30 Cities In The US That Make Us Feel Like We’re In Europe
Many of us dream of lounging somewhere on a beach in Europe or exploring the European flair with its brilliant architecture. However, for many reasons, like cost, time, or being afraid of flying, people do not take the trip to stupendous Europe. Or maybe you’re someone who has the travel bug in them but cannot make it to Europe. Or maybe you’re a European that is visiting America and you want to feel like you are at home. Whatever reason it maybe, if you live in America, there are domestic cities that will make you feel like you’re in Europe.
What most do not know is that besides Montreal in Canada, there are numerous modern American cities that resemble some popular European cities because they were highly influenced by them. Without paying sky-high flight prices, you can visit America and slowly realize how many cities exude the typical European flair and how easy it is to kick back and relax like the Europeans do. These American cities, because of the architecture, scenery, and way of life, will fool you into feeling like you are actually abroad. Want to know which cities are the most European-feeling? Read on.
30 Boston, Massachusetts is all about the cobblestones
There isn’t just Harvard to visit in Boston, Massachusetts — in fact, much of Boston looks like an old town somewhere in Europe. On Beacon Hill, you can find streets that will have you strolling through them like you’re somewhere in the UK; it has narrow streets and alleys and they are all made of cobblestone. Accompanying that, are typical gas-lit lanterns and Federal-style row houses that are typically English. Also, Boston has an appreciation for Irish culture, so it’s the perfect place to spend your St. Patty’s weekend here.
29 Washington, D.C. is grand
Oddly, you may not think that the state where the White House is has a European feel to it, since the capital is supposed to be American in all its glory, but it was very much influenced by the French. Many do not know that the reason the White House and its surroundings are so grand and opulent, is because it was designed by a Frenchman who wanted to build a city that resembled the grandeur of Paris. Most of the buildings have European-like domes, the streets are wide, and there’s a lot of greenery, which all lend to the European charm.
28 St. Augustine, Florida is the oldest city in the US
With a name like St. Augustine, you’re bound to think there must be some type of European influence — and what better place to be then in Florida? Many believe that the oldest city in the United States is New York or Boston, but it’s actually St. Augustine, and from the start, it was heavily influenced by the Spanish. Because of that, wandering the streets of St. Augustine with its Spanish Renaissance architecture will fool you into thinking you’re in Madrid, so make a point of visiting the Castillo de San Marcos if you visit
27 it’s all about architecture in San Francisco, California
San Francisco is not only about their eponymous Golden Gate name, it is also very European and will leave you starry-eyed when you grasp how Mediterranean and Spanish it is. This popular holiday destination in California is perfect if you want a little bit of Boston-European architecture and Spain-like climate. With vast hills and mountains, Victorian homes, palm trees gracing their streets, the sea, and the hot climate, visiting San Fran will make you believe you took a quick flight to Europe.
26 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has more than just Rocky
You won’t only find a good old Philly cheesesteak sandwich in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since it is one of America’s oldest cities, it was heavily influenced by the British as well as the French. However, that is not all — in Philly, besides the Rocky statue, there is a lot of European flair in the air, like the Philadelphia Museum of Art that is identical to a Greek temple. Back to the Philly cheesesteak, it was obviously inspired by the Italians.
25 New Orleans, Louisiana has the vibes you’re looking for
The vibe of New Orleans is as lively as one you can find on the streets of Barcelona or Rome. Take a stroll down a street in New Orleans and you will quickly realize how European the facades are. When we are in search of a city that is like Europe, we are in search of a city that similar foods, music, languages, architecture, and the no-stress pace of life of Europe — and New Orleans, that was settled by the French and then turned over to the Spaniards, has all that. Also, with their exuberant nightlife, you might feel like you’re in Amsterdam.
24 New Ulm, Minnesota has a German feel to it
In New Ulm, Minnesota, you may just feel like your wanderlust took over and you headed to Iceland. This state is known for its high concentration of Scandinavian-Americans, with a population that is more German than American — well, 50% German. If there is one thing that will make any person feel like they are in northern Europe, it is kicking it back with a cold brew in hand at a brewery. And to your surprise, New Ulm has a city brewery that was founded by a German immigrant and is one the country’s oldest — no passport is required.
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23 Santa Barbara, California is the perfect beach getaway
The world is in the palm of your hands, but why pay hefty prices to head to Europe when there is all of America to explore. There are such pretty cities like Santa Barbara, California. If you’re looking for a little bit of luxury, like the French Riviera, Santa Barbara will not disappoint as it gives the French coast a run for its money. Coined the “American Riviera,” the city boasts with white stucco and terracotta rooftops like in Italy. Santa Barbara is so charming that the picturesque scenery will confuse you into thinking you’re lounging in Europe.
22 Venice, California is built the same way
If the name of the city in the California state is Venice, then it better live up to its name, correct? And it does; if you’re looking for a little Lady and the Tramp romance but cannot take the trip to the beautiful city of Venice, then Venice in California will feel just right. This city was built just the way Venezia was, with winding waterways, small rowboats, bridges over canals, and narrow alleys. Who thought you could sing “That’s Amore” in America?
