US cities with the coolest architecture that you can’t miss

By Stef Zisovska
Publish Date:

There is no need to be an architect or a historian to recognize and appreciate the stunning beauty of many US cities. Just chill out and look around you. What you’ll see are countless architectural wonders that leave you speechless. Of course, not all US cities have examples of great architecture, but the ones that do are incomparable to anything else in the world. You are kind of obliged to nod approvingly in front of many buildings in these design-friendly US cities. If there’s a city on the following list that you have never visited, now’s the time to do it. Let’s get started!

Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan

UNESCO’s City of design, Detroit, is a place where you can see century-old skyscrapers all over Downtown and the nearby neighborhoods. Here you can see idyllic historic districts full of Italian Renaissance and Tudor Manor mansions, while in the Lafayette Park you can see great examples of mid-century modern planning represented by glass-wall homes and high-rises. Architects like Daniel Burnham, Minoru Yamasaki, and Frank Lloyd Wright are responsible for the design of the city’s industrial, financial, and cultural centers built from the late 19th and early 20th century. Belle Isle Conservatory is an architectural wonder that everybody must add to their bucket list.

San Francisco, California


San Francisco is probably the most unique city in the States when talking about a city’s looks. Frisco doesn’t have one specific architectural style, and its beauty lies in the mixture of the challenging topography with already established designs and styles. The Victorian row houses in the Haight-Ashbury, the Beaux-Arts Palace of Fine Arts, the oldest Chinatown in the US, the “Painted Ladies” of Alamo Square are only some of the landmarks that need to be seen while visiting San Fran. And to be honest, at the end of the day it’s all about the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Amazing view of New Orleans

New Orleans is a beautiful city, with a mixture of many different styles, and if you want to explore it in detail you can book one of the three most famous walking tours; the Irish Channel, the Garden District or the French Quarter – the choice is yours to make.

  • On the Irish Channel tour, you will see center hall cottages, shotgun houses, mansions, and the 1855 St. Alphonsus Church. The architectural styles featured in this part of the city are Victorian, Greek Revival, Italianate, Gothic and German Baroque Revival.
  • The Garden District tour includes the Greek revival mansions, the unique architecture of Lafayette Cemetery, celebrity homes in Victorian and Italianate styles.
  • Whenever around the French Quarter in New Orleans, don’t miss the St. Louis Cathedral, Ursuline Convent, and Napoleon House. The most dominant styles you’ll find here are French Colonial, Spanish Colonial, and Greek Revival.

Charleston, South Carolina

South Carolina, Charleston

Charleston is a gem for all American history nerds, and that’s a fact. The city has taken care of its historical buildings, taking preservation to a very high level. Charleston’s large collection of historical homes includes styles that vary between Classic Georgian, Federal, Adamesque, Greek Revival, Italianate, and Victorian. Numerous churches, well-preserved Civil War sites, and 18th century, pastel-colored Georgian houses are some of the main attractions of the city.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Second Empire-style Philadelphia City Hall, 1871–1901, from N. Broad Street – Author: R.Hood Photography – CC BY-SA 4.0

Philadelphia is another US city with a massive architectural heritage that spans the centuries. Starting with the 17th-century row houses, the 18th-century brick buildings, the 19th-century Greek Revival to the steel and concrete sky scrappers from the early 20 century, Philly is an architectural wonder that attracts a lot of tourists. One Liberty Place, Two Liberty Place, the Comcast Center, Metropolitan Opera House, University of Pennsylvania library, Reading Terminal Market, and LOVE Park are some of the most beautiful and important places that you should visit while in Philly.

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