Top Cities Known for Architecture

Architecture can deeply shape and define a city. Paris would not be the same city of lights without the Eiffel Tower, Seattle would not be the same without the Space Needle, and London would not be the same without Big Ben. (1)

If you’re captivated by architecture and design as much as we are, consider booking a trip to one of these cities, which, according to our in-house architecture expert Alan Pickett, are known for having some of the best architecture in the world. (2)

Los Angeles

Top Cities Known for Architecture
Photo Credit: Discover Los Angeles

“Los Angeles is full of architecture trendsetters – both residential and commercial,” says Alan Pickett, architectural business development director for Pella. “A lot of case studies for modern architecture happened here in the 1950s, and it’s exciting to see how that has trickled across the U.S. and the rest of Los Angeles.” A few of Pickett’s top picks: Walt Disney Concert Hall, Pacific Design Center, Getty Center and Case Study House #22.

Big Sky, Montana

Top Cities Known for Architecture
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Beautiful modern and contemporary residential architecture is booming in Big Sky, a community in the Rocky Mountains of southern Montana. Just southeast of town is Yellowstone National Park, so you can get your nature fix too.

Savannah, Georgia

Top Cities Known for Architecture
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With a central historic district that spans dozens of blocks, Savannah offers stunning glimpses of colonial and Antebellum architecture, including Federal, Georgian, Gothic, Italianate, Revival and Victorian Regency styles.

 Bilbao, Spain

Top Cities Known for Architecture
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With more than one hundred interior exhibitions and a complex, swirling industrial urban exterior, the Guggenheim Museum is one of the biggest architectural landmarks in the entire world. Built in 1997 by the Gehry Partners, the museum is one of the most admired works of contemporary architecture.

Rome, Italy
Roman architecture has had a major impact on international art, building practices and urban planning for centuries. Must-see landmarks include a mix of ancient and modern buildings, including the Colosseum, Corte Supreme di Cassazione, St. Peter’s Basilica and the MAXXI Museum, which was built in 2009.

 Chicago, Illinois
“Chicago is the center of the U.S. architectural universe,” Pickett says. “Major schools of thought in architecture originated here and it’s a mecca for architecture lovers, myself included.” Pickett’s top picks: Aqua Tower, Marina City, Farnsworth House, Robie House and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millenium Park.

Austin, Texas

Top Cities Known for Architecture
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“Austin is an incredibly vibrant city, with a lot of contemporary and modern transitional architecture that offers a unique housing stock,” Pickett says. Commercial highlights also include the Frost Bank Tower, U.S. Courthouse and City Hall.

Columbus, Indiana
Known for its modern architecture and public art, Columbus once ranked sixth on the American Institute of Architects’ list of the top 10 American cities for architectural quality and innovation. Who would have thought? Don’t miss The Commons, Miller House and Garden, North Christian Church, or any of the Cummins buildings.

Paris, France

Top Cities Known for Architecture
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From its Nutella and croissants, to its stunning architectural attractions, there is so much to love about Paris. Pickett’s picks: Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Frank Gehry’s Foundation Louis Vuitton, the Opéra Garnier, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame de Paris.

Bergen, Norway
As Norway’s second largest city, downtown Bergen’s Hanseatic Wharf is full of beautiful colorful wooden and stone buildings that span across the centuries. Other notable buildings include Bergenhus Fortress and the Bergen Station.

 Sevilla, Spain

Top Cities Known for Architecture
If you’re a dedicated Star Wars fan, you might know Sevilla from the Plaza de España’s feature in Attack of the Clones. Beyond the Plaza, the The Alcázar Palace, Sevilla Cathedral and Las Setas are a few other architectural gems you don’t want to miss.