Inexpensive entertainment

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The Spectrum

Students are always looking for a way to have fun. For those at the University at Buffalo, an often expensive trip to downtown's party district can help ease the stress caused by homework and exams.

But the poor college student need not empty their frequently scrawny wallet to enjoy a night in the city.

Within a few blocks of the metro, the Queen City offers music-lovers, party-goers and theater fanatics various venues that fit everybody's budget.

One of the area's largest and most popular venues is the Town Ballroom.

Ranging from hip-hop to heavy metal and everything in between, the ballroom provides entertainment from garage band to well-known acts including Flogging Molly, Third Eye Blind and Goo Goo Dolls. With ticket prices ranging from $20 to $40, the ballroom gives concert-goers an arena-like atmosphere with lower-tier ticket prices.

As the fall semester begins, Town Ballroom will host performances by Street Dogs (Sept. 21) and Broken Social Scene (Sept. 25).

Downsizing to a smaller stage of punk rock, underground and indie bands, Mohawk Place provides an auditorium-like environment for those who like to be close to the music.

With ticket prices ranging from $5 to $15, Mohawk Place is affordable on any given event. While the club typically only announces shows the day of on its Twitter account (@mohawkplace), UB students can find announcements in advance on campus bulletin boards.

For those seeking a night of musical experimentation, Soundlab offers a unique experience. With state-of-the-art sound quality, the club hosts two bi-weekly dance parties – The Communist Party and Shock and Awe – and various free shows throughout the school year.

If electric guitars and mosh pits aren't up your ally, downtown Buffalo also offers the feel of Manhattan in its own backyard.? Located on Main Street in the Theater District, Shea's Performing Arts Center is the home for Broadway plays and musicals.

Mary Poppins comes to town on Oct. 14, with ticket prices ranging between $20 and $50. In the ensuing months, Shea's will also host several Broadway shows including Dream Girls, Shrek, Young Frankenstein, Wicked and West Side Story.

Also located in the Theater District is the smaller Alleyway Theater, which gives students a unique opportunity to enjoy a night in the city. On Sept. 16, the theater offers a special "pay-what-you-can" show that gives students an inexpensive night of theatrical entertainment.

Other small theaters offer student discounts as well. The Irish Classical Theater cuts student ticket prices in half one hour prior to curtain and Road Less Traveled Theater offers $5 student admission every Thursday night.

Art-lovers in the City of Good Neighbors should not feel forgotten as Buffalo is full of exhibits and museums for those with an eye for art.

Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center showcases everything from visual arts to music and literature. Aside from a $6 student discount for special exhibits and shows, Hallwalls also provide free showings.

The renowned Albright-Knox Art Gallery is home to some of Buffalo's finest art and often hosts world famous exhibits. Located on Elmwood Ave., the Albright-Knox offers regular student discounts and free admission on Fridays from 3-10 p.m.

Students looking to escape the confines of the dorm room in their pajamas on a weeknight have several viable options to visit Hollywood on the big screen.

Located less than a mile down Sweet Home Road from North Campus, AMC Maple Ridge 8 provides the box office's newest releases and offers a student ticket discount on Thursdays. For those living on South Campus, Main Street's three-screen Dipson Theater offers free midnight movies every Saturday.

Whether you're looking to spend a night at the movies, browse a local art gallery, experience a Broadway musical or catch a tour stop with a popular band, Buffalo offers something for everyone within a manageable traveling distance and a discounted rate.

Despite the financial agony that comes along with the title of "college student," there's no need for your parents to open their checkbooks to experience the city of Buffalo.

Questions? Comments? Have a better idea?

E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com