill via photopin cc

When planning your trip to Louisville, look to online travel sites to find a range of affordable hotel choices. If you want to stay in downtown Louisville, try the Marriott Louisville Downtown, a contemporary hotel with a stylish interior offering a great gathering place for meetings or family travel. Downtown is the place to play and be entertained in Louisville. It’s the business and cultural center of the region surging with energy day and night.

The Central Business District features hotels close to many convention and meeting facilities. The cheapest hotels are closer to the airport. Stay at the Best Western Airport-East, only three miles from the airport, where you’ll enjoy a free breakfast. It features a onsite Mexican restaurant, a fitness center, airport shuttle, and Internet access

Top 5 Things to Do in Louisville, Kentucky

Visitors flock to Kentucky for its historic monuments, memorials, and statues. Many Louisville attractions, such as Christ Church Cathedral and Little Loomhouse, are close to affordable hotels. The easiest way to find a hotel is through a travel website that searches for the cheapest hotel prices close to the attractions you want to see.

1. Little Loomhouse, a collection of three historic log cabins, mirrors the days of old when the local craft was weaving. Take yourself back 200 years and participate in a spinning and weaving class for just $10. Show off your handiwork when you go back home.

2. Old Louisville, home to the city’s wealthiest, is a residential district with the largest preservation of Victorian architecture. View gorgeous brick homes, with colorful stained glass windows, built in the Romanesque, Queen Anne, and Italianate styles. Go on a walking tour, and be sure to see Millionaire’s Row near Third Street.

photo credit: jimmywayne via photopin cc

photo credit: jimmywayne via photopin cc

3. Louisville Courthouse is free and open to the public. Dating to the mid-19th century, the courthouse features magnificent classic Greek architecture and Iconic columns adorned with stone statues.

4. Fort Knox is just that, a true fort. You can’t get too close to it, and you can only stop for five minutes to glimpse the fenced and guarded home of over nine million pounds of gold reserve. Located 30 miles from Louisville, it makes a great day trip.


5. Churchill Downs, the famous home of the Kentucky Derby, is a must see. Horse enthusiasts race to the thoroughbred track every year for this leg of the Triple Crown. Open since 1878, visitors enjoy races throughout the year.

The Slugger Museum, Thomas Edison House, and Zachary Taylor National Cemetary are also interesting sites to visit. Louisville has something for everyone – fine restaurants to dine in, historic monuments to view, and savvy cultural events.

If you’ve visited Louisville and have a favorite site, share your recommendation with others in the comments below.

Author’s Bio: Linda Manning lives in trendy Newport, Rhode Island with her husband Paul and young English Springer Spaniel Brooklynn. As a licensed boat captain and certified diver who loves to travel, the artistry of writing was given birth. She enjoys going on Press Trips to exotic places, then showing the world how travel can change their life. At home Linda loves gardening, cooking, entertaining, art, museums, and all Newport has to offer –

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Arty Asheville: Planning a Trip to the City


Cradled between the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains is the charming city of Asheville. Home to architectural treasures such as Art Deco buildings and the grandiose Biltmore Estate, as well as a thriving arts scene, Asheville makes for an idyllic getaway destination.

Asheville Accommodation

Use Hipmunk to quickly search all available discounted hotels in Asheville, including hotels, guesthouses, hostels, motels, and Airbnb listings. Hipmunk’s handy search feature allows you to narrow down results by price, star rating, and special facilities, while the interactive map lets you view their locations at a glance.

Budget travelers will enjoy the great value rooms found at the Days in Biltmore East, while those with cash to flash should check-in to the gorgeous boutique Hotel Indigo.

Low-Cost Flights

Asheville Regional Airport is 10 miles away from downtown Asheville. US Airways, Delta, and Allegiant Air operate non-stop flights to domestic destinations like Atlanta, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, and Detroit. Hipmunk compares all flights to Asheville and presents them in a grid format so you will have a visual overview of all available flights.

Arriving in Asheville

You can arrange for a car rental inside the airport terminal, hail a registered taxi outside the terminal,  or ride one of the city’s public buses that travel direct to Downtown Asheville for a $1 fare. Remember to grab a free Asheville map from inside the airport.

Much of the heart of Asheville can be easily explored on foot, or you can rent a bicycle if you prefer to travel on wheels.

Cheap Eats

Asheville still retains its old-style charm, and has not yet become overrun with huge restaurant chains. Many eateries are independently owned and there are plenty of cute cafes, bakeries, and delis in the city to pick up a snack on the go. Asheville also has a thriving food truck scene. Roaming hunger lets you know various food truck locations during your trip.

See the Sights

The colorful River Arts District is home to galleries and studios filled with talented craftsmen tinkering away on their latest creations. A visit here will let you see the inner workings of an artist’s atelier, and you may even pick up a few souvenirs in the process.


Nearly a million visitors flock to marvel at America’s largest privately owned home, the Biltmore Estate. Nicknamed ‘castle on the hill,’ this impressive 250-room mansion sits among more than 800 acres of beautifully manicured gardens. A prime example of the extreme wealth and opulence of the Gilded Age, the Biltmore Estate offers visitors guided Segway tours, fly fishing trips, and horseback riding as a way to see more of this stunning property and grounds.

Use Hipmunk to compare all available hotels and flights to the city to find the best deals around.

Have you been to Asheville? Share your inside travel tips in the comments section below.

Alisha Smith is a writer with a serious case of wanderlust. She can often be found road tripping up the West Coast or sipping coconut water on a beach in Bali.

