When you typically think of cities with a rich U.S. history, you probably think of Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, and other locations that played a special role in the nation’s founding.
However, there are many other parts of national history to explore and celebrate, and cities throughout the U.S. give visitors unique and fascinating windows into different stages of history.
The following cities have amazing historic neighborhoods, landmarks, and communities that history buffs will love to visit. After visiting cities with enchanting histories, vibrant cultural scenes, and modern amenities, you may be tempted to move full-time.After visiting cities with enchanting histories, vibrant cultural scenes, and modern amenities, you may just be tempted to move there full-time. Click To Tweet
San Francisco, CA
This city may currently be best known for its high-tech scene and its embrace of progressive causes, but it has also played an important role in various stages of U.S. history and is home to some of the nation’s most famous attractions.
The iconic Golden Gate Bridge attracts tourists far and wide as a beautiful feat of architectural engineering with historic significance. Fort Point, which was built in the mid-1800s and defended the San Francisco Bay following California’s Gold Rush through World War II, is also located near the foot of the bridge.
The city is also home to Alcatraz Island, a National Historic Landmark that has been a Civil War fortress, a military prison, a federal prison, a bird sanctuary, the first lighthouse on the West Coast, and the birthplace of the American Indian Red Power movement.
Those interested in the earlier history of the city can visit Mission Dolores, founded in 1776 and the oldest intact building in the City of San Francisco. It is home to Mission Cemetery, the final resting place for numerous Ohlone, Miwok, and other First Californians, as well as notable California pioneers. Another must-visit attraction is The Presidio, also founded by the Spanish in 1776 and eventually taken over by the Mexican government before the U.S. Army took control in 1846. It is now home to a cultural center and museum.
History enthusiasts may also enjoy a visit to the Cable Car Museum or the Haight-Ashbury & The Castro districts, which played a significant role in the counter-cultural movements of the 50s and 60s.
As we mentioned in our blog post Beautiful Vacation Property Options in Southern Cities, Downtown Charleston has preserved its historic buildings and 19th-century character so well that it has been called “a living museum.”
Visitors to the city of Charleston can glimpse more than 300 years of history by walking down its cobblestone streets, exploring expertly preserved antebellum mansions (such as The Aiken-Rhett House and The Nathaniel Russel House) plantations (such as Middleton Place and Boone Hall) and historic theatres (such as the Dock Street Theatre, founded in 1736).
And of course, Charleston played a central role in U.S. military history. It is the site of victory over the Royal Navy in 1776, and the scene of the largest patriot defeat in 1780.
Perhaps most notably of Charleston’s military history, though, was when The Confederacy fired on the U.S. garrison of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861 and started the Civil War. Charleston visitors can also explore Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island to experience 171 years of seacoast defense, from 1776 to 1947.
Santa Fe, NM
Santa Fe, founded in 1610 on the site of old pueblo villages, is one of the oldest cities in the U.S.
Fans of Native American History will love the La Cienequilla Petroglyphs, which can be found along a mesa above the Santa Fe River. Historians believe that the petroglyphs, many of which feature birds and humpbacked flute players, were placed there by Keresan-speaking Puebloan people living in the area between the 13th and 17th centuries. If you’re feeling outdoorsy, you can also hop in the car and head over to Bandelier National Monument or Pecos National Historical Park and explore some ancestral pueblo ruins.
San Miguel Chapel is widely considered to be the oldest church in the world, constructed in Santa Fe sometime in the early 1600s by Franciscan friars to serve a small congregation of soldiers, laborers, and Indians.
Other historic buildings from the same era include The Palace of the Governors, The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, and The “Oldest” House in Santa Fe.
Plus, Santa Fe’s sunny weather (at an elevation of 7,000 feet, the city enjoys 320 sunny days per year) and vibrant arts scenes make the city a great travel destination.
In the Historic Landmark District of Savannah, visitors can stroll through 22 historic park squares complete with oak trees draped with Spanish moss. Throughout the district, visitors can enjoy museums, monuments, and restored 18th-century homes with beautiful antebellum architecture.
The central feature in Savannah’s historic district is the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, an awe-inspiring Gothic cathedral that was established by French Catholic émigrés shortly before the end of the 18th century.
Visitors can also enjoy historic City Market, founded in 1775 as a source for the city’s groceries and other goods, and today home to restaurants, creative art spaces, live performances, unique shopping options and more.
Don’t miss a stroll down Savannah’s iconic cobblestone-lined River Street and check out the many shops, galleries, pubs and restaurants that are housed in what used to be cotton warehouses.
To see one of Savannah’s most well-known icons, head over to Forsyth Park and take in the beautiful historic Forsyth Park Fountain, erected in 1858.
Savannah is also home to many other museums, galleries, historic theatres, and music and film venues throughout its many distinct neighborhoods.
Looking for a Modern Home With Historic Charm?
Finally, if you’re looking for an amazing property that features the historic charm of the surrounding neighborhood but has all of the amenities of modern construction, we invite you to check out the homes of Upper East River in Savannah.
The homes of Upper East River are luxury, single-family homes in a new riverfront development called Eastern Wharf. Homeowners can choose from among a variety of home plans, from luxury lofts to historic rowhouses, all of which were expertly designed to blend with Savannah’s historic architecture and character.
To learn more, please reach out and contact the Upper East River Team.