The Friday before Memorial Day has been dubbed "Don't Fry Day" by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention. While there are plenty of ways to minimize sun damage (wear a hat, don sunglasses, slather on sunscreen), the surest way to avoid rays is to head indoors for the afternoon. ShermansTravel.com rounded up cool deals for 5 cities that offer a wealth of free indoor summer attractions.
What's Free: Almost all of Chi-town's museums, including the famous Art Institute of Chicago offer free days (the first and second Wednesdays of the month); view hundreds of animal species at the Shedd Aquarium (free select days); check out the latest in modern design at the Archicenter, which offers free gallery talks (Mon., Fri., Sat. 12:30pm).
2. Hong Kong
What's Free: Take a free tea appreciation class at the Lock Cha Tea Shop, next door to the Museum of Tea Ware in Hong Kong Park; attend a free lecture by a local expert on feng-shui, kung fu, or Cantonese opera via the Hong Kong Tourism Board's Cultural Kaleidoscope program; and keep in mind that Hong Kong's seven major museums all offer free admission on Wednesdays. Finish it all off with Victoria Harbor's dramatic "Symphony of Lights" show (nightly, 8pm).
What's Free: Rome's ancient monuments and ruins are most beautiful after sunset - walk freely from the Forum (once the nexus of the Roman Empire) and Arch of Constantine, to the remarkably preserved Pantheon (free 30-minute tours nightly at 7pm, except Sun.). No trip to Rome would be complete without a visit to the Vatican. Entry to St. Peter's Basilica, where Michelangelo's "Pieta" is on view, is free. The Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums are free the last Sunday of every month (between 8:45am and 12:20pm only).
4. New York City
What's Free: Many museums, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History, have pay-what-you-wish admission fees, while others are free to the public on certain days (MoMa and Guggenheim on Friday evenings; New Museum on Thursday nights), or all the time (Museum of the American Indian).
5. Washington, D.C.
What's Free: Perhaps the biggest marvel of the Free World's epicenter is that so many of its major museums (the Smithsonian!), memorials, and government buildings are, indeed, free and open to the public: Read the Constitution at the National Archives; view the original Star-Spangled Banner at the National Museum of American History; watch money being made at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing; or stop by the Kennedy Center for free music performances nightly at 6pm.
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