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Inexpensive Things to do in Atlanta during the summer

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Slip into some shorts and a cotton shirt and prepare to have wholesome, cheap fun in Atlanta during the summer.  From free concerts to inexpensive Asian meals, Take One magazines to Starbucks on every corner, and down the way to Little Five Points where parking is cheap and refundable, and shops call out to you on the sidewalks with their air- conditioned caverns. 

Every Saturday at Underground Atlanta, there’s a free concert.  And not the local talent nobody but a few handfuls of hippies have heard of.  Real, live, entertainers.  In July, Cake and Weezer rocked the crowds.  Coming up in August will be names like Seether and Garbage.  More than one band plays every Saturday night, and concerts last from 6:15-11:00.  Check out www.99x.com for times and dates.

For movies, one of the local radio stations, Star 94, has you covered, for free again.  On Saturdays, they take a blow-up movie screen to a different part of the city each time, and play a family-friendly movie. 

With every good concert or movie should come a delicious dinner and possibly coffee.  While you could go somewhere like the Cheesecake Factory or the Olive Garden, why not keep with the as-cheap-as-possible trend?  There’s a great little restaurant called Noodle on the corner of Peachtree and 7th Avenue where the average price of a meal is $8.75.  The serving sizes are more than one person can usually eat in a sitting.  Most of the food is Asian inspired (might I recommend the basil shrimp rolls with peanut sauce for an appetizer), but there are things on the menu such as fried chicken cut up on a bed of noodles.  If you’re the adventurous type, try their Thai iced tea.  It’s got a smoky flavor that’s hard to associate with anything else.  The atmosphere’s that of a quirky, expensive restaurant but the prices don’t reflect it.  It’s on the small side, with deep red walls wearing characters outlined in black and fiber-optic lamps.  And right down the sidewalk there’s a Starbucks and a stand for free copies of one of their local magazines (free reading material!). 

If Asian food’s not your forte, the Vortex serves up delicious all-American food.  Who could ask for more than a big, fat, juicy burger on a summer evening prior to a rock concert?  There’s a full bar with a hefty selection of beers.  If you don’t find yourself in that location, you can check out their first location in Little Five Points, with the door located in the mouth of a skull.  It’s a punk-inspired location with an appeal to even the most traditional set of taste buds. 

Along with the several unique food establishments in Little Five Points lie stores you won’t find anywhere else in Georgia.  From thrift stores to crystal, if you want something just a little different from everyone else, shop here.  If you shop at a selection of stores and show the guys in the parking lot your receipt from there, your $2 parking fee will be refunded (in at least one lot).  You can walk away with a henna tattoo on your back, beaded hair sticks in your hair, and a bag of deeply discounted designer jeans and a sack of assorted incenses and sterling silver jewelry. 

Take advantage of the warm temperatures and all the free/inexpensive things Atlanta has to offer for the summer.  Go from food to shopping, then on to Starbucks and a concert for a low-key weekend.  Enjoy!
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