Accommodation can be a major expense for a visit to any city, but once you've got that looked after you can still save a lot of money during your visit to the city itself.
First of all, even small cities have a department of tourism, and a website devoted to that. They will have contact information, and usually listings of things to do that are free or inexpensive. If they don't have a listing of the info you're looking for, send an email to their "contact us" link and they will be quick to get back to you. As an example, we will be staying in Wakefield, England for three weeks and they are a city of about 76,000 people, just outside Leeds, England which is a city of about 800,000 people.
Just ask about free things to do and you'll find a few days worth of activities to keep you busy.
As we experienced in Chicago, most major cities also have a free greeter tour. This is a fantastic way to see things and this is probably the first thing we would do when we arrive in a city. There are now 25 major cities participating in the official greeter program. All for free!
How to keep your food expenses down? Make sure that where you are staying has a fridge and microwave. Then buy the basic necessities to make sandwiches. coffee, tea, breakfast cereal, granola bars, and apples and oranges. If you're going to eat a meal out, make it lunch. You'll be able to get a filling meal at much cheaper prices than eating an evening meal in a restaurant.
All food expenses for our five days in Chicago came to a total of $103. We were fortunate that our hotel supplied breakfast, but we only ate out for one meal per day. We bought roast chicken takeout twice, for $7 each time, we had Subway once, and we had a Thai takeout meal once that was under $20 for the two of us. The rest of the time we made sandwiches and wraps that are easy to eat when you're out and about.
Wherever you stay, hotels that are outside of the city center are a lot cheaper than those in the core. That means you have to be able to get around, and parking can be both expensive and difficult. Better to use public transportation. Every city has daily or weekly passes that make it easy and relatively inexpensive to get from A to B.
Any other money saving tips that you can contribute?