Destinations: Palm Springs, Chicago, New York City, Rome, Paris, London, Athens

Architecture is more than what holds the roof over your head. From simple to complex, building structures blend aesthetic with function to create awe-inspiring architectural masterpieces. Many ancient civilizations, such as Mayan, Egyptian and Greek, are well-known for their architectural accomplishments.

Nowadays, architecture–based vacations run the gamut from ancient to contemporary structures. Some key architectural destinations are Rome, Athens, Paris, London, New York, Chicago, Kyoto and Palm Springs. Beijing is notable for its contemporary architecture, while Berlin and Tel Aviv are big Bauhaus spots. The Guggenheim Bilbao, in Spain, is known more for its Frank Gehry design than for the art on its walls.

Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts are often drawn to the road to visit his buildings, most notably in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Arizona. Southern California (especially Los Angeles) is home to notable 20th-century designs, such as the Case Study Houses and the Salk Institute. Other modern-day marvels include the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the Sydney Opera House and the CN Tower in Toronto.

Interested in learning more about local architecture sites in your hometown or other U.S. city? The American Institute of Architects provides walking tours in many cities for fans of all ages.

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