Rest From Your Labors

September 3, 2015 by

It takes a lot of work to get ready for vacation, and we here at Mr. Meaner are looking to make your last big summer getaway of the year as painless as possible. This week, we’re featuring some of our top spots for last minute Labor Day weekend getaways. Tip: if you can push your trip back a week, you may get even bigger savings.

North of the Border

For our first destination, we’re actually going to cross the border to the north. Toronto is a fantastic place to visit basically anytime of the year, but if you’re from the South, you’ll want to head north before the weather freezes your face off. A couple things to keep in mind: you’ll obviously need a passport unless you have the Enhanced Driver’s License. Those are available to residents in several of the border states who are traveling via car or boat.

Second, everything is going to be metric. Don’t get pulled over because you thought you could do 120 miles per hour on the freeway. That’s kph there, speedy. It’s a common enough thing that many vehicles (even those made in the US), have an option to switch gauges between mph and kph. Just don’t forget to switch back when you cross back over, or U.S. drivers will probably try to run you off the road.

Now that we’ve been to the great white north, it’s time to hop a jet to the land of sweet tea and hospitality. More specifically, take a quick trip to Atlanta. Now, we know what you’re thinking. Atlanta? Seriously? But trust us, there are some pretty spectacular things to check out, especially for the budget conscious.

First up is the Zoo Atlanta One of only four zoos in the country that have giant pandas for your observation pleasure. Be sure to check out Lun Lun (the mother) and her clan. Admission is right around 20 bucks with free parking, so you don’t have to worry about getting a pesky out-of-state parking ticket.

After the zoo, take a leisurely trip to Piedmont Park. With 189 acres of open space, it’s a perfect place to take the kids (or the pets) for an outdoor excursion in the middle of the urban sprawl. Just be sure to keep your pets on a 6-foot leash at all times unless you are in one of the two specifically fenced in pet parks. We can’t recommend keeping your children on a leash, but we’ll leave that up to you.

Windy and Wrigley

If you’re in the Midwest, nothing beats a day trip to the Windy City. Despite the popular myth, it didn’t get it’s nickname because of regular high-velocity winds off Lake Michigan. The name came from a newspaper editorial in the 1890s criticizing the city for being full of gas-bag politicians. Trivia aside, Chicago really is a great place to visit.

The city is great particularly if you want to get some exercise in, or you’re really just terrified of taking a cab. Trust us, you should be terrified. Bicycling is common in the city, and a great way to get around. Drivers are required to yield to those pedaling around in most situations, and give 3-feet of clearance when passing. If you’re on a bike, just make sure you signal correctly so the guy in the taxi knows not to run you over.

While you’re biking around, you can take in a game at Wrigley Field, or hit the Magnificent Mile for some shopping. If you’re feeling a spot of culinary adventure, take a trip down to the Lower West Side to get some pork brain tacos. Try not to think about it too hard and you’ll be fine. You’ll have lots of protein for the rest of your jaunt around town.

There’s also the regular tourist spots if you’ve never hit Chicago before. Things like the famed Museum of Science and Industry, and Shedd’s Aquarium are two of the most obvious. The latter is often quite busy, so you may want to reserve your tickets online ahead of time. It’s totally worth it.

And that wraps up our spin of budget Labor Day weekend getaways. If you’ve got some of your favorite trips, be sure to share them on our Facebook page. Or if you’re too busy traveling, give us a shout on Twitter; include a pic for bonus points!

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