Houston Aquarium: Two for Tuesday August 26

downtown aquarium HoustonNow that you’ve sent your big kids off to school, take the little ones to Downtown Aquarium at half price!

It’s the final Tuesday of half-price Downtown Aquarium tickets Tuesday, August 26. The 2-for-1 All-Day Adventure Pass includes unlimited access to Shark Voyage, Aquarium Adventure Exhibit, Ferris Wheel, Carousel and Lighthouse Dive.

The Adventure Pass retails for $18.99, so the deal makes it about $9.50 per person. Print the online coupon here to get this deal. The coupon is valid for up to four people.

Find the Downtown Aquarium at 410 Bagby at Memorial.

Free Weekend Fun in Houston August 22-24

It’s another weekend in Houston with plenty of free fun! Check out these 14 Free Things to Do in Houston August 22-24:

Houston skyline


Watch free family flick, Hook — Don’t miss the free Kids’ Camp movie at Alamo Drafthouse’s Vintage Park and Mason Park locations. Catch Hook August 22 at 10:35 am Mason Park and 11:20 am Vintage Park. Showing through August 28. Hours vary by day. Seats are first-come, first-serve.

GreenStreet HoustonEnjoy movie under the stars — Enjoy Friday Flicks on the Lawn at downtown’s GreenStreet. Watch the classic The Blues Brothers Friday, 8 pm. Enjoy free popcorn and beverages, thanks to Zipcar. Bring a blanket or grab a nearby seat on the patio. Located at 1201 Fannin.

Browse creative art — The Summer Series Art Exhibit presents more than 120 artists at Winter Street and Summer Street Studios Friday, 6 pm – 9 pm. Browse two buildings of creativity! Plus enjoy sipping some summer cocktails. Get social on social media to try to win prizes! Located at 2101 Winter Street.

Explore the gym — Celebrate back to school at the Back to School Bash at The Little Gym Katy, 5:30 pm. The free event features open gym, special guests, and more. Located at 23010 Highland Knolls.

Experience bluegrass — It’s a bluegrass treat outdoors! Dailey & Vincent share bluegrass music at Miller Outdoor Theatre Friday, 8:30 pm. The free concert also includes Volume Five. Free reserved covered seats are available on performance day at the Miller Box Office, 10 am – 1 pm. Or bring a blanket for the hillside!

Learn to salsa dance — Enjoy free salsa dance lessons at Latin Beats every Friday night at the Downtown Aquarium. From 7 pm – 11 pm you can learn salsa dancing from professional dance instructors. The Aquarium is located at 410 Bagby at Memorial.


Learn about insects — Kids who love bugs shouldn’t miss Insect Exploration Saturday 10 am – 11 am at Lake Houston Wilderness Park. The free event shares insect characteristics, adaptations, and their importance in the environment. The best part is collecting insects and bringing them back inside for discussion! Located in New Caney at 22845 Loop 494. Free event + $3 park entry fee.

Watch free family flick, Hook — Don’t miss the free Kids’ Camp movie at Alamo Drafthouse’s Vintage Park and Mason Park locations. Catch Hook August 23 at 10:35 am Mason Park and 12:30 pm Vintage Park. Showing through August 28. Hours vary by day. Seats are first-come, first-serve.

Participate in a special storytime — Kids with sensory issues will enjoy Sensory Storytime for Special Needs Children Saturday, 2 pm. The free event at the downtown library includes stories, songs and activities in a smaller setting.

Miller Outdoor TheatreListen to classic music outdoorsClassic Albums Live returns to Miller Outdoor Theatre Saturday with the free performance, AC/DC’s Back in Black. Jam to these classic hits from the 80s as musicians create the entire album note for note! Free reserved covered seats are available on performance day at the Miller Box Office, 10 am – 1 pm. Or bring a blanket for the hillside!

Watch movies under the moon — Enjoy a free outdoor screening of Iron Giant Saturday at Central Green Park in Katy. The movie kicks off at dusk. Central Green Park is located at 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd. in Katy.

Catch the creative spirit — Don’t miss Summer Studios Opening and Third Ward Community Market and Talent Showcase. The free event from 3 pm – 7 pm features free craft activities, community performances, unique arts and crafts and more.  Located at Project Row Houses, 2521 Holman.

Get in the NOLA spirit — Don’t miss the Platinum Players at NOLA Nights, Saturday, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm, at Sugar Land Town Square. This band knows how to get folks on their feet dancing!

