Bypass the box office
Victory Park, 3090 Olive
The Deal: Watch classics such as “Wizard of Oz”, “E.T.” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” on the giant Victory Plaza screens on Tuesdays May through August.
The Catch: It’s an outdoor event that can get a little hot and itchy come July.
The Magnolia, 3699 McKinney
Studio Movie Grill, 11170 N. Central Expwy
The Angelika, 5321 Mockingbird Station, angelikafilmcenter.com
The Deal: Catch free sneak peaks of everything from blockbusters to independent films at the Magnolia, Studio Movie Grill or The Angelika simply by joining their clubs. The theaters will e-mail you printable passes whenever there’s a free screening or special event.
The Catch: Free screenings are usually overbooked to guarantee a full house, so get there early.
So we don’t have Smithsonians — so what?
The African American Museum, 3536 Grand
The Deal: Admission is free most days to this Fair Park museum, home to the region’s largest collections of black folk art and historical articles.
The Catch: Museum admission is free only for groups of 10 or less, and sometimes admission is charged during special exhibitions.
The Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University, 5900 Bishop Blvd
The Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood
The Deal: If you know when to stop by, you can get free admission to the Meadows Museum and The Dallas Museum of Art. At the Meadows Museum, view classic Spanish artworks dating all the way back to the 1400s by masters like Picasso and Goya, and at the Dallas Museum of Art, peruse everything from ancient to modern art from all over the world.
The Catch: Admission to the Meadows Museum is free only on Thursdays after 5 p.m., and admission to the Dallas Museum of Art is free only Thursdays after 5 p.m. and all day on the first Tuesday of the month.
The Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora
The Deal: The first Saturday of every month means free family activities, like scavenger hunts, craft projects and story times.
The Catch: The offer is available only from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the first Saturday of the month.
Counter Culture, Mockingbird Station
The Deal: Free Saturday concerts all summer long on the mezzanine level.
Bancroft Family Concert Series at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood
The Deal: A 30-year tradition of classical music concerts performed by some of the best musicians in North Texas, typically the last Saturday of the month at 3 p.m.
The Catch: First-come, first-serve seating.
Jazz Under the Stars at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood
The Deal: Everything from Cole Porter to Parisian café to Afro-Cuban jazz will be played at these free Saturday concerts from May 22 to June 26 at 8 p.m. on the museum’s Ross Avenue Plaza, where picnic baskets and adult beverages are welcome.
The Catch: Bring your own blanket, and don’t expect lots of room to spread out.
Be your kids’ superhero
Lone Star Comics, 6465 E. Mockingbird
The Deal: This comic book shop hosts a family game night every Saturday from 6-8 p.m.
The Catch: Seating for this is on a first-come first-serve basis, so get there early to reserve your table.
Home Depot, 11468 Grissom Lane
The Deal: Our neighborhood store offers free workshops and clinics for kids and adults. Visit the website for a monthly class schedule.
North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven
The Deal: Their experts give free classes on flowers, herbs, keeping critters out of your garden and more.
Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse, 11661 Preston
The Deal: Sign up for Sonny Bryan’s online newsletter and get a voucher for a free entrée, plus a free meal on your birthday.
The Catch: You’re agreeing to receive regular newsletters about restaurant news, promotions and recipes.
Arcodoro & Pomodoro, 2708 Routh
214. 871.1924, arcodoro.com
The Deal: Drink specials Thursdays 6-9 p.m. and a free appetizer buffet, plus door prizes and giveaways.
The Catch: You can eat off the buffet only if you purchase a drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic).
Trinity Hall Irish Pub & Restaurant, 5321 Mockingbird
214. 887.3600, trinityhall.tv
The Deal: Sign up for Trinity Hall’s online newsletter and get a voucher for a buy-one-get-one-free entrée. Plus, free live music Thursday through Sunday nights.
The Catch: You have only about two weeks to use your free voucher from the day you sign up, plus they’ll e-mail you a monthly newsletter once you join.
Bread Winners Café & Bakery, 5560 W. Lovers
The Deal: Stop in for dinner on Sunday night and get a free dessert.
The Catch: Dine-in customers only.
Celebration Restaurant, 4503 W. Lovers
The Deal: Join Celebration’s VIP Guest List online and get a voucher for a free entrée on your birthday plus a coupon for a free dessert on your anniversary.
The Catch: Once you join, you are automatically subscribed to the restaurant’s special events and promotions newsletter.
Goodies from Goodman, 4222 Oak Lawn
Brüt, 5330 E Mockingbird
The Deal: Swing by the specialty gift shop any Saturday from 2-5 p.m. for free wine samples, or visit the champagne boutique any Friday from 5-7 p.m. for bubbly and sparkling wine samples.
The Catch: These are just samples, so don’t expect to sit and drink the full two or three hours.
Riccardi’s, 2800 Routh
The Deal: Free happy hour appetizer buffet Mondays through Fridays 4:30–7 p.m.
The Catch: To get the free food, you must order a drink.
Steel Restaurant & Lounge, 3102 Oak Lawn
The Deal: Free sushi with happy hour drink specials every Wednesday night.
The Catch: Only if you sit at the bar and order drinks.
Café Express, 5307 E. Mockingbird
The Deal: Get a free three-course boxed meal when placing an order of $75 or more.
The Catch: Sign up for the VIP program to qualify.
Grotto Ristorante, 2222 McKinney
The Deal: Happy hour specials and free appetizers at the bar Monday through Thursday 3-7 p.m.
The Catch: Order a drink to get free pizza.
