VACATION IDEAS

25 Most Beautiful Cities in America

Sure, the U.S. is home to spacious skies and shining seas, but it also boasts some of the world's most gorgeous cities. From New England to the Hawaiian Islands, we celebrate the stylish, vibrant, and always surprising metropolises that are the most beautiful in America!

  1. New York City is home to some of the most iconic—and beautiful—structures in the U.S., perhaps none more so than the Brooklyn Bridge.

    (Ken Griffith/Dreamstime.com)
  2. No trip to New York City is complete without a visit to the Statue of Libery—or a ride on the Staten Island Ferry or Circle Line to ogle the "lady in the harbor" from a distance.

    (Viewapart/Dreamstime.com)
  3. Union Square is one of New York City's many expansive public spaces, known for quirky people-watching and a farmers market where top chefs throw elbows for the best fresh produce.

    (Sean Pavone/Dreamstime.com )
  4. San Francisco is defined by its watery surroundings, including the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay. Baker Beach is a locals' favorite.

    (Chee-onn Leong/Dreamstime.com)
  5. San Francisco's "Painted Ladies" are colorfully decorated Victorian homes near Alamo Square.

    (Daria Angelova/Dreamstime.com)
  6. The Palace of Fine Arts is one of the most striking edifices in San Francisco.

    (Dan Henson/Dreamstime.com)
  7. Honolulu is home to dramatic Diamond Head and the classic stretch of Waikiki Beach.

    (Sergiyn/Dreamstime.com)
  8. Honolulu's Waikiki is perfect for swimming, strolling, or doing pretty much nothing at all!

     

    (Adeliepenguin/Dreamstime.com)
  9. Iolani Palace in Honolulu is the only royal palace in the United States.

    (Jeff Whyte/Dreamstime.com)
  10. Washington, D.C., is home to world-famous cherry blossoms each spring. Here, a blossom hotspot around the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial.

    (Dasharosato/Dreamstime.com)
  11. Washington, D.C.'s moody and magnificent Lincoln Memorial is indisputably a beautiful work of art as well as a historic touchstone.

    (Andreykr/Dreamstime.com)
  12. The Georgetown neighborhood in Washington, D.C., is a quiet 19th-century respite from the crowds at the Mall.

    (Victor Torres/Dreamstime.com)
  13. Madison, Wisconsin, is a northern treasure! Here, the city's skyline—with its lake reflection—stands up to any in the world.

    (Suzanne Tucker/Dreamstime)
  14. Madison boasts impressive lakeside cycling trails that may make you forget you're in a major city!

    (Benkrut/Dreamstime.com)
  15. The University of Wisconsin's Bascom Hall on a bright sunny summer day is one of Madison's must-see sights.

    (Suzanne Tucker/Dreamstime)
  16. San Diego enjoys perfect weather and unforgettable sea vistas. Here, Seaport Village, nestled between downtown and the bayfront.

    (Brian Flaigmore/Dreamstime.com)
  17. Balboa Park is one of San Diego's major draws for locals and visitors alike.

    (Photo168/Dreamstime.com)
  18. Some would argue that San Diego's beaches are the ultimate in Southern California surf and sand—difficult to disagree on a day like this!

    (Photoquest/Dreamstime.com)
  19. Boston is home to classic colonial architecture, lovely parks, and the sailboat-dotted Charles River.

    (Mary Katherine Wynn/Dreamstime.com)
  20. Boston's Public Garden includes a statue of the ultimate patriot—native Virginian George Washington.

    (Jorge Salcedo/Dreamstime.com)
  21. Boston's historic North End includes iconic brick homes that harken back to the early days of the republic.

    (Elena Elisseeva/Dreamstime.com)
  22. San Antonio is home to Riverwalk, which links diverse, vibrant neighborhoods, bringing cultures together along the way.

    (Valentin Armianu/Dreamstime.com)
  23. The Torch of Friendship, in downtown San Antonio.