Enjoy outdoor music — Head to Pearland Town Square for a live concert featuring Intercoastal Pirates, 5 pm – 8 pm. Lawn chairs are welcome! The free event is located at the corner of Hwy 288 and FM518.


theater district open house 350pEngage in Houston’s Theater District Open House — Catch a sneak peek of the upcoming Houston arts seasons at the free Theater District Open House. This family-friendly event features live performances, backstage tours, meet-n-greet with costumed performers, kids activities, free trolley rides, and tango lessons. Experience theater, dance, and music from noon to 4 pm Sunday, August 24. Don’t miss the free Houston Symphony concert at 4 pm at Jones Hall. Bonus: get discounts to Houston theater, dance, opera, and music performances during the Open House at exclusive sale prices.

Watch free family flick, Hook — Don’t miss the free Kids’ Camp movie at Alamo Drafthouse’s Vintage Park and Mason Park locations. Catch Hook August 24 at 10:35 am Mason Park and 11 am Vintage Park. Showing through August 28. Hours vary by day. Seats are first-come, first-serve.

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Free Tickets to Houston Performances (One-Day Sale)

Goldstar free ticketsFree tickets, anyone? Jump on the Comp Train, Goldstar’s popular promotion that features complimentary tickets to events in Houston. Today only (8/21), Goldstar is offering tons of free tickets to live concerts, theater, comedy, dance and more.

Some of the free tickets include:

  • Sugar Land Skeeters
  • Garfunkel and Oates (House of Blues)
  • The Changing Face of China (Asia Society Texas)
  • St. Lawrence String Quartet (Wortham Theater)
  • The Great Game Show Mash Up (ComedySportz)
  • B-Side Players (House of Blues)
  • Flying High (Hobby Center)

All you pay is a small service fee (usually a couple bucks) depending on the production. Head online here to search out free tickets in Houston.

Disclosure: Affiliate link included. Thanks for supporting my site.

Free Theater District Open House + Discount Tickets

August 24 marks the 21st annual Theater District Open House featuring Houston’s nine performing arts organizations in the downtown Theater District. Experience Houston’s fabulous Theater District completely free! It’s one of my favorite days in downtown Houston!

TUTS cinderellaCatch a sneak peek of upcoming TUTS and Broadway Across America seasons through live performances (such as Cinderella), meet-n-greet with costumed performers, free trolley rides, tango lessons, and backstage tours. The venues open for tours and performances are Wortham Theater, Alley Theater, Jones Hall, Bayou Music Center, and Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Experience theater, dance, and music, Sunday, August 24, noon to 4 pm. The day concludes with a 4 pm Houston Symphony concert at Jones Hall.

Discount Ticket Offers

The bonus I love about attending Theater District Day is taking advantage of discount ticket offers for the Houston Symphony, Houston Ballet, TUTS, and all the others. For example, save $40 on a 6-season subscription to TUTS, save 20% off Houston Grand Opera single tickets, or don’t miss the $21 Deal Day at Alley Theatre. All the discount offers are listed online here.

Houston BalletThis is a perfect family-friendly event, too. Kids will love the arts & crafts and Instrument Petting Zoo at Wortham Theater Center, free Houston Ballet performances and meet-n-greet with costumed characters at Wortham Theater Center, and kids’ fun pack and DJ at Bayou Music Center. Check out the schedule here.

Visit HoustonTheaterDistrict.org for more info on Theater District Day.

Cinderella photo: Carol Rosegg

What’s Up in the Frugal App World? Try Worth It

I love when technology saves me from running from store to store looking for the best prices. Even better when it alerts me with an email.

Worth It is a new innovative shopping mobile app and web site helping folks find their desired items at the price they are willing to pay. Founded by Houstonian Jason Kaminsky, Worth It uses amazing technology to serve as a discount finder and price checker.

So how does it work?

Worth It dashboardUsers create a wish list of items they want to follow in a dashboard along with the price they are willing to pay. You could list 10% off, 25% off, or type in any price. Worth It does all the behind-the-scenes work and sends you an email alert when your “desired price” is available at a store. It’s a great way to track back-to-school items like backpacks, clothing and shoes!

How is Worth It different from other mobile shopping apps? It relies on member feedback, which adds a level of user-loyalty that is unique to a service like Worth It.

