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Courtesy AKC Dog Museum; Getty Images (2), Marcus Nilsson/Gallery Stock
Courtesy AKC Dog Museum; Getty Images (2), Marcus Nilsson/Gallery Stock
Money

Fab Freebies You're Going To Want To Nab This Fall

Why spend money when you don't have to?

With inflation high and gas prices still elevated, your entertainment budget may be stressed. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to have some fun this fall. Aside from the many free things your community may offer (corn mazes, fall festivals and pumpkin patches, to name a few), we’ve rounded up a host of activities and freebies you can take advantage of this fall.

September–November

Gone Fishin’

Many states have days (some even offer weekends) where you don’t need a license to go fishing. Find these free days at TakemeFishing.org, which includes a list of them throughout the year — including a selection of fall dates in Georgia, New York, Oregon and other states.

Sept. 17

Museum Day

Boundless curiosity? Unbridled quest for history, nature or art? Museum Day is an annual celebration hosted by Smithsonian magazine. Participating museums and cultural institutions throughout the country provide a free Museum Day entry. For more information (and how to get a free ticket), find a participating museum near you here.

Sept. 18

National Cheeseburger Day

Who can’t get behind a fake food holiday? It’s National Cheeseburger Day. And you and the family can wrack up money-saving deals on free burgers. Check Burger King (free coupons for sandwiches on the BK app), McDonald’s (69-cent cheeseburgers in many locations), and tons of swanky restaurants that offer cheeseburger-and-fries deals. Check your favorite burger joint for participation. Here's a nice roundup of where you can get free cheeseburgers.

Sept. 19

National Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy matey! Here’s a pirate-oriented day dedicated to keeping pirate lingo and all things pirates alive. And if you bring your swashbuckling pirate talk over to Krispy Kreme, you can receive one free donut for busting out a nice pirate phrase or two. “Shiver me timbers” or “landlubber,” anyone?

Sept. 24

National Public Lands Day

Are you adventurous and outdoorsy, and do you love hands-on projects that make a difference?

The fourth Saturday in September is National Public Lands Day, traditionally the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort. Celebrating the connection people have with their green space, the National Park Service is one of the event’s largest providers of sites and volunteer efforts. The event inspires environmental stewardship and provides recreation, health benefits and education for the public. You can visit any national park for free just for fun or sign up for a volunteer project by checking out the park site.

October–November

Attend Julliard

A Julliard performance, that is. The Julliard School hosts numerous music, dance and drama performances, many of which are free and feature their talented students (such as the String Quartet Mozart-a-thon or Sonatenabend). Even ticketed events are cheap. So, if you’re in New York City looking for a show, be sure to check the Julliard box office.

Oct. 1

National Coffee Day

On this day look for free or heavily discounted coffee at participating coffee shops, donut chains and convenience stores. The International Coffee Organization has pledged to help struggling coffee farmers make a living wage worldwide. And to celebrate, it’s coffee for everyone.

Oct. 4

National Taco Day

Every Tuesday is Taco Tuesday, but National Taco Day falls on the first Tuesday in October this year. You might find tacos (forgo burritos and enchiladas in favor of the soft- or hard-shelled corn tortillas and their fillings) deeply discounted. Follow your favorite taco restaurants — like Taco Bell, Chipotle, your local Mom and Pop cantina, and others — to find taco promotions close to home.

Oct. 31

Halloween

Aside from the free candy, many restaurants offer stressed parents a break by offering a day when kids eat free. Check out Olive Garden, Sbarro and IHOP, as well as your local restaurants to see if snagging a free kids’ meal could help relieve some of your Halloween decorating and dressing-up commotion.

Nov. 3

National Sandwich Day

On National Sandwich Day, you might want to hang with your favorite fictional TV sandwich friend, Joey, to learn about discounted sandwiches. Scope out deals from Subway (buy two, get one free), Potbelly (with promo code), White Castle (download a coupon) and others. Find BOGO deals, deeply discounted subs and create-your-own sandwich specials at leading sandwich sellers and your local sandwich shops.

Nov. 11

Veterans Day

There are a handful of other free national park days throughout the year, and Veterans Day is the last one this fall. With increasingly pricey entrance fees, visiting a national park on a free day can save money. Park fees vary, but parks like Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone typically charge $35 entrance fees for noncommercial vehicles.

Veterans also eat free on Veterans Day with some form of military ID at up to 35 chain restaurants. The list includes Applebee’s, Bob Evans, Chili’s, Golden Corral, Red Robin, Texas Roadhouse, Perkins, California Pizza Kitchen, Denny’s, White Castle, Hard Rock Cafe, IHOP, Red Lobster and others.

Nov. 16

National Fast Food Day

On National Fast Food Day, it will come as no surprise that restaurants celebrate by offering none other than free fast food. McDonald’s, Burger King, Arby’s, Subway, Taco Bell, Krystal, Sonic, White Castle and others typically participate and offer free or discounted deals to customers. Some may include free delivery. Check with your favorite fast-food franchise to see if it will participate and find out what deals are in the works.

Year Round

Queens Botanical Garden in New York

From April to October, admission is free on Sundays from 9–11 a.m. and Wednesdays from 3–6 p.m. at the Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing. Plus, from November to March, admission is free Tuesdays-Sundays. This botanical garden, closed Mondays, had a multimillion-dollar expansion that included a new education center. If you’re not in New York City, check botanical gardens in your area for a free day.

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