In a world where we’re constantly bombarded by the newest, shiniest thing, it can be incredibly nourishing to spend time in the historic neighborhoods that laid the foundation for this country. The following ‘hoods span from the East to the West Coast and they’re widely coveted for their stunning architecture, rich culture, and overall historic charm.
Austin - Clarksville
Located just west of downtown near Lady Bird Lake, Clarksville is a historic district largely comprised of Late Victorian- and Craftsman-style homes. The district dates back to the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865 when then-Governor Pease donated the land to some of his former slaves. It’s named after Charles Clark, who, In 1871, helped to establish the area as one of the first freedmen’s towns west of the Mississippi River.
San Francisco - Alamo Square
Famous for its row of Painted Ladies—a series of Victorian houses featuring vibrant hues—Alamo Square is a historic residential neighborhood and park in San Francisco. The neighborhood’s striking Victorian architecture has been featured in many movies and television shows, including Full House, The Five-Year Engagement, and The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Some notable homes include the William Westerfeld House and the Archbishop’s Mansion.
Detroit - Indian Village
Indian Village is an affluent Detroit neighborhood that’s well-known for its historic architecture, particularly Colonial and Tudor Revival-style homes. Many of the homes were designed by prominent architects in the early 20th century, including William Stratton, Albert Kahn, and Louis Kamper. And several major figures have called the neighborhood home, such as Edsel Ford and Henry Leland, the founder of Lincoln and Cadillac.
Philadelphia - Old City
Old City is a historic Philadelphia neighborhood near the Delaware River. The neighborhood is home to the oldest continually inhabited street in the U.S., Elfreth’s Alley, which features 32 houses that were constructed between 1728 and 1836. Some prominent historic sites in the ‘hood include the Betsy Ross House, Independence Hall, and the Independence National Historical Park.
New Orleans - Garden District
When it comes to stunning architecture, it doesn’t get much better than the historic mansions in the Garden District. Originally developed in the 19th century, the neighborhood was planned by New Orleans architect and surveyor, Barthelemy Lafon. On any given block, you’re guaranteed to find a handful of early 19th-century mansions surrounded by smaller Victorian houses that look a lot like beautiful gingerbread houses.
Established in 1769, Old Town is the oldest neighborhood in San Diego. The neighborhood is home to two historic parks, Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and Presidio Park, both of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, it's home to the Whaley House, a classic Greek Revival building that was once a theater and county courthouse and is rumored to be haunted. The 'hood also hosts a wide range of Victorian, Craftsman, and Spanish-style homes in addition to 27 historic buildings and sites, so it's the perfect place to get your architectural history fix.
Atlanta - Grant Park
Another neighborhood full of gorgeous Victorian homes, the Grant Park neighborhood includes an eponymous 131-acre park in addition to several streets of historic houses. The neighborhood is the largest remaining area of Victorian architecture in Atlanta and is comprised of Victorian mansions, two-story modified Queen Anne homes, and one-story Victorian-era cottages and bungalows.
Seattle - Queen Anne Hill
Named for its most prominent architectural style, Queen Anne Hill is a wealthy Seattle neighborhood that’s located northwest of downtown. It sits atop the highest named hill in the city and includes 29 official Seattle landmarks, such as the North Queen Anne Drive Bridge. The steel and concrete bridge was built in 1936 and declared a historic landmark thanks to its uniquely-engineered design.
Washington, D.C. - Georgetown
Originally a Maryland tobacco port in 1751, Georgetown is Washington, D.C.’s oldest neighborhood. The neighborhood was designated as a National Historic Landmark District in 1967 due to its breadth of preserved Federal-period and Colonial architecture. Many prominent individuals have called the neighborhood home, including John F. Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Julia Child, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Herman Wouk.
Check out our Local section to read more from our curated list of things to do, cities to see, and places to go. And, if you love architecture as much as we do, try checking out our innovative Search With Style® tool, where you can search all homes for sale by their architectural style.