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8 Must-See Cities in the USA

For architectural wonders, don't miss these great American cities


From sea to shining sea, the United States is studded with architectural jewels. As you plan your architecture trip, be sure to put these 8 great American cities at the top of your must-see list. Of course, the US is a big country and there's so much more to explore. Please do add your favorite city to our list.

1. Chicago, Illinois

Sears Tower in Chicago, USA. Bruce Graham (SOM), Architect.
Photo (c) iStockPhoto.com/Andy Hwang
See Chicago For: The roots of American design.

Chicago, Illinois has long been connected with some of architecture's biggest names: Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Mies van der Rohe, and Holabird & Root.

2. New York City, New York

The Woolworth Building by Cass Gilbert
Photo (c) Jeff Gynane / iStockPhoto.com
See New York For: Modern wonders, tall and small.

New York, New York is known for its soaring skyscrapers, but as you explore New York City, look also for hidden architectural jewels.

3. Washington, DC

The Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC
Photo (c) Medioimages/Photodisc, Getty Images
See Washington, DC For: Monuments and grand government buildings.

The United States is often called a cultural melting pot, and the architecture of its capital city, Washington, DC, is truly an international blend.

4. Buffalo, New York

The Prairie Style Gardener's Cottage by Frank Lloyd Wright
Photo cc Jaydec

See Buffalo For: Landmark examples of Prairie, Arts & Crafts, and Richardsonian Romanesque architecture.

Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, H.H. Richardson, and other top architects designed buildings for prosperous businessmen in the thriving industrial city.

5. Newport, Rhode Island

Vanderbilt Marble House
Photo (cc) Flickr Member Daderot
See Newport For: Lavish mansions.

Newport, Rhode Island was a favorite vacation spot for the rich and famous during America's Gilded Age. Now you can tour the historic Newport mansions.

6. Los Angeles, California

The Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry
Photo (c) David McNew/Getty Images
See Los Angeles For: A dazzling mix.

Los Angeles offers an architectural kaleidoscope, from tacky Googie buildings to trend-breaking modernist architecture.

7. Seattle, Washington

Seattle Public Library central branch, 2004, designed by Rem Koolhaas
Seattle Public Library designed by Rem Koolhaas. Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives on flickr.com, Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic
See Seattle For: More than the Space Needle!

The Gold Rush that helped settle the West is embodied in this northwest territory.

8. Dallas, Texas

Massive art deco metal sculpture in Fair Park, Dallas, nude woman, hair flowing backwards
Art Deco Contralto Sculpture in Fair Park. Photo ©Steve Rainwater, steevithak on flickr.com, CC BY-SA 2.0
See Dallas For: History, diversity, and designs by Pritzker-winners.

For years, Texas wealth has shown up in the architecture of the city, proving that architects go where the money is. Dallas has spent its money well.

Readers Respond: What's the best American city for exploring architecture?

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