    (Valentin Armianu/Dreamstime.com)
  24. Mission San Jose is one of San Antonio's historic missions from the Spanish colonial period. (Perhaps you remember the name of one of its better-known counterparts?)

    (Roberta Rizzi/Dreamstime.com)
  25. Chicago offers a skyline dominated by an array of beautiful architectural styles, not to mention Soldier Field.

    (Rcavalleri/Dreamstime.com)
  26. Chicago isn't just a big city: Its waterways provide a welcome respite from the hustle-bustle. Here, tour boats line up on the Chicago River.

    (Noel Powell/Dreamstime.com)
  27. There may be no more exciting spot in America than Chicago after dark!

    (Grigor Atanasov/Dreamstime.com)
  28. Seattle not only has a gorgeous skyline, but stately Mount Rainier in the distance.

    (Juliengrondin/Dreamstime.com)
  29. Seattle's watery locale defines its culture and history.

    (Jerryway/Dreamstime.com)
  30. Seattle's houseboats, on Lake Union, have been featured in films such as Sleepless in… well, you know where!

    (Hdcphoto/Dreamstime.com)
  31. Jackson, Wyoming, may seem small, but in America's least-populous state, it qualifies as a mini metropolis. Here, a full moon rises over Jackson, with Snow King Ski Resort in the background.

    (Philip Bobrow/Dreamstime.com)
  32. Antler Arches welcoming guests to Jackson in winter.

    (Demerzel21/Dreamstime.com)
  33. An amazing view from the heights of the ski lift at Jackson Hole.

    (Boykov/Dreamstime.com)
  34. Philadelphia, with its lovely winding Schuylkill River in a misty sunrise.

    (Rudi1976/Dreamstime.com)
  35. Get your Rocky on at the Philadelphia Museum of Art!

    (Boris Hudak/Dreamstime.com)
  36. Philadelphia's Independence Hall was the meeting place of the Second Continental Congress, which adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and also of the Constitutional Convention.

    (Jorge Villalba/Dreamstime.com)
  37. New Orleans is a sight to see anytime of year, but its Jackson Square is especially lovely during the holidays.

    (Exposurestonature/Dreamstime.com)
  38. Street performers entertain along Royal Street, in New Orleans's French Quarter.

    (Lawrence Weslowski Jr/Dreamstime.com)
  39. One of New Orleans's stunning, unique homes.

    (Silverfly/Dreamstime.com)
  40. Savannah is a manageable, walkable small city with welcoming locals and amazing views, such as this one from Reynolds Square.

    (Heatherc123/Dreamstime.com)
  41. No need for a car when you visit Savannah—take the tram!

    (Wiktor Wojtas/Dreamstime.com)
  42. A stroll through Savannah brings you up close and personal with historical buildings dating back to the 19th century.

    (Refocus/Dreamstime.com)
  43. Denver is home to a beautiful Performing Arts Center, which includes the landmark sculpture "Dancers," by Jonathan Borofsky.

    (Bambi L. Dingman/Dreamstime.com)
  44. A lovely Denver vista in winter.

    (Ambientideas/Dreamstime.com)
  45. Denver's brightly lit capitol dome shines in summer twilight.

    (Ambientideas/Dreamstime.com)
  46. Charleston, South Carolina, is a great city for walking (not to mention eating!), including strolls in its waterfront parks.

    (Fotoluminate/Dreamstime.com)
  47. The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, also known as the New Cooper River Bridge, is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the Cooper River, connecting downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant.

    (Cvandyke/Dreamstime.com)
  48. Charleston is an ideal place for viewing classic Southern flora such as live oaks, Spanish moss, and azaleas.

    (Daveallenphoto/Dreamstime.com)
  49. St. Augustine isn't just near the beach—the city has its own stunning beachfront.

    (Paul Brennan/Dreamstime.com)
  50. St. Augustine is home to a variety of architectural styles, including Spanish colonial.

