Eight Ways to Add Architecture to Your Adventures

Are you an architecture buff planning your next trip? Or maybe just looking for some new ways to explore? Here’s a list of eight things to do to add a little more architecture to your next vacation!

  1. Check out local walking tours.  Guided tours are nothing new in the tourism industry.  However, there are now many different formats of tours and many cities have subject-based tours.  Whether it’s through the local tourism board or a private company, there is bound to be a tour encompassing the city’s architectural wonders wherever you are headed next!  Not one for the guided group tours?  Ask if there is a brochure for self-guided tours or check online!
  2. There’s an app for that!  The company GPSmyCity.com offers downloadable audio tour apps that include information on historic houses and/or architectural tours for over 470 cities worldwide.  Don’t have an app-ready device?  Brief overviews of tour highlights are available online.

    Blue Mosque

    GPSmyCity not only has an Istanbul Architectural Tour but also has a “Walking the Mosques of Istanbul” guide, which includes a stop at the 17th-century Blue Mosque. Photo: Hallie Borstel

  3. Take a look at IconicHouses.org, DHT.Dwell.com, and ModernHomeTours.com before you leave.  All three of these sites either offer or have information on architecture and historic house tours.  The Iconic Houses Network identifies historic twentieth-century homes that made significant contributions to modern architecture.  The website has an interactive map and index of member houses.  Most houses listed are open to the public, so be sure to leave time for a visit!  Dwell and ModernHomeTours offer specialty tours focusing on modern homes; registration in advance is required.
  4. Make a trip to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.UNESCO’s list of heritage sites includes 981 destinations that are deemed to be of universal value, bear testimony to cultural traditions, or represent the human creative genius.  From Independence Hall in Philadelphia to Ancient Thebes to Canterbury Cathedral, the list is bursting with exciting ideas and stunning examples of architecture.  An interactive map makes planning easy!

    Build a travel itinerary around UNESCO World Heritage sites

    The historic city of Trogir has been on UNESCO’s list since 1997. The city’s architecture is a mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. Photo: Hallie Borstel

  5. Discover shared heritage with the U.S. National Parks.  Touring the U.S.?  The National Park Service and its partners have put together the Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itineraries based on sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Each itinerary contains historical background, maps, and information for visitors related to each site.

    Lowell Mills, historic site travel

    The guide to “Places Where Women Make History” includes a stop at Lowell National Historical Park in Massachusetts, where thousands of young “mill girls” spent their days. Photo: Hallie Borstel

  6. Hit some architecture museums along the way.  Museums can offer a broader perspective on a subject and are also a great way to brush-up on background information.  Luckily, the International Confederation of Architecture Museums (icam) has an easy-to-browse member index online.  Member museums are dedicated to promoting a better understanding of architecture.
  7. Give back to the community!  Looking for a way to fill your summer break?  Architecture for Humanity has three- to six-month volunteer and internship positions for those interested in serving communities in need via design, construction, and development services.
  8. Do hands on history!  Become an Adventures in Preservation (AiP) jammer and participate in a historic preservation project.  Projects take place throughout the year around the globe and give participants a chance to make a real impact at a historic site.  Space is available on a first-come first-serve basis. Check out the AiP website for details, photos, and testimonials from past projects!

    porch repair work, Cairo Illinois

    AiP shotgun house restoration project in Cairo, Illinois. Jammers will help restore shotgun houses in Shreveport, Louisiana next year.

This entry was posted in Cultural Travel, Experiential Travel, Heritage Travel, Historic Buildings, Vernacular Architecture, Volunteer Vacations and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Eight Ways to Add Architecture to Your Adventures

  1. Pingback: Bake on Saturday: Nutella Swirl Blondies | The Wordy Baker

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