Donuts, Free Museums, and Room Upgrades: March Travel Deals

Spring may be just around the corner but there are plenty of deals for travelers right now.

Free Entry to Museums, Zoos, and More

On March 4 and 5, and during the first full weekend of every month, the Museums on Us program offers complimentary admission at more than 150 museums, zoos, aquariums and science centers around the country to holders of Bank of America and Merrill Lynch credit and debit card holders.

Two good choices to use your free pass: The Newseum in Washington, D.C., where the regular adult ticket price is usually $24.95, or the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, where an adult admission ticket is regularly $39.95.

Entry to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago is free during the first weekend of every month as part of the Museums on Us program. Brenna Hernandez

In addition, many museums and attractions participate in citywide free entry days (i.e. First Thursday) and/or list complimentary entry days and times on their websites.

Celebrate Pennsylvania’s Birthday

On March 12, a long list of historic sites and museums on the Pennsylvania Trails of History will offer complimentary admission in honor of the state’s 336th birthday, or Charter Day.

The charter creating Pennsylvania given by England’s King Charles II to William Penn in 1861 will be on view at the State Museum of Pennsylvania, where free admission will also include access to the Planetarium and the galleries. Other sites offering free admission on March 12 include Brandywine Battlefield Park in Chadds Ford, and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg.

Driving for Donuts in Ohio

In southwestern Ohio, donut-lovers can celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Butler County Donut Trail with a free t-shirt that can be earned by visiting all nine family-owned donut shops on the trail. Details, map and Donut Trail passport here.

Celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Butler County Donut Trail in Ohio with a free t-shirt that can be earned by visiting all nine family-owned donut shops on the trail. Gaylon Wampler

Theater and Maple Syrup in New York

In New York City, check for two-for-one deals on tickets to off-Broadway shows through March 12, part of the NYC Off-Broadway Week program.

Head north to Cooperstown (home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum) on any Sunday in March for Sugaring Off Sundays at the Farmers’ Museum. The $10 admission ($6 for kids 7-12) covers contemporary and historic maple sugaring demonstrations, a wide range of family activities and breakfast, complete with scrambled eggs, sausage, home fries, pancakes and, of course, locally sourced maple syrup.

Meal Deals in Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon, has become a word-class culinary city. Test — and taste — that claim during March, when more than 120 restaurants participate in Portland Dining Month by offering three-course prix fixe dinners for $29 every night of the week.

Making reservations is always a good idea, but there’s a feel-good reason to do it online: The Oregon Food Bank will get a donation for every reservation booked through the OpenTable links on

Middle Seat Upgrades in Santa Monica

Guests of the Shore Hotel in Santa Monica, California, can take advantage of the Middle Seat Offer.

From March till May 26, anyone who shows proof that they had to fly to Los Angeles International Airport in a middle seat will get a complimentary room upgrade (an estimated $90 value) when available.

Treats for Kids in Santa Fe, New Mexico

During Santa Fe’s "Kids FreeFest Spring Break," many hotels, restaurants and attractions are offering free treats and discounts for kids 12 and under during March and through mid-April.

For example, both the Wildlife West Nature Park and the Santa Fe Children’s Museum are offering one free child’s admission for every adult admission purchased, and there are free flamenco classes for kids at El Flamenco.

Piano Day Parties

For Piano Day, a still-new holiday being celebrated this year on March 29 — the 88th day of the year (a nod to the number of keys on most pianos) — there will be free piano concerts and piano-themed events in multiple cities.

In Portland, Oregon, Portland Piano International is inviting local pianists of all ages to sign up to play pianos that will be set up in four locations throughout the city. Performers get a certificate of participation and tickets to a future piano performance, and funds raised go to music education projects.

And in London, Piano Day is being celebrated with two free concerts at the Barbican performing arts center by the keyboard sextet Piano Circus. More Piano Day concerts and events will be added here.