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affordable weekend getaway

4 Affordable Weekend Getaway Ideas

By Austin, Bus Travel, California, Florida, Miami, Oregon, San Francisco, Texas

Affordable Weekend Getaway

If you’ve ever furiously and enviously scrolled through photos of friends on picturesque vacations in exotic locales, envy no more! You can embark on an exciting adventure even if you think it might be out of your price range. In this post, we’ll look at four cities across the United States that make for perfect, delightful, but most importantly of all, affordable weekend getaways.

1. Austin, Texas

It’s not just the state capital of Texas, it’s the (unofficial) music capital, too! The music scene in this Southern city is so vibrant and respected that millions of people flock to Austin every year just to hear the latest up-and-comers and international headliners. There are plenty of courtyards throughout the downtown area to catch a great musical performance, but Cedar Street Courtyard is easily one of the most popular spots. There is live music every night of the week that can be enjoyed with a delicious cocktail and festive lighting.

Another way to take in Austin’s music scene is to enjoy a concert with some brisket. At Stubb’s Bar-B-Q, you can chow down on savory barbecue while being serenaded by talented musicians. To get in touch with your inner child, treat yourself to a day of fun and laughs at Lake Travis Waterloo Adventures, a floating obstacle course right on the water. It’s perfect for both kids and adults! In the evening, dance the night away in the Rainey Street District, home to a plethora of bars, restaurants, shops, and food trucks. Although you can visit any time of day, the place really comes alive at night.

2. Portland, Oregon

Don’t let its reputation as a home to hipsters fool you into thinking everything in Portland will be over-priced. There are plenty of affordable bargains to be found in this charming town. Stroll through the aisles at the Powell Bookstore, and browse thousands of books before grabbing an Americana at the coffee shop next door. Even if you don’t buy a book, it’s still free to explore this famous Portland landmark. Another free activity to do in Portland is catching a live music concert at a popular bar like Tonic Lounge, the Firkin Tavern, or Alberta Street Pub. Lastly, remember to put a trip to the First Thursday art show on your Portland travel itinerary of free activities. Head to the Old Town and Pearl to visit the art galleries that open their doors for a free exhibit every month. Many even offer complimentary wine and beer!

3. San Francisco, California

On the surface, San Francisco does seem like one of those American cities that might be too expensive for a visit. And while it’s true that living in this Californian city is pricey, visitors can get away with experiencing San Francisco on a budget. There are plenty of attractions that are completely free. Think like a tourist, and start off with an eventful and scenic drive down Lombard Street. For culture, check out a handful of San Francisco’s museums that allow visitors to enter free of charge. A few of those museums include the Japanese Tea Garden, the Cable Car Museum, and the Musée Mécanique. And although this isn’t technically free, it’s very budget-friendly to do and should definitely be on your San Francisco bucket list: See the sights downtown via cable car.

4. Miami, Florida

Like San Francisco, there are plenty of free things to do in Miami. To begin, watch the sunrise on South Beach, one of the most famous beaches in Florida — and perhaps even the world. In the early morning, take photos in front of beautiful art murals in Wynwood and grab a coffee and light breakfast at one of the bakeries or shops in this art district. By late morning, lay out a yoga mat in the 32-acre Bayfront Park and take a free yoga class next to Biscayne Bay. Although taking a boat to Cuba may not be feasible, you can let Cuba come to you! Head over to Calle Ocho in Little Havana on the first Friday night of any month. The area comes alive with Cuban music and culture and beckons visitors to join in the celebration of Cuban culture. And before you leave Miami, catch at least one sunset from the South Pointe Park Pier.

Ready to enjoy an affordable weekend getaway? Keep saving by buying a bus ticket from BusTickets.com!

Looking for things to do in Portland, Oregon? Make sure to visit all of the markets in old town.

4 Things Everyone Must Do When They Visit Portland

By Bus Travel, Oregon, Portland

Hardcore travelers are always looking to go beyond the traditional, novel tourist experiences in any new city they visit and discover the weirder, less mainstream attractions. If you consider yourself one such hardcore traveler, you understand the quest for finding the hidden gems wherever you go. In Portland, Oregon, there is no lack of delightfully strange experiences, especially if you’re willing to traverse off the beaten path. In this post, we’ll take a look at a few things you definitely have to try when you visit Portland.

