They say the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in the culture and among those who speak the language full-time. The same can be true for history; there is nothing more revealing than walking the streets and seeing the things your history books talk about. Here are six great American cities for history students.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is unique out of all the major cities in the United States for its strong French influence due to the Acadians (Cajuns) who came south from Canada when exiled to reinforce the French settlers already there. This is why French is still spoken in parts of Louisiana, though the dialect has diverged from that spoken in Paris.
St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine, Florida was settled by the Spanish in 1565. It is the oldest continuously inhabited European founded city in the United States. There are towns and Native American villages that have been in existence longer, hence the disclaimer. St. Augustine has entire streets lined with 17th and 18th-century houses. Fort Matanzas is a short distance outside of the city while Castillo de San Marcos is located in St. Augustine.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Pueblos inhabited this area until around 1150. The Spanish settled the abandoned site in 1608. You can find the unique hacienda-adobe style that blends Spanish and Pueblo architectural styles here. San Miguel Chapel in Santa Fe is said to be the oldest church in the United States. You can also visit the Governor’s Palace.
While Tucson is booming in population, the city itself is much older. You can find a mix of the same mission architecture as Santa Fe and a heavier dose of history of the Old West. The Mission San Xavier del Bac still stands, while the city’s birthplace has been recreated in the Mission Garden.
New York City
While New York City’s biggest attractions are touristy areas like Central Park, Times Square, and Broadway, it has tons of rich historical sites too. Ellis Island was the major entry point for immigrants through the mid-1900s and it is now a museum. The 9-11 monument is also a mandatory spot for any student pursuing a masters degree in history.
If you’re earning an online masters in history, you likely know that Texas and Hawaii are the only two states to have been their own countries. Hawaii was the only one to have its own royal family. Iolani Palace, home to King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani, is located in Honolulu. For those studying military history, Pearl Harbor is a must-see. You could take the Pali Highway to the Queen Emma Summer Palace, where one of the last Hawaiian nobles lived. The Kaniakapupu ruins were once King Kamehameha the Second’s summer home. The city boasts a number of Polynesian themed venues and museums in the city itself and has tons of museums and exhibitions on the tiny island’s long history.
Each of these cities has a little something to offer and should be an absolute delight for any history lover or student.