25 Best U.S. vacation cities on the cheap -- from AdminSecret.com

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Gearing up for your summer vacation, but aren't sure which direction to go? When it comes to vacationing in the U.S., you've got 50 states full of unique travel destinations.

So which city is the best travel destination?

We've rated 25 cities for vacationing by examining what each has to offer: culture, food, travel expenses and more!

Our criteria:

• Lowest average price of gas in each city and the average airfare to and from each airport

• Lowest hotel costs in each city

• Finally, we made sure each city had as much to offer as possible. Local insiders and fellow travelers rated each city based on culture, shopping, food and nightlife.

Lastly, we added an off-the-beaten-path "Don't Miss" location for the explorer in you.

#25: Washington D.C.

Visiting D.C. is as American as apple pie, so get your comfortable walking shoes on and get ready to see some of the most iconic tourist attractions in the country. Enjoy the classics first, like the Washington Monument (pictured), Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. When monument fatigue sets in, head to the Smithsonian to see everything from diamonds to spaceships. And the best part? Admission is free!

Want to catch a glimpse of the President? Although Mr. and Mrs. Obama are frequently seen out and about town, getting to the White House takes a little more planning, but it's still free. For groups of 10 people or more, requests can be made to arrange a tour up to six months in advance. Say hi for us!

Don't miss: While you're in Reagan National Airport (photo above), check out Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries. Proof that airport cuisine can be delicious!

#24: Boston, Massachusetts

With so much to do in Boston, it's hard to figure out where to start! Quincy Market (pictured) is a popular destination that will get you oriented with both the layout and distinctive style of this historic city. And speaking of history, Fenway Park is popular with locals and tourists alike, and you don't even have to be a Red Sox fan to enjoy a game (but it helps!).

You may also want to put some class in your trip and take a free walking tour of one of the many elite colleges located in Boston. Harvard, MIT and the famed Berklee College of Music are all loaded with historic buildings and grounds. Pretend you're a student for a day!

The city is also home to one of the best aquariums in the eastern United States. When your visit at the aquarium is over, spend the rest of the day walking the waterfront or visiting one of Boston's excellent seafood restaurants.

Don't Miss: If you happen to love tea or want to recreate the Boston Tea Party, you'll love Tea Zone, a budget-friendly hidden gem in the Porter Square area. They even give you little complimentary packets to take home and try, but we're betting you'll want to take some of their full-sized goods home, too.

#23: Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia is jam packed with free things to do, especially in the summer. The 2009 PECO Energy Multicultural Festival season features 12 weekend festivals throughout the summer. Dance some salsa on the Delaware River and eat authentic dishes from the Caribbean, Ireland, and Mexico, then head to the heart of Philadelphia and get free tickets to tour both Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

Philadelphia's Art Museum is the the best photo opportunity in the city: right beside a statue of famous movie boxer Rocky. While you're there, enjoy the view from the steps of the museum and try to catch a glimpse of a crew team rowing down the river. If you want to grab a cheap (but delicious!) bite to eat, head to Philadelphia's Italian Market, one of the largest open-air markets in the U.S.

Don't Miss: You can't leave Philly without tasting a cheese steak! Two of the most famed, Pat's and Geno's, are located right in the Italian Market, around South street.

#22: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is a great city year-round, but it's even better in the summer. When there's no snow to shovel, the Chicago streets are fabulous for walking. Head to Millennium Park, a beautiful landscape sandwiched between skyscrapers and Lake Michigan. Take a blanket and sit on the huge lawn and enjoy many of the free concerts offered in the summer. Walk around and enjoy the outdoor art sculptures, including Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor, a 110-ton elliptical sculpture with a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates that reflect Chicago's skyline.

If you get hot, head over to the Crown Fountain, pictured above. Designed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, the Crown Fountain showcases images of Chicago's residents while water flows out from their open mouths. If you want some adventure by the lake, walk down to Navy Pier and ride the Ferris Wheel or just sit on the dock and enjoy the spectacular view.

Don't Miss: Garfield Park Conservatory. There's free parking and free admission, and you can waste hours with kids, a sweetheart, or with yourself in a blissfully beautiful nature experience. A great hidden gem!

#21: Los Angeles, California

Never been to Los Angeles? You've got to fix that! Get a feel for the local scene by taking a stroll down Venice Beach Boardwalk, and if you'd rather get another perspective on the beach, start at Santa Monica Pier and ride the giant Ferris wheel. The weather is just about perfect at the beach in the summer, so bring a good book and a chair and enjoy the view.

Don't be surprised if you see a few celebrities biking or rollerblading by! After some time at the beach, head to Hollywood Boulevard and the Forecourt of the Stars at Grauman's Chinese Theatre (pictured above) to measure your hands and feet against the hand prints and footprints of Hollywood's legendary actors. Walk along the Hollywood Walk of Fame and stop to take a picture with the Hollywood sign behind you in the hills. If you know when you'll be heading out west, try to attend a taping of your favorite game show, talk show or sitcom - tickets are always free.

If you're looking for learning activities for the whole family, check out the California Science Center or Getty Museum. Admission is free for both but parking will cost you a few bucks. The view from the Getty hilltop fortress alone is worth the drive.

The LA Metro bus stops at most of these locations, and a day pass is just $5.

Don't Miss: Diddy Riese Cookies on Broxton Ave in Westwood. With three cookies for $1.00 and ice cream sandwich for $1.50, you can't afford to miss it! Be warned, the line goes out the door most days but it moves fast. Cash only, too.