1. Sample Unconventional Twists on Classic American Treats

In Portland, you’ll be able to find plenty of doughnut shops and ice cream parlors designed with adventurous foodies in mind. Voodoo Doughnuts seems to be the doughnut shop favorite of many tourists looking for whacky flavors to try. However, if you want a true Portland experience, the locals say to skip Voodoo and go straight to Blue Star Donuts where you can find incredible, inventive flavors like Blueberry Bourbon Basil, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Chocolate Almond Ganache, and Cointreau Crème Brûlée. If you still have room, visit the locals’ latest ice cream obsession: Salt & Straw. Give your taste buds a wild ride with creative flavors like Pear and Blue Cheese, Buttermilk Pancakes, Bacon and Eggs, and Wild Fennel Amaro Milk Sorbet.

2. Sip Beer and Play Board Games All Night at Game Knight

If you’re a fan of board games and craft brews, you’ll geek out over Game Knight in the heart of Portland. The cafe and bar boast an extensive supply of board games, and by extensive, we mean literally hundreds of different games to choose from! There are classics like Othello and Monopoly as well as niche games like Lord of the Rings-themed board games and card games and lesser-known games like Wuzzles and Frag Deadlands. You and your travel companions could easily spend an entire evening playing board games and sipping affordable craft beers and ciders (most of them only cost $5). If you’re hungry, Game Knight has a menu of very reasonably priced sandwiches, salads, and share plates like the King Mi made with pulled pork, Asian slaw, and sambal sauce and Hungry Hungry Chippos loaded with housemade nacho cheese sauce, corn, beans, and pineapple salsa.

3. Stand in Awe of the Towering Waterfalls in the Columbia River Valley

Portland is not known solely as a hipster eutopia; it’s also recognized as one of the most stunning hiking destinations in North America. If you need an escape to a wooded paradise, spend an afternoon in Columbia River Valley. About 25 miles outside of downtown Portland is this magnificent gorge, home to awe-inspiring waterfalls, hiking trails, rivers, and forestry. You’ll definitely want to bring your camera on this adventure and be mindful of the crowds. It’s a very popular attraction, so you may want to consider visiting the park in the off-season. A handful of waterfalls worth checking out in the gorge include Multnomah Falls, Horsetail Falls (with a natural pool beneath it that’s often enjoyed by hikers in need of a refreshing swim), and the Oneonta Gorge, which requires a one-mile “hike” through a water bed (prepare for waist-deep waters!).

4. Satisfy Your Cravings at the Holy Grail of Food Trucks

Move over, New York. Portland is fast becoming king of the food truck scene. Sure, New York might be known for a food truck on every corner, but Portland is known for 600 food trucks all in one place. If you’re ready to feast on a smorgasbord of international cuisine, dedicate an evening (or several) to dining out at the food truck pods in Portland. Start off in Cartlandia, which is considered the “super pod” of Portland. It’s here that you’ll find lobster carts, international cuisine from over 15 countries, and The Blue Room, a beer garden with 18 beers and ciders on tap. For Southern comfort food and vegan twists on classic dishes, head to the Mississippi Marketplace on North Mississippi Avenue. If you’re in the neighborhood for breakfast, visit Hash It Out for some savory sausage and egg entrees, all made with locally-sourced ingredients. For BBQ, check out Homegrown Smoker, which has a variety of delectable meats as well as vegan BBQ options. For late night munchies after a few drinks at the pub, spend the final hours of the evening at Cartopia where you’ll find everything from sweet and savory crepes to wood-fired pizza and poutine.

Ready to experience everything that Portland has to offer from quirky doughnuts to gorgeous waterfalls? Buy a bus ticket from BusTickets.com today and start planning your trip!

References:

www.voodoodoughnut.com/

www.bluestardonuts.com/

saltandstraw.com/

pdxgameknight.com/

www.cartlandia.com/

www.blueroombar.com/

www.facebook.com/mississippimarketplace/

Looking for a quirky vacation spot? Check out these top quirky hotels in the US.

10 of the Quirkiest Hotels in the US

By Bus Travel, California, Los Angeles, Oregon, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Tacoma, Washington

Odds are you’ve stayed at your fair share of run-of-the-mill hotels. There are generic inns on every main road in the United States, along with chain properties that promise you the usual reliable amenities and creature comforts of home. If you crave something different, however, you may be intrigued by the quirkiest hotels on the West Coast. These are the locations that are as much worth the visit as many of the region’s most historic and beloved sites. Here are 10 that you can’t miss.

