Can You Guess These American Cities Based on Just a Photograph?
If you can score 42 out of 47, you're a geography whiz!
Every U.S. locale has at least one landmark it’s known for. In San Francisco, it’s the Golden Gate Bridge. In San Antonio, it’s the Alamo. In New York, it’s the Statue of Liberty (or tons of other buildings you’d probably recognize). And while we’re sure you could identify any of those iconic sites from a basic tourist-guide snapshot, that probably wouldn’t be a very fun quiz.
That’s why we’ve rounded up photos from a few of the lesser-known spots throughout the 50 states. For example, can you identify Miami, Florida, based solely on its public transportation? What about Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from just one of its countless museums? How about our country’s capital from a monument that isn’t the Capitol Building or the White House?
If that sounds like a blast, test your geographic mettle with this challenging quiz. Don’t worry, we’ve included a few hints to help you out along the way. And for more amazing trivia about the land of the free and the home of the brave, don’t miss these 50 Facts About America That Most Americans Don’t Know.
Where is this public square?
Hint: You’ll find more than 40 institutions of higher education in this New England town.
First photo: Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the Custom House Tower.
Second photo: The Boston skyline, featuring the John Hancock Tower (left) and the Prudential Center (right).
And for more fun geography lessons, learn all about The 50 Weirdest Town Names in America.
Where is this row of cute houses?
Hint: Known for cable cars, hilly terrain, and amazing sourdough, this west coast city is home to a vivacious counterculture. Also, you may recognize this shot from one of your favorite 90s TV shows.
San Francisco, California
First photo: A group of homes in San Francisco. (Remember Full House?!)
Second photo: The Golden Gate Bridge at sunset.
Next, learn all about the 17 Surprising American Towns Foreigners Are Dying to Visit.
Where are these high-rise buildings?
Hint: In the entire world, the only city with more skyscrapers—that’s a building with 40 floors or more—is Hong Kong.
New York, New York
First photo: Bryant Park on a sunny day in New York.
Second photo: The Statue of Liberty—which, technically, is in New Jersey state lines—against a shot of the Manhattan skyline.
And for more fun facts about the good ole U.S.A., know that These Are the Best American Accents—According to Foreigners.
Where is this town square?
Hint: This Southern city is sometimes referred to as the Holy City.
Charleston, South Carolina
First photo: Marion Square in downtown Charleston.
Second photo: Charleston’s historic French Quarter.
Where is this river?
Hint: The world’s first high-rise, the 10-story World Insurance Building, was built here. (It has since been torn down.)
First photo: The magnificent Chicago Riverwalk in all its illuminated nighttime glory.
Second photo: Sir Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate sculpture, located in Millennium Park.
Where is this streetcar?
Hint: Another city in the country (on the opposite coast) shares its name.
First photo: The Portland Aerial Tram, which connects the waterfront district to the Oregon Health & Science University.
Second photo: The Portland skyline and the Willamette River in the dead of winter.
Where are these cherry blossoms?
Hint: The streets in this planned city are named after U.S. states.
First photo: Cherry blossom trees bordering the Tidal Basin, on the Potomac River.
Second photo: A view of the National Mall, featuring the 555-foot tall Washington Monument (left), at dusk.
Where is this LED-heavy skyline?
Hint: It’s got a whole lot of great steakhouses, and the residents sure love their football.
First photo: A view of the city’s skyline, featuring the Reunion Tower (right).
Second photo: Dealey Plaza at night.
Where is this bridge?
Hint: This city is the second-largest music production center in the country.
First photo: A view of the city’s skyline behind the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge.
Second photo: Neon signs of music venues along Nashville’s famous Broadway thoroughfare.
Where is this monorail?
Hint: It’s the “Cruise Capital of the World,” as far as sheer numbers of cruise ships that dock each year.
First photo: The Metromover electric bus zips across the Miami River in this famous beach town.
Second photo: An aerial view of Miami’s buildings, river, and ocean front.
Where is this historic landmark?
Hint: For exactly 10 years, this city was the U.S. capital.
First photo: Philadelphia City Hall in Center City.
Second photo: The Liberty Bell, located directly in front of Independence Hall.
And for from our country’s past, here are The 40 Most Enduring Myths in American History.
Where is this giant Ferris wheel?
Hint: The so-called birthplace of grunge, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden all have roots here.
First photo: The Olympic Sculpture Park in front of the Seattle Great Wheel.