“The new features of our mobile app, like the Explore section, and the subsequent new user experience definitely sets Worth It apart from similar apps,” says founder Kaminsky. The biggest differentiator, however, is having the entire shopping process within the Worth it app and web site — not redirecting users to the store web site for purchase, he says.

“Sales are happening every day online, and we’re constantly finding them for our members, regardless of the retailer,” Kaminsky relates.

When used as a price checker, Worth It will show you a list of reputable stores carrying the desired item and which store has it for the lowest price. In the Explore section, shoppers can find popular back-to-school items, for example, with the lowest price.

The items pictured in the mobile dashboard (above) are a few items I was tracking for fun. I received an email alert the first night when a Fossil watch dropped $50 to a price I was willing to pay! I didn’t get too many alerts, but the key is probably setting a reasonable goal price.

Thumbs Up: I like this app and think it’s helpful for price checking. Download it free from the iTunes and App store or head online to www.worthit.co

Discovering Houston on the Cheap: Darrin Straughan, President, James Coney Island

Welcome to Discovering Houston on the Cheap, a weekly series highlighting cheap dates, cheap
meals, Houston’s best-kept secret and more — by local chefs, media, athletes, and folks in local business.

Darrin Straughan, President, Jones Coney Island Inc.
{A native Houstonian, Darrin Straughan has turned around James Coney Island during his 21 years as president. The local eatery now sells more hot dogs per unit than any other chain in the country. The company has grown to 21 Houston locations in its 91 years.}

1) Favorite spot for a cheap mealTostada Regia

Tostada Regia on Long Point at Gessner is my favorite. The Legendarias Northenitas are Chicken Tostadas topped with all things good on a tostada. Sprinkle on the green and red hot sauce, and my head sweats. Great with an ice cold Dos Equis.

2) Favorite spot for a cheap date Treebeards

Treebeards on Market Square. Red Beans & Rice with Cheese and Onions. I’ve been eating there since 1984, when my first job was downtown. Good Southern food before some downtown activities.

3) Houston’s best-kept secret — Waugh Drive Bridge Bat Colony

At dusk, 250,000 Mexican Free-Tailed Bats come out to eat our pesky mosquitos!

4) Best place to save money in Houston — Retro night at No Label Brewery

Drive out to Katy and go to one of No Label Brewery’s retro theme nights. For a small price you get two beers, access to food trucks while Alamo Drafthouse shows an old movie on its portable movie screen. You can buy more beer, of course! In September, the theme is Roller Derby. I think the movie is “Whip It.” Houston’s Roller Derby team will be there as well. Last time the theme was Urban Cowboy, and the movie was exactly that. Fun!

5) Favorite Houston festival or annual event — Greek Festival

I love the food and the people. Plus it is in October, which is not a bad weather month in Houston.

6) My perfect day in Houston would be…

Late Fall. Morning run at Memorial Park followed by Special Enchiladas-A-La-Taylor at Spanish Village on Almeda for lunch. Flour tortillas please to sop up the chile con carne. Finish the day with an evening at a University of Houston football game. Ice cold beer while watching my alma mater’s team on the gridiron — Go Coogs!

photo: Groovehouse

Free Sugar Land Skeeters + 50% off Brad Paisley, Houston Texans, Jesse McCartney, Palm Beach & More

Did you know Houston on the Cheap has a Daily Deals tab to save 50% on Houston restaurants, services, events, museum admission and more! It’s right on the home page navigation bar.

Here are a few deals that caught my eye today.

Brad Paisley$20 for general admission lawn to Brad Paisley at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion September 6 ($42 value) or $45 for seat in sections 105-110 ($70 value)

Sugar Land SkeetersFREE — Sugar Land SkeetersFREE grass seating to Sugar Land Skeeters games August 19-24. Add $3.50 service fee per ticket.

Jesse McCartney$16.50 for a ticket to Jesse McCartney August 25 at House of Blues ($34.75 value)

Landry’s & Pleasure Pier/Kemah$80 for $50 eGift Card to Landry’s Restaurants, Plus Two All-Day Ride Passes to Galveston Pleasure Pier or Kemah Boardwalk ($103 value)

Young Frankenstein$12.50 for Young Frankenstein at Lambert Hall ($25 value)

Palm Beach at Moody Gardens $25 for two at Palm Beach Water Park at Moody Gardens ($47.90 value) or $45 for four ($95.80 value)

Next to Normal $24.35 for Next to Normal August 24 at Music Box Theater ($48.71 value)

Houston Museum of Natural ScienceButterfly Center or Planetarium Visit for Two, Four, or Six at Houston Museum of Natural Science (up to 53% Off).

Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival — Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman, Hannibal Buress, Marc Maron, and More September 20 at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion (up to 59% Off)

Houston Texans – $24 for Houston Texans 2014 Preseason August 28 vs San Francisco 49ers ($45 value)

Houston Comic ConOne-Day Admission With One or Two Prints at Houston Comic Con August 29-31 (up to 75% Off)

Affiliate links included. Thanks for supporting my site!

Back-to-School Scholastic Book Sale: 50%-80% Off

scholastic BTS saleThe Scholastic Back-to-School Warehouse Sale is returning to Houston Wednesday. With prices at 50% to 80% off, it’s a great time to stock up on classroom materials or reading for your kids. NW Houston warehouse sale near Jersey Village is August 20 – August 23, 9 am – 5 pm weekdays and 9 am – 3 pm Saturday. Warehouse sales are exclusively for teachers, librarians, school personnel, book fair volunteers, and homeschoolers. Only pre-selected items marked for clearance are included in the Back to School sale.

August 20-23
7400 Security Way
9 am – 5 pm weekday, 9 am – 3 pm Saturday

Register in advance online for your Fast Pass here — and skip the lines. You’ll also receive a $10 off $50 purchase coupon.

7 Free Things to Do in Houston (August 18-22)

There’s never a dull moment in Houston. Here are 7 options for free fun August 18-22 before planning your free and cheap weekend!

We Love Houston sign Monday (8/18)— Free movies continue this week at Alamo Drafthouse with Babe Monday at 10:35 am (Vintage Park) and 10 am (Mason Park). Babe is free each day through Thursday. Times vary each day. Don’t miss the $2 movies at Studio Movie Grill for the last week!

Tuesday (8/19) — BONUS, not free but cheap! $2 movie night featuring Good Will Hunting at Studio Movie Grill. 100% of proceeds benefit foundation relating to suicide prevention. At Copperfield & CityCentre locations.

Tuesday (8/19) –  Miller Outdoor Theatre is hosting another three nights of free Movies at Miller Tuesday – Thursday. The theme is Space Tales with The Forbidden Planet Tuesday, Spaceballs Wednesday, and Gravity on Thursday. The movies kick off at 8:30 pm.

Wednesday (8/20) — Get fit at a free GreenStreet Bootcamp Wednesday mornings 6:30 am – 7 am. Just show up because no equipment is needed. Perfect for all skill levels! Located at 1201 Fannin.

Wednesday (8/20) — Enjoy a free kayak class at Discovery Green, thanks to Buffalo City Adventures. The Wednesday session is for adults 18+. No registration required — just show up and have fun from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm. This free class meets every Wednesday through October.

Thursday (8/21) — Just in time for the city’s birthday later this month, don’t miss Heart of Houston Roundtable Discussion on Servant Leadership Thursday, 6 pm – 8 pm. Author Larry Payne (The Heart of Houston) will host the panel discussion with Houstonians from various sectors. A book signing will follow. Located downtown at Julia Ideson Building, 550 McKinney.

Thursday (8/21) — Take advantage of Free Thursday Museums before school starts next week! Thursday is the magic day in the Houston Museum District to visit many museums for free. Seven museums are free each Thursday, while a number are free every day.

  • Buffalo Soldiers National Museum — free Thursday 1 pm – 5 pm
  • Children’s Museum of Houston — free Thursday 5 pm – 8 pm
  • Holocaust Museum Houston — free Thursday 2 pm – 5 pm
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science — free Thursday 3 pm – 6 pm (summer)
  • The Health Museum — free Thursday 2 pm – 5 pm
  • The John C. Freeman Weather Museum — free Thursday 12 pm – 4 pm
  • The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston — free Thursday 10 am – 9 pm

Thursday (8/21) — Children’s Museum of Houston offers free back-to-school immunizations for kids under 18 years each Thursday in August during the museum’s Free Family Night. The first 200 people will be eligible for the free shots from 5 pm – 7 pm. No registration required. Parents must bring their child’s shot records. Free admission is 5 pm – 8 pm at 1500 Binz.