1. Thornewood Castle

Tacoma, WA

Whether or not you lay claim to any royal ties, you’ll certainly feel the part once you step onto the grounds of Thornewood Castle. The property is Tudor Gothic elegance at its best. The handsome home is resplendent in its beauty, boasting the types of old-world luxuries you would expect of a place so quaint and historic. Shaded by abundant fir trees, the hotel consists of pieces of a 400-year-old Elizabethan manor purchased in England shipped to Tacoma in the early 1900s. Exquisite grounds include a lakefront, plush green grass, and even a charming English garden where you can enjoy a quiet break after a good night’s sleep inside your beautifully appointed suite filled with opulent furnishings reminiscent of Victorian-era glamour.

2. The Charlie Hotel

Hollywood, CA

Once owned by Charlie Chaplin, The Charlie Hotel is worth a visit for its dramatic architecture and intriguing history alone. Beyond the iron gates lies a veritable step back in time: lush greenery, the sound of water crisply falling from fountains, the spacious deck dotted with cozy lounge chairs. It was built in 1924 and taken over by Chaplin some years later. The actor eventually sold the property, and it wasn’t until 2002 that it was restored. Today, it’s home to several decadent cottages that feel as posh as their Hollywood namesakes —it’s worth a stay in the inviting Marilyn suite if you want to enjoy a homey stay. You may be in Hollywood, but you would never know it by your surroundings here.

3. Hotel Figueroa

Los Angeles, CA

It’s humbling to step inside the Hotel Figueroa downtown. It’s a place of deep history and empowerment — it opened in 1926 as a YWCA. At the time, this was an enormous step in a considerably unusual direction. It’s “quirky” for its place in innovation history. It’s essentially a snapshot of a time when such progress was considered heresy — yet it stands today as a model example of what is possible with effort and hard work. It’s as creative as it ever was, and it earns accolades for its artfully decorated rooms, dynamic courtyard, and the area’s only ground-floor pool. The on-site restaurants take culinary art to an entirely new level: masterfully designed interiors vie for the spotlight, but it’s ultimately the creative dishes crafted from local ingredients that rule the dining experience.

4. Mama Shelter

Los Angeles, CA

If mega quirk is what you’re after, you’ll find it in droves at Mama Shelter. Set in Los Angeles, the offbeat property, designed by Thierry Gaugin, earns rave reviews as one of the hippest spots in town. There’s a lot happening here, from the outrageous colors to the lively accents to the killer views from the rooftop bar. The rooms range from compact to jumbo, all sized just right for a stay in the city, complete with all of the amenities you expect of the perfect place to stay. Enjoy a bite to eat, chill on the roof, have a drink or two, or just marvel at your surroundings from up high, where you can see everything from the iconic Hollywood sign to the activity below on Hollywood Boulevard.

5. McMenamins Kennedy School Hotel

Portland, OR

Among the quirkiest hotels on the West Coast, this is one you can definitely file under “I can’t believe it’s actually real.” McMenamins Kennedy School Hotel was founded in 1915, but at the time it was an actual elementary school. Fast forward many years, and today it’s a hip boutique hotel that many people specifically visit Portland for. And why not? The interior is dramatic and fun, where former classrooms now serve as guestrooms, and where old-school artwork sets the tone for a vintage-ready stay. Many of the rooms are even equipped with the original cloakrooms and chalkboards. The school’s former boiler room even serves as a vibrant, multistory bar.

6. Hotel Zeppelin

San Francisco, CA

Escape to an edgy hideout that’s equal parts urban-chic, industrial, and contemporary. Whether you’re a creative type, a wallflower, or somewhere in between, you’ll find a home for yourself in the Hotel Zeppelin, whose bohemian roots are evident in its laid-back, welcoming ambiance.

7. The Inn at El Gaucho

Seattle, WA

In a fast-paced world where everything seems in need of an upgrade, it’s hard to believe a place like The Inn at El Gaucho exists. Yet it does, and it’s inside this retro-inspired haunt that you can enjoy a stay in a dramatic guestroom and a cocktail bar that exudes 1950s charm.

8. Madonna Inn

San Luis Obispo, CA

It’s tough to compete with the eclectic charm that the Madonna Inn brings to San Luis Obispo. Boulders are built into the construction, and there are 110 themed rooms with out-of-this-world amenities, like rock showers and stone fireplaces.

9. Out’n’About Treehouses Treesort

Takilma, OR

The serene Out’n’About Treehouses Treesort is quite literally a village of treehouses. There’s a scenic, rustic vibe here that anyone with an appreciation for the great outdoors will absolutely love. Each abode is equipped with a kitchenette and a bathroom to lend it a truly homey feel.

