It takes years to establish yourself as a successful Architect. This includes 5 years of intense course work and bolstering your skills as a Designer. Large metropolitan areas are the finest places to work as an architect. Cities offer more work prospects and higher salaries, but it also means increased living costs. 

To put it another way, relocating to an architectural hotspot is not inexpensive. The more money you have, the more money you will spend. Whether you like it or not, the truth is that all of the top employers for aspiring architects are in urban areas.       

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1. San Francisco, California

With an average annual salary of $97,319, San Francisco is the top paying city in the United States for architects. However, top-tier architects earn much more, with the highest compensation of $165,266 per year. Conversely, the lowest recorded salary was $42,782 per year. Therefore, if you plan on relocating to California, you should expect to earn between $73,842 and $106,074. 

In addition, there are a plethora of job openings in the Bay Area, with over 500 Architectural firms.

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San Francisco_©

2. New York City, NY

New York also has many architectural wonders, such as the Empire State Building and Central Park. With the biggest number of architectural firms, New York City is one of the top places for architecture grads. An architect’s annual salary is $93,908 on average. This is $10,000 higher than the national average for architects in the US.

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New York_©

3. Toronto, Canada 

Architects can be found all around Canada, but Toronto offers the most opportunities for this profession. With a stable economy and a plethora of architectural work in progress, this city provides fantastic opportunities for newcomers. The national median annual pay is $79,228, while the average yearly wage is $79,228.

Toronto is still adopting many architectural forms and concepts created throughout Europe and the United States, from 19th-century Georgian architecture to 21st-century postmodern flavors. 

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4. Melbourne, Australia

Architects from around the world praise Melbourne as a city that “welcomes the inventor, the dreamer, and the doer” while also paying them a $43,616 average annual wage. The community is vibrant and welcoming, with new architecture firms springing up around every corner.

All of this fits perfectly with the city’s mix of old and new architecture, with the former providing Victorian roots and the latter elevating them with futuristic skyscrapers. Don’t miss the Manchester Unity Building and the Alkira House for your daily dose of Art Deco and other styles.

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5. Seattle, Washington, USA 

Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. As of January 8th, 2020, it was recognized as the 4th highest paying city for architects. The average annual salary for an architect is $90,189.

Architects with international reputations might make up to $153,079 per year. However, the lowest pay was $39,627, which was the lowest available. As a new architect in town, you can expect to earn between $68,397 and $98,252 each year.

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6. London, UK 

Right under Big Ben, in the heart of the UK, is one of the best places for architects across the pond. The average permanent income for architect jobs in London is $106,339, which is enough to knock you off your feet, as the British would say. Nonetheless, London remains exorbitantly pricey. 

Whatever the case may be, the Old Smoke is a living, breathing encyclopedia of European architecture, with everything from Georgian balustrades and Victorian baths to asymmetrical Art Nouveau and floral Art Deco on display. A chance to sketch in front of Westminster Abbey, after all, must be worth a king’s ransom.

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7. Zurich, Switzerland 

The largest watch in Europe is housed in Zurich’s St. Peter’s Church, and the rest of this Swiss city is full of drinking fountains and ornate buildings to explore.

Zurich has the record for the highest annual remuneration for an architect – a whopping $150,126. However, a cappuccino costs $5, while a single-bedroom apartment outside the city center costs $1,408. So in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a horrible deal. The largest watch in Europe is housed in Zurich’s St. Peter’s Church, and the rest of this Swiss city is full of drinking fountains and ornate buildings to explore.

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©  Zurich_© Rudy Balasko / Getty Images

8. Boston, Massachusetts  

Puritan settlers were the first to discover Massachusetts. Some buildings of colonial architecture—a design brought by settlers from England—remain as evidence.

Massachusetts is one of the top three states in the United States for architecture. Boston, the capital city, is recognized as the fifth best-paid city in the country. For example, an architect’s annual pay averages $89,707 per year. The annual income for top-level architects can reach $152,261 per year. The lowest recorded pay was $39,415. 

Architects here can expect to earn between $68,031 and $97,727 each year. 

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Boston, Massachusetts_©

9. West Palm Beach, Florida   

West Palm Beach boasts a light and airy atmosphere. Most West Palm Beach buildings were constructed in the Spanish Colonial Revival or Mission Revival styles. The American National Bank Building served as a fine example of Beaux-Arts design. 

According to a 2016 BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) report, the top paid architects in the United States reside and practice in West Palm Beach, Florida, with an average yearly pay of $120,380. Currently, there are roughly 500 available positions for budding architects in this mid-sized city.

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© West Palm Beach_© Sean Pavone / iStock

10. Dublin, Ireland 

Dublin’s architecture is incredibly diversified, seamlessly combining tradition and contemporary. St. Audoen’s Church, the city’s oldest landmark, dating from the 1190s. Its most recent addition — the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, an architectural wonder – was built only two decades ago.

An architect’s average monthly salary in Ireland is €4,011 ($4,651). So your annual income would be roughly €55,153 ($63,944) if you found work in Dublin.

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Nast, C. (n.d.). CN Tower – Landmark Review. [online] Condé Nast Traveler. Available at: [Accessed 8 Aug. 2021].

urdesignmag. (2020). Best cities for Architects in the US. [online] Available at:

World, I.H. (n.d.). IH Melbourne. [online] IH World. Available at: [Accessed 8 Aug. 2021]. (n.d.). Best Cities to Live In as an Architect. [online] Available at:


Abhiri is an Architecture Professional and Sustainable Designer with a penchant for writing, illustrating and traveling. She is interested in educating and raising awareness about Sustainable practices and strives to be a steward of nature in her designs and daily actions. Coffee, books, watercolors,and a walk in the woods are some of the things that keep her going.