Is there a must-see attraction that you just have to check out?  Sure, it might be touristy, but people go there for a reason.  And sometimes it can pretty darn expensive.  Here a few ways we have saved money on ticket prices or admission costs:

City Attraction Passes:  Smart Destinations Go City Card and City Pass offer a bundle of attractions for specific cities; sometimes they will also run promotions to save an additional 10% or 15% off their passes.

Costco:  go online and search under Gift Cards and Tickets for discounted gift cards to restaurants, movies, theme parks, hotels and tourist attractions.

Groupon and LivingSocial:   find city tours, museums and other attractions for a significant discount.  Sometimes you can use the deal immediately, or you might have to wait 24 hours, so it helps to have a smartphone.

Membership cards:
– Sign up for membership at your local zoo or aquarium and you may have access to over120  free or discounted admission to AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums that participate in the AZA Reciprocal Admissions Program.
– The same goes for membership with participating museums of the the Association of Science Technology Centers.  As OMSI members in Portland, we were able to visit such great museums like the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago (normally $31 per adult) and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science,
– The North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) Association has over 800 arts, cultural, and historical institutions along with botanical gardens, children’s museums, science and technology centers that offer members free admission.
America the Beautiful Passes is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites such as National Parks and national wildlife refuges.  Taking a one week road trip in Utah to visit Bryce Canyon, Zion, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks can easily recoup the annual $80 pass.

American Automobile Association, aka AAA, can still provide discounts to attractions, movie tickets, theme parks, lodging and more, but you have to buy the membership which will run around $69 a year for the basic membership.

Check the attraction web site for special promotions, discount or free days, package deals or other discounts available.

If you belong to a union, then check out Union Plus for member travel benefits.

Visitor Centers and Local Tourist Bureaus — ask the local experts and they’ll tell you what they know.  Plus, stock up on brochures, maps and more to help you plan your visit!