Many students are on a tight budget. We don’t have the money to fly across the states to attend a hot beach party in Miami. This becomes a challenge when trying to plan an affordable spring break with friends. However, spring break can be spent in various different ways, depending on how you would like to enjoy the ‘break,’ and what your interests are.
Instead of purchasing plane tickets, road tripping offers a much more reasonable affect on the wallet. Plus, road tripping lets us see more things while getting to a destination. The Midwest has plenty to offer—it may not have a tropical sun, but it has many different things to accommodate a cheap college student on a budget.
The Film Route
We have to start locally. Chicago is a great city for the arts.
To begin this journey, catch a flick at the Music Box Theatre. This is Chicago’s prime venue for independent, foreign, cult and classic films. The Music Box opened in 1929, just two months before the Great Depression. The main theater has 800 seats, one of the most famous organs in the city and there’s not a bad seat in the house. Grab a drink at the full bar and enjoy it in their garden while playing a board game or talking to a fellow moviegoer.
Connor Iseberg, a political science major at DePaul reminisced about his first visit to the Music Box, “I remember the first time I walked in I felt nostalgic even though I have never been in a theater like the Music Box,” Iseberg said. “The old-fashioned interior reminded me of the 1950s. We crammed into the seats in the back to see a Beatles documentary while all sharing a bag of popcorn.”
Not too far from Chicago about two and a half hours—is Urbana-Champaign. Home of Ebertfest, which is named after the late movie critic Roger Ebert, is a great spot for film buffs. Even though the festival isn’t until mid-April, moviegoers can still get a great experience at the Virginia Theatre. During mid-March, the theatre is showing “Life of Pi” for $5.
Less than two hours away from Urbana-Champaign, head to Indianapolis, Indiana. The city once had up to 18 drive-in movie theaters. Now, there’s only one. Tibbs Drive-in opens for the season just in time for DePaul’s spring break. Just $10 will get your car a spot in the 1600 lot capacity, a double feature and a night under the stars.
The Sports and Rec Route
With many successful Chicago teams in the big leagues currently, Chicago has much to offer for any die-hard fan.
The Chicago Sports Museum is located in the Water Tower Place. Recently opened, is the 2016 World Series Champions Chicago Cubs exhibit. Player-worn jerseys, Addison Russell’s grand slam ball and David Ross’ catcher’s gear are all in attendance. General admission is only $6 and the museum features many interactive skill-based games.
JohnFranco Joyce, a senior at DePaul and host of a NFL talk show at Radio DePaul, puts the musuem at the top of his bucket list. “While I haven’t been to the Chicago Sports Museum, (Grant) DePorter (the CEO) is widely known for his sports memorabilia collection, making this something I need to check off my list,” Joyce said. “Plus, when the Bears are losing and the Bulls are doing rocket science to ignite their stagnant offense, I might as well spend my time focusing on players and teams that did in fact succeed in Chicago.”
If you’re looking for a more adventurous getaway for your spring break, Starved Rock is a short two-hour drive from Chicago. This leg of the trip may not be a place for sports, but the 13 miles of hiking and trails utilizes your endurance. Starved Rock State Park also includes the opportunity to go fishing and boating. But, it also offers other interesting amenities: Starved Rock has the largest two-sided fireplace in Illinois.
Head north to Milwaukee, Wisconsin next. Just under a three-hour drive, Milwaukee is a great place to end, given the easy commute on the way home. This last leg is up to the sport fanatic. Either attend a Milwaukee Bucks game (they have a stretch of home games during break) or hit up the golfing links at one of Milwaukee’s many courses. Don’t be alarmed if you’re not a fan of the Bucks, tickets can be as low at $12 for some good basketball.
The Music Route
Chicago’s music scene is booming and it’s the perfect place for those who don’t have enough coins to venture out. Shows take place in all different neighborhoods around the city.
Tyler Krawcyzk believes that the local music scene here in Chicago is flourishing.
“I think that the Chicago music scene right now is at its peak. It’s cool that you could go see a show anywhere in the city, whether it be a show at a DIY venue or at your local dive bar,” Krawcyzk said. “It’s cool to see that many Chicago bands have gotten their start playing shows in someone’s crammed apartment. Shows like that offer a more intimate environment that couldn’t be experienced at bigger venues.”
To kick off spring break in a musical way, the Museum of Contemporary Art welcomes the Spektral Quartet Morton Feldman: String Quartet No. 2. The event is only $10 for students. Located in River North, the event would be a great way to begin a musically infused spring break on Sat. March 11.
On the drive east, about three hours away is Fort Wayne, Indiana. The city features many amenities that would spark the interest of any music lover. For one jazz bar, Club Soda, the stage is always full and the drinks are flowing. The prices aren’t too steep, and the music is free if you have a table.
It may be the furthest leg of the options, but Cleveland, Ohio is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Tickets aren’t as bad as you think: the student discount will get you in for under $20. Also, during DePaul’s break the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has “Pink Floyd: The Wall” playing on stage.