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Cities in the US with the Most Beautiful Architecture

Are you passionate about architecture? We totally get you! Fortunately, there is an abundance of stunning cities all around the US with unique skylights, exquisite historical buildings, and picturesque streets. For all of you who can point out the difference between Art Nouveau and Art Deco and have the favorite architectural style (or even the favorite building), we’ve created a list of the best cities in the US!

San Francisco, California

san-francisco-california

Average rental price: $3,180
Median household income: $112,449
Cost of living: 269.3
Places of interest: City Hall, the Painted Ladies, Columbus Tower, the Palace of Fine Arts, Palace Hotel, the Haas-Lilienthal House 

The first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when they think about San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge. This worldwide-known structure might be the most famous city landmark. Another iconic symbol of San Francisco is stunning colorful Victorian houses — Postcard Row, also called the Painted Ladies. However, the whole city is brimming with Victorian architecture from different periods, and if you love this elegant style, you will not find a better city in the US to enjoy it. 

But, the beauty of San Francisco lies in the stunning mixture of different architectural styles and eras and how well they go together. Except for Victorian architecture, you can expect to see on the streets of San Fransico stunning contemporary skyscrapers, brick warehouses, and beautiful examples of Beaux-Art style.

A special mention deserves the Chinatown — the oldest Chinatown in the US — that became an essential part of the city’s outlook. Its pagoda-topped roofs, small details such as street lamps, and the legendary Dragon Gate are works of art.

Boston, Massachusetts

boston, massachusetts

Average rental price: $1,965
Median household income: $71,115
Cost of living: 162.4
Places of interest: City Hall, Berkeley Building, Trinity Church, Beacon Hill, MIT Chapel, Kresge Auditorium

For some people, Boston is considered to be the most historical city in the US. That’s just one of the many reasons why we decided to bring it up on our list of places with amazing architecture. Walking down the Freedom Trail, you will be amazed by the amount of Federal-style buildings, and Boston is undoubtedly the place to be if you love early US architecture. All around the city, you can enjoy countless charming Colonial homes, Greek Revival structures, and even more Federal architecture (Boston was one of the places where it originated, so prepare to see it everywhere here)!

But, the city is not all about Federal and Colonial buildings — you can find a fine example of Beaux-Arts represented by the Berkeley Building (not to be confused with the Old John Hancock Building, although it is also very iconic for the city!) and the outstanding Trinity Church that represents Richardsonian Romanesque style. 

To prove that Boston is not only about beauty in the most conventional way, we want to end our list on the Boston City Hall — a perfect example of massive and heavy Brutalism.

Charleston, South Carolina

houses in charleston

Average rental price: $1,786
Median household income: $68,438
Cost of living: 111.5
Places of interest: Rainbow Row, the Wentworth Mansion, the Battery, the Heyward-Washington House

The smallest by population city on our list, Charleston is practically an open-air museum, with its entire Historic District being a National Historic Landmark. The unique architecture of charming Charleston is one of the main reasons this place is so popular among tourists. 

Start getting to know this city by walking down the streets and exploring hundreds of tall and colorful Charleston-style houses. They all come from different times and periods — Federal to Victorian — but they all have shared elements, such as a front porch and the longer side being perpendicular to the street.  

Greek and Gothic Revival architecture is also very common in this city, and many admirers of these styles come to Charleston from all around the country.

New Orleans, Louisiana

architecture in new orleans

Average rental price: $1,488
Median household income: $41,406
Cost of living: 96.3
Places of interest: the Longue Vue House, the French Quarter, the Hotel Monteleone, the National WWII Museum, The Dufour-Baldwin House, the Lakefront Airport 

Probably, there is no person in the country who wouldn’t know how beautiful and unique New Orleans is. Don’t even start us on the French Quarter with its picturesque balconies covered in vines! Head here to see American and Creole Townhouses (the most recognizable structures in the city) and shotgun houses. 

Overall, the architecture of New Orleans perfectly represents its multicultural background and various influences. Art Deco, Postmodernism, and Colonial — all blend in New Orleans in different proportions and variations, creating a one-of-a-kind city that is a mecca for all architecture fans.

New York City, New York

manhattan architecture

Average rental price: $2,790
Median household income: $63,998
Cost of living: 187.2
Places of interest: the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Vessel, the High Line, One World Trade Center, the Chrysler Building

No list of the best cities for architecture aficionados would be full without the one and only Gotham. New York City is full of gorgeous historical buildings, which peacefully coexist with modern high-rises and quirky structures. Whether you’ll find yourself in the heart of Manhattan, surrounded by the most recognizable skyscrapers in the world, or walking down the streets of Colonial Williamsburg, you’ll be amazed at the beauty of the City.

Big Apple has the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the whole country, as well as plenty of Beaux-Arts gems (Grand Central Terminal and the Ansonia Hotel). And, of course, there are new arrivals that quickly become locals’ favorites every year — think of Little Island!

Dozens of famous architects and urban planners have been working tirelessly to create the city’s outlook as we know it today. Robert Moses, Edward Durell Stone, Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, Toshiko Mori — the list can go on and on!

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