21 Holland, Michigan has tulips galore
Besides visiting the Netherlands for the Red Light District in Amsterdam, people head over to the Netherlands to gaze at the bright and fruitful tulip fields. However, did you know that in Holland, Michigan, the same pretty tulips can be found in abundance? If not, you will be grateful to make the visit there. Thanks to Dutch immigrants who made Michigan their home in the 1800s, tourists choose to make this their destination yearly instead of the Netherlands when the Tulip Time Festival takes place. And European windmills? You can find those here, too.
20 Montpelier, Vermont is a mix between French and English
Not many people give the state of Vermont a chance, but it should not be underestimated as it is distinctively European. Montpelier, the capital of the state, resembles New England very much. However, Montpelier also has a very French feel to it and the name subtly gives it away itself. It is funky like New England; however, it also has a vast countryside that echoes France with its markets, unique little boutiques, luscious green hills, European architecture, and restaurants that are crowded with locals day and night.
19 Leavenworth, Washington was designed to look like Germany
If there is a festival that we stress must be attended at least once in your life, it is Oktoberfest in Germany. However, what if you have the travel bug but cannot afford to pay for the flight to Germany? Well, this American city in Washington called Leavenworth will give you that exact opportunity in the U.S. More modern than the other cities, Leavenworth, in the 1960s, was taken under the hands of designers to specifically look German. No, this is not a just a movie set.
18 Charleston, South Carolina has that European flair
You may nod your head or roll your eyes, but this state in the south does not just have southern bells flocking around, but an actual European flair. You see, that is what happens when you’re just perfectly happy to explore all that the good old US of A has to offer, you get to feel like you’re cruising the streets of Europe. In Charleston, South Carolina, its appearance is just as scenic as that of the French Riviera; with cobblestone streets, rows of colorful homes like in Burano, Italy, buildings and towers built with Gothic influence, and endless palm trees.
17 Portland, Oregon is about that slow-pace lifestyle
There are plenty of American towns that have a European feel for those desperately searching for it, and though we cannot make direct comparisons, Portland, a more modern US city, is unique in a European way. One thing that has already appeared on our list is the mention of craft brews, and that is because it is a huge aspect of the slow-pace European lifestyle, and Portland has a thing for brews too. With an uncountable number of microbreweries that make up the city, the vibrant scene is one you can easily find in Europe.
16 Solvang, California is like a fairytale village
California here we come! With numerous Cali cities that are making the list, we must include Solvang, which isn’t too far from Santa Barbara, You can get a full taste of Europe in two days here. Solvang is a small city that is occupied by tons of Danish-Americans who made their way there at the start of the 20th century. This tiny city with a European flair looks like it came straight out of a children’s storybook; it has windmills and architecture made of timber. We thank the beloved Hans Christian Andersen for this town.
15 Get a taste of Greece in Tarpon Springs, Florida
Anyone would be lying if they said they did not want to spend the night gazing at a Santorini sunset or eating some gyro souvlaki on a beach in Mykonos. Yes, we all dream of it, but maybe we can’t take the trip to Greece; don’t fret it though, Tarpon Springs, Florida is its own little private Greece. It may not have the same picturesque view of the Mediterranean Sea, but with the highest number of Greek-Americans, the city boasts numerous Greek eateries and evidently, a very Greek culture.
14 Live like a Spaniard in San Diego, California
Most people will doubt that San Diego could look or feel anything like Europe, however, San Diego has a European flair wanderlusters are in search of. Would it surprise you if we tell you that San Diego was the first site on the west coast that was visited by European settlers, but more specifically, Spaniards? The older parts of the city will have you feeling like you’re strolling the streets of Spain and experiencing the typical Spanish charm. People-watching while sipping on a caffe is a Spanish, sorry, San Diego, activity.
13 Fredericksburg, Texas isn’t what you expect
Howdy Texas, we never thought you’d make our list of American-European cities. A country that is completely patriotic, it is difficult to believe that certain states have the old-world charm that Europe has. However, when in Fredericksburg, Texas, you might want to tap your shoes twice like Dorothy and ask to go back to the actual Texas because Fredericksburg looks a whole lot like Germany. With a German way of life, German font plastered all over the city signs, and German-inspired architecture, this city is truly one-of-a-Europe.
12 Frankenmuth, Michigan is Little Bavaria
It is normal for one to think of vast green hills, ginormous beer mugs, and women with dirndl dresses when thinking of Germany, but not usually normal to think of the Land of the Free. If you have a picture of that in your head and are dying to visit the unique country that is Germany, then visit Frankenmuth in Michigan. Because the city was founded by settlers from Bavaria, in 1959, Frankenmuth became its own little paradise and was called Little Bavaria.
11 Gallipolis, Ohio was founded by French settlers
The name sounds a little Greek, but don’t let it fool you, it is in the good old state of Ohio. Even though the Gallipolis name resembles a Greek name, it was actually founded by French settlers in the late 1700s. Some will think that this city in Ohio would belong in Quebec as it has kept its French influence that is predominately seen in their architecture and “belle vie” lifestyle. Gallipolis will have you feeling like you’re sipping on some champagne in a cozy French restaurant.