Humperdinks, 2208 W. Northwest Highway
214. 358.4159, humperdinks.com
The Deal: Join the sports bar’s MVP club online and get a buy-one-get-one-free voucher for an entrée, plus a free appetizer if you refer a friend.
The Catch: After signing up, you have only about a week to use the voucher, plus you’re agreeing to receive e-newsletters with the restaurant’s promotions and events.
Blue Mesa Grill, 7700 W. Northwest Highway
The Deal: Happy hour specials and a free quesadilla bar Monday through Thursday 4-7:30 p.m.
The Catch: Order a drink to get free quesadillas.
Frankie’s Sports Bar & Grill, 3227 McKinney Ave
The Deal: Drink specials and free pizza Tuesday and Wednesday nights 5-10 p.m.
The Catch: Order a drink to get free pizza.
Dance like no one is charging you
Monica’s Acá y Allá, 2914 Main
The Deal: Stop by this Mexican restaurant Friday or Saturday night for live Latin music and free salsa dancing lessons.
Chocolate Secrets, 3926 Oak Lawn
The Deal: Learn to speak French with complimentary lessons every Wednesday, 5:30–6:30 p.m.
The Catch: These lessons teach only conversational French, so you won’t cover verb conjugation, but they’re great for learning basic phrases like “where’s the bathroom?”.
Hold on to your silver
Castle Gap Jewelry, 8300 Preston
214. 361.1677, castlegap.com
The Deal: If you bring your jewelry into the shop, staff members will give it a professional cleaning.
Free car wash (not the kind where the signs say “free” but really you’re expected to leave a donation)
Plaza Car Wash and Lube, 5220 Lemmon
The Deal: Join the Plaza Wash Club and earn points for free car washes, detailing and hand waxes, plus get a free car wash on your birthday. Also, anyone who pays for an oil change or an emissions test gets a free car wash.
Run (ride, stretch, walk) free
Destination Maternity, 5539 LBJ Freeway
A Pea in the Pod, 7700 W. Northwest Hwy
The Deal: Both stores offer free yoga classes for new moms and moms-to-be. Call for current schedules.
Lululemon Athletica, second level of Galleria Dallas, 13350 N. Dallas Pkwy, 972.385.2316, lululemonathletica.com
The Deal: Free yoga classes every Wednesday, 7:30–8:30 a.m. Bring your own yoga mat.
The Little Gym Dallas, 11909 Preston
The Deal: Schedule a trial visit for a parent-child class or anything from dance to karate for your 3- to 12-year-olds.
Gold’s Gym, 8335 Westchester
The Deal: Print a free one-day guest pass from the website.
LA Fitness, 13130 Preston
214.360.9528 or lafitness.com
The Deal: Print a free three-day guest pass from the website.
The Catch: You must have ID that proves you’re a nearby resident.
24 Hour Fitness, 6038 Luther
The Deal: Print a free seven-day guest pass from the website.
The Catch: You have to visit the same gym all seven days.
McKinney Ave Transit Authority, 3153 Oak Grove
The Deal: Ride the trolley through Uptown day and night 365 days a year — 7 a.m.-10 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. weekends.
Got a laptop?
A few places to find fee-free Wi-Fi.
11617 N. Central Expressway
4343 W. Lovers
Kaffa Coffee Roasting Co
10455 N Central Expressway
McCormick & Schmick’s
307 NorthPark Center
5509 W Lovers
7839 Park Lane
Preston Royal Library
5600 W. Lovers
Your tax dollars at work
Free city services you can cash in on
No smoke and mirrors
Get a free smoke detector from the Dallas Fire Rescue Department by calling 214.670.7016, or arrange a free tour of a local fire station by calling 214.670.4633.
The city’s “Send a Kid to Camp” program offers free summer day camps. Learn registration details by calling 214.671.0271.
Trade your tree
Every January, the city offers free mulch to anyone recycling a Christmas tree. Find a participating recycle center by calling 311.
Home repair on the house
Elderly and low-income residents can receive minor home repair assistance by calling 214.670.3644.
Ask for a loan
Dallas Public Library branches not only stock books but also recently released music and movies. Request any CD or DVD in the library system’s collection by asking a librarian or signing into dallaslibrary.org. You may have to spend some time on a waiting list, but the item will be shipped to your neighborhood branch for pick up, and you can keep it for a week before incurring late fees.
THURSDAY DATE NIGHT
Start with $3 happy hour martinis and free appetizers at Ricarrdi’s.
$12 (cost of four happy hour margaritas)
Check out the latest exhibit at the Dallas Museum of art for free.
Get dinner at Monica’s Aca y Alla and pick from one of the six $4.50 enchilada Tex-Mex dinners offered every Thursday night.
$9 (cost of two dinner specials)
Total Cost: $21 plus tax and tip
SATURDAY FAMILY OUTING: May 17, 2008
Start the day off with a free story time at the
Forest-Green Library or the Dallas Galleria (level 3 outside Saks Fifth Avenue)
Eat lunch at Texas Land & Cattle (10250 Technology) where kids eat free Saturdays, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
$30 (average cost for 2 adult entrees)
Catch the free monthly concert from the Bancroft Family Concert Series at the Dallas Museum of Art (scheduled Saturdays, May 17, and June 7).
Grab an early dinner at Luby’s (10425 N. Central Expwy.), where kids eat free all day on Saturdays.
$20 (average cost for 2 adult entrees)
Swing by Lone Star Comics for free family game night.
Total Cost: $50 plus tax and tip
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