Catering to a hip (and football-crazed) student population from the University of Texas, Austin is also a fantastic destination for cheap travelers. On the first Thursday of every month, South Congress Street hosts a block party, where restaurants give out free drinks and have special sales.
Eat: The thriving food truck scene is both budget-friendly and creative. The Southern-and-Asian fusion Peached Tortilla truck serves global tacos and delicious sliders like crab cakes with Sriracha mayo, from $3 to $3.50 apiece. At 24 Diner, chef Andrew Curren created one of F&W's favorite grilled cheese sandwiches on sourdough with cheddar, Fontina and roasted tomato for $8.95. A $10 brisket plate with two sides (potato salad, slaw and pinto beans) is worth waiting in line for at buzzy Franklin Barbecue. For the city's cult-worthy Mexican food, Curra's Grill makes a variety of tacos, like al pastor made with rotisserie-cooked pork, for $7.99.
Stay: The urban bungalow-style Hotel San Jose has rates as low as $145 per night, a charming courtyard, and can organize bike rentals.