Second photo: Come on, you know this one—it’s the Space Needle.
Where are these adobe homes?
Hint: Locals abbreviate this city “ABQ.”
Albuquerque, New Mexico
First photo: The Gazebo outside San Felipe de Niri Church.
Second photo: Hot air balloons soaring over the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, as part of the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Where is this waterfront?
Hint: This city is known as the “birthplace of California.”
San Diego, California
First photo: The San Diego skyline, featuring the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel (those two peaked skyscrapers).
Second photo: The lively Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego.
Where is this waterside park?
Hint: On the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, you’ll stop at this midwestern city.
First photo: The Heartland of America Park and Fountain.
Second photo: Omaha’s downtown city skyline overlooking its waterfront park.
Where are these rolling greens?
Hint: By total land area, this is the largest city in America.
First photo: Eleanor Tinsley Park, a subsection of the massive Buffalo Bayou Park.
Second photo: Downtown Houston at night.
Where is this mile-high city?
Hint: There’s only one city in America that’s exactly 5,280 feet (that’s a mile) high, to the inch.
First photo: The Denver downtown skyline peaks out behind City Park.
Second photo: Denver’s skyline against the Rockies.
Where is this sunset skyline?
Hint: Throughout the history of the French monarchy, 18 kings were named Louis. Only one (XVI) had an American city named after him.
First photo: The George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge, which connects Louisville to Indiana.
Second photo: The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.
And for some seriously weird American history, here’s The Weirdest Urban Legend in Every State.
Where is this bridge?
Hint: Locals here insist their city’s version of chili is the only acceptable version chili.
First photo: The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, which connects Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky.
Second photo: The Cincinnati skyline at dusk.
Where is this pyramid-like structure?
Hint: One 2017 report deemed this city the “most hipster” city in California.
First photo: That’s The Ziggurat, a 12-story office building designed to withstand an earthquake up to 6.9 on the Richter Scale.
Second photo: The iconic Golden Tower Bridge and the Sacramento River.
Where is this monument?
Hint: A battle that occurred here inspired the national anthem.
First photo: The Washington Monument (no, not that one) in downtown Baltimore.
Second photo: Baltimore Harbor.
Where is this skyline?
Hint: Since the city is surrounded by a circular highway, I-285, locals make a point of designating between “ITP” (“inside the perimeter”) and “OTP” (“outside the perimeter”).
First photo: The Atlanta skyline on a bluebird day.
Second photo: The Varsity, a famous drive-in restaurant that’s been open for nine decades.
Where is this mountainside city?
Hint: By air, this city is equidistant from New York City, Tokyo, and Germany.
First photo: The Anchorage skyline from across the Turnagain Arm.
Second photo: The Anchorage skyline against a backdrop of the Chugach Mountains.
Where is this canal?
Hint: The Battle of the Alamo took place here. (Oh, right: You’ll find the Alamo here!)
San Antonio, Texas
First photo: The San Antonio River Walk.
Second photo: The Alamo.
Where is this beachfront escape?
Hint: The population of this vacation town increases tenfold in the summer.
Cape May, New Jersey
First photo: Grand Victorian buildings looking over Cape May Beach.
Second photo: Colorful Victorian houses along Beach Avenue.
And for more amazing seaside getaways, check out The 30 Best Beaches in America.
Where is this statue?
Hint: In the early 17th century, exiled citizens of Boston sought refuge here.
Providence, Rhode Island
First photo: A statue of Roger Williams in Prospect Terrace Park.
Second photo: Bridges over the Providence River.
Where is this high-fashion retail strip?
Hint: How good are you at reading inverted letters?
Los Angeles, California
First photo: Hollywood Boulevard.
Second photo: The Griffith Observatory.
Where is this light-up wall?
Hint: There’s a neighborhood named SouthPark, but it has no relation to the show. (The name is lifted from the nearby SouthPark Mall.)
Charlotte, North Carolina
First photo: The 5.4-acre Romare Bearden Park in Charlotte.
Second photo: Marshall Park in Charlotte’s Second Ward.
Where is this statue?
Hint: This city is on the border of two states.
Kansas City, Missouri
First photo: The Scout, a statue by American sculptor Cyrus E. Dallin, overlooking the Kansas City skyline.
Second photo: Union Station, which is now so much more than a train station, and features science exhibits, movies showings, and countless cafes and restaurants.
