You Da Plug?
If you ask my friends they'd swear I'm the plug. I attend events with dope DJs, open bars, gift bags, and sometimes celebrities, so people come to the conclusion that my life must be lit. I'm not going to disagree. I've had a lot of awesome experiences, but there are many more experiences and opportunities waiting for me, and for you. I don't know of every NYC event but I try to keep abreast of fun things to do and tell my friends about events that come across my path.
I am not the plug.
What I am is plugged in.
And here’s a secret, I’d say about 98% of the events I attend are free. The other 2% are usually $30 or less. I'm all about ballin on a budget- my mantra has been "if it ain't free, it ain't for me."
Yes, I know that I’m in NYC so I have a certain access that isn't available everywhere but there are still MANY free things to do and ways to find out about them. So, without further ado here is how I stay plugged in:
Eventbrite-This is the number one site for events in any city. You can filter your search by the type of event you want, admission cost, date and more. The website is easy to navigate and you can add events to your calendar seamlessly from the site.
Social Media- Use Instagram and Craigslist to find day of events. A lot of companies and individuals use these mediums for publicity so take advantage and see what events are going on.
Flash Sales- Sites like Groupon and LivingSocial offer great deals on not only gym memberships and restaurants but also for unique activities like fencing, dancing, massages, speed-dating and more. Sites like this are an easy way to do something you’ve always wanted to but has been out of your budget.
Local Magazines- These publications are usually free and in newsstands in popular “downtown” areas of your city. There is ALWAYS a page or ten dedicated to local events, conferences, shows, etc.
Expand Your Network- This has been the biggest plug for me. From personal group chats, to Slack, and Group Me I've gotten most of my information from my network. Make an agreement to forward emails to your personal and professional contacts for events, basically share the wealth. The strength of a well-connected email blast is incredible and you’ll be surprised what you get alerted to as your network expands. Also, once you are on an email distribution list you stay there and you’ll be in the loop for all future events from that event producer. (Pro tip: Always RSVP and do a plus-one. This can help ensure you end up on future email invites and your friend who didn't RSVP in time can still kick-it.)
Subscribe- Subscribe to newsletters for local theatres, your favorite artists and concert venues so that you always know who or what is coming to town so you don’t miss it. (Pro tip: sign up for Songkick for concert alerts).
Government Programs- This includes everything from local parks, which have plays and concerts, to free exercise activities, parades, block parties, etc. Check your local government website periodically for news on free events. Any event that is taking up public space will usually have information posted on the government website due to event permits and approval needed to have large events. These are also usually publicized on public access television.
Museums- If the museum is not free, find out when they offer discounted tickets or sponsor free viewings. Most have at least one free admission day a month, if not more. In NYC most museum admission prices are suggested, meaning you can get in for any amount. Also, when museums host public events you are able to view the exhibits at the same time.
Landmarks- Just because you live in a city doesn’t mean you’ve taken advantage of its history. Research local landmarks, historical sites, and “must-see” places most of them will be free or low cost. There is so much to discover about your city you can be surprised. It’s okay to be a tourist in your hometown.
Explore- Get out the house! Go downtown or to the park and walk around, you may run into something you never expected. I have went on many excursions and happened upon street fairs, orchestra concerts and parades. You’ll never know if you don’t leave the house.
After all those tips you see that I'm not doing anything special. Stay plugged in and you can be the plug for your tribe.
An earlier version of this post, written by moi, first appeared on Strong + Elite here.