Purpose: The Tourist Gaze has been debated, reimagined and applied to a variety of actors and settings. This paper helps investigate how contemporary architecture operates as subject and participant in gazing practices. Design/methodology/approach: Using Yelp reviews of art museums in a regional US city, a thematic analysis of text reviews and image uploads was conducted. Findings: Reviewers do refer to buildings as objects of the gaze; but they also connect their experience of the building to emotions and to actions and use the building to orient themselves spatially. This article demonstrates that contemporary buildings are important components of tourist experiences as objects of the gaze, but also as frames for gazing and as stages for tourist practices. Research limitations/implications: The research implications are both topical and methodological: the paper demonstrates that contemporary (neo-modern) architecture is a vibrant avenue of research, and that social networking sites are a promising potential source of data for studying architecture in the social field. Originality/value: This research uses an underexplored data set, Yelp reviews, to capture what people pay attention to and think others will find interesting about architecture. It also adds important layers to studies on the tourist gaze. First, it emphasizes that architecture is important to tourists not only as an object of the gaze but also as a site for affective experience, action and daily life. Second, it addresses some building styles beyond the historical ones that are foundational to the idea of the tourist gaze. © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.