Where is this urban beachfront?
Hint: An attack near this city kickstarted American involvement in World War II.
First photo: Waikiki Beach, with Diamond Head, a hopefully dormant volcanic structure, in the background.
Second photo: The vast Honolulu skyline.
Where is this ornate building?
Hint: A robust live-music scene and a widespread embrace of counterculture define this Texas town.
First photo: The Texas State Capitol in Austin.
Second photo: The Austin skyline, as seen from across Lady Bird Lake.
Where is this cluster of skyscrapers?
Hint: This view is from Canada.
First photo: What Detroit’s skyline looks like from Windsor, Canada.
Second photo: An aerial view of downtown Detroit.
Where is this bustling street?
Hint: You can drink in public here, so long as it’s from a plastic cup.
New Orleans, Louisiana
First photo: Bourbon Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter.
Second photo: The other end of Bourbon Street.
While you’re at it, don’t miss the 25 Real Life Places in America That Many Believe Are Cursed.
Where is this urban sprawl?
Hint: Year after year, this is one of the three hottest cities in the country.
First photo: The Phoenix skyline.
Second photo: Encanto Park Lagoon at night.
Where is this majestic temple?
Hint: Here, you’ll find the headquarters of the Mormon Church.
Salt Lake City, Utah
First photo: The Salt Lake Temple, which was constructed in the 19th century.
Second photo: Salt Lake City against the Wasatch Mountains, as seen from the outskirts of town.
Where is this… Wait! That’s not the White House!
Hint: Patrick Henry gave his “Give me liberty—or give me death!” speech here.
First photo: The Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.
Second photo: From across the James River, the Richmond skyline.
Where is this towering arch?
Hint: At 630 feet, the above structure is the tallest manmade monument in the Western Hemisphere—and the tallest arch in the world.
St. Louis, Missouri
First photo: Gateway Arch.
Second photo: Gateway Arch, as seen from Eads Bridge.
Where are these inter-building walkways?
Hint: Nearly 10 miles of skyways connect buildings over an 80-block section of this city’s downtown area. (Locals must really hate the cold.)
First photo: The Minneapolis Skyway System.
Second photo: Spoonbridge and Cherry, a marquee statue at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
Where is this historic waterfront?
Hint: This city, founded in 1733, is known as “America’s First Planned City,” thanks to its grid-like organization.
First photo: A view of River Street in downtown Savannah.
Second photo: Spanish Moss lines the path to the Forsyth Park fountain in Savannah.
Where is this eerie dam?
Hint: This Great Plains city has one of the largest livestock markets in the world.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
First photo: The Lake Overholser Dam in Oklahoma City.
Second photo: The Oklahoma City skyline.
Where is this intricate building?
Hint: This city was the birthplace of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
First photo: The Milwaukee Art Museum, which features a whopping 25,000 pieces of art.
Second photo: From Lake Michigan, a view of the Milwaukee skyline.
Where was this moonlit photo taken?
Hint: When a politician gets an eye for higher office, this Midwestern town is the first stop on the tour.
Des Moines, Iowa
First photo: The Iowa State Capitol.
Second photo: The Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge.
Where is this main drag?
Hint: Fort Jackson, the largest facility for U.S. Army Basic Training, is located here.
Columbia, South Carolina
First photo: A view of Main Street in downtown Columbia.
Second photo: The South Carolina State House.
Where is this sprawling skyline?
Hint: This South Central city used to be called the “Oil Capital of the World.”
First photo: A view of the skyline in Tulsa at twilight.
Second photo: The Tulsa skyline behind the Arkansas River.
Where is this statue?
Hint: This North Carolina city, plus two others, make up an area called the Research Triangle.
Raleigh, North Carolina
First photo: A statue of George Washington outside the North Carolina State Capitol.
Second photo: A view of the downtown Raleigh skyline.
Where is this water feature?
Hint: This capital city is named after Christopher Columbus.
First photo: A fountain in Goodale Park.
Second photo: The Columbus skyline behind the Scioto River.
Where is this knock-off Eiffel Tower?
Hint: This city’s name translates to “the meadows” in Spanish.
Las Vegas, Nevada
First photo: An aerial shot of the instantly recognizable Las Vegas Strip
Second photo: The unmissable “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign
And for more fascination from this constantly surprising country, check out these 30 American Cities You Had No Idea Were Amazing Getaways.
To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to follow us on Instagram!