Washington, DC, is not all political wonks and Masonic conspiracies: It's also a highly walkable city, its diagonal avenues wide open to modern design. The Tidal Basin is monument central. This view from the Jefferson Memorial across toward the Washington Monument is one of the city's most stunning. The cherry trees along the basin, which bloom each April to great fanfare, are one of the capital's most stunning natural displays and the greatest legacy of First Lady Nellie Taft. Photo by: Matthew Monteith
Today, if you tallied the world’s design capitals, you’d be forgiven for overlooking Honolulu. But when it came to modern architecture in the 1950s and ’60s, all eyes were on Hawaii’s capital city. Built in 1969, the Hawaii State Capitol is rich in symbolism: The columns recall native coconut palms and refer to the eight major Hawaiian islands. Photo by: Dave Lauridsen
Nestled on the Pacific coastline, between Los Angeles’s sprawl and the Mexican border, San Diego is a surprisingly design-forward town with a handful of modern masterpieces to prove it. Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute is a stunning building that looks directly out to the sea. Architectural tourists flock to the site, which still functions as a working laboratory. Photo by: Bryce Duffy
Portland, Maine, has long been a cultural outpost in New England, a hotspot for artists and longshoreman alike who crave the sophistication of the big city (65,000 people) while still retaining a distinctly Maine character.
One of the oldest cities in the United States and home to the country’s first International Style skyscraper, Philadelphia is, unfortunately, now associated more with cheesesteaks and colonial kitsch than with successful American urbanism. The PSFS Building, now a Loews Hotel, was designed by George Howe and William Lescaze from 1929 to 1932, and was the first International Style skyscraper built in the United States.
Take a tour through Houston, Texas. A view of the Houston skyline, with the Wortham Theater Center and the George Bush Monument in the forefront. Image courtesy of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Denver, Colorado, is on a Rocky Mountain high of art and architecture with new museums by Daniel Libeskind and David Adjaye. Daniel Libeskind's Denver Art Museum, whose titanium-clad exterior shimmers in the afternoon sun. Photo by: Cameron Wittig