The 19 Best U.S. Cities to Spend a Big Weekend in Without Going Broke from The 19 Best U.S. Cities to Spend a Big Weekend in Without Going Broke
The 19 Best U.S. Cities to Spend a Big Weekend in Without Going Broke
The 19 Best U.S. Cities to Spend a Big Weekend in Without Going Broke
It’s almost winter, which means that it’s time to start planning your holiday vacation. Whether you would rather escape the cold and head to a beach destination, or explore beautiful mountain towns across America, money is always a factor.
Traveling on a budget, especially during the holidays may sound like an impossible task. You want to be able to enjoy your weekend getaway without putting a huge dent in your pocket. The good news is that you can still enjoy trendy cities, breathtaking scenery, cultural attractions, and crazy adventures without breaking the bank.
With the help from Expatistan Cost of Living, here’s a list of the 19 best cities in the United States to spend a big weekend in without going broke.
Tourists who want to have an enjoyable weekend without pinching pennies should consider Nashville. There is plenty of free music and cultural attractions that will entertain you throughout the weekend. Listen to music at the famous Bluebird Café, visit the Tennessee Agricultural Museum, watch free concerts by the Nashville Symphony, and take a stroll along the Music City Walk of Fame, all for free.
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway with your loved one, but you’re on a budget, look no further than Savannah. It offers budget-friendly room rates and a wide variety of free activities to participate in. Go sightseeing in Forsyth Park, relax at Tybee Island Beach, take a leisurely stroll through City Market, and hop on a ferry ride to view the beautiful historic district.
Keep busy without spending a cent in Memphis. Visit the Pink Palace Museum for free on Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Depending on what month you visit, there are plenty of free festivals to attend. The Road to the Blues Biscuit Festival in October is free after 6 p.m., the Indie Memphis Festival Kickoff in March is free after 5:30 p.m. and the Juneteenth Urban Music Festival in June is completely free of charge.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Between national parks, festivals, and plenty of winter fun, Salt Lake City makes for a perfect weekend getaway, especially if you’re on a budget. Traveling is cheap and easy; according to NUMBEO, a one-way ticket on local transport is only $2.50. Take public transportation to Liberty Park — Utah’s oldest public park; Visit Dimple Dell Nature Park — a nature preserve that offers free hiking opportunities; and explore tons of free museums, two of which include the Fort Douglass Military Museum and Pioneer Memorial Museum.
This city boasts some of the most beautiful beaches, delicious food, and stunning parks. The cost of living is 5.90 percent lower than the U.S. average, according to Sperling’s Best Places. Therefore, it’s no wonder Tampa makes for a great weekend getaway. Some free things to do include walking along the trails in Bayshore Boulevard, relaxing at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, and observing the manatees from the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center.
Charleston has a reputation for culinary excellence, a rich history, and welcoming locals. It’s an affordable getaway with plenty of sightseeing, shopping, and entertainment options. According to NUMBEO, a one-way ticket on local transport is only $2, which makes it cheap and easy to travel around the city. The city is known for its spectacular art galleries, many of which are open to the public and free of charge.
This is the capital of Rhode Island and one of the oldest cities in the United States. It has a lively dining, arts, and theater scene. Low-cost events and attractions are available throughout the city. For instance, the RISD Museum is free every third Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and admission to the Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park only costs $5 for adults and $2 for children.
Raleigh is known for its abundance of things to do, many of which are free. The city has the fourth least expensive Taxi Start (Normal Tariff), Transportation in North America, out of 171 cities, according to NUMBEO. This makes for cheap and easy travel. Free things to do in Raleigh include exploring the 245-acre Cal Alwin Schenck Memorial Forest, visiting the City of Raleigh Museum and participating in water sports at Lake Johnson Park (park admission is free).
New Orleans, La.
If you enjoy live music, free festivals, and a bustling nightlife, New Orleans should be your weekend getaway. Although the average price for a meal at a restaurant is $15, a one-pint draught of domestic beer is only $2.50, according to NUMEO. Visit in April for the South’s largest free music festival — French Quarter Festival. Visit Lafayette Square Wednesdays in the spring for free afternoon concerts; tailgate outside the Superdome, and spend an evening at the Frenchmen Art Market.
If you are looking to spend a relaxing weekend in Florida, consider Jacksonville, a large budget-friendly city. The cost of living in Jacksonville is 8 percent lower than the U.S. average, according to Sperling’s Best Places. Hotels are cheap, and inexpensive recreational activities are easy to come by. Attend the Riverside Arts Market for free every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., explore the Museum of Contemporary Art for free on Sundays, and enjoy live music and street performers, free of charge, on the first Wednesday of every month at Downtown Art Walk.
Whether you are traveling solo or together with your family, a weekend in Riverside is exciting and budget-friendly. Compared to Los Angeles, restaurant prices in Riverside are 11.80 percent lower, according to NUMBEO. Go hiking in Mount Rubidoux Park, have a picnic in Fairmount Park, and go for a stroll through the Downtown Pedestrian mall.
New York City, N.Y.
New York City is known for its hustle and bustle, iconic landmarks, and spectacular attractions. Tourists flock to the city every year to experience the culture, scenery, and special events. Contrary to what many people may believe, there are tons of free things to do in the city. Go for a walk in Central Park, take a ferry ride to Governor’s Island, capture spectacular views from the High Line, and take the Staten Island Ferry across the New York Harbor for great sightseeing opportunities.
San Antonio, Tex.
San Antonio is famous for its delicious cuisine, culture, and marketplaces. Whether you are traveling by public transportation or renting a car, you can maneuver throughout the city for cheap. A one-way ticket (local transport) is only $1.30 and gas (1 gallon) only costs $1.87, according to NUMBEO. Some of their free attractions include the Mcnay Art Museum, River Walk, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and the Pearl Brewery.
Kansas City, Mo.
Known for its jazz heritage and incredible barbecue, Kansas City is not only a cheap weekend getaway but an exciting one, too. This is the perfect family-friendly destination. Take the kids to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, enjoy Free Friday Night Flicks at Crown Center, view tons of wildlife in William M. Klein Park, and explore nature at the Lakeside Nature Center.
Although Atlanta is one of the most well-known cities in Georgia, that doesn’t mean it’s the most expensive. According to a report, the cost of living index in Atlanta is 21 percent lower, compared to the cost of living index in Berkeley Lake. For only $8 per carload, you and your family can visit Stone Mountain Park and embark on outdoor adventures.
Yes, hot air ballooning in Albuquerque is thrilling, but when you only have a certain amount of money to spend, you may want to save that for your next trip. However, you can visit the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum for free on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Other free things to do include listening to live music at Old Town New Fun, exploring the New Mexico Natural History Museum, watching the sunrise on Tingley Beach and going on a free tour of the vineyard at Corrales Winery.
San Diego, Calif.
People travel from all over the world to visit California, but when you’re tight on money, San Diego may be your best option. Visit San Diego’s most famous park — Balboa Park — for free, explore the San Diego County Sheriff’s Museum and go for a walk through Seaport Village. But whatever you do, don’t forget to head to Basic on Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. for free pizza samples.
Sioux Falls, S.D.
A weekend getaway doesn’t have to be expensive, especially when you are spending it in Sioux Falls. Watch free Moonlight Movies in Fawick Park on Saturday nights; go for an inexpensive bike ride along the Big Sioux River Greenway; head to McKennan Park for kid-friendly, free theater performances; and purchase an all-day pass — $1 per person — for the Sioux Falls Trolley.