18 US Cities That Could Pass For a European Destination



Slide 1 of 19: The COVID-19 pandemic has upended every aspect of people's live, including travel. Americans are banned from traveling into most European countries for the foreseeable future, and even if flying overseas were possible, a lot of people would probably opt out. Fortunately, you don't always have to board a plane, passport in hand in order to experience some European charm. There are plenty of American cities that look so European, you'll feel like you've just landed after a 10+ hour flight over the Atlantic. With charming city squares, Old World style architecture, European style food, and maybe even some expansive fields of tulips or Cyprus trees, these American cities and towns will leave you feeling you've transported into a completely different country. Just be sure to keep the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's travel recommendations in mind and be mindful of the fact that some states have imposed travel restrictions. But if you're ready to experience something new in a safe way, book a trip to one of these cities ASAP.
Slide 2 of 19: Full of colonial history, parts of Boston will make you feel like you've stepped back in time — or maybe into the streets of England or Ireland. It's one of America's oldest cities, and between the cobblestone streets of Beacon Hill, historical buildings on nearly every corner, and the old row houses, it's definitely a unique city.
Slide 3 of 19: If you're missing the shores of Cinque Terre in Italy, head to Carmel-by-the-Sea in California. Located only a few short hours from San Francisco, this small seaside city is full of Cyprus trees, with the Pacific crashing against the backdrop of looming mountains, making you feel like you're in Italy. The adorable village feels like something out of a fairytale book, and there's plenty of hiking to do as well.
Slide 4 of 19: The brightly colored houses, the cobblestone streets, the tall palm trees, the bougainvillea. . . there's so much European charm packed into this small Southern city that you'll feel like you're in Spain or southern France.

Slide 5 of 19: Frankenmuth is known as "Little Bavaria," which makes sense considering it looks like a German village was picked up and plopped down in the middle of Michigan. The name comes from the Bavarian province of Franconia, where the original settlers are from, so the city has an authentically German feel (some of the locals even speak German), with fairytale style buildings and German restaurants. It's also famous for Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, one of the largest holiday stores in the world that will make you feel like you're standing in the middle of a Christmas market in Europe.
Slide 6 of 19: Holland in Michigan lives up to its namesake city in Amsterdam. The Michigan city was heavily influenced by Dutch culture after many Dutch immigrants settled there in the 1800s. Not only is it home to the only working Dutch windmill in the US, but there's also a Tulip Time Festival there every year.
Slide 7 of 19: Leavenworth doesn't resemble a Bavarian city by accident — it was made specifically to evoke Germany feels for a tourism boost back in the 1960s. The small town, nestled below the Cascade Mountains, is full of charming Alpine-style buildings, Germany-inspired food halls with German beer and brats, and a nutcracker museum. There are also Oktoberfest celebrations (although they are cancelled for 2020), along with plenty of skiing and hiking.
Slide 8 of 19: Lindsborg is reminiscent of a Swedish town, and is often known as "Little Sweden." The city was settled in 1869 by a group of Swedish immigrants from the Värmland province, and they created a city rich in their culture. You can see that in the many churches and businesses, as well as the Dalarna horses throughout the streets. In October, they typically celebrate the Svensk Hyllningsfest, the Sweden Heritage Celebration.
Slide 9 of 19: Another city named after its European counterpart, Montpelier was founded in 1781. This connection has influenced the entire city, which has quintessential New England vibes mixed with vibrant French culture. There are quaint shops and French-inspired architecture, and to top it all off, it's only about two hours away from Montreal, Canada.

Slide 10 of 19: New Glarus, also known as "Little Switzerland," is named after the town of New Glarus in Switzerland. It was founded in 1845 by Swiss immigrants who have kept their heritage going strong. Not only does New Glarus look authentically Swiss, it also boasts delicious cheese and Swiss chocolate in its many Swiss bakeries and restaurants. There's a Swiss Historical Village and Museum, a famous brewery, and the Chalet of the Golden Fleece Museum, which is a real Swiss Bernese mountain chalet.
Slide 11 of 19: Louisiana was once ruled by the French, and nowhere is that more apparent than in New Orleans. The French Quarter in the city will make you feel like you're literally on the French Riviera, while the old building have a distinctly European look. The authentic beignets everywhere only add to that feel.
Slide 12 of 19: Looking for more German influence? Head to New Ulm, which the 2002 U.S. Census showed has over 65% German-American population, with many descendants who were settlers from Scandinavia. There's so much to see there, between the popular brewery serving German-style beer, to the Hermann Monument, to the genuine Turner Hall.
Slide 13 of 19: Pella has been called "America's Dutch Treasure," and was heavily influenced by the Dutch immigrants who settled there in 1847. There's so much Dutch culture to explore there, like Molengracht Plaza, which features a Dutch-style canal. The city also features charming shops, the tallest working grain windmill in the U.S., and Tulip Time, an annual spring festival.
Slide 14 of 19: As one of America's oldest cities, Philadelphia has a ton of charm and a lot of European flair. Elfreth's Alley, the oldest street in the city, will make you feel like you're in England, while City Hall is reminiscent of France. The old buildings and abundant markets make it easy to walk through the city and feel as if you were somewhere else entirely.

