Best European Style Cities to Visit in the U.S.
Any trip to Europe is a memorable experience. The continent offers an abundance of remarkable cities each with their own culture and style. What you may not know, however, is that the U.S. offers travelers numerous great cities in which they can get their European fix.
Before America was America, explorers from Spain, France, England, and other European countries made their way to this new land and therefore many cities across the U.S. have a real European influence.
So if you find yourself stateside without the money and time it takes to head to Europe for your next vacation, head to one of these top U.S. cities where you will feel as though you have flown across the Big Pond.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans has deep roots to Europe that date back before the U.S. gained its independence. What started as a French colony would be ceded to the Spanish Empire and then back to the French where Napoleon would eventually sell the city and state of Louisiana to the U.S. in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.
The city has never lost its French and Spanish influence as you can still experience it via its beautiful architecture, music, and cuisine. Cajuns were descendants of Acadians or French colonists who settled in Acadia (Northest Canada) during the 17th and 18th centuries. You can see their influence on the city almost wherever you look especially in the French Quarter.
Enjoy beignets, burlesque, and Bastille Day celebrations.
Santa Barbara, California
A trip to Santa Barbara will make you think you were in the Mediterranean. Known as the “American Riviera”, the city has a strong Spanish influence especially in terms of its architecture. Nowhere is this more apparent than buildings like Santa Barbara County Courthouse, Presidio of Santa Barbara, and the Mission Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara’s beaches are reminiscent of coastal France and the city shows its French pride as it throws the largest French Festival in the western U.S. during Bastille Day weekend in July.
Unlike the usually small hotels rooms you’ll find in Europe, Santa Barbara offers incredible vacation rentals which will make your Santa Barbara vacation truly memorable. Enjoy ample room with luxurious amenities such as fully stocked kitchens, private infinity pools and Jacuzzis, ocean views, private beach access, tennis courts, or even 3-D Home theatres.
Vacation rentals make for luxurious extended stays while visiting the American Riviera and can be had much cheaper than something similar on the real French Riviera.
Less than an hour drive away from Santa Barbara, you can visit Denmark via the city of Solvang. Experience windmills, Danish bakeries, a bust of Hans Christian Andersen, and replicas of Copenhagen’s famous Little Mermaid statue and the Round Tower.
St. Augustine, Florida
It is the U.S.’s oldest city which was founded by the Spanish in 1565. Visitors can experience the United States’ oldest masonry fort at The Castillo de San Marcos. The entire city makes you feel as though you have been transported into historical Spain and many of its original buildings or remnants can be seen.
Pay a visit to the Government House originally constructed from coquina which served as the Spanish governor’s official residence during the 18th and 19th centuries.
The building has since been refurbished and redesigned by the architect of the Washington Monument, Robert Mills.
You can also get a taste of Florence, Italy as replicas of the Medici Lions greet your approach to the Bridge of Lions which spans the Intracoastal Waterway in St. Augustine.
Who needs Ireland when you have Boston? Irish descendants form the largest single ethnic group in this lovely Massachusetts city. Like Ireland, Boston is also surprisingly home to several castles including the Boston University Castle, Castle Island’s Fort Independence, and the Saunders Castle at Park Plaza which is the city’s premier event and conference center, conveniently located near the largest and top hotels in Boston.
You will definitely find a few authentic Irish pubs around town offering corned beef and cabbage. The city throws one hell of a St. Patrick’s Day Parade as well as offering the annual Boston Irish Film Festival which celebrates Irish made films, documentaries, and shorts.
Even Boston’s basketball team, the Celtics, get into the Irish spirit with their mascot Lucky the Leprechaun.
Anyone needing a taste of Germany can head to Leavenworth just a few hours’ drive from Seattle. The town’s center is modeled after a Bavarian village after all.
This once named Ultimate Holiday Town in America is home to the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum where you can see thousands of these German good luck symbols.
The town offers an abundance of outdoor recreation during summer and winter. Explore hiking trails like Icicle Gorge, ski trails and hills, zip lining, and white water rafting. The natural surroundings are just as much German looking as the town is.
Kansas City, Missouri
Get a glimpse of Seville, Spain right here In Kansas City of all places. Here you will find the 138 foot tall tower Giralda. The tower found in Country Club Plaza replicates the 12th-century Moorish tower of Giralda in Seville. The two cities have actually become sister cities.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what European influence this lovely city has. Founded by Dutch Americans, the city is home to the original 250-year-old Dutch windmill De Zwaan and the annual Tulip Time Festival.
Holland was also known as the “City of Churches” and is the home to the church that brought us the famous “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelets.
De Zwaan Windmill Photo By: Jarek Tuszyński