When planning ahead for a future trip, it’s always beneficial for your itinerary to be safe, organized, and frugal- whenever possible, and with this curated list from Travel + Leisure, a trip’s excitement and fun does not have to break the bank.
It should be noted that traveling in general is complicated right now, so the following list should be taken into account in accordance with local government safety measures, restrictions and individual travelers’ personal health conditions prior to departure. That being said, many have been taking advantage of this frugal brand of trip-planning, known as “budget travel” in light of many being short on discretionary funds as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though for many, it’s not seen as a deterrent, as much as it is a reason to travel as smartly as possible–by staying domestic and stretching your dollar as far as it’ll go.
Known today by its nickname, the ”Modern Frontier,” this city combines Western cowboy culture, active stockyards, oil sites, and urban attractions to give a modern-industrial vibe to Oklahoma’s capital city. Tourists and locals alike regularly take a stroll around Scissortail Park or one of the city’s various museums, such as the Oklahoma Museum of Art, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Additionally, this city is known internationally as the Horse Show Capital of the Word with many of the metro-area’s horse shows being free or low-priced. If in the area, be sure to also visit the city’s Bricktown entertainment district, an old warehouse district that’s been transformed into an entertainment hotspot with an aesthetically-scenic cana winding through its streets and in the background of your photographs.
Another modernly underrated spectacle of middle America is Nebraska’s Omaha, a big-city hub with charming, small-town appeal. Appearing as an official stop on Lewis and Clark’s National Historic Trail, this city is located on the Missouri River near the Iowa border, and it’s brimming with history as well as attractions. Once unforgettable sight field with educational riches is Pioneer Courage Park, an urban park filled with exhibits of public art with over 100 monumentally-sized bronze sculptures depicting the tale of westward pioneers along 6 blocks of downtown Omaha. Other favorite spots are Kenefick Park, the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, and Durham Museum. Though, no trip to Omaha is complete without a visit to Bob, the city’s unofficial mascot, which is a 3,000 foot pedestrian bridge with both personality and a blue troll named Omar to take pictures with.
While Philadelphia often gets Pennsylvania’s acclaim and is mistaken for the state’s capital, it’s Harrisburg that actually bears the title alongside a wide assortment of interesting sights and opportunities. One such event is a Willy Wonka-esque trip to Hersheypark, the 1906-founded, chocolate-themed amusement park. Additional offerings of Harrisburg include outdoor events that can take place on or off the Susquehanna River, the cultural enrichment gained by visiting the National Civil War Museum, and the artistic revelry of the Susquehanna Art Museum, which is now housed in a former bank. Though, no trip to Harrisberrg would be complete without a hunt for bargain books at the substantial Midtown Scholar Bookstore, encased in the walls of a renovated 1920’s theatre for the added theatricality and spectacle one can expect from Pennsylvania.
The full list of Travel + Leisure’s cheapest, though most enjoyable, cities in the United States, found here, also has destinations sprawling along America’s three major coasts, and their curated list was created by cross-referencing the most affordable average day rates at hotels in cities cited on Priceline’s list of the Top U.S. Destinations.
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