By Alexia Wulff
Rows of pastel-tinged houses, fields of brightly colored tulips, and hundreds of multicolored balloons rising into the air. These are what make some of America’s cities so memorable, teeming with vibrancy that can be felt with one snap of a camera. From South Beach to San Antonio, here are the most colorful cities in the US.
Charleston, South Carolina
Southern charm, historic architecture, and colorful façades are what make Charleston so captivating. Rainbow Row, named for its Easter-egg-tinted homes, is one of the most photographed areas in the city. A fire in the late 1700s destroyed much of the neighborhood, but 13 structures on East Bay Street survived. Many tales exist as to the reasoning behind the various colors; truth be told, Dorothy Haskell Porcher Legge started the trend in the 1930s when she painted several homes pink during their restoration.
South Beach, Florida
South Beach is teeming with Latin flare and beach-inspired decor. Along Ocean Drive, you’ll find candy-colored Art Deco buildings and a bustling nightlife. A stroll along the sandy shores will also lead you to wildly painted lifeguard stations and rows of colorful umbrellas.
San Francisco, California
From the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, nearly 50,000 Victorian and Edwardian houses were built in San Francisco – most of them painted in every color of the rainbow. Many of these houses are still standing, with colors changing from door to door. The Painted Ladies, a famous row of houses near Alamo Square, is the best example of how this progressive city has managed to preserve its vibrant culture to this day.
Portland is known for its wildly painted Victorian abodes, most from the late 1800s and early 1900s. These beauties, abounding in all styles and hues, are what keep Portland as quirky as its residents.
San Antonio, Texas
Although Texas was granted independence from Mexico in the 1800s, a certain Mexican flare still resonates throughout San Antonio. You’ll find flamboyant use of color on houses, décor, or along the River Walk – a miles-long pedestrian promenade lined with restaurants, shops, and colorful umbrellas.
Venice Beach, California
Home to eccentric and charismatic people, Venice sustains its reputation of being unique with its walls upon walls of street art and fiercely painted buildings. One walk along the boardwalk, named the Ocean Front Walk, will grant views of what makes this Los Angeles seaside town so different, from street performers and artists to the famous weightlifters.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the nation’s capital, you’ll find a range of Neoclassical buildings, historic architecture, and quaint neighborhoods blanketed in fall foliage. Some of the city’s most charming neighborhoods (like Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, or Adams Morgan) feature gas-lit avenues, cobblestone streets, and picture-perfect homes in an array of colors.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is where the sun turns the mountainous backdrop of the high desert into a purple-tinged landscape set against a multicolored sky. Add hundreds of hot air balloons, and it becomes a majestic setting filled with colors. An old Spanish colony from the 1700s, Albuquerque contains historic adobe buildings that still echo the city’s Spanish past, with hues of red and deep orange splashed across the walls of the town.
New Orleans, Louisiana
In a town where celebrations are king, it’s no wonder the ‘Big Easy’ is teeming with vibrancy and color. A melting pot of African, American, and French cultures, NOLA radiates an aura of joyous energy – from its live-music scene, nightlife, and spicy cuisine to its world-famous Mardi Gras celebrations, when people take to the streets in elaborate, brightly colored costumes.