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The Best Cities for History Buffs in America

There's no reason (unless you want to) to cross the pond to see fascinating History and monuments from the past. There are enough museums and historical sites to fill any history lover with joy.

The U.S. started back in the 18th century, and these landmarks can help us understand the lessons from the past. Ready to get to know the most historic cities in the U.S.? Keep reading.

Discovering the most historic cities

We discovered the best U.S. cities for historic buffs by looking at all cities with at least 50,000 residents, 10-plus square miles of land area and had at least one historic site, landmark or museum.

The top 10 below captures those cities with the most Historic Sites, landmarks and museums per density. This means that in these cities, you'll see the most historic sites per square mile.

10. Portland, ME

portland me

As part of the original 13 colonies, Maine has a rich history that goes way back to before it became a state in 1820. Portland enjoys a walk score of 80, perfect for strolling from historic landmark to museum when the weather is nice.

There are close to 20 museums in the city, including the Tate House Museum, the Victorian Mansion and the Maine Irish Heritage Center. The latter offers genealogy services to build your family tree if you're of Irish descent.

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9. Richmond, VA

richmond va, one of the most historic cities in america

Richmond's roots go back to the 17th century, playing an essential role in several historical events like the American Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Politician Patrick Henry said his famous words, "Give me liberty or give me death," at St. John's Episcopal Church — which resulted in Virginia sending troops to the war.

With more than 400 years of history, you have plenty to pick in your next history deep dive.

At the Hollywood Cemetery, two American presidents, two Supreme Court justices and other notable figures rest. The American Civil War Museum, Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia and the John Marshall House also offer detailed glimpses into the past.

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8. Philadelphia, PA

philadelphia pa

With 56 historical sites and 141 museums, Philadelphia takes our No. 8 spot for best cities for history buffs.

Of course, your first landmark visit will be the Liberty Bell Center and its 2,080-pound Liberty Bell. Follow that visit with the Independence Hall, the Betsy Rose House where the first American flag was sewn and the Museum of the American Revolution.

And don't forget, this is the home of the Declaration of Independence.

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7. Hartford, CT

hartford ct, one of the most historic cities in america

In 1635, the first English settlers arrived in Hartford, previously called Newtown, for a short period. Now the state capital, Hartford's State Capitol displays many items of historical nature. You can also find the U.S.'s oldest newspaper, Hartford Courant, established in 1764.

The city boasts nine historic sites and 18 museums within its city limits. Hartford has a walk score of 75 and a bike score of 61 for those looking to spend the day outside.

If you're feeling literary, visit Mark Twain's well-preserved home as well.

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6. Saint Louis, MO

saint louis mo

Saint Louis has a rich Indigenous history — with over 10 tribes living along the Mississippi River when European settlers arrived. The area has French and Spanish influence due to its settlers. After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, it became part of the U.S.

You can explore this period along with Saint Louis' role in the Great Migration and the World's Fair at the Missouri History Museum, Missouri Civil War Museum and the Griot Museum of Black History.

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4 (tied). Boston, MA

boston ma, one of the most historic cities in america
*tied

Boston is known as the epicenter of American Independence. First as the settlement of Puritan colonists from England and later, for the Boston Tea Party and the city's rally cry, "No taxation without representation!"

The city is also home to Harvard University, which houses many artifacts and documents from its long history. You can examine other historical moments at The Boston African American National Historic Site, Old South Meeting House, Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum and Old City Hall.

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4 (tied). San Francisco, CA

san francisco ca
*tied

These days, when you think of San Francisco, you're most likely to think about Silicon Valley than history books. But the city has a deep rich past, starting with its conquest in 1846 by the U.S.

The Gold Rush brought people from all over the country to have a chance to live in this thriving city and possibly get rich. Much of the city crumbled and burned by the 1906 earthquake and fire, but many landmarks remain.

Among the many historical sites to check out, you can see more of the Gold Rush at the Museum of the City of San Francisco, The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Mission Dolores and Angel Island.

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3. Alexandria, VA

alexandria va, one of the most historic cities in america

Alexandria is one of those towns where most buildings have remained preserved, so walking through its streets makes you feel like you're going back in time. The city was one of the country's busiest ports at one time, becoming a vital link in the tobacco trade and as a Civil War supply center.

This Virginia city had a large population of free Black families following the Emancipation, and you can learn more about them at the Alexandria Black History Museum. It is one of 30 museums you can visit in the town, ranging from architectural history to preserved homes and archeology.

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2. Providence, RI

providence ri

You can find Providence with more than 50 museums and historical sites combined on our No. 2 spot. While Rhode Island is the smallest state in the U.S., this didn't stop Providence from making a mark in U.S. history. Roger Williams founded the town after he moved away from the Massachusetts colony due to "religious persecution."

