The capital’s first-rate lineup of free attractions exemplifies American democracy, and much of the city is free to visit. It costs nothing to visit National Mall landmarks, including the Jefferson, Lincoln and Vietnam Veterans memorials. (Note that the Washington Monument, although free, is temporarily closed while recent earthquake damage is repaired.) All of the Smithsonian museums offer free admission, including the Air and Space Museum, the Natural History Museum, the American History Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and the National Zoo. Tours of Ford’s Theatre, where Lincoln was shot? The Library of Congress? The Bureau of Engraving? Free, free and free. Save money on lodging by staying in a reliable chain hotel outside the Capital Beltway and close to a Metro stop. — Photo by Richard T. Nowitz/Corbis (National Gallery of Art)
En español | Even in these penny-pinching times, it’s easy to satisfy a case of wanderlust in the sprawling, diverse American landscape. The United States has plenty of lovely locations where the cost of living is low and the diversions are free or inexpensive. Here are some of America’s best-value cities.