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These 5 U.S. Cities Are Perfect For A Cheap Fall Getaway

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With the summer season officially coming to a close, it’s time to file away those summer travel memories and start planning for a fall trip.

While many of us are back at work and school, fall is the time to plan getaways closer to home, helping to maximize a long weekend and save those precious vacation days for a longer trip. 

Luckily, across the U.S. cities and states are gearing up for the time when they show off the most.

A rock breakwater holds back Lake Michigan, with the business district of Milwaukee, Wisconsin sitting behind it copy

Fall is a unique time across the country as the foliage sweeps across the landscape, the air starts to chill, and many enjoy their pumpkin spice latte (or pumpkin beer) in front of a football game. 

While classic destinations such as New York, Seattle, and Boston are great fall options, it’s no secret that they are more expensive choices.

Lucky for us, there is no shortage of smaller and underrated cities across the country that also make for a great fall getaway without breaking the bank. 

Cleveland, Ohio, USA skyline on the Cuyahoga River in autumn

Here’s Why These 5 U.S. Cities Are Perfect For A Cheap Fall Getaway:

Buffalo, New York 

As Western New York’s favorite city for a getaway, fall is when the up-and-coming city of Buffalo really comes alive. Blame it on Bills-mania, or the many Oktoberfests that are all over the region, but cheap activities in Buffalo are ripe for the (apple or pumpkin) picking in the fall. 

With such close proximity to world-famous Niagara Falls, there is no shortage of places to stay in the Buffalo area on a budget. Make sure to check out the Ellicottville area and ride the chair lift for the best views of the foliage for around $12 a person. 

And while catching a Buffalo Bills game might not be in the budget, tailgating is a cheap way to soak in the atmosphere for a fraction of the price. Uber to the stadium and party with the fans, then head to a fan-favorite Bills bar to catch the game. 

@stoneymamaa Things to do in Buffalo, Ny. The perfect place to visit during the fall 🍂 #fyp #traveltiktok #foodietiktok #buffalo #newyork ♬ Vacation – Dirty Heads

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland is a very underrated city, and although the main attractions here such as The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame are not free for out-of-towners, there are many things to do here that won’t cost a thing. 

One thing Cleveland is known for is the many parks and walking trails around the city, offering free views and a workout as well. Without leaving the city you can explore the beloved Towpath Trail, which is over 100 miles long.

You can also check the events calendar at Crocker Park for free concerts or check out the Cleveland Public Theater’s free shows. Recently named one of the best free attractions in America, The Cleveland Museum of Art is always free and absolutely worth a visit.

For cheap eats, head to Cleveland’s historic public market, where everything from artisanal olives to homemade desserts are on offer for a fraction of what a sit-down meal would cost. Don't forget to check out the impressive street art of the area when you are done eating your way through the market.

Insider Tip: Even if you are not a huge baseball fan, check out the Cleveland Guardians’ schedule for one of their low-price games. Standing room spots can be snagged for as low as $7, and the atmosphere can't be beaten. 

@clevemetroparks 🍂🍁 #clevelandmetroparks #findyourpath #fallincleveland #fall #fallcolors #fallhikes #bedfordreservation #tinkerscreek #scenicoverlook ♬ IDK YOU YET COVER – Bertie Newman

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

While Chicago might be the more famous Lake Michigan city, Milwaukee deserves consideration for a fall trip for many reasons. Cheaper, smaller, and quirkier than its more famous neighbor, Milwaukee is home to the bronze Fonz, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and the Harley Davidson Museum.

Accommodation won’t break the bank here, and Airbnb’s in the more eclectic neighborhoods might offer a chance to see the city as the locals do, at a fraction of the price of a downtown hotel. 

Make sure to explore the Historic Third Ward, The Riverwalk, The Public Market, and the Basilica of St. Josaphat. For a low cost of $10, you can take a tour of the historic Miller Brewery, with samples along the way. 

And if you are flying from Chicago or just want to add it as another stop on the trip, catch the Amtrak that runs multiple times daily for around $30. 

@visitmilwaukee One more month until it’s fall in Milwaukee 😍🍁 #visitmilwaukee #milwaukee #mke #fall #autumn #fallinthecity #cozy #travelbucketlist ♬ September (Instrumental) – Sparky Deathcap

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Pennsylvania’s Steel City is iconic in many ways, with the endless bridges crisscrossing the three rivers, the stadiums showcasing the skyline in the background, and the locals showing off their unique food and drinks scene (pickle-backs anyone?). 

Pittsburgh explodes into a collection of colors in the fall, and the hills surrounding the city showcase nature at its finest. Budget things to do here include hiking in the popular McConnells Mill State Park or  Ohiopyle State Park. Not to mention that spooky season gets into full swing in this historic factory-filled city, with many haunted tours, ghost walks, and rides to experience. 

Pittsburgh has an impressive amount of festivals taking place in the fall as well, most offering free or cheap admission and low-cost ways to sample local foods and drinks. 

@visitpittsburgh 10 Things to Do This October in Pittsburgh ~ See our full calendar of events at #lovePGH #onlyinpittsburgh #pittsburgh #traveltiktok #fall ♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

Burlington, Vermont 

The trendy city of Stowe might be Vermont’s number one claim to fame in the fall season, but missing a chance to visit Burlington at this time of year would be a mistake. 

Burlington is magic in any weather, but the small university town set along the imposing shores of Lake Champlain is the perfect backdrop for a cheap fall getaway. While hotels might be a bit on the pricy side, finding an Airbnb a bit out of town (with more nature to marvel at) can save some money. 

Coffee shops are number one here, and lingering and people-watching over a steamy cup is a great way to spend a lazy afternoon. Being a college town means there is live music almost every night as well, offering free or cheap entertainment. 

If you are looking for something a bit more active, rent a kayak for a low price and paddle along the shore for some epic foliage views of the Adirondack mountains. 

@rachelslookbook 📍Vermont Has the best trip in October 🍁 🍂 #vermont #vermonttiktok #burlingtonvt #brattleboro #brattleborovt #fall #fallmoments ♬ wheres my love – audios for edits

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Thursday 14th of September 2023

Vermont is now on my bucket list ‼️