10. Inn at Northrup Station

Portland, OR

There are few places more quintessentially Portland than the bright and lively all-suite Inn at Northrup Station. The rooms are obsessively fun, with vibrant pops everywhere you turn. No detail is spared here, and odds are you’ll quickly grow to love the place for its electrifying personality.

Book Your Getaway Today

If you’re intrigued by the quirkiest hotels on the West Coast, it’s a good time to get away from it all and book your trip today. Visit BusTickets.com to find affordable transportation to your destination of choice!

The 5 Most Affordable Vacation Destinations You Can Get to by Bus

By Bus Travel, Eugene, Grand Rapids, Hannibal, Maine, Memphis, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, Portland, Tenessee

Planning a vacation on a budget is taxing, especially when you’re trying to balance the expense of travel, boarding, meals, and sightseeing. Fortunately, choosing bus travel will cut your costs in half, leaving more money for hotels and food. You can reduce your total costs even more without sacrificing fun by choosing a location that offers plenty of free and low-cost recreational activities. If you’re facing a tight budget, buy cheap bus tickets to these five affordable vacation destinations.

1. Memphis, TN

At the top of every music lover’s travel list is a visit to Memphis, TN. Dubbed the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll,” this city has created some of the most influential artists of the 20th century and, as such, music can be found on every corner. Since it’s such a popular city, bus tickets to Memphis are incredibly affordable. Plus, you’ll also have the opportunity to take in the views of the Smoky Mountains, Missouri Bootheel, or Mississippi Delta along the way, depending on your departure location.

One of the most popular destinations in Memphis is Graceland, and while there’s an entrance fee for the official tour, you can visit the Meditation Garden during set hours for free. You should also stop by The Peabody Hotel at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day to watch the legendary ducks march between their rooftop home and their favorite swimming hole: the lobby fountain. No visit to this great metropolis is complete without a trip down historic Beale Street, where you can grab food and drinks, and enjoy live music inside the halls and on the street itself.

2. Grand Rapids, MI

The family-friendly town of Grand Rapids, MI, is the perfect destination for parents and kids who love the outdoors. While it’s often praised for its popular winter activities, like ice fishing, the small city offers plenty of spring and summer fun as well. If you’re a family of cyclists, then you don’t want to miss out on the miles upon miles of bike trails. The city itself boasts more than 25 parks, some of which offer public water access and beaches, and hosts free events for all ages.

3. Hannibal, MO

If you’re a literary fanatic or history buff, put bus travel to Hannibal, MO, at the top of your summer to do list. As the home of beloved writer Mark Twain and Titanic passenger Molly Brown, the town offers a plethora of museums and historic properties. While some of these sites charge admission for the official tour, you can avoid spending money at multiple locations by reading up on them during your bus journey. Pick your favorite option to utilize your entertainment budget, and then simply snap a picture of the other tourist hotspots for your scrapbook.

Fortunately for budget-minded travelers, there’s nothing the city of Hannibal loves more than a festival. From their annual Tom Sawyer Days to the Big River Steampunk Festival, there’s a constant stream of family-friendly activities that also offer free options. As for paid entertainment, the area offers many affordable choices, like the Mark Twain Riverboat, which offers one-hour long sightseeing cruises for around $20 per ticket.

4. Portland, ME

Portland, ME, is the East Coast’s best-kept secret. The city has flourished as a tech and financial hub in recent years, but its modern amenities oddly compliment its historic identity as a port town powered by the fishing industry. Marveling at the architecture is enough to keep you busy for a few days, but be sure add in a few trips to the beach and a hike along one of their numerous trails. If you love the feel of the ocean breeze on your skin as you dive into a plate of locally caught (and surprisingly affordable) lobster, then book your bus tickets to Portland, ME, before fall arrives.

5. Eugene, OR

Last on the list—but most definitely not least—is Eugene, OR. Often overshadowed by its big sister, Portland, this Pacific Northwest city offers the welcoming atmosphere of a small town with the rich cultural opportunities of a metropolitan city. Its diverse offerings include art exhibitions, music festivals, and craft breweries, and just outside of town, you can delve into Willamette Valley’s blooming wine scene by spending an afternoon at a local vineyard.

Book Affordable Bus Tickets to Portland, Memphis, and More!

If you’re ready for an adventure this spring or summer, turn to BusTickets.com for a hassle-free and affordable approach to travel. Our convenient service allows you to compare tickets from the industry’s top carriers so that you can find the most budget-friendly option.  So what are you waiting for? Tick off the next destination on your bucket list by booking your bus tickets today!

