People are more interested in travel than ever these days, especially after being unable to for the last two years. But with rising costs, most families don’t have much room in their budget for an extravagant trip. Still, that doesn’t mean that going on vacation is out of the question. It just means it’s necessary to choose destinations that are easier on the wallet…like these 16 incredibly affordable US cities!
1. Washington, DC
The nation’s capital might be home to some rich bigwigs, but visiting the historic city won’t break the budget. While the hotels in DC might not be the most affordable when compared to other places, you can balance out your expenses with all the bargain attractions in the area. From the several Smithsonian museums to tours of the Capitol building and Library of Congress, there are lots of free options.
2. Knoxville, Tennessee
When most people think of Tennesee cities, they think of Memphis or Nashville, forgetting about their cheaper, smaller sister city of Knoxville. Accommodations are affordable in Knoxville and there are plenty of budget-friendly things to do, like visiting a speakeasy or the Knoxville Museum of Art, making Knoxville one of the cheapest options on this list!
3. San Antonio, Texas
Even if San Antonio wasn’t budget-friendly, it would be a beautiful place to add to your bucket list. A mix of Mexican culture and American history, there are a lot of amazing sites to see in San Antonio, like the Alamo and Paseo del Rio riverwalk, both of which are free to explore.
4. Denver, Colorado
Can’t decide between vacationing out in nature and visiting the city sprawl? Head to Denver, where you can hike and cycle to your heart’s content for free and check out the downtown area with the help of Denver’s free MallRide service. It’s the best of both worlds!
5. Atlanta, Georgia
Many people stop in Atlanta on their way to other destinations. There are tons of flights in and out of the city, making it a cheap place to get to from almost anywhere. Next time, instead of just passing through, however, consider staying awhile to explore some great hiking outside the city or cheap attractions like the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and Fernbank Science Center within city limits.
6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Instead of spending your money on expensive NYC, head over to the city’s next-door neighbor. Philadelphia is just a little over an hour away from the Big Apple and is full of historic sites, like the Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site, Liberty Bell, and so much more, all of which you can visit for little to no cost.
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7. Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City has an incredible number of free attractions and loads of museums like the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Money Museum, where you’ll actually leave with a bag of shredded cash! With cheap airfare, there’s no reason not to go and explore all the city has to offer.
8. San Diego, California
Skip spendy San Francisco and expensive LA. San Diego has just as much to offer, if not more, but with much cheaper hotels and car rentals and lots of budget-friendly attractions. You can even visit Coronado Island for just $10 round trip!
9. Houston, Texas
Houston is known for being a cheap place to live, and it’s a cheap place to visit too! In Houston, you can stay at a luxury hotel for a reasonable price and take your time exploring all the amazing free attractions the city has to offer, like the Menil Collection of Art, Rothko Chapel, and the Holocaust Museum of Houston.
10. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Why spend your hard-earned cash on over-the-top Orlando or Miami when you can get so much more bang for your buck in Fort Lauderdale? There, you can still enjoy the amazing Florida beaches but for less and with fewer crowds! Once you’ve had sufficient sun, you can check out the Las Olas Boulevard or the Bonnet House.
11. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a popular tourist destination, especially around Halloween and Mardi Gras. While you won’t find the best deal on accommodations in the city, there’s a lot of free entertainment to make up for it, like street performers and parks. If you go outside of peak times, you’re sure to save a few extra bucks too.
12. Phoenix, Arizona
Want to escape the chill and head somewhere warm? Phoenix is almost always sunny, and it will put you in a sunny mood too, considering how much you can save by visiting the city instead of a more expensive destination. Airfare, hotels, and public transportation are all a bargain when heading to Pheonix, and there are lots of parks and mountains to explore as well as art and cheap attractions to see.
13. Albuquerque, New Mexico
You can find tons of cheap hotels and affordable eats in Albuquerque, making it an ideal location for adventures on a budget. With tons of beautiful sites to see, like the Sandia Peak Tramway and Petroglyph National Monument, there’s also lots to do in this little slice of New Mexico.
Cyclists will especially love Indianapolis, a city with tons of great bike trails that make getting around easy and cheap. If sitting back and relaxing with a brew is more your scene, there are plenty of breweries and rooftop parties too. With great no-admission parks and clubs alike, not to mention the iconic Graceland and other great attractions, there’s something for every frugal traveler in Indianapolis.
Salt Lake City, Utah
You might be thinking, Salt Lake City isn’t cheap! Even though you may spend more on activities, hotels and rental car prices are lower than in other cities. You can easily visit some stunning lakes in the area. There are also quite a few free and cheap attractions around the city itself, like the Salt Lake Masonic Temple and Hill Aerospace Museum.
Hopefully, these 16 amazing and affordable destinations have dismantled the assumption that traveling to US cities is expensive. If you look outside the major hot spots like Orlando, NYC, and LA, you can easily create a budget-friendly itinerary!