Top U.S. Tourist Destinations for History and Architecture Lovers

Knock some historic properties off your travel bucket list.

Lauren Thomann is an antique dealer, freelance writer, and editor with 16 years of experience and a B.A. in English and Linguistics. She specializes in antiques (mainly Victorian through Mid-Century), antique jewelry, old house renovations, and lifestyle and home-related content.
Exterior look at the Biltmore estate

If you’re a history and architecture enthusiast, there’s a certain allure to old homes, mansions, and castles—with their unique architecture and captivating stories. If you’re looking to explore some of the United States’ most beautiful and intriguing tourist destinations with memorable pasts, here are several popular spots that should be on your list. Whether you’re captivated by Gilded Age mansions, European-inspired castles, or Southern plantations, each location offers a unique and enriching experience.

Credit: Biltmore

Address: 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803

Want a memorable vacation that is all history and no beach? First, book a historic hotel, then step into the grandeur of the Gilded Age at The Biltmore Estate. Explore the sprawling mansion, stroll through lush gardens, and be transported to a bygone era. It’s a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts and history lovers alike.

Credit: Breakers Mansion

Address: 44 Ochre Point Ave, Newport, RI 02840

Prepare to be awestruck by The Breakers Mansion. This opulent residence in Newport is a testament to the lavish lifestyles of America’s elite during the Gilded Age. Marvel at the intricate details and indulge in the grandeur of the past.

Credit: The Historic New Orleans Collection

Address: 520 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Immerse yourself in the vibrant history of New Orleans at The Historic New Orleans Collection. From captivating exhibits to meticulously preserved homes, this collection offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the city.

Credit: Vizcaya

Address: 3251 S Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33129

Discover a hidden gem in Miami at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. This exquisite estate transports you to a Mediterranean paradise with its stunning architecture and meticulously manicured gardens. Lose yourself in its timeless beauty.

Address: 3645 LA-18, Vacherie, LA 70090

Step into the antebellum South at Oak Alley Plantation. Known for its magnificent alley of live oak trees, this Greek Revival-style mansion offers guided tours that delve into the history of the plantation—the good and the bad.

Credit: Monticello

Address: 1050 Monticello Loop, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Explore the home of one of America’s founding fathers at Monticello. Thomas Jefferson’s architectural masterpiece reflects his intellect and vision. Walk the gardens and learn more about the life and legacy of this iconic figure in American history.

Address: 4 Westmoreland Pl, Pasadena, CA 91103

Get inspired by the craftsmanship of the Arts and Crafts movement at The Gamble House. Located in Pasadena, this architectural gem showcases intricate woodwork, beautiful stained glass, and a serene atmosphere that will transport you to a bygone era.

Credit: Glen Eyrie

Address: 3820 N 30th St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904

Journey into a fairytale-like castle at Glen Eyrie Castle. Nestled in the picturesque foothills of Colorado Springs, this Tudor-style mansion offers guided tours, lush gardens, and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Credit: Lyndhurst

Address: 635 S Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Indulge in the splendor of Lyndhurst Mansion, a Gothic Revival masterpiece overlooking the Hudson River. This enchanting estate features stunning interiors, manicured gardens, and panoramic views, making it a destination that’s sure to captivate architecture enthusiasts.

Address: 750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452

Marvel at the grandeur of Hearst Castle, the former residence of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Perched atop a hill overlooking the California coastline, this iconic mansion boasts opulent interiors, lush gardens, and panoramic ocean views.

Credit: Stan Hywet

Address: 714 N Portage Path, Akron, OH 44303

Explore the elegance of Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, a Tudor Revival-style mansion in Akron. With its beautifully landscaped gardens, breathtaking interiors, and engaging historical exhibits, this estate offers a delightful experience for architecture and history enthusiasts.

Credit: The White House

Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 20500

Experience the heart of American history at perhaps the most popular of all tourist destinations: The White House. Walk in the footsteps of past presidents, admire the iconic architecture, and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of the United States.

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