Local contests and sweepstakes have great odds of winning because fewer people are eligible to enter them. But how do you find local contests in your city? Here are 50+ ways to find local contests and sweepstakes in your area.
Find Local Contests in Your City's News Media
A good place to start finding local contests is your local news outlets. For example:
- Local Newspapers: Check the small, regional papers for your city.
- Alternate Newspapers: Many larger cities have alternate newspapers that focus on regional stories and activities. This is also a good place to look for giveaways.
- Local Radio Stations: Listen to the radio stations that only serve your region. Their contests have better odds than the national radio chains.
- Local Television Stations: Regional television channels often broadcast local contests and sweepstakes.
- Local Magazines: Some areas have magazines that cater to events in your city. This is a great place to find local contests and sweepstakes.
Contests in Your Local Stores
Many stores give you the chance to win local contests and sweepstakes. You may have better luck in smaller stores than in the national chains, but even chains sometimes offer regional contests. Some great local stores to check for sweepstakes include:
- Grocery stores: Your local grocery store is a fantastic place to find local sweepstakes and contests. Near the entrance, the bread aisle, and the liquor aisle are all good places to check.
- Convenience stores: Like grocery stores, many convenience stores offer national and local sweepstakes. The mom-and-pop chains have better chances of offering local sweepstakes.
- Information Center of Your Mall: Your mall's information center often holds drop boxes for local sweepstakes. And if you don't see any boxes available, you can ask if they know of any contests running in the mall's stores.
- Mall Stores: When you're browsing the mall, keep an eye out for contests offered by the individual stores. Some may be national, but others may be location-specific or give additional entries in-person.
- Mall Kiosks: Many malls also offer local contests at kiosks in the aisles of the mall. These can be good chances to win, but be sure to read the rules carefully to see how your contact information will be used and when the drawing will be. There is a common marketing ploy that claims to be giving away a car or other large prize, but the prize won't be awarded for years, or you have to listen to a timeshare presentation to participate, or your personal information will be sold, so use your judgment when entering these sweepstakes.
- Mall Food Courts: The restaurants at the food court of your mall may also offer local giveaways for everything from free food to vacations, cash, and more.
- Car Dealerships: Many local car dealerships offer giveaways and sweepstakes to encourage people to see their cars.
- Business Card Drop Boxes: Many stores and restaurants offer giveaways where all you have to do is drop a business card into a drop box or fish bowl to participate. Keep your eyes open near the entrance of your local stores. If you don't have a business card for your company, you can print your own. Be sure to always have a few in your wallet for those surprise local sweepstakes.
- Your Bank: Banks and financial institutions sometimes hold local giveaways. Keep an eye out when you visit their branches.
- Your Favorite Restaurants: Many restaurants hold sweepstakes and contests. While national chain restaurants are more likely to hold national sweepstakes, they'll sometimes offer local contests as well.
- "Grand Openings" of Stores: A local contest is a great way to draw people to a "grand opening" of a new store. These contests aren't always announced in advance, so it might be worth popping into any local grand openings to see what's going on.
Find Contests and Sweepstakes at Local Attractions
Regional attractions are a great place to find local sweepstakes in your city. You can win everything from day passes and free tickets to trips, unique experiences, and more. Some ideas include:
- Sports Arenas in Your City: Check out your local football stadium, baseball field, or basketball venue to find sweepstakes and contests for your region.
- Local Visitors' Bureau: Your local Convention and Visitors' Bureau (CVB) may offer fun giveaways for your area.
- Amusement Parks: Have an amusement park nearby? Keep an eye out for free ticket giveaways and more. Some amusement parks may also offer local sweepstakes in their on-site stores and restaurants.
- Local Ski Resorts: If you live in an area where skiing is popular, check the local resorts for giveaways offering free stays, free lift tickets, and more.
- National and State Parks: Check nearby parks for giveaways, especially during peak tourist season.
- Local Festivals: Pay attention to art, music, Renaissance Fairs, and other festivals in your area. They may offer free tickets and other giveaways.
- Hotels, Resorts, and B&Bs: Local hotels, especially the ones that aren't part of a big chain, may offer local sweepstakes for free stays and other prizes.
- Orchards, Farms, and Markets: If your city has local farmer's markets, pick-your-own places, and orchards, keep an eye out when you visit for local giveaways of free produce, jams, and more.
- State Fairs: State fairs give you some fun chances to participate in local contests. Not only might there be giveaways, but you could also see if you can enter contests for the largest vegetables, the best pie, the cutest dog, and other competitions.
- Bridal Shows, Expos, and Conventions: Local conventions, home, and garden shows, bridal shows, and the like often encourage visitors by holding giveaways. Many times, individual vendors will hold giveaways of their products, so there are lots of chances to win.
- Other Local Tourist Attractions: Whatever local tourist attractions your town has to offer, keep your eyes open when you visit for local contests.
Find Local Contests at Your City's Entertainment Venues
You may also have luck finding local contests in the places in your city where you go to have fun. Here are some examples of entertainment venues that might offer local giveaways.
- Concert Venues: Free concert tickets and band memorabilia are common prizes for local concert venues to give away.
- Stage Theaters: If you enjoy plays, musicals, and operas, the theater can be a good place to find local sweepstakes.
- Movie Theaters: National and independents movie theaters often offer free tickets, movie memorabilia, and other prizes.