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Plan of Attack for a Virginia Beach Visit

Virginia Beach is an odd combination of thriving metropolis and scenic oceanfront vacation destination. The most populated city in Virginia, it has even earned a spot in the Guinness Book of Records as the “longest pleasure beach” in the world. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, read on to discover everything that you need to know about the area. Plus, Hipmunk can show you the best cheap hotels in Virginia Beach.

Neptune Park and Boardwalk

Image via Flickr by Jeff Futo

Image via Flickr by Jeff Futo

The Virginia Beach Boardwalk is one of the highlights of the city as a must-see for any traveler with leisure time. The three-mile stretch of land offers many forms of entertainment for visitors. There are bike and walking paths separate from the 28-foot-wide main concourse, which provides a structured recreational area for active tourists.

If a more relaxed speed is your preference, the Boardwalk is a shopper’s paradise with numerous restaurants and shops along the path. As you wander, be sure to visit King Neptune, the 24-foot-tall bronze statue who oversees the entrance to Neptune’s Park. King Neptune is the de facto cellphone photo capital of Virginia Beach. Visit Neptune’s Park during the summer to enjoy the Free Summer Concert Series, which has previously featured such notable performers as Cracker, Fuel, and Sister Hazel. Alternately, visit the Neptune Festival in September.

Summer Is Peak Season But Also the Best Season

If you are traveling for vacation rather than work, do not try to save money by visiting in the fall or winter. The key part of a beachfront area is enjoying fun in the sun, and the off-season is too cold in this area. The average temperature is no higher than 65 degrees until May. As such, you should plan to visit in the summer. Think of Labor Day as the firm cut-off point for vacationing at Virginia Beach, and consider some of these affordable hotels.

Image via Flickr by joannapoe

Image via Flickr by joannapoe

Are you a fan of old fighter planes? Do you watch every World War II program on the History Channel? Even if you answered no to both questions, the Military Aviation Museum is still a great option for tourists. Seeing a retired World War II plane in person is a humbling moment. Standing face to face with the vehicles that saved mankind will bring out your inner history buff.

The Military Aviation Museum contains one of the world’s largest collections of antique military aircraft. Better yet, many of these vehicles are still in flying condition. Visit in May, June, or October, and you will have the opportunity to watch these birds of prey in action.

Virginia Beach is a gorgeous area that will provide the type of vacation memories that will last a lifetime. Travel smart by picking the right time of year to visit, enjoy some free concerts from great bands while you are there, take a picture at Neptune’s statue, and then visit a part of American history.

Are you an expert on Virginia Beach travel? Please leave further advice in the comments section below.


Author bio: David Mumpower is a writer whose work has been cited in publications such as CNN, Slate, and USA Today. When he’s not traveling for Hipmunk, he is probably either hugging his wife or petting one of his cats.

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Getting to Know St. Louis: The Many Bars of the Gateway City

STLfinalSome people believe the best way to understand a city is to visit its landmarks, museums, and cultural institutions. These are all worthwhile excursions, but sometimes, the bars, pubs, and breweries tell a better tale. Whether the city boasts taprooms, craft spirits, and bespoke cocktails, or blues clubs, dives, and saloons, you can learn a lot from a city’s local watering holes.

The eclectic bar scene in St. Louis is a great way to get to know the city. The locals are friendly and welcoming, especially if you’re sporting some Cardinals gear. The beverages range from handcrafted dark wheat microbrews to high-end vintage martinis. If you want to see another side of America’s River City, why not explore its fabulous bars?

Wonderful Riverfront Bars

The St. Louis Riverfront is home to some of the city’s trendiest bars. Choose a waterfront hotel like the Crown Plaza Riverfront at the Arch or the HoteLumiere so you can explore the pub scene on foot. Don’t miss the award-winning brews at Morgan Street Brewery; the Cobblestone Steam Lager is a favorite, but if you can’t choose just one, get the Brewski sampler. If signature cocktails and sushi are more your thing, make your way to Drunken Fish in Leclede’s Landing — the kung fu kick is a refreshing libation.

Dive Bars of South Broadway

South Broadway has one of the most diverse cross-sections of humanity of any area in the country. Students, blue-collar workers, retirees, and creatives all live and work in this authentic St. Louis neighborhood. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say there’s a different bar or lounge on every corner. Check out The Foundry or Tucker’s Bar and Grill, where you can still get a $2 Budweiser. If you judge your bars by the quality of their grub, be sure to hit Kicker’s Corner, where the food is cheap and you can get some of the city’s best pizza for just $5.

Lounges on the Loop

The Delmar Loop, a six-block shopping and entertainment district in St. Louis, is a hip, revitalized area that draws tourists, locals, and students from the nearby university. Check out Cicero’s, with an amazing beer selection including almost 200 domestic and international brews. You’ll also love the ambience at Blueberry Hill, which offers 18 draft beers and a huge selection of imports and microbrews. For convenient pub-crawling on the Loop, book a room at the Moonrise Hotel, which features space-age rooms and retro charm.

Barcycle in Soulard


For an awesome bar experience, book a seat on the 16-person Barcycle tour through Soulard. For just $25, you and 15 other intrepid pub-crawlers can pedal your way through the finest pubs of Soulard, one of the city’s most impressive bar districts. The guided tour takes you to three to five of the district’s finest, or you can venture off on your own. Be sure to check out McGurk’s, the Shanti, and the Cat’s Meow.

Are you a veteran pub-crawler or connoisseur of the St. Louis bar scene? I’d like to build the ultimate resource for sipping in St. Louis, so please share your tips and suggestions in the comments below.

Sheila Westin is a freelance travel writer and food blogger who writes about the charms, cuisine, and culture of the places she visits. When she’s not on the road, Sheila enjoys exploring the excellent restaurants and jazz clubs of her native Washington, DC. Sheila is a writer for the #HipmunkCityLove project.

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