14+ North American Architecture Travel Goals

Where to even begin at this point? The U S of A has 50 states. Which means the sights and wonders the country has to offer is endless. Every state has their own highlights and landmarks. Just being able to go there is already an honor and a privilege. But living there however, well, that is a different story altogether.

If you and your family ever decide to visit the States one of these days, believe us, a few days is not enough. Even a month will not suffice (just kidding!). Without further ado, let us proceed with the states and their respective architectural highlights that you need to see as part of your bucket list.

Top Destinations

New York City

(Cue music in 3…2…1…) “These streets will make you feel brand new. Big lights will inspire you. Now you’re in New York. Concrete jungle where dreams are made of. There’s nothing you can’t do now you’re in New York. These streets will make you feel brand new. Big lights will inspire you. Hear it for New Yooork.” Sounds familiar? This song entitled “Empire State of Mind” was sung by Alicia Keys and Jay-Z in 2009. As you make your way through Times Square, you can hear this song playing on repeat. This may seem very ordinary for the residents of the state, but if you are a first-timer listening to this song at the heart of New York City, it is simply divine and magical.

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While you are there, take the time to visit the places that you often dreamed of seeing in the movies: Guggenheim Museum, National September 11 Museum, Broadway. There are just too many to enumerate. However, if you do not take the time to visit the renowned Statue of Liberty, it is like you have never visited the U.S. in the first place.

Los Angeles

A.k.a. Hollywood, the land of movies and motion picture studios where magic comes to life. But other than being known as the “movie state”, it is just another version of New York City where culture, pleasure, entertainment, are mixed into one. It is also home to renowned art galleries like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Getty Center. Also, when in L.A., take the hill up North and take in the beauty of the Griffith Observatory. It is simply magical. For shopaholics, you can never go wrong with Rodeo Drive.

This shopping strip is located at Beverly Hills where the rich and the fancy buy their things. Another famous landmark in Los Angeles is the Santa Monica Pier and Beach, a very renowned beach that is also home to several stalls selling souvenirs and light snacks. Oh, it has a ferris wheel too. Planning to catch a concert? It might located at the Walt Disney Concert Hall that features a very unique design.

San Francisco

San Francisco is a perfect state to visit for those free-spirited types who have an eye for edgy art, who crave for a different type of cuisine and a heart for adventure. It’s really not surprising that songwriter Tony Bennett left his heart here: The city boasts jaw-dropping sights, world-class cuisine, cozy cafes and plenty of booming nightlife venues – there is simply no limit to the things you can do in San Francisco.

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Other than taking pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge on your cruise, you can also try exploring Golden Gate Park as well as Fisherman’s Wharf, the home of World War 2 submarines and their delectable clam chowder inside a bread bowl! You might also want to check out Alcatraz Island, the former home of high profile criminals. If you’re looking for an equally amazing and glorious view, make your way up to Twin Peaks that is almost a thousand feet off from the ground.

Washington D.C. 

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For those who do not know what the D.C. stands for, it refers to the District of Columbia. Washington D.C. is best known for its government buildings and buildings that embody a part of U.S. History. You may have seen some of these places before: the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the U.S. Capitol, the Library of Congress, and the Washington Monument.

Missouri

Located in St. Louis, Missouri, the Gateway Arch is a monument that stands at around 630 feet or 192 meters from the ground. Clad in stainless steel and built in the form of a weighted catenary arch, the Gateway Arch currently stands as the world’s tallest arch, as well as the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, and Missouri’s tallest accessible building. The Gateway Arch has been internationally recognized as the symbol of St. Louis as it was built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, and officially dedicated to “the American people”.

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Did you know that the Arch was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen in 1947? You see, construction began as early as February 12, 1963, and was completed more than 3 years later on October 28, 1965? The cost of building the arch was estimated around $13 million (equivalent to $77.5 million in 2016). It was officially open to the public on June 10, 1967. It is located at the site of St. Louis’s founding on the west bank of the Mississippi River.

Chicago

Willis Tower, also known as the Sears Tower, is a 11 story-skyscraper or at least 1,450-feet (442.1 m) in Chicago, Illinois, United States. When it was finished in 1973, it held the title for being the tallest building, easily surpassing the World Trade Center towers in New York for nearly 25 years.

It remained the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere until 2014 when the completion of a new building at the World Trade Center site was finished. Currently, the Willis Tower is the second-tallest building in the United States and the Western hemisphere – and the 16th-tallest in the world. More than one million people visit its observation deck every year, making it one of Chicago’s most popular tourist spots. The Sears Tower was renamed in 2009 by the Willis Group as part of its lease on a portion of the tower’s space.

As of December 2013, the building’s largest tenant is United Airlines, which moved its corporate headquarters from the United Building at 77 West Wacker Drive in 2012 and today occupies around 20 floors with its headquarters and operations center.

Philadelphia

Philadelphia City Hall is the seat of government for the city of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. The building was constructed from 1871 that finished 30 years later within the Penn Square, in the middle of Center City. John McArthur Jr. was the designer of the building in the Second Empire style. City Hall is a masonry building whose weight is borne by granite and brick walls up to 22 ft (6.7 m) thick. The final construction cost was $24 million and the principal exterior materials are limestone, granite, and marble.