10 stress-free getaway in Calistoga, California
Some travellers seek “la bella vita,” sitting back in a chair with not a worry in the world while gazing out at the vast vineyards and green-covered hills — sounds like Tuscany, right? Think again! There is a city in America called Calistoga in California just like it. Seriously, this town is so charming and rustic, that if you came across the above photo, you would instantly think it’s Italy. Though the wine city does not have architecture that looks European, it is the slow and no-stress pace of life that will have you dreaming of being in Italy.
9 Check out Little Italy in Baltimore, Maryland
Europe is delightful, but do not doubt American cities like Baltimore, Maryland. Dubbed the “City of Neighbourhoods,” this American city is unique in a rather European way. All its neighbourhoods are different as they all hold a special meaning; each neighbourhood is distinct from one to the next, much like in Europe. As it is a very old city that went through some damage, some of their many European-inspired historical buildings did not make it, but taking a step into Little Italy will no doubt have you feeling like you’re in a piazza.
8 Chicago, Illinois is a total mix
We guess the reason it is called the Windy City is because of all the European immigrants that went there with the wind. If you take the time to see where the wind takes you in this city, you will find that, besides the Bean, it is a lot like strolling through the streets of Europe. European immigrants have always been attracted to this American city, which means that visiting the neighbourhoods and its distinct areas will have you feeling like you’re in numerous European countries at once; Italy, Germany, France, and England.
7 Seattle, Washington is slow pace
Who knew Washington state, the home of America, would have so many European-like cities to make the list? What makes Europe so distinct is their general way of living; they take it completely easy and do not live a fast-pace life North Americans do. The reason we bring this up is because an American city does not need to have old architecture and cobblestone streets to have a European flair. Seattle is the most European of all American cities because of their slower pace of living and the liberal values that it holds like Europe — and, they love soccer.
6 Cincinnati, Ohio was a late bloomer
Europeans would probably have difficulty pronouncing the name of this real American city, but Cincinnati is booming with European flair. People will disregard Cincinnati since in the beginning, it was not directly influenced by Europeans, but in the late 19th century, it was one of the most important American cities because of buildings that went up that looked like Parisian architecture; that includes a music hall and hotel. However, is there anything more European than a vast fountain in a plaza? No, and in Cincinnati, you can find the Fountain Square that will make you feel like a European.
5 New York, New York has a little bit of everything
New York? European? Ya right. The NYC we are discussing is not the hustling Times Square, but rather, the neighbourhoods in the city that are European-like gems sure to steal your heart. Most people visit NYC and do not visit outside the box; from Gossip Girl, we know of the Upper East Side that is as fancy as Paris, and there is also Williamsburg that has an Amsterdam vibe with its dense Dutch population. New York is huge, and anywhere that you step foot, even Brooklyn and the Bronx, will transport you to somewhere in Europe.
4 tap your shoes twice in Kansas City, Missouri
If you wear a pair of red shiny shoes and tap them twice, maybe you will end up across the ocean in Europe, or maybe you will end up in Kansas City, Missouri. And like Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.” Quite frankly, if you want to make Spain your home but don’t have thousands of dollars to shell out, you might consider visiting Kansas that looks a lot like the city of Seville in Spain. There may not be tapas, but the city boasts tons of towers and courtyards resembling those in Seville.
3 Helen, Georgia has an alpine feel to it
It is hard not to giggle every time we mention a southern American city having some type of European flair, yet, their old-town charm has made the list more than once. Many people who visit the state of Georgia go to Atlanta because that is where all the hype is. However, what if your goal is to kick back and unwind like you’re on a European vacation? Well, not too far from Atlanta is Helen, a city that was purposely turned into an alpine village. Who would’ve associated an alpine village with the south?
2 Hermann, Missouri was hand-picked
If the Germans hand-picked this city of all American cities at hand, there is a large chance that this city is packed with European flair. Immigrants fled to many cities in the Land of the Free for particular reasons, and in Hermann, Missouri, one can find themselves sitting on the green grass and feeling whisked away to Germany. Germans settled here because of its proximity to the Missouri River that resembles their quaint Rhine River. And for the wine enthusiasts out there who would dream of sipping on wine in Italy, this city holds eight wineries just for you.
1 Vail, Colorado was inspired by Switzerland
We always leave the best for last and evidently, we would not forget the scenic and wonderful Colorado. For those who love snow and winter sports and are itching to visit the Swiss Alps, the solution to saving your hard-earned money is to visit Vail in Colorado instead. Many who have a passion for skiing are familiar with this American city because of its renowned ski resorts, but it was in fact inspired by a town named Zermatt in Switzerland in the Swiss Alps. Here, you can expect typical Swiss architecture and embellished balconies.
References: travelandleisure.com, housebeautiful.com, citiesjournal.com, huffingtonpost.com
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