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16 Best U.S. Cities to Visit That Look Just Like Europe

16 Best U.S. Cities to Visit That Look Just Like Europe

Planning that perfect trip to Europe from the United States doesn’t require crossing oceans. The United States of America is filled with vibrant cities that exude the same charm, feature a European ambiance and architecture, and offer a taste of their delicious cuisine without spending a hefty amount on transcontinental flight.

Whether you’re longing for the cozy cafes of Paris, the historic vibes of Rome, or the festive culture of Bavaria, there’s a destination in America waiting to fulfill your European vacation dream. Here are the 15 U.S. cities that look just like Europe minus the crowds:

Leavenworth, Washington (Germany)

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Leavenworth is like stepping into Bavaria—a small town in Germany. From the breathtaking backdrop of mountains to architecture and festivals, Leavenworth seriously gives off German vibes, making you feel you’re actually there. During Oktoberfest, you can munch on pretzels, listen to live polka music and watch everyone dressed colorfully in lederhosen and dirndls. There are many ski trails to enjoy in the winter season. Apart from skiing, don’t miss out on the famous Nutcracker Museum. 

St. Augustine, Florida (Spain)

Photo by Kristin Wilson via Unsplash.

Walking through St. Augustine feels like navigating the streets of Spain. It’s regarded as the oldest city in the United States and features Spanish colonial history and architecture. You can visit the Castillo de San Marcos to get a taste of the past or just enjoy a sunset that lights up the town’s historic buildings. The city is home to many historical museums that are worth checking out, including the Lightner Museum, the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum, and the Medieval Torture Museum.

New Orleans, Louisiana (France)

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You cannot ignore the French vibes in New Orleans in Louisana, as it was founded by French Colonists in 1718. As you step into the French Quarter, you can witness the live jazz music playing on the streets, modern French boutiques and antique stores, and old restaurants selling authentic French food. Other than the French Quarter, the National WWII Museum, Royal Street, and Frenchmen Street are worth visiting.

Holland, Michigan (the Netherlands)

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Holland, Michigan, is where you go when you wish to see the tulip fields and windmills of the Netherlands. This city is all Dutch, so you won’t even feel like you’re not in Europe, especially during the Tulip Time Festival. You can visit the Nelis’ Dutch Village—a theme park with colored buildings, a wooden shoe factory, and many other activities for your family to enjoy.

Boston, Massachusetts (United Kingdom)

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Boston feels like a letter from Old England with its historic charm, cobblestone streets, lanterns, and brick buildings. Walking the Freedom Trail is like a journey through time, but even beyond that, the city’s European vibe is unavoidable in its quaint neighborhoods and historic pubs. Visit Acorn Street, one of the most photographed in the city due to its historic buildings dating back to the 19th century. 

Tarpon Springs, Florida (Greece)

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Tarpon Springs is your best Greek island escape without a long and expensive flight from the States. Known for its sponge docks and vibrant Greek community, it’s a place where you can feast on authentic Greek food and feel like you’re wandering the streets of a coastal town in Greece. The waterfront of Tarpon Springs is picturesque, perfect for a walk as the sun goes down. 

Solvang, California (the Netherlands)

Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Solvang is a little Denmark of the United States and has a rich Danish heritage. You’ll find bakeries selling the most delicious buttery pastries you’ve ever tasted and cute little shops that look like they belong in a storybook. Stroll down its streets, and you might just forget you’re not in Copenhagen. There is much to do in this small town; you can watch windmills, admire the stunning Danish buildings, and also attend one of their cultural events, such as the Da

Santa Fe, New Mexico (Spain)

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Santa Fe looks like a piece of Spain but with a New Mexican twist. Its distinctive architecture with earth-colored adobe buildings gives it a European feel with a stunning backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The city is home to many museums and art centers, including the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, reflecting a blend of Spanish and Native American architecture styles, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, featuring more than 10 million artifacts, and Meow Wolf Santa Fe, offering an immersive art experience. 

Vail, Colorado (Switzerland)

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Vail might make you wonder if you’ve somehow stepped onto the Swiss Alps. Featuring Bavarian-German-Swiss inspired vibes, cuisine, and architecture, it’s a winter wonderland and a skier’s paradise. But Vail isn’t just about the winter sports; it’s about that cozy mountain vibe that makes you want to curl up with hot chocolate in one of the quaint cafes in town. Summer in Vail brings out a different kind of beauty, with a lot of family-friendly activities to offer. 

Charleston, South Carolina (France)

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From cobblestone streets to grand churches to colorful buildings, Charleston in South Carolina gives off European vibes, especially of France and Spain. The historic French Quarter area is a must-visit in Charleston. It is home to many old buildings, historic churches, and art galleries. Also, the food here is truly an experience in itself, blending traditional dishes with innovative twists. 

San Francisco, California (Spain)

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San Francisco is known for its rolling hills, iconic bridges, and colorful houses. The city’s diverse neighborhoods, each have their own personality, with colorful Spanish and Victorian-styled houses. From Mission to North Beach to the beautiful French Quarter, you will find many similarities with Europe in San Francisco. Just like European cities, most parts of San Francisco are walkable, with the option to travel on the metro, which goes almost everywhere.   

Newport, Rhode Island (United Kingdom)

Photo by Michael Denning via Unsplash.

Newport is where America’s elite once built their summer “cottages,” which were more like palaces. One such place is Rough Point, a mansion and museum with a unique collection of decorative arts. It also offers a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean. The famous “Cliff Walk” is another great activity to do in Newport, where you can walk along the coast and witness the breathtaking nature and beautiful architecture. 

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California (Southern Europe)

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Carmel-by-the-Sea is another amazing Europe-like destination, with fairy-tale cottages and hidden courtyards that make you feel like you’re walking through a storybook. This town has an artistic soul, with galleries, theaters, and boutiques that showcase its creative spirit. The scenic beach views, hikes, and walks have earned the city the title of “Best City for Romance in the World.”

Frankenmuth, Michigan (Germany)

Photo by Bri Tucker via Unsplash.

You don’t have to fly far to visit Germany, as you can enjoy the exact same vibes in Frankenmuth in Michigan. Known for its Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland – a huge Christmas store, authentic German food, and festive spirit year-round, the city is truly worth exploring. Walking through town, you might catch yourself humming Christmas tunes no matter the season. It’s a place where the community comes together to celebrate their heritage with pride and lots of beer, just like Germans.

Lindsborg, Kansas (Sweden)

Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Lindsborg, Kansas, is known as the “Little Sweden of America,” featuring Scandinavian charm in the heart of the United States. From its colorful Dala horses to the traditional festivals that fill the streets with music and the aroma of Swedish delicacies, Lindsborg represents Swedish heritage without even being in Sweden. Stroll through Lindsborg, visit the local galleries and studios, and immerse yourself in a community that embraces its cultural roots with pride. 

Palouse, Washington (Italy)

Photo credit: Dave Hoefler via Unsplash.

The Palouse region in southeastern Washington State is often compared to Italy’s Tuscany due to its picturesque and fertile rolling hills that create a stunning agricultural mosaic, mirroring the iconic Tuscan landscapes.

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Travel Writer | Website

Emese Maczko is a travel blogger behind Eco Lodges Anywhere. Having explored several destinations around Europe, the US, Indonesia, and Australia, and resided in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg, Emese possesses a keen understanding of diverse cultures and an appreciation for the beauty of each destination she visits. She advocates for sustainable travel and ecotourism.