Houston may be hot, but its attractions pack a lot of bang in a buck — and it looks like travelers are taking notice. Travel + Leisure readers ranked the Bayou City at No. 7 on the list of Best U.S. Cities for Affordable Getaways.
The travel magazine recommends dining out on "the city's old-school Tex-Mex — like Ninfa's on Navigation" and enjoying the values at La Maison, a new "urban bed and breakfast" in Midtown that offers luxurious rooms starting at $159 a night.
Visitors and locals alike can appreciate cheap deals at gourmet restaurants (find CultureMap round-ups here and here), complimentary white wine at art gallery openings and free programming — think classical music, Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera performances — at Miller Outdoor Theatre.
Kansas City took the top spot on the list, earning recognition for cheap hotel prices, "fun factory-style tours" of Hallmark and Boulevard Brewing Company and budget-friendly (read: burnt) barbecue. San Antonio ranked No. 3 for its free historic attractions (Remember the Alamo!) and for the affordable option to B-Cycle along the Riverwalk for just $10 per day.
At No. 9, Austin was recognized for wallet-friendly food truck fare and cheap outdoor thrills (admission to Barton Springs is just $3, but the unmentioned Barton Creek Greenbelt is free). Dallas/Fort Worth took No. 16, with a nod to the (recently admission-free) Dallas Museum of Art and $9 minor league baseball games with downtown Fort Worth views.