Enjoying Cleveland on a College Student's Cheapskate Budget

Enjoying Cleveland on a College Student's Cheapskate Budget

From tuition to books to all the tangential expenses of college, most times there's little left in the ol' bank account for fun. But, lucky for us students, plenty of businesses know that and are eager to help us get the most out of living and learning in Cleveland. There are lots of discounts and cheap things for college students to do to keep themelves out of (or maybe help them get into some) trouble.

But I know what you're thinking. "I don't have a car, I'm not spending $100 on rideshares every few weeks and there is no way in hell I'm walking 20 miles or crossing a dangerous highway." Good thing the Greater Cleveland RTA has got you covered. RTA U-Passes are actual game changers, and there's a good chance your college gives you access to one of these semesterly reduced-price RTA passes. Free shuttles also frequent University Circle, and even go up to Coventry Village.

While in University Circle, you should take advantage of all the heavily discounted experiences and museums at your fingertips, because there's nothing wrong with getting schooled outside of the classroom. The Cleveland Museum of Art is free for all, and the Museum of Contemporary Art's admission rate for students is just $5, and on the first Saturday of each month, admission is free for everyone.

And even though the Cleveland Orchestra is one of the best in the world, it understands the importance of involving young people in classical music. It offers the Student Advantage Program ($15 per ticket plus exclusive invitations to master classes and open rehearsals) as well as the Frequent Fan Card, which levies a one-time fee of $50 to attend as many performances as you want during a season.

For the outdoors lover in all of us, spending time at Wade Lagoon and in the Cultural Gardens is a must. Lush plants, exciting wildlife, beautiful fountains and more gorgeous sights await your gaze — all for the low price of nothing.

When in Coventry Village, you can shop for amazing deals even if student discounts technically aren't offered. You literally never know what's in store at Avalon Exchange consignment shop. Not only are prices amazing, but you can make some decent money by selling what you don't use anymore. Mac's Backs-Books is basically the same deal for anyone who geeks out over used books. And for a variety of concerts with hit-or-miss affordability, look no further than the Grog Shop. It sometimes hosts artists who charge as little as $5 per ticket.

Finding affordable food and drink when having a night out on the town is not the simplest task. But our Happy Hour Guide from earlier this summer is definitely the place to start when looking for some of the best deals in Cleveland, whether you want $1 drafts or cheap appetizers that can make a satisfying meal. There are also countless restaurants in our city that offer great buffets for $10 or less, so never hesitate to do some research for those. They exist, and not all buffets are disgusting.

A favorite westside destination, Tremont is full of young adults and establishments that swing well into the a.m. hours most nights. Barrio offers cheap tacos, Edison's and Crust offer massive slices of amazing pizza for budget prices, and most every joint offers a happy hour special, on drinks and food, that will keep you living happily but within your means.

For entertaining pastimes from movies to live shows, you don't have to break the bank, either. Cedar Lee Theatre offers $8.75 student-discount movie tickets during evening screenings, and tickets are only $5 for everyone all day Monday. Up the same street, Dobama Theatre usually runs a couple special ticket deals per production, including a discounted preview performance and a pay-as-you-can night. Student rush tickets are also only $10.

And Great Lakes Theater offers $13 tickets to students for most productions each season, while its counterpart in Playhouse Square, Cleveland Play House, offers student tickets starting at $15. Broadway quality for a fraction of the price? Yes, please.

Always check with your school to see if they have any connections that get you even better discounts, but you should now have a general idea of how affordable it is to stay cool, classy and cultured in Cleveland.

And, of course, depending on the time of year your break is, Cleveland hosts some pretty badass free events, performances and festivals, so keep up with our blog to see what's going down every week.

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