One of America’s hottest food cities, Portland also offers fantastic access to the outdoors. The Saturday Market, in the city’s historic Old Town, features artisans selling everything from handcrafted bamboo flutes to bonsai trees, while food stalls sell Greek, Lebanese and Polish specialties. In warm weather, kayak or tube trips down the Clackamas River are only $10 for two hours.
Eat: At Sunshine Tavern, Best New Chef 2012 Jenn Louis created an up-market comfort food menu with $15-and-under entrées such as fried chicken and semolina waffles.
La Paz, Bolivia
The world’s highest capital city, La Paz is enveloped by the dusty Andes Mountains, making hiking, mountain biking and ATV riding cheap and popular pastimes, with half-day tours for two costing under $100. Those who want to stay in the city center can stroll the Witches Market to find Alpaca scarves and brightly colored knit pillow covers for just a few dollars apiece.
Eat: Locals dine on cheap set lunches, like at the popular Bolivian spot Surucachi, which serves Lake Titicaca fish plus a soup, salad and dessert for just a few dollars.
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Local coffee plantations, scenic volcanoes and inland lakes can be reached by hired drivers ($40 for the day), but there is plenty to see in the heart of Bali’s cultural center. Monkey Forest Road (named for the monkey-filled preserve) and adjacent streets have craft shops, and lucky visitors might catch a fire dance performance.
Eat: People travel here from hours away just to lunch on the spit-roasted, coconut-milk-basted suckling pig with wilted greens and rice at the open-air Warung Ibu Oka, where the featured dish ($3) runs out by early afternoon.
Visitors come here to explore the city’s otherworldly beauty, with the Li River winding through it, and karst rock formations peaking jaggedly among buildings. Outdoor activities are popular, with bamboo boat tours of the river, ubiquitous bike rentals and hikes up Moon Hill, an oddly shaped peak with a natural arch inside that offers panoramic views of the area. Visitors can take cooking classes that tour the local markets through outfitters like the Yangshuo Aiyuan Hotel Cookery Class.
Eat: Anyway café is very welcoming to travelers and has cheap Taiwanese-style food. A meal for two with items like fried rice or marinated pork costs $6.
The old city feels European, and the gentrifying St.-Roch neighborhood boasts galleries, well-priced vintage clothing shops and excellent restaurants. Rue St. Paul, in the Old Port neighborhood, has art shops and antiques, while Le Marche du Vieux-Port is the place to pick up cheeses, meats and pastries. In winter, the city is dotted with vendors making maple syrup lollipops in troughs of snow.
Eat: Bar La Cuisine offers a dinner for two of French-Canadian comfort food, like casseroles and croque-monsieur plus local beer, for $30. Stalls at the Marché du Vieux-Port hawk liver pâtés, fruit compotes, artisanal chocolates and floral honeys.
Click here to see more of the world's best cheap cities to visit.