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Five Affordable US Vacations to Take This Fall

This blog post was updated on August 7, 2019.

Fall is right around the corner, which means you should start planning your autumnal getaways! From magnificent leaf displays to urban adventures, here are five budget-friendly vacation options.

Minneapolis, MN


Breathtaking waterfalls, a bustling metropolis and a plethora of foodie options…there’s a reason why Prince called this place home. In Minneapolis, you can find affordable hotels downtown and excellent restaurants at reasonable prices. The Mill City Farmer’s Market goes year-round, and that can be a great place to snag delicious local eats at affordable prices. The leaves start to change color in September and really show off their beauty in October. Visit one of Minneapolis’s world-class museums or check out a play at the famed Guthrie Theater or one of the many excellent smaller venues around town.

Austin, TX


Artsy, friendly Austin is a fun place to visit any time of year, but there’s definitely a special energy in the fall as students head back to campus at UT-Austin and South Congress bustles with activity. Eat your fill of tacos on the cheap, catch some live music at bars with inexpensive cover charges, and soak up Austin’s one-of-a-kind vibe.

Chicago, IL


It’s hard to beat Chicago’s energy in the fall. The cool crisp weather lends itself to afternoon strolls in Millennium Park (home of the iconic “Bean” sculpture and other permanent art installations), dinner (or a cooking class) at Mario Batali’s Eataly, or lining up to get tickets for a play. If museums are your thing, you can purchase a city pass that will save you money on Chicago’s most visited spots.

Santa Barbara, CA


In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…and you can too! Fall in Southern California is stunning and the perfect time of year for wine tasting.! Columbus Day flights to this wine-wonderland destination will not only serve you up with an intoxicatingly fun visit but an affordable one too! While Napa and Sonoma tend to get all of the attention, Santa Barbara is a great, less-expensive place to visit some beautiful properties and sip tasty vintages. While you’re here, be sure to make some room in your itinerary for a stroll on one of Santa Barbara’s gorgeous beaches, or even set sail to catch some autumn waves. The city is a short drive from LA, which means you can take full advantage of airline fare sales into LAX. Enjoy fresh, affordable Mexican food at Los Agaves (multiple locations in Santa Barbara).

Washington, D.C.


Fall can be an exciting time to visit our nation’s capital. With Congress back in session, you can snag a free gallery pass or two (when you visit your representative’s office) and sit in on some of the proceedings. All of the national monuments and all 18 Smithsonian museums are free to visit, which means it’s easy to stay entertained on a budget. Lodging can be pricey in D.C., but keep in mind a lot of hotels offer discounts for weeknights. Eat on the cheap by visiting street food vendors or hunkering down with some ribs at one of D.C.’s famous smokehouses.

What are some of your favorite places to visit in the fall? Tell us about them in the comments.

About the author

Jen Westmoreland Bouchard

An insatiable foodie, art collector, and international literature aficionado, I have traveled throughout Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Canada. For the past fifteen years, I have written about my adventures for various travel and literary publications. I am the owner of Lucidité Writing ( and Bouchard Design Co. (

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