For DAC, my first advice would be to do I Love DAC, It could be all you need: 3 free days of Exhibits, Keynotes, Skytalks and Designer Track Poster Session.
Next step to consider is the $95 "Designer Special" which adds the "IP Track" and "Designer Track".
Beyond that, registration starts to get expensive. PERSONALLY, I don't get that much out of the hardcore academic papers--I associate them with PhD research and not much immediate impact on my job. But, if you're really into EDA or VLSI research, you could have a different outlook.
Public transportation is convenient, too.