Our mission: to brand a (geographically diverse) organisation of awesomely fun cities where your summer transport dollars can — with a tiny bit of vital formulation — go a unequivocally prolonged way. Then: suggest sold attractions, eateries, and places to stay that will make a many of your revisit though violation a budget.

Nashville, TN

If Bristol, Tennessee, is a birthplace of American county music, Nashville is where it changed after flourishing some sideburns (or curves). Soak adult live performances any night of a week and spend your days questioning Nashville’s many other artistic, gustatory, and chronological delights.

Johnny Cash Museum

Do: During a daytime, get heady on harmonies during a Johnny Cash Museum — where we can see a singer’s handwritten lyrics and Martin guitar ($15 entry) — and a Country Music Hall of Fame, that customarily underwent a $100 million enlargement ($25; $2 off with a visitmusiccity.com coupon). Then strike a Grand Ole Opry live radio uncover (from $29.50, 3 days a week) for large names like Blake Shelton, as good as old-school and up-and-coming performers. For a ambience of Nashville’s noncountry scene, check out a Stone Fox for a nightly live performances, many with no cover charge, and $1-off happy-hour specials. If visible art is some-more your speed, we can suffer works by Goya, Hopper, and Wyeth during a Frist Center for a Visual Arts, located in a renovated Art Deco post bureau ($10), and take tours of 135-year-old letterpress mart Hatch Show Print — during that we make your possess imitation to take home ($15).

Eat: Go for a handmade pasta, like garganelli verdi with birthright pig ragout ($17), during Rolf and Daughters, that non-stop final year in a 100-year-old bureau building in Germantown. Then there’s Pinewood Social, a restaurant/karaoke bar/bowling alley, good for treats like prohibited sweetbreads ($13) and pork-belly salad ($12). But no matter what else we eat, don’t leave city though perplexing Prince’s Hot Chicken, that is zero brief of a buttery, crunchy, burning explanation ($7.65 for a half chicken). It’s a few miles northeast of downtown, on a approach behind from Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage estate. Newcomer 400 Degrees, nearby a Hall of Fame, is a tighten second ($5.86 and up).

Sleep: If your timing is flexible, we can obstacle discounts during hotels that prerogative we for longer stays. The Hutton, where bedrooms typically operation from $200 to $300 per night, offers 15% off three-night stays and 20% off four-night stays this summer. Save even some-more by staying over from downtown: A new bend of Homewood Suites in a Vanderbilt area, customarily west of core city, costs 30% reduction than a downtown Homewood Suites in Aug — $180 a night compared with $260.

Splurge: Good cowboy boots ain’t cheap, though we can reduce a plaque startle by checking out a discount territory of French’s Shoes and Boots. Before bed, squeeze a nightcap during The Patterson House, a beautiful speakeasy (and celebrity hangout) portion adult class, sass, and implausible cocktails.


Portland, OR

Portland has a well-earned hipster rep, though it’s also turn a buzzy culinary hotspot. Isn’t it time we went to ambience a hype for yourself?

Danita Delimont—Alamy

Do: Get your temperament with a giveaway walking debate from Secrets of Portlandia, billed as a “stand-up comedy about Portland’s story and enlightenment (twice a day by Sep 3). You’ll get a outline of several neighborhoods, see a city’s best famous travel art, get bar and grill recommendations, and more. Still feeling a tiny of that World Cup fever? Get tickets for a Portland Timbers, a renouned internal Major League Soccer team. Of, if you’re after a some-more egghead pursuit, conduct to Powell’s City of Books, a flagship of a world’s largest eccentric sequence of bookstores. The store is always hosting engaging readings and book clubs, so check a calendar to see what’s on while you’re in town.

Eat: Portland is a foodie favorite famous for dual things: creativity and affordability. Start your noshing with a city’s famous food carts. Go to Foodcartsportland.com (or download their 99 cent app) to get a dip on where to find a many mouthwatering options. One to try: Gastro Mania, home of a $8 foie gras burger. Check Under a Table with Jen, a internal food blog run by Jen Stevenson, for sit-down eats. For an dusk of wine, cheese, and charcuterie, Stevenson recommends Cyril’s: “It has a ‘secret’ patio, and they customarily combined a bocce court.” Finally, don’t leave city though a stop during a mythological Voodoo Doughnuts, one of a originators of a artistic doughnut craze.

Sleep: Portland has some good hotels, though if you’re roving mid-summer, you’re doubtful to find a well-located place for reduction than $250 a night. For a some-more affordable option, try a Everett Street Guesthouse, that is an easy travel to many restaurants and cafes and a six-minute expostulate from downtown. Rooms start $100, including breakfast.

Splurge: If you’ve ever watched IFC’s Portlandia, a Portland-based comedy starting former SNL expel member Fred Armisen and musician Carrie Brownstein, we remember a “Put a Bird On it” sketch. That stage was filmed during Land, a store/gallery that carries a operation of affordable gifts and artworks done by internal craftspeople. No matter your taste, you’ll expected find a goodie estimable of a mark in your suitcase.