Three friends enjoying a girls’ weekend bus trip to the city

Girls’ Weekend? Plan Bus Travel to These 4 Locations

By Austin, Bus Travel, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Portland, Portland, Ruidoso, Texas

While time with family and partners is incredibly important, sometimes you need to relax, unwind, and recharge with your best friends. A girls’ weekend bus trip is the perfect way to reconnect without the distractions of everyday life. To ensure your group enjoys an unforgettable weekend away, book your bus travel to one of these four fabulous destinations.

1. Portland, ME

Regardless of the season, Portland, ME, is an excellent location for a weekend getaway. One of the first stops on your adventure should be a brewery. There are 13 breweries just in the Portland Metro area, so register for one of the city’s many local brewery tours to get the most out of your visit.

No girls’ trip is complete without some much-deserved self-pampering. For this task, visit Soakology Foot Sanctuary and Teahouse. Enjoy a foot soak and massage in a tranquil atmosphere while sipping on unique tea blends and chatting with your best friends. If you’re daring, finish off your weekend with commemorative custom matching tattoos at Wicked Good Ink.

2. Portland, OR

Just like its namesake on the East Coast, Portland, OR, is home to an incredible amount of breweries. There is also a large number of distilleries and wineries in the city. A guided tour will help you sample the best based on your group’s tastes, but if you want to pick just a single location, opt for one of these local favorites: Bridgeport BrewingFreeland Spirits, or PDX Urban Wineries.

Along with drinks, the City of Roses boasts an impressive culinary scene. One of the most popular styles of dining is food carts. In Portland, food carts are sectioned into pods that offer you a wide selection of cuisine options in one spot. For the most well-rounded offering, stop by the Alder pod downtown to enjoy dumplings at Dump Truck, authentic fish and chips at The Frying Scotsman, and Jian Bing at Bing Mi!

For those in your party with a sweet tooth, a trip to Voodoo Doughnuts is a must. Since 2003, the eatery has crafted creative and unique donuts that you’re sure to fall in love with. Plus, the doughnut shop is open 24 hours a day, making the ideal stop after a night on the town. If you’re not a fan of fried dough, hit up Rose City Sweets for a selection of traditional candy favorites or The Meadow for artisanal chocolates.

3. Austin, TX

For a truly memorable girls’ weekend bus trip, book your bus tickets to Austin, TX. With an unofficial motto of “Keep Austin Weird,” there are plenty of unique adventures to be had. Start off your weekend with an in-depth exploration of the unusual at the Museum of the Weird downtown, followed by a visit to the Cathedral of Junk on the south side of the city. Next, take the weird level up a notch with a haunted hearse limo tour from Haunted ATX.

Aside from the city’s eclectic tendencies, Austin’s over 250 live music venues have earned it the title of “The Live Music Capital of the World.” As such, it’s an unwritten rule that live music is included in your girls’ weekend getaway. Enjoy top country acts at the Broken Spoke, acoustic sets at the Cactus Café & Bar, and blues at Antone’s Nightclub. Or, catch some of the best stops all in one night with local guidance by grabbing tickets to an Austin Live Music Crawl tour.

4. Ruidoso, NM

If your group of friends needs a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, then bus travel to Ruidoso, NM, is the way to go. The small town is nestled in the Sierra Blanca mountain range, offering a plethora of outdoor activities from spring through winter. Immerse yourselves in nature by booking a cabin at Rainbow Lake or enjoy wide-open spaces with a traditional tent arrangement at Lincoln National Forest. The latter offers easy access to a long list of spectacular trails for wildlife viewing and hiking.

After working up an appetite in the great outdoors, head back into Ruidoso city limits for local craft beer and gastropub dishes at The Hidden Tap. Wine aficionados, on the other hand, won’t want to miss a trip to Noisy Water Winery, which specializes in unique New Mexico blends, like Green Chile Wine. For a broader range of drinks and food, try Sacred Grounds Coffee and Tea House. The eatery serves an assortment of delicious dishes alongside locally sourced craft beer and wine.

Save On Your Girls’ Weekend Bus Trip

At BusTickets.com, booking your girls’ weekend bus trip is a breeze. Select your destination, compare prices, and choose the best options for your needs — it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. Traveling with a large group of friends? Find out how to score big savings with our charter bus service. A weekend of fun and adventure awaits, so book your bus tickets today.