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Standing at 548 feet or 167 meters, including the statue of city founder William Penn atop its tower, City Hall was the tallest habitable building in the world from 1894 to 1908. It remained the tallest in Pennsylvania until it was surpassed in 1932 by the Gulf Tower in Pittsburgh. Philadelphia City Hall was the tallest building until 1986 when the construction of One Liberty Place surpassed it, ending the informal gentlemen’s agreement that had limited the height of buildings in the city to no higher than the Penn statue. City Hall was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

Las Vegas

Also known as Sin City and they do call that for a particular reason. Las Vegas may be located in a desert, but this is where all the magic and fun takes place (no pun intended). Casinos and strip clubs dominate Vegas, most especially Caesar’s Palace, Mandalay Bay, Wynn Hotel and Excalibur. There is not particularly much to do there, but still, no vacation to the U.S. would be complete without it. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

Other Destinations to Consider

South Dakota, Mount Rushmore

In 1923, South Dakota historian Doane Robinson had a vision of carving the likenesses of U.S. presidents into South Dakota’s Black Hills region. It took 14 years and 400 workers to complete Mount Rushmore, with the likenesses of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln intricately carved into the granite. Every year, Mount Rushmore draws in tourists and locals from around the world to see this spectacle.

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Montana, Wild Goose Island in St. Mary Lake, Glacier National Park St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park features a small island at the center called Wild Goose Island. Legend has it that two young lovers met on the island where they were turned into geese… and so given the chance to stay together forever and flee their disapproving tribes (like Romeo and Juliet. Except they didn’t die).

Utah (Salt Lake Temple)

The largest Mormon temple, Salt Lake Temple took 40 years to complete. The cornerstone was laid by Brigham Young, the second president of the Mormon Church and founder of Salt Lake City.

New Mexico (Chaco Culture National Historical Park)

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico contains the most expansive collection of ancient pueblos and ruins north of Mexico.

Wisconsin (Taliesin)

Taliesin, located near Spring Green, Wisconsin, was the summer home of the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It was where he designed the architecture of Fallingwater and the Guggenheim, among others.

Ohio (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum)

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If you are a die-hard fan of Rock and Roll, then Ohio is the place for you to go. The quiet shores of Ohio’s Lake Erie are home to rock ‘n’ roll’s biggest celebration: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum located in Cleveland. This museum preserves the work of rock’s most influential artists and producers through egalleries and exhibits that can reach up to five floors. The museum’s third floor showcases the Hall of Fame and includes a wall with all the inductees’ signatures.

Louisiana (Oak Alley Plantation)

If you have seen the movie 12 Years a Slave, then you might have an idea of what the Oak Alley Plantation looks like. By the banks of the Mississippi River stands Oak Alley Plantation. It was named so because of the double row of 300-year-old oak trees that sit alongside each side of the path leading to the mansion. Oak Alley Plantation was designed in the spirit of French Creole architecture, the plantation home was built between 1837 and 1839 for a wealthy sugar planter of the day.

In reality, the list simply goes on and on. But, before travelling to the U.S., here are a few things that you need to check:

  • Budget. Everything in the U.S. is expensive. And that is no lie. The food, the bottled food, the souvenirs. So make sure that you spend what you need to spend there. Do not try to for unnecessary things. If you intend to make the best out of your U.S. vacation, only spend the essentials: the tour package, the accommodations.
  • Careful planning. Best avoid having a personal trip to the U.S. Go with a group as it helps you save. Try to check out on group promos and tours that might help you save a few bucks.
  • Public Transportation. No offense, taxi drivers suck. Not only are they very costly, but they also have the tendency to be discourteous such as honking and overtaking other cars as they drive in a hurry. Try using public transportation for a change. Like the subway. It may not be like Japan’s or Korean subway where they make use of the high-tech bullet trains, but at least it’s cheaper, right?

Did you know?

Breakfast wastage

Chain hotels have the tendency to limit their breakfast to only a few essentials. They do not serve rice meals, but instead, they serve pastries, burger steaks, yogurts, eggs and cheese, fruits. All served in paper plates and paper cups. After using them, they are simply disposed off. Simply shocking and wasteful, indeed.

Truly global food

American food may be great and all, but thanks to the immigrants, the people can now have a taste of what other countries’ food are like without having to go there. Some may be the typical Chinese, Japanese, or Filipino, or Korean food. But if you search and look hard enough, you can see that there are hidden restaurants from countries or places you have never heard off. So Miami has great Cuban and Haitian restaurants, Washington DC is superb for Salvadorian and Ethiopian, while New York has everything from Ghanaian to Puerto Rican.

Good beer

Ah yes, beer. Some prefer German beer though. In the past, they would serve horrible brands of beer. But that is slowly changing over time.

Lawyer advertising

You can literally find this anywhere. Billboards, TVs, commercials, newspapers, radios. It’s everywhere. But with the current state of the U.S., can you really blame them? Profit will always be profit, you know. Anything can happen there. Should ever something bad happen to you while on vacation, call them.

The star spangled banner certainly has a lot to offer, from magnificent architecture, to amazing food, to breathtaking natural wonders. So, get your backpacks ready! Abraham Lincoln, Angelina Jolie, Michael Jordan, and Elvis will be waiting!

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