Slide 15 of 19: Santa Barbara is called the "American Riviera" for a reason: the seaside city brings to mind southern France, with mountains in view behind the beaches. But you'll also notice a strong resemblance to colonial Spain in the California city, thanks to the red-tiled rooftops and tall palm trees. The whole place has a definite Mediterranean feel to it.
Slide 16 of 19: Not very far from sunny Santa Barbara, you'll find Solvang, which could easily be confused for a Scandinavian city. There are authentic Scandinavian bakeries, a fall Danish Days celebration, a replica of Copenhagen's Little Mermaid sculpture, and a reproduction of Copenhagen's Rundetårn. Add in windmills and thatched roof, and you've got a picture perfect Dutch-inspired wonderland right on the West Coast.
Slide 17 of 19: St. Augustine was settled in the mid-1500s by the Spanish, making is the oldest city in America. The influence from Spain is still really heavy, with buildings like stone fortress Castillo de San Marcos on the Matanzas Bay and Lightner Museum, which features a Spanish Renaissance Revival style. The brick roads and Spanish architecture all over, along with the tall palm trees, make this city incredibly unique.
Slide 18 of 19: If Greece is more your type of place, head to Tarpon Springs. The Florida city has the highest concentration of Greek-Americans in the U.S. since Greek immigrants built the city's signature sponge industry, giving the whole place a heavy Greek influence. Many people speak Greece in their homes, and Greek restaurants line the docks, making you feel like you're actually in Athens or Santorini.
Slide 19 of 19: It's hard to ignore the European influence on Washington, D.C., which was designed by a Frenchman, Pierre Charles L’Enfant, who wanted to build a Parisian city. The wide boulevards and many gardens certainly evoke the feelings of Paris, and it doesn't hurt that European diplomats are found all over. __________________________________________________________Want more Woman’s Day? Subscribe to Woman's Day today and get 73% off your first 12 issues. And while you’re at it, sign up for our FREE newsletter for even more of the Woman's Day content you want.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended every aspect of people’s live, including travel. Americans are banned from traveling into most European countries for the foreseeable future, and even if flying overseas were possible, a lot of people would probably opt out. Fortunately, you don’t always have to board a plane, passport in hand in order to experience some European charm. There are plenty of American cities that look so European, you’ll feel like you’ve just landed after a 10+ hour flight over the Atlantic.

With charming city squares, Old World style architecture, European style food, and maybe even some expansive fields of tulips or Cyprus trees, these American cities and towns will leave you feeling you’ve transported into a completely different country. Just be sure to keep the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel recommendations in mind and be mindful of the fact that some states have imposed travel restrictions. But if you’re ready to experience something new in a safe way, book a trip to one of these cities ASAP.

Boston, Massachusetts

Full of colonial history, parts of Boston will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time — or maybe into the streets of England or Ireland. It’s one of America’s oldest cities, and between the cobblestone streets of Beacon Hill, historical buildings on nearly every corner, and the old row houses, it’s definitely a unique city.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

If you’re missing the shores of Cinque Terre in Italy, head to Carmel-by-the-Sea in California. Located only a few short hours from San Francisco, this small seaside city is full of Cyprus trees, with the Pacific crashing against the backdrop of looming mountains, making you feel like you’re in Italy. The adorable village feels like something out of a fairytale book, and there’s plenty of hiking to do as well.

Charleston, South Carolina

The brightly colored houses, the cobblestone streets, the tall palm trees, the bougainvillea. . . there’s so much European charm packed into this small Southern city that you’ll feel like you’re in Spain or southern France.

Frankenmuth, Michigan

Frankenmuth is known as “Little Bavaria,” which makes sense considering it looks like a German village was picked up and plopped down in the middle of Michigan. The name comes from the Bavarian province of Franconia, where the original settlers are from, so the city has an authentically German feel (some of the locals even speak German), with fairytale style buildings and German restaurants. It’s also famous for Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, one of the largest holiday stores in the world that will make you feel like you’re standing in the middle of a Christmas market in Europe.

Holland, Michigan

Holland in Michigan lives up to its namesake city in Amsterdam. The Michigan city was heavily influenced by Dutch culture after many Dutch immigrants settled there in the 1800s. Not only is it home to the only working Dutch windmill in the US, but there’s also a Tulip Time Festival there every year.

Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth doesn’t resemble a Bavarian city by accident — it was made specifically to evoke Germany feels for a tourism boost back in the 1960s. The small town, nestled below the Cascade Mountains, is full of charming Alpine-style buildings, Germany-inspired food halls with German beer and brats, and a nutcracker museum. There are also Oktoberfest celebrations (although they are cancelled for 2020), along with plenty of skiing and hiking.

Lindsborg, Kansas

Lindsborg is reminiscent of a Swedish town, and is often known as “Little Sweden.” The city was settled in 1869 by a group of Swedish immigrants from the Värmland province, and they created a city rich in their culture. You can see that in the many churches and businesses, as well as the Dalarna horses throughout the streets. In October, they typically celebrate the Svensk Hyllningsfest, the Sweden Heritage Celebration.

Montpelier, Vermont

Another city named after its European counterpart, Montpelier was founded in 1781. This connection has influenced the entire city, which has quintessential New England vibes mixed with vibrant French culture. There are quaint shops and French-inspired architecture, and to top it all off, it’s only about two hours away from Montreal, Canada.

New Glarus, Wisconsin

New Glarus, also known as “Little Switzerland,” is named after the town of New Glarus in Switzerland. It was founded in 1845 by Swiss immigrants who have kept their heritage going strong. Not only does New Glarus look authentically Swiss, it also boasts delicious cheese and Swiss chocolate in its many Swiss bakeries and restaurants. There’s a Swiss Historical Village and Museum, a famous brewery, and the Chalet of the Golden Fleece Museum, which is a real Swiss Bernese mountain chalet.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Louisiana was once ruled by the French, and nowhere is that more apparent than in New Orleans. The French Quarter in the city will make you feel like you’re literally on the French Riviera, while the old building have a distinctly European look. The authentic beignets everywhere only add to that feel.

New Ulm, Minnesota

Looking for more German influence? Head to New Ulm, which the 2002 U.S. Census showed has over 65% German-American population, with many descendants who were settlers from Scandinavia. There’s so much to see there, between the popular brewery serving German-style beer, to the Hermann Monument, to the genuine Turner Hall.

Pella, Iowa

Pella has been called “America’s Dutch Treasure,” and was heavily influenced by the Dutch immigrants who settled there in 1847. There’s so much Dutch culture to explore there, like Molengracht Plaza, which features a Dutch-style canal. The city also features charming shops, the tallest working grain windmill in the U.S., and Tulip Time, an annual spring festival.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

As one of America’s oldest cities, Philadelphia has a ton of charm and a lot of European flair. Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest street in the city, will make you feel like you’re in England, while City Hall is reminiscent of France. The old buildings and abundant markets make it easy to walk through the city and feel as if you were somewhere else entirely.

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara is called the “American Riviera” for a reason: the seaside city brings to mind southern France, with mountains in view behind the beaches. But you’ll also notice a strong resemblance to colonial Spain in the California city, thanks to the red-tiled rooftops and tall palm trees. The whole place has a definite Mediterranean feel to it.

Solvang, California

Not very far from sunny Santa Barbara, you’ll find Solvang, which could easily be confused for a Scandinavian city. There are authentic Scandinavian bakeries, a fall Danish Days celebration, a replica of Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid sculpture, and a reproduction of Copenhagen’s Rundetårn. Add in windmills and thatched roof, and you’ve got a picture perfect Dutch-inspired wonderland right on the West Coast.

St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine was settled in the mid-1500s by the Spanish, making is the oldest city in America. The influence from Spain is still really heavy, with buildings like stone fortress Castillo de San Marcos on the Matanzas Bay and Lightner Museum, which features a Spanish Renaissance Revival style. The brick roads and Spanish architecture all over, along with the tall palm trees, make this city incredibly unique.

Tarpon Springs, Florida

If Greece is more your type of place, head to Tarpon Springs. The Florida city has the highest concentration of Greek-Americans in the U.S. since Greek immigrants built the city’s signature sponge industry, giving the whole place a heavy Greek influence. Many people speak Greece in their homes, and Greek restaurants line the docks, making you feel like you’re actually in Athens or Santorini.

Washington, D.C.

It’s hard to ignore the European influence on Washington, D.C., which was designed by a Frenchman, Pierre Charles L’Enfant, who wanted to build a Parisian city. The wide boulevards and many gardens certainly evoke the feelings of Paris, and it doesn’t hurt that European diplomats are found all over.

__________________________________________________________Want more Woman’s Day? Subscribe to Woman’s Day today and get 73% off your first 12 issues. And while you’re at it, sign up for our FREE newsletter for even more of the Woman’s Day content you want.

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