We travel with kids to introduce them to the world. To marvel at skylines, explore famous sights, and tell them the stories of cities while wandering through them. And while very few people are traveling right now, there are still ways to bring the world home in a hands-on way. One popular way to travel the world without leaving home: LEGO Architecture sets.
If you live in a household in which LEGOs are like currency, camp, and babysitter rolled into one, you know the power of unveiling a new set. The LEGO Architecture series provide a great way to turn kids’ building mania toward real places they might someday visit (or have already seen). The piece counts of these sets are high enough to keep kids occupied for extended periods: Most of the LEGO Architecture sets have more than 500 pieces, and some move into 1,000+ territory. While LEGO gears many of these sets to adults (adult LEGO builders, we see and honor you), I’ve found them to be perfect for ambitious young builders, or kids who like to take on LEGO challenges with their adults. The LEGO Architecture sets range in price from about $40 to $130.
LEGO Architecture Sets
My favorite thing about LEGO Architecture sets is that they inspire conversations about building styles and travel, and offer a gateway-from-home for keeping kids thinking about how there’s a whole world out there worth exploring. Sets come with a booklet with more information about the buildings and city. Bonus: These LEGO sets are designed for display, and look just as at home in a living room as they do on a kid’s shelf.
Here are some of the best LEGO Architecture sets for adults, kids, talented pets, and anyone else in your life who is passionate about both travel and LEGOs.
1. Architecture Paris
Explore Paris’ most famous sights in one satisfying building project with the Architecture Paris set. This 649-piece set features the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysées, Tour Montparnasse, Grand Palais, Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre. Like Paris, it’s gilded with green spaces and gardens. Built, it’s a diminutive 8 inches high and 11 inches wide.
2. Architecture Great Pyramid of Giza
Architecture sets aren’t limited to city skylines. The 1,476-piece Great Pyramid of Giza is a great example of a world wonder you can recreate through LEGOs. Though it may initially appear to be a pretty basic build, when you look a little closer you’ll find plenty of fun challenges with the set, since the pyramid is actually two sections: an outer shell that hides a cross-section model inside with tunnels and chambers, plus a representation of the stone-moving technology thought to have been used to create these magnificent structures. There’s also little trees and landscaping, plus a Nile River with ancient boats.
3. Architecture New York City: Statue of Liberty (+ Empire State Building and New York City)
If a grab-bag of architectural gems seems too scattered, set your sights on New York City and create your own Lady Liberty. LEGO turns this famous sight into the Architecture Statue of Liberty, a 1,685-piece building adventure. As your builder constructs it, they’ll be able to see the LEGO version of the Statue of Liberty’s finely wrought details, including the seven-ray crown, golden torch, flowing robe, and broken shackles.
Want more NYC? LEGO also offers a 598-piece New York City set that includes a tiny Statue of Liberty plus the Flatiron Building, Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, and One World Trade Center.
4. Architecture London (+ Trafalgar Square)
More than most LEGO Architecture sets, the Architecture London model begs to be played with (carefully). The 468-piece set includes a small-but-impressive London Eye that reviewers say is a bit challenging to build but worth the effort. It also features the National Gallery, Nelson’s Column, Big Ben, and Tower Bridge. Built, this set is 5 inches high and 11 inches wide. There’s also a separate 1,197-piece Trafalgar Square set that includes Nelson’s Column, the fountains, London buses and black cabs, and a National Gallery you can peek into.
5. Architecture Taj Mahal
The beautiful 2,022-piece LEGO Taj Mahal is an 8-inch tall, 10-inch wide architectural mini-marvel. Custom pieces offer a smooth main dome, which can pop off for a peek at interior details like the crypt with its sarcophagi. The finished product is as at home on a mantle piece, book shelf, or office as it is in a kids’ room. Reviewers praise the exceptional details and thoughtful design that makes it a fun build for both older kids and adults.
6. Architecture White House
LEGO’s White House is an 18-inch wide mini icon that includes the Executive Residence, West Wing, East Wing, connecting colonnades, the Rose Garden, and the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden. This 1,483-piece LEGO Architecture set can be separated into three parts for close-up inspection and is just seven inches deep, which makes it easy to display on a shelf.
7. LEGO Architecture Singapore
Go big with the LEGO Architecture Singapore set. This 827-piece set features landmarks including the Marina Bay Sands, Lau Pa Sat, and the Singapore River. Of note is the “calculator” look of the OCBC Center and the unique One Raffles Place tower. LEGO calls this its “biggest, most complex LEGO city skyline model to date,” and with details like the colorful Supertree Grove, there’s plenty to admire once it’s built.
LEGO regularly introduces new Architecture sets and retires older sets. To see the latest and greatest in tiny city building, check the Architecture series on the LEGO website. It’s also worth noting that Amazon and eBay both carry hard-to-find and discontinued LEGO Architecture sets, though they’re sometimes marked up significantly. So if there’s one you have your heart set on, cast a wider net than just the LEGO website and you just might find what you’re looking for. Just remember to use the name of the set plus the item number to make sure you’re getting the set you want.
These sets are made to display, and fit perfectly on mantles, bookcases, and shelves. Some are even narrow enough that they can sit on a picture ledge.