Cities large and small across America have some incredibly cool architecture -- but what, exactly, makes for “good” architecture? The legendary architect Zaha Hadid put it this way: "Architecture isn't only about shelter," she said. "It should be able to excite you, to calm you, to make you think." You experience that every time you land in a new city, eager to explore every possible corner, rushing east and west, north and south until you're suddenly stunned by a remarkably cool house or skyscraper. It's a sensation every traveler knows all too well.
In that spirit, here are some of the coolest buildings in America that’ll stop you dead in your tracks -- or better yet, that you should go out of your way to see. Are these the most famous structures in the country? No, and they’re definitely not the weirdest, which is why we didn’t include that bizarre wicker basket building in Ohio. But these underrated showstoppers are all masterpieces in their own right, so make sure you get an eyeful next time you’re in the neighborhood.