In a recent list published by Kiplinger.com, Ogden ranked No. 2 among the best U.S. cities for cheapskates. Unsurprisingly, cities from the Midwest dominated the penny-pinching list, with Omaha, Neb., as the No. 1 and Salt Lake City taking seventh place.

According to a disclaimer on the website’s list, these cities were not ranked by best places to retire or even the cheapest cities to live in, but rather by the availability of free and inexpensive things to do. Kiplinger.com also took into account the amount of Dollar General stores within a 10-mile radius.

Why we think Ogden ranked so high on this list is because Ogden is bustling with free and cheap things to do, especially on campus — from the free Ralph Nye lecture series to the film screenings at all Weber County library locations.

Here is our own list of the top five free or inexpensive activities that Ogden and Weber State University have to offer year-round:

1. Campus film festivals

The Asian Film Festival, held every fall, shows at least eight films and runs well into November. The films air at 7 p.m. in the Shepherd Union Building’s Wildcat Theater. Not only are these film screenings free, but they are also an educational experience.

The Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery is also hosting an indie film festival. “Uranium Drive-In” will be the series’ first film. It will play at Peery’s Egyptian Theater at 7 p.m. on Sept. 19, with “Searching for Sugarman” playing in the same venue at 7 p.m. on Oct. 24.

2. Campus Recreation rentals

The outdoor equipment center is the best place to go for renting outdoor gear. Students receive a discount as well a special deal on classes and trips the department sponsors. The rental center stocks everything from camping tents and sports gear to winter gear and, more recently, paddle boards.

Most of the gear goes for a daily rate, with students saving upward of almost $10 from what the public has to pay. Although not free, the rental center is the cheapskate’s best option.

3. Performances

Weber State University’s department of performing arts isn’t the only place in town to get a quality performance on the cheap. Playhouses in Ogden feature the classics and special performances as well. Many current students and WSU alumni perform at Jazz at the Station, a free event on Wednesday nights in downtown Ogden, and at the Ziegfeld Theater.

Later this month, the Weber State Symphony Orchestra will perform at the Browning Center for $7/$6. These concerts are an excuse to get dressed up and enjoy a night of quality talent at an economical price.

4. Public libraries and parks

The public library is a treasure trove of cheap entertainment, even more than the once-a-week book clubs and film screenings. Everything from language classes and fiestas to family bingo night and zumba classes is free and available to everyone at the library.

Ogden parks may be notorious for danger after dark, but during the day they are teeming with free activities. Beus Park, located close to the university, features a duck pond and wooded area. The Ogden Municipal Gardens, located downtown on 25th Street, offer free concerts, farmers markets and art strolls. During the winter months, the park is turned into a miniature Christmas village and features crafted houses sponsored by community members and businesses.

Ogden is the land of the free and home of the cheap. Finding fun and free things to do on campus and in the community is only a few clicks away on our website. Follow our Twitter and read the arts and entertainment section to get inspired.

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