Atlanta offers plenty of bargain options that aren't miserly on good taste. So you can burn up the dog days of summer without burning up your wallet.
11 a.m.: Everyone knows Criminal Records for comics and CDs, but don't forget the eclectic stock of magazines. Most mags are $4-$6, so you can get at least two, including old standbys like Jane or Vanity Fair, plus literary magazines (Terminus), glossy fashion rags (Nylon), counterculture publications (Chunklet), and film/music monthlies (Wire). No summertime fluff reading for you.
11:30 a.m.: Take your mags and hike down Moreland Avenue to Freedom Park. Sit in the park and read until you get knocked in the head by an errant golf ball. (Yes, there's a golf course nearby.) Or check out the free public-art exhibit, Art in Freedom Park, running through the summer.
Noon: Go to Whole Foods Market on Ponce de Leon Avenue and scarf up all the free gourmet samples you can stuff in your face. For the super-thrifty, line your pockets with plastic sandwich bags to fill with goodies for later.
2 p.m.: Value Village is a real treasure trove for bargain hunters on Moreland Avenue. Where else can you find fab jeans for less than $5? Used, of course.
3 p.m.: Get your culture fix at Young Blood Gallery on Glenwood Avenue, which mainly features local-artist shows. Admission is free, but the inspiration from the eclectic exhibits is priceless (for example, a recent photography exhibit titled The Panty Project).
6 p.m.: Just across Moreland Avenue, the cool interior of East Atlanta's the Gravity Pub is great for winding down without shelling out too many clams. Bottled domestics are $2.75, pints of Bass, $4. There's pool (sadly not for swimming) in the basement, too.
8 p.m.: Visit Videodrome on the way home. Prices are thrifty ($2 videos, $3.75 DVDs), but the selection is the real jackpot. An impressive collection of foreign films, anime, new releases, documentaries, and long-lost gems provides fun for less than minimum wage.
Another option: Watch for free cinema in Decatur Square on Saturday nights. (E.T. on July 23 and Grease on Aug. 6. Movies start at dusk.) www.decaturga.com.
10 a.m.: Spend your morning in Decatur, Atlanta's liveliest walking neighborhood. Start at Java Monkey, where organic coffee and a fresh-baked muffin total a mere $3. Enjoy the outdoor patio as long as you like - refills are only 50 cents!
11 a.m.: The Decatur Library is just around the corner and offers a great children's section, a bevy of books for grown-ups, classes, book discussions, and free Internet for cardholders. Plus, it's air-conditioned.
12:30 p.m.: Lunch at Taqueria del Sol. Fantastic fish tacos for $1.95, chunky guacamole with plenty of cilantro, and a breezy patio all make for a refreshing restaurant that isn't too rich for your blood.
2 p.m.: Head over to Several Dancers Core for Sunday afternoon waltzing. (Lessons at 2 p.m., waltz from 3-6 p.m.) The older crowd is charming and helpful, and admission is only $5.
Another option: Go to AtlanTIX Half-Price Booth at the Underground Atlanta Visitors Center. (Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., noon-4 p.m.) Here, you can get tickets to concerts, plays, dance performances and kids shows for half price (if available, of course). With A Streetcar Named Desire and The Sex Habits of American Women on the list of possibilities, it's worth checking!
6:30 p.m.: Wet your whistle at Decatur's Brick Store Pub. Imports are only $3.75, which means you'd have to drink a ton to break your wallet.
JUST THE FACTS
ATLANTIX HALF-PRICE BOOTH 50 Pryor St., Underground Atlanta. 404-873-1185. www.atlantaperforms.com/we_provide/atlantix.asp.
BRICK STORE PUB 125 E. Court Square, Decatur. 404-687-0990. www.brickstorepub.com.
CRIMINAL RECORDS 466 Moreland Ave. 404-215-9511.
DECATUR LIBRARY 215 Sycamore St. 404-370-3070. www.dekalb.public.lib.ga.us/branches/deca.htm.
THE GRAVITY PUB 1257 Glenwood Ave. 404-627-5555.
JAVA MONKEY 205 E. Ponce De Leon Ave., Ste 5. 404-378-5002. www.javamonkeydecatur.com.
SEVERAL DANCERS CORE 519 N. McDonough St., Decatur. 404-373-4154. www.severaldancerscore.org.
TAQUERIA DEL SOL 359 W. Ponce de Leon, Decatur. 404-377-7668. www.taqueriadelsol.com/decatur.html.
VALUE VILLAGE 1320 Moreland Ave. 770-840-7283.
VIDEODROME 617 N. Highland Ave. 404-885-1117.
WHOLE FOODS MARKET 650 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-853-1681. www.wholefoodsmarket.com.
YOUNG BLOOD GALLERY 629 Glenwood Ave. 404-627-0393. www.youngbloodgallery.com.
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