    (Diane Uhley/Dreamstime.com)
  51. St. Augustine surprises visitors with lovely time-traveling details that remind you how old this city really is.

    (Natalia Bratslavsky/Dreamstime.com)
  52. The Nashville skyline immortalized by Bob Dylan, reflected here in the Cumberland River.

    (Judy Kennamer/Dreamstime.com)
  53. Nashville's War Memorial Auditorium and the Tennessee state capitol.

    (Sean Pavone/Dreamstime.com)
  54. Nashville's Lower Broadway neighborhood is home to up-and-coming country music artists and those who can't wait to hear Music City's next big thing.

    (Sean Pavone/Dreamstime.com)
  55. Burlington, Vermont, is home to the Church Street Marketplace, in the city's historic district.

    (Wangkun Jia/Dreamstime.com)
  56. Burlington isn't exactly landlocked—its stunning lakeshore is unforgettable!

    (Erikamit/Dreamstime.com)
  57. The playful sculpture of Vermont saxophonist Big Joe Burrell at Burlington's Church Street Marketplace.

    (Wangkun Jia/Dreamstime.com)
  58. A breathtaking aerial photograph of downtown Portland, Maine, from a helicopter.

    (Jeff Schultes/Dreamstime.com)
  59. Boats anchored in Portland's lovely harbor.

    (Bambi L. Dingman/Dreamstime.com)
  60. A reminder of New England's maritime heritage—fishing boats on the sand at low tide near Portland.

    (Anne Kitzman/Dreamstime.com)
  61. Albuquerque is home to the amazing annual Hot Air Baloon Fiesta.

    (Benkrut/Dreamstime.com)
  62. San Felipe De Neri Church in Albuquerque's Old Town Plaza.

    (Monkrus/Dreamstime.com)
  63. San Felipe de Neri Church is one of Albuquerque's most enchanting destinations.

    (James Feliciano/Dreamstime.com)
  64. Anchorage—by far the northernmost of our beautiful American cities!—reflected in Cook Inlet.

    (Jeanninebryan/Dreamstime.com)
  65. The mountains outside Anchorage are often capped with snow!

    (Tom Dowd/Dreamstime.com)
  66. Ice skating in downtown Anchorage is a winter favorite.

    (Jmaentz/Dreamstime.com)
  67. Portland, Oregon, though it is located inland, is, as its name suggests, a thriving port.

    (Gino Rigucci/Dreamstime.com)
  68. A spectacular view of Portland from historic Pittock Mansion at night.

    (Josemaria Toscano/Dreamstime.com)
  69. Graceful willows overlook the lagoon in Portland's Chinese Classical Garden.

    (Lee Snider/Dreamstime.com)
  70. Ann Arbor, Michigan, with its lovely buildings and public parks, deserves to take its place among America's most beautiful cities.

    (Shinz83/Dreamstime.com)
  71. A performance at the West Park Band Shell in Ann Arbor—one of the small-town touches you'll find in this big city!

    (Smontgom65/Dreamstime.com)
  72. The University of Michigan Ice Carving Team produces some stunning works of (temporary!) art in downtown Ann Arbor.

    (Smontgom65/Dreamstime.com)
  73. With the fabulous Pacific Ocean as its neighbor, how can Los Angeles not make our list of the most beautiful cities in America?

    (Sean Pavone/Dreamstime.com)
  74. Palm trees and skyscrapers compete for their closeups in downtown Los Angeles.

    (Steve Allen/Dreamstime.com)
  75. Los Angeles offers ample opportunities to multitask like a mogul, pursue unparalleled outdoor adventures, or just kick back and relax!

    (Wei-chuan Liu/Dreamstime.com)

Get Inspired with more from BudgetTravel.com


Recent Slideshows


Budget Travel Real Deals


  • From $1,399

See more deals »

Recent Articles



Budget Travel Real Deals


  • From $1,399

See more deals »

Video


Loading Comments...

Our newsletter delivers vacation inspiration straight to your inbox.

Check Prices