Thanks to its commitment to preservation, local historical landmarks remain as beautiful as they did back in the day. You can visit the John Brown House Museum, Brown University, Rhode Island Black Heritage Society and the Governor Stephen Hopkins House, to name a few. The latter is one of Providence's oldest surviving buildings, built in 1707.

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1. Washington, DC

washington dc, one of the most historic cities in america

Unsurprising, the city with the highest density of historical landmarks and museums and every history buffs' dream is Washington, DC. From the White House to the U.S. Capitol and the Abraham Lincoln Memorial, there are dozens of historical sites plus more than 180 museums within its city limits.

Luckily, the city's extreme walkability helps you get around the many national historic landmarks. Add The Library of Congress, the National Mall and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to your list.

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The top 50 most historic cities in America

From the Civil War to the Declaration of Independence, these are the top 50 most historic cities in America. Head to one of these to up your trivia game and learn a bit more about this country we call home.

RankCityPopulationRank of Historic Sites Per DensityRank of Museums Per Density
1Washington, DC 705,749 11
2Providence, RI 179,883 24
3Alexandria, VA 159,428 43
4San Francisco, CA 881,549 92
5Boston, MA 692,600 38
6Saint Louis, MO 300,576 115
7Hartford, CT 122,105 512
8Philadelphia, PA 1,584,064 810
9Richmond, VA 230,436 1311
10Portland, ME 66,215 719
11Santa Barbara, CA 91,364 207
12Baltimore, MD 593,490 1613
13Albany, NY 96,460 1416
14 (tied)New York, NY 8,336,817 289
14 (tied)Buffalo, NY 255,284 2215
14 (tied)Waltham, MA 62,495 631
17Pensacola, FL 52,975 2514
18 (tied)Miami, FL 467,963 346
18 (tied)Quincy, MA 94,470 1228
18 (tied)Leesburg, VA 53,727 1030
21Bradenton, FL 59,439 1925
22Pasadena, CA 141,029 1729
23Rochester, NY 205,695 2327
24Norwalk, CT 88,816 2626
25Missoula, MT 75,516 3223
26Savannah, GA 144,464 1838
27Cincinnati, OH 303,940 3324
28Oakland, CA 433,031 3820
29 (tied)Fort Lauderdale, FL 182,437 4321
29 (tied)Asheville, NC 92,870 2935
29 (tied)Newark, OH 50,315 2440
32Pittsburgh, PA 300,286 4718
33Dayton, OH 140,407 2739
34Chicago, IL 2,693,976 4622
35Petaluma, CA 60,520 3536
36New Orleans, LA 390,144 3042
37Springfield, IL 114,230 3637
38Scranton, PA 76,653 4133
39Galveston, TX 50,446 4041
40Dearborn, MI 93,932 3945
41Charleston, SC 137,566 2164
42Atlanta, GA 506,811 5532
43Canton, OH 70,447 4251
44Council Bluffs, IA 62,166 3168
45Grand Forks, ND 55,839 5252
46 (tied)Long Beach, CA 462,628 6244
46 (tied)Lynchburg, VA 82,168 5155
48 (tied)Great Falls, MT 58,434 5948
48 (tied)Milwaukee, WI 590,157 5849
50Glendale, CA 199,303 5454

The least historic cities in the U.S.

Some cities took the spotlight in a bigger national way than others when it comes to U.S. history. This doesn't mean they're not worth visiting — these cities have a rich local history that it's worth learning about.

Many of these cities also are very expansive, which means fewer historic sites or museums per square mile.

RankCityPopulationRank of Historic Sites Per DensityRank of Museums Per Density
1Jacksonville, FL 911,507 116116
2Oklahoma City, OK 655,057 117113
3El Paso, TX 681,728 113115
4Augusta, GA 197,888 106117
5San Antonio, TX 1,547,253 107109
6Tulsa, OK 401,190 114101
7 (tied)Lubbock, TX 258,862 111100
7 (tied)Athens, GA 126,913 100111
9Nashville, TN 670,820 104104
10 (tied)Memphis, TN 651,073 103103
10 (tied)San Angelo, TX 101,004 98108

Methodology

To find the most historic cities in America, we looked at all cities in the U.S. with more than 50,000 people and at least 10 square miles of land area. We then counted the number of historic sites, landmarks and museums in each of these areas and excluded all locations that did not have at least one of each. This left us with 117 total cities.

Then, we divided these figures by each city's land area to find the number of historic sites and museums per square mile. Finally, we ranked each city by historic sites per density and museums per density and then added those ranks together. The most historic cities in the country had the lowest total rank in our calculations.

Population and land area come from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Historic sites, landmarks and museum counts come from a commercially licensed database of more than 8 million business and landmark listings across the country. These counts may not reflect recent openings and closures.

The post The Best Cities for History Buffs in America appeared first on Apartment Living Tips - Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.



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