Originally published in TEACH Magazine, July/August 2023 Issue
Have you ever come across a building you couldn’t help but admire? There is no doubt that architectural gems are quite the sight to behold—especially up close. Be it the preserved structures of a bygone era, or clean-lined modernism, architecture has long been considered the “mother of all arts.” And what better way to experience some of these man-made marvels than through a guided tour!
Whether you consider yourself an architectural aficionado or someone who simply appreciates beautiful design, we’ve rounded up several amazing (and oh-so-Instagram-worthy) places you can explore this summer.
Mosaics, curved lines, ornate ironwork, stained glass—ah, the beauty of Art Nouveau. Brussels is a paradise for lovers of this unique style that originated there in the late 19th century. Visit Brussels offers an architectural itinerary through bourgeois communes like Forest, Saint-Gilles, and Ixelles where examples of Art Nouveau still exist widely.
The city is also home to several other styles including Baroque, Neoclassical, Art Deco, and Eclecticism. ARAU takes you through them all, with its rich selection of guided tours revealing extraordinary buildings in every district of the city.
From the city that invented the skyscraper comes a soaring skyline of some of the most iconic buildings in America. The Chicago Architecture Center offers 90 guided tours (90!) by foot, train, boat, or bus. One of the best ways to take in Chicago’s architecture is from the water, so hop aboard one of the city’s abundant boat tours and enjoy breathtaking views of over 40 famed landmarks, including the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, Marina City, and many more.
Denmark’s capital city shines in the spotlight more than ever before after being designated the World Capital of Architecture for 2023. Book a tour with the Danish Architecture Center and discover what makes Copenhagen one of the most livable and sustainable cities in the world.
See award-winning housing projects like Krøyers Plads and 8 House, visit cultural institutions such as the Royal Playhouse and the Black Diamond, and behold some of the world’s most extensive circular buildings like the Resource Rows and Upcycle Studios.
Ancient shrines and temples? Check. Super cities? Check. From enchanting monuments to hypermodern facades, Japan is a true feast for the eyes. Consider Luxury Tours Japan for its variety of tailor-made architecture tours. You’ll have opportunities to visit some of Japan’s oldest buildings and classic oriental dwellings, witness local craftmanship firsthand, and even observe the intriguing fusion of traditional Japanese aesthetics in contemporary modern-day buildings.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Nicknamed “The City Different,” Santa Fe is remarkable for its distinctive adobe-inspired buildings. Pueblo-Spanish architecture—rounded edges, flat-roofs, vigas, and earth-toned hues—dominates here, with building codes firmly preserving this “Santa Fe” style even today.
On this personal architecture tour, you’ll take a guided walk through the city’s back roads, residential areas, and art districts, visiting sights such as Santa Fe Plaza, Burro Alley, the John Gaw Meem Historic Building, the La Fonda Hotel, and many more.
Victoria, British Columbia
One of the oldest cities on Canada’s west coast, this picturesque destination is renowned for its colonial English charm, rich with surviving Victorian buildings developed during Queen Victoria’s reign. Look to Come See Victoria for architecture-focused tours, featuring national historic sites like the Romanesque Parliament Buildings, the Chateau Style Empress hotel, and the Edwardian-era Belmont Building, to name a few.
The Victoria Heritage Foundation even offers self-guided tours through Victoria’s eight historic neighbourhoods, covering many buildings not on the Heritage Register.