#20: Seattle, Washington

The birthplace of grunge music is also the unofficial capital of coffee consumption in the United States. Why? Starbucks and Seattle's Best Coffee were founded in Seattle, of course. Depending on the weekend, you might find one of several major festivals held in the city; from the music event Bumbershoot held over Labor Day weekend to the one of the many ethnic festivals held each year.

You can also check out some of the dozens of museums, including the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum, Museum of Flight, or the Museum of History and Industry. From there, many sign up for the Seattle Underground Tour, a trek to many places that existed before the city's Great Fire.

Don't Miss: If you're serious about coffee, you will love Espresso Vivace Sidewalk Bar. located in Capitol Hill. Any place that puts their in-house roasted beans in little bowls with the date of roasting attached definitely knows their stuff. Try the creamy Americano, we hear it's to die for!

#19: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

The metro area surrounding the Mississippi River (known as the Twin Cities) has quietly become one of the country's best hubs for the arts. There are more theater seats here per capita than in any U.S. city besides New York, and the music scene boasts diverse genres from punk to folk to hip-hop. There are numerous venues around the many local colleges, but make sure to see the acts that come through the historic venue 7 Street Entry.

You will also want to check out both the St. Paul Cathedral (pictured above) and the Basilica of St. Mary located in Minneapolis; both were built during the great rivalry these two cities had during the early part of the 20th century.

And don't leave the Twin Cities without taking advantage of the many parks and lakes in the region. Being part of both the state and city slogan, the numerous lakes offer tourists plenty of chances to get outside for a day of fishing and boating.

Don't Miss: Apparently Al's Breakfast is a huge deal around here (they've even been featured on the Food Network) but we say, if there's a huge line and you're claustrophobic you should grab a bagel and wait until dinnertime to head to Cossetta's Italian Market and Pizzeria on 7th Street in St. Paul. The fresh-out-of-the-oven New York style pizza and the cannolis there are basically perfect.

#18: Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta is the biggest airport in the U.S. so flights to the ATL are frequent and cheap. It's a great place to take kids - you can take in the Coca-Cola Museum (pictured) and the nation's largest aquarium all in the same block. While you're in the area, cool off by walking through the fountains at Centennial Olympic Park. If you want some outdoor adventure, you can rent a canoe and sail right through town on the Chattahoochee River. Travel just a few minutes east of the city and you'll encounter Stone Mountain, the Mount Rushmore of the South. Ride the tram to the top and see all of Atlanta on a clear day.

Pockets empty? Not to worry, there's lot to do for free in Atlanta. Explore the Fernabank Science Center or the Governor's Mansion. Take in a little bit of history with free tour of Dr. Martin Luther King's birth home or the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum.

Don't forget to pack your sunscreen! Summers in Atlanta are steamy and great weather is pretty much guaranteed.

Don't Miss: Sublime Doughnuts. Their gourmet repertoire includes the strawberries and cream, the Orange Star, the A Town Mocha, the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, the Oreo Cookie… and it's cheap! We're gaining weight just thinking about it.

#17: Bozeman, Montana

Though Bozeman is far from being the largest city in Montana, its landscape is highly rated by Montana travelers. Nestled by the Rocky Mountains and the Gallatin National Forest, Bozeman is an outdoorsman's paradise. Get away from the bustle of the big city and enjoy the peace and quite of nature while fly-fishing or exploring wildlife on a safari tour. If taking it relatively easy is not your thing, then sign up for a thrilling whitewater rafting trip, but make sure you hold on tight - some of the raft trips are not for the faint of heart.

After a long day of outdoor adventures, stroll Bozeman's historic downtown. If visiting Bozeman in July or August, you can enjoy free live music concerts each week, complete with activities for the family and food vendors from all over town.

Don't Miss: A lazy float down the Jefferson or Madison river, just like Lewis and Clark!

#16: San Diego, California

People love San Diego so much that they changed the city's slogan to "Happy Happens." The weather is phenomenal, the beaches are beautiful and there are tons of attractions for everyone. The biggest one is Balboa Park, where the San Diego Zoo is located, as well as the Old Globe Theatre. Downtown, the Gaslamp District has a great nightlife scene with yummy restaurants and cool bars. Seaport Village is also downtown and is fun for kids. There is an area called Old Town (pictured), which boast old Spanish-style restaurants, shops and museums.

Cover the three-mile stretch from Mission and Pacific Beaches on the Mission Beach Boardwalk, or grab your picnic basket and head to Torrey Pines State Park where you can watch hang-gliders do cool tricks. Got kids? La Jolla has a children's beach where you can watch seals. By night, head back to Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park. The San Diego Astronomy Association sets up a huge telescope to offer guests a great view of all the stars the first Wednesday of every month. Check out the breathtaking, 360-degree views of San Diego by driving to the top of Mt. Soledad.

Don't Miss: If you're already in Old Town, stop by the Old Town Root Beer Company. They have 100 different kinds of root beer, from birch beer to sarsaparilla made with cane sugar.

CLICK HERE to see Cities #15 through #1 on AdminSecret!

AdminSecret is tailored to you - the modern, driven, multi-tasking, getting-the-impossible-done administrative assistant. Whether you are a seasoned executive assistant or an aspiring admin, AdminSecret pulls together the career resources you need to make your job easier. We feature MS Office troubleshooting, booking business travel, resume essentials, expert job advice, salary and promotion guidance (just to name a few.) Our juicy anonymous discussion forum, hilarious videos, personal photo albums, quizzes, nutrition, celeb and style articles should keep you coming back for more.