- Bars and Pubs: From sweepstakes for free meals to quiz nights with the chance to win prizes, bars and pubs can be a good source of local contests.
- Casino Giveaways: If you live in an area with casinos, they can be great places to find local contests. Many people who like to gamble like to enter sweepstakes, too, so it's a good way to encourage people to come into the casinos and have more fun while they're there.
- Comedy Clubs: If you enjoy visiting comedy clubs, you could also get chances to win while you're there. Some comedy clubs host trivia challenges or amateur nights with prizes, as well as local sweepstakes.
- Night Clubs: When you go out dancing, remember to keep an eye out for local contests as well. I've seen nightclubs offer contests for submitting photos of their t-shirts in exotic locales, sweepstakes for free admission, and more.
- Local Pool Halls, Bowling Alleys, Etc.: If you enjoy a pub sport like pool or darts or games like bowling, you can enter local contests to win prizes in leagues and tournaments.
- Video Game Stores: If you're an avid gamer, check local video game stores for tournaments where you can win prizes for your l33t skillz.
- Board Game Stores: Many board game stores host tournaments for games like Magic: The Gathering or Settlers of Catan that give you the chance to win prizes while having a lot of fun.
Finding Local Contests Online
The internet might be international, but it's still a great tool for finding local contests and sweepstakes. Here are some ideas for finding local contests online:
- Internet Search: You can use Google or another search engine to search for local contests. Try searches like your city name or the names of local venues and attractions, the current year, and "sweepstakes" or "contests."
- Google Alerts: Set up Google Alerts so that you'll get immediate notice of local contests. Use the tips for How To Use Google Alerts to Find Sweepstakes.
- Websites of Local Stores, Venues, Stores, and Attractions: Visit the websites of nearby stores to find out whether they are offering local contests. It's worth checking both online and in person, since some contests will only have one entry method.
- Twitter Sites of Local Attractions: Many local stores, entertainment venues, and attractions also have Twitter accounts, which they use for local giveaways.
- Facebook Sites of Local Attractions: Facebook is becoming an increasingly popular way for companies to offer sweepstakes, including local contests.
- Web Sites about Your City and State: Follow websites, Facebook sites, and Twitter sites that promote activities in your city or states. These are good places to find advertisements and notices about local contests.
- Sweepstakes Websites and Forums with Local Contest Sections: Many sweepstakes newsletters and giveaway websites have a special section that focuses on regional contests.
- Email Newsletters from Local Venues: If you have a favorite store, mall, venue, or attraction that frequently holds local contests, sign up for marketing emails to be among the first to hear about new giveaways.
- Create a Local Sweepstakes Group Online: If you're having trouble finding a Facebook page or website that focuses on sweepstakes in your region, why not start one yourself? Post about the local contests you find, and invite your friends and neighbors to pitch in yourself.
- Your Neighborhood's Online Gathering Place: If your town or neighborhood has a place to meet online, like a Facebook group or NextDoor, ask your neighbors to keep an eye out for local giveaways for you.
Giveaways and Raffles from Local Organizations
A great place to find sweepstakes with very few entries is to keep an eye out for local raffles and giveaways from organizations near you. Raffles are popular fundraisers, and often have many prizes compared to the number of entrants. Here are some places to start:
- Swim Teams: In the summertime, your neighborhood pool's swim team might offer raffles or 50/50 giveaways to raise money.
- Your Kids' (or Your) School: Many schools give students chances to win prizes through essay contests, science fairs, raffles, cakewalks, and other methods. The school's PTA might also have their own giveaways, as well as various sports teams.
- Nearby Churches: Churches may offer giveaways and raffles, especially around the holidays.
- Charitable Organizations: Groups like the Lions Club may offer raffles to raise money to donate to a good cause.
Other Ways to Find Local Contests
Here are some more ways to find local contests and sweepstakes:
- Sweepstakes Clubs: Getting together with other sweepstakes enthusiasts to share sweepstakes news and winning tip is a great way to find sweepstakes in your city.
- Start Your Own Sweepstakes Club: If you can't find a sweepstakes club in your area, you could always start one yourself. It's a great way to pool resources to win more prizes and to make friends while you do it!
- Your Place of Business: Companies often hold giveaways at holiday parties or contests where you can win prizes for suggesting new ideas or beating sales quotas.
- The Library: Libraries sometimes offer local contests, especially for kids. Summer reading contests, for example, give your child the chance to win prizes for reading during the school break.
- Newsletters from Local Clubs: If there are clubs in your area dedicated to one of your hobbies, sign up for their newsletters. You may get the chance to win prizes that will help make your hobby more affordable.
Best Times to Find Local Contests
Some times of year are better than others for finding local contests. You may have the best luck:
- Summertime: When many local theme parks and other attractions open.
- Tourist Season: If tourists come to your area for the beaches in summer, the slopes in winter, maple sugar season, or similar reasons, that is a good time to look for local sweepstakes.
- Release Dates of Blockbuster Movies: Movie theaters offer more prizes when they're promoting big movies.
- Holidays: Look for costume contests around Halloween, egg-decorating contests around Easter, and lots of giveaways everywhere at Christmastime.
- City or Town Celebrations: If your town has an annual festival, celebrates its 100th anniversary, or has any other big celebration, this is a great time to look for local contests.