15 Oldest Cities in America [Report 2024]

oldest cities in America

In America, there are old cities with rich history that have origins before the Revolutionary war. The oldest cities are the places where fascinating historic events took place and shaped the nation. Although there are quite a few old cities in the country, there are some which date back way more than the other cities.

If you are wondering which ones are the oldest, then check out this list of the oldest cities in the America that you can visit today.

1. St. Augustine

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St. Augustine is one of the oldest cities in America

St. Augustine is the oldest city in America, dating back to 1565. Founded by Pedro Mendez de Aviles, this city is located in north-eastern Florida. Initially, for about two centuries, it was the Spanish capital.

The city went through major reconstruction after it was hit with Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Even after the substantial flooding, the city still stands with many historical sites and remains one of the best destinations for tourists in Florida with its popularity as the oldest city. 

2. Jamestown

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Jamestown has a history of the British Empire from 1607. However, it was abandoned by the British and through the duration of 83 years, it developed into the city in Virginia. Initially, it was the capital of the state from 1616 to 1699. Presently, this city is home to one of the most popular tourist destinations in Virginia, Colonial National Historic Park. The original fort existing in this park is a wonderful historical attraction.

3. Boston

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Boston is well known as a college town. But it is still a very old city when the Native Americans were in control. After the establishment of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, this city was founded in 1630. Now it is most famous as a haven for education because it is home to the prestigious Harvard University and Boston Latin School.

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4. Santa Fe

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In the 1500s, the “Kingdom of New Mexico” was a thriving place and in 1610, Santa Fe become one of its cities. Currently, if you visit this city, you will find the oldest public building in the country,  the Palace of Governors. With the unique culture and architecture, this city remains one of the cities filled with a local artist community. Several statues can be seen all across the city which enhance the presence of art in this city.

5. New York City

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New York City

Presently known for its modernity and being the economic hub, New York City is one of the oldest cities of the US. It was founded in 1624, and it is still the tallest city in the country with its innumerable skyscrapers. Since its foundation, it has been strategically developed as a financial city and over the years, it has had influx in population. Previously, the area got recognized due to being claimed as the land for the Dutch East India Company. Today, it is one of the most popular and desired cities of the country. 

6. Quincy

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Although Quincy is one of the oldest cities in the nation, it was not a city for 170 years after its foundation in 1635. But later, the population settled and grew more and more. This city was initially different but later was named after the second president of the US, Colonel John Quincy. Currently, it is home to the monument at Bunker Hill because of its granite production contribution.

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7. Plymouth

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One of the largest cities in Massachusetts is Plymouth, which is also one of the oldest cities in the country. Founded in 1620, this city has been a cultural, historical and folklore city. Many folklore of America are related to this city. According to history, this city was founded by pilgrims who were traveling and seeing Plymouth Rock. No wonder the oldest museum in the state is also situated in this city called Pilgrim Hall Museum. 

8. Williamsburg

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Williamsburg is one of the oldest cities of the US and there is some evidence which show why so. This city is home to the first printing press and the first newspaper. Because of its long years of being a stunning city, it has many firsts in its history. Currently, these all are preserved in different museums of this city and other places across the nation. 

9. Newport

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Newport was founded in 1639 because it was near a water source. This seaside city was also a religious refugee. Due to proper agricultural expansion, this city was founded in Rhode Island. Over the years, this city became home to harbor and ports. Presently, after its massive economic boom and infrastructural development, this city has become one of the wealthiest summer destinations in the country. 

10. Annapolis

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Annapolis was initially home to the Puritans back in the mid 1600s. This city was named after the Princess Anne, who became Queen in 1702. Because of its settlement and development, it grew up to be the cultural and political hub. That’s why it gained its reputation as the “Athens of America.” currently, the major highlights of this city is the seafood cuisine and the US Naval Academy

11. Charleston

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Charleston is a glorious city in South Carolina. Founded in 1970, this city was formed by British colonists. After its agricultural and economic development, this city became one of the leading centers until 1861 when the Civil War started. This city is filled with historic buildings and museums and parks are spectacular to explore. In the museums, the fascinating history of this city is well presented. 

12. Philadelphia

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Established in 1682, Philadelphia is considered as the Birthplace of the Nation because it is the city where the famous Declaration of Independence was signed. Plenty of historic sites are decorated throughout this wonderful city. Be it the interesting museums or the incredible historical buildings, it is filled with evidence of rich history. For the art lovers, this city has the very best, Philadelphia Museum of Art. This city is also home to the oldest Farmers market in the country. 

13. Mobile

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Right in Alabama, Mobile is one of the oldest cities which was founded in 1702. Interestingly, the name of the city is kept after Maubila, which was the local Native American tribe. This old city not only preserves its historical evidence through its name but also through different historical sights and museums all across the city. Some best attractions are the Mobile Museum of Art, University of Mobile, and the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park.

14. Natchitoches

Natchitoches is a city in Louisiana. The National Historic Landmark District includes French Creole townhouses, the Minor Basilica with its stained-glass windows, and the 19th-century Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile, the city’s oldest general store.

15. Savannah

Savannah, a coastal Georgia city, is separated from South Carolina by the Savannah River. It’s known for manicured parks, horse-drawn carriages and antebellum architecture. Its historic district is filled with cobblestoned squares and parks such as Forsyth Park shaded by oak trees covered with Spanish moss. At the center of this picturesque district is the landmark, Gothic-Revival Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist.

Exploring these listed oldest cities in America, you can learn about the people and events that led to the present. There are tons of museums, battlefields, old ruins, historic buildings and other places to explore these oldest cities and have a connection with the past. 

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