Santa Fe/Albuquerque, NM

New Mexico ideally captures a suggestion of a Southwest — and is full of fun, affordable activities. Start in Albuquerque, afterwards expostulate an hour northeast to Santa Fe, home to one of a many colourful art scenes in a country.


Do: With among a tip concentrations of Native Americans in a country, New Mexico is a good place to learn about Navajo and Zuni Pueblo culture. In Albuquerque, locate a dance opening and review about a story of a state’s 22 genealogical communities during a Indian Pueblo Cultural Center ($6 admission). If you’re visiting in August, try to locate a Santa Fe Indian market, where some-more than 170,000 people accumulate any year to learn about and buy contemporary Native American humanities and crafts. For a sip of 20th century Americana, check out Santa Fe’s Georgia O’Keeffe Museum ($12 for adults, giveaway for girl underneath 18) — and don’t leave a state though throwing a thespian nightfall on North America’s longest aerial tram, a Sandia Peak Tramway in Albuquerque ($20).

Eat: Enjoy a kitchy décor and tasty diner-food-with-a-twist during Owl Cafe in Albuquerque; try a wealthy immature chili cheeseburger ($5.25) and a onion fritter ($4.95) — a march of thin, golden rings piled high. Up in Santa Fe, there’s something for everybody during Harry’s Roadhouse, where a suacy and tasty tacos, burritos, and enchiladas can all be done vegetarian. Generally, top-rated Mexican food abounds, so we customarily have to remember one rule: Dip those sopapillas in honey.

Sleep: Even nicer hotels in Albuquerque are many reduction costly than their counterparts in other cities: The Hotel Parq Central, top-rated on TripAdvisor, charges reduction than $150 a night for stays in August. Santa Fe is extremely pricier, so go for a bed and breakfast instead, like a whimsically flashy El Paradero Inn, where bedrooms are accessible from $155.

Splurge: Take advantage of a hot-but-dry dried continue during a outward Santa Fe Opera, that shows strange works alongside classics like Carmen. Ticket prices operation formed on dates and seats from $30 to $300.


Long Beach Island, NJ

Don’t be misled by a Jersey Shore GTL stereotype. While there is positively copiousness of fist pumping in some New Jersey beach towns, Long Beach Island is some-more of an old-school family getaway, finish with salt H2O taffy, mini-golf, and 18 miles of beach.


Do: Climb a 217 stairs of a Barnegat Lighthouse for breathtaking views of a island and Barnegat Bay ($3 opening fee). You competence even be propitious adequate to be in city when a beacon is open for a “night climb,” that happens customarily a few times per summer (check a schedule). When you’re prepared to strike a water, try a doctrine during LBI Surfing. Non-surfers competence wish to try an SUP—stand-up paddling—class instead. Group lessons are $55 per person. Finally, don’t forget to squeeze a beach pass; they start during $5 a day.

Eat: You’re on vacation, so eat some boiled food. Locals like The Clam Bar in Beach Haven. Try a boiled teeter and grill platter for $12.95 or go aged propagandize with Clams Casino ($9.95). The line can get long, though we can always call forward for take-out (and no matter what we do, mind a no cellphone policy!). For another fun indulgence, conduct to a barbarous Chicken or a Egg, once featured on a Man vs. Food uncover on a Travel Channel. You’ll have copiousness of egg dishes to select from, of course, though a infrequent eatery is also famous for a steep wings, that come with a choice of 16 sauces.

Sleep: Rather than overpay for a musty beach hotel, demeanour into renting your possess place. A new hunt of AirBnB incited adult 1-bedroom condos starting during $160 per night, and a 4-bedroom lodge for a docile $190 a night. Bonus: Many rentals come with bikes, grills, and beach chairs.

Splurge: Go to a strange Ron Jon Surf Shop, non-stop in 1961. You know we wish a new span of residence shorts or sunglasses, so collect them adult during this massive, splendidly cheesy beach emporium.


Yellowstone National Park, WY

America’s inhabitant parks are a common value — and Yellowstone is a granddaddy of them all. Check an critical object on your domestic bucket list and representation a tent here.

Neal Herbert—NPS

Do: Swim, hike, and horseback ride by a two-million-plus acres of a country’s initial inhabitant park, containing a world’s largest collection of geysers and prohibited springs — that come in each color of a rainbow. Bring binoculars to get a best perspective of Yellowstone’s furious fauna, including bison, elk, bobcats, coyotes, moose, towering lions, wolves, and bears. And of course, locate a glance of Old Faithful erupting. The park’s $25 opening price is good for a week’s stay, and seniors comparison than 62 (and their families) and troops families can get in for free.

