Best cheap cities to visit

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Visitors come to Guilin, China, to explore the city's otherworldly beauty, with the Li River winding through it, and karst rock formations peaking jaggedly among buildings.

A $5 bill might not go far in big-ticket cities like Paris or Tokyo, but the best meal in Bali costs three bucks, one of the funkiest cool hotels in Berlin has rooms for 80 Euros, and a five-day yoga course in Guilin, China, costs the same as a couple hours of Soul Cycle in New York City.

Coming back from a terrific vacation under budget is like finding a wad of cash in an old pair of jeans. Beds feel extra plush in a luxury hotel when the nightly room rate is under three digits, and a great meal improves when you can pay in singles.

Since traveling abroad does mean splurging on a ticket, several American cities are ideal for cheap weekend trips.

Slideshow: See the best cheap cities

Detroit is one such spot, with stellar restaurants, world-class museums and bustling weekend markets. “The people in Detroit have a lot of heart and soul, and those are the people I love to cook for. They are proud of their downtown, and I was excited to be a part of that,” says celebrity chef Michael Symon, who opened his sleek, meat-centric spot, Roast, in Detroit’s Book Cadillac hotel in 2008. “There is incredibly beautiful architecture downtown that you don’t see in other cities. Corktown is a fun area to be in, Eastern Market is fantastic, the art museum is epic, and there are other great restaurants there, not just ours.”

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