Eat: Nothing beats a smell of barbeque connecting with a uninformed outward air, so prepare outward in one of a park’s designated cruise areas for pleasure — and savings. If we need a break, squeeze a chair in a Old Faithful Inn Dining Room, located right subsequent to a famous geyser, and sequence a smoked bison and pheasant and steep sausage ($15.95) or make your approach to Roosevelt Lodge for some farm-raised fish ($18.75).

Sleep: Hotels and cabins are accessible within a park, though we should diminution a strike to your wallet and adult a fad by pitching a tent in one of Yellowstone’s tent and RV campgrounds. Whereas a room during a Old Faithful Lodge can go for $124 a night in August, camping sites are customarily $21. There are 5 drift where we can haven spots online, and 7 that are first-come, first-served.

Splurge: Bring along some high-quality thermal underwear — a park is surprisingly cold during night, with normal lows in late Aug dipping next 40 degrees. And if we make any present mart purchases, equivocate this book, unless we wish to spend your evenings forgetful about bear attacks.


New Orleans, LA

Despite a repute as a celebration city, New Orleans is many some-more than beads and bachelor bacchanals. The city is abounding with culture, food, lore, and one of a many American of low-pitched genres — jazz.


Do: Get to know New Orleans and a story closely with one of Free Tours By Foot’s two-hour walking tours, after that we tip a beam whatever you’d like. Start with a French Quarter tour, where you’ll learn about a city’s first (details are delightfully horrible and salacious) and see ancestral spots like a Tennessee Williams house. Then bend out with a tomb or Garden District tours, where we competence glance a luminary pet. In a evening, unless we are a passed critical jazz enthusiast, abandon a prolonged line and $30 sheet prices during Preservation Hall and suffer a live opening during gaseous (and free-of-cover) Fritzel’s.

Eat: Trying a sweet, feathery beignets during Cafe du Monde ($2.65 for three) is a essential sermon of thoroughfare for NOLA visitors, as is grouping a po’boy from one of a city’s many estimable shops. Wash down a douse with a quintessential New Orleans cocktail, a Sazerac, during a quintessential New Orleans bar: a Napolean House ($7).

Sleep: Skip sequence hotels like a Marriott or Hyatt, where prices typically tip $200 a night, and soak adult internal attract by staying during a family-owned bed and breakfast. At a 1830s Creole-style Bourgoyne Guest House on Bourbon Street (just north of a hubbub) you’ll compensate customarily $95 a night for studios unaware a still middle courtyard. The plates in a trustworthy kitchenette come in accessible to collect crumbs from a late-night muffaletta.

Splurge: Reward yourself for hours of walking — or dancing during The Spotted Cat — with cooking during romantic, windy SoBou. An appetiser of honeyed potato beignets is fanciful adult with foie gras fondue, steep debris, and chicory coffee ganache ($12).


Chicago, IL

Always one of America’s many sparkling cities, Chicago unequivocally comes alive in summer, when residents can finally strew all those layers and get out and suffer their town.

Stephanie Lamphere—Flickr

Do: No matter what partial of a city you’re prickly to explore, you’ll find an intriguing channel during ChooseChicago.com. The site runs down a weekly calendar of what’s going on, and suggests routes by 51 opposite areas. You’ll also find a brood of giveaway activities via a city this summer, including 30 concerts during a Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. For some-more culture, find out one of a dozens of shows put on by tiny museum companies each weekend. Tickets customarily operation from $15 to $35 and Chicagoreader.com offers stream listings. Finally, no one with even a flitting seductiveness in America’s Game should skip Wrigley Field. Check a report and get tickets—some during as tiny as $20—at a Cubs’ website.

Eat: Start with a classic: a Chicago-style prohibited dog surfaced by competition peppers, tomato slices, and splendid immature penchant from Hot Doug’s on a North Side. Or, for a form of area corner locals love, Stephanie Callahan, of food blog Stephanie Eats Chicago, suggests Home Bistro in Lakeview. “It’s a cozy, BOYB place that always has a best mixture and freshest flavors,” she says. Want a $20 a chairman cooking (including taxation and tip)? Get divided from a downtown Loop for a operation of racial food. You’ll find Mexican in Pilsen, Indian on Devon Avenue, or Vietnamese in Uptown around Argyle Street.

Sleep: Hotels in a city core are pricey in summer, though we can save by selecting a BB. Check out options in Chicago’s North Side neighborhoods, such as Andersonville, Old Town, or Wicker Park. The Wicker Park Inn, for instance, has bedrooms in Jul for $159 a night and spasmodic offers special rates as low as $99.

Splurge: Reward yourself for a day of critical sightseeing with an al fresco cocktail during Shanghai Terrace, in a Peninsula Hotel. A Green Tea Mojito or Sour Cherry Old Fashion goes down even easier with a cold zephyr and unconditional skyline view.

Need some-more ideas for summer sojourns? Take a quiz: Which Movie Matches Your Travel Style — and Dream Destination?