Most European Cities in America: Top 10 Domestic Getaways

June 11, 2024

While international travel plans may still be on hold for many, a recent survey by TripIt of 3,200 U.S. users revealed that there are a number of domestic cities offering a European experience without the need for a passport. These destinations feature remarkable architecture, rich culture, cuisine, and an overall vibe reminiscent of European allure. Here’s a look at ten U.S. destinations where you can savor the taste of Europe right at home.

1. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans tops the list with its French Quarter, known for its vibrant and historic French influence. Wander through streets lined with charming French architecture, indulge in beignets at Café du Monde, and soak in the lively atmosphere of Bourbon Street. The local cuisine, art, and music scene closely mirror the robust and lively spirit found in European cities.

New Orleans

2. Charleston, South Carolina

With cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and pastel antebellum houses, Charleston offers a quaint, European-like charm. The city's meticulously preserved architecture and gardens echo the elegance of Europe’s historical towns, ensuring a picturesque and tranquil experience.

cars parked beside brown concrete building during daytime
Charleston South Carolina

3. Savannah, Georgia

Famous for its historic district, Savannah provides visitors with the ambiance of a Southern European city. Stroll through the tree-shaded promenades, admire the 19th-century parks and squares, and uncover the hidden charm in every corner of this timeless city.

Tree archway in a parkgreen leaf trees
Savannah Georgia

4. San Francisco, California

San Francisco’s eclectic neighborhoods and stunning architecture give off a distinct European feel. The city's iconic cable cars, vibrant Chinatown, and the historic architecture of neighborhoods such as Nob Hill and Pacific Heights bring to mind various European locales.

San Francisco's downhill winding street
San Francisco

5. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston’s cobblestone streets, brick buildings, and rich historical background offer a true taste of Europe. Known for its colonial and Georgian architecture, Boston's urban design resembles the walkability and charm of many European cities. Exploring Boston's Freedom Trail is akin to walking through time in Europe.

a tall building with many windows
Boston Massachusetts

6. St. Augustine, Florida

As the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement within the United States, St. Augustine is rich with Spanish influence. Spanish-style architecture, a historic fort, and vibrant local culture make it a unique destination that feels distinctly European.

a red car is parked in front of a large building
St. Augustine Florida

7. Leavenworth, Washington

This Bavarian-themed town is nestled in the Cascade Mountains and offers a delightful slice of Germany. Leavenworth’s architecture features Bavarian designs, complete with picturesque, exposed-beam structures. The town's festivals, including Oktoberfest, ensure a year-round European atmosphere.

Super pretty creek near Leavenworth, Washingtona stream running through a forest filled with rocks
Leavenworth Washington

8. Holland, Michigan

Invoking the spirit of the Netherlands, Holland, Michigan, is famed for its annual Tulip Time Festival and Dutch windmill. The town’s Dutch-inspired architecture, attractions like the authentic De Zwaan windmill, and vibrant tulip gardens provide a strikingly European vibe.

Vail Colorado

9. Frankenmuth, Michigan

Known as Michigan's Little Bavaria, Frankenmuth charms visitors with its Bavarian-style architecture and hospitality. The town is home to the world's largest Christmas store, Bronner's, and features traditional German festivals, ensuring a festive and culturally rich experience year-round.

bridge during golden hour
Frankenmuth Michigan

10. Vail, Colorado

This mountain town is reminiscent of an Austrian village with its alpine architecture and scenic beauty. Vail’s pedestrian-friendly streets, European-style chalets, and vibrant après-ski culture evoke the ambiance of Europe’s finest ski destinations.

Snowy Mountainmountain alps
Vail Colorado

Table

City State European Influence Key Attractions
New Orleans Louisiana French
  • French Quarter
  • Café du Monde
  • Bourbon Street
Charleston South Carolina European Historic Towns
  • Cobblestone Streets
  • Antebellum Houses
  • Historic Gardens
Savannah Georgia Southern European
  • Historic District
  • Tree-shaded Promenades
  • 19th-century Parks and Squares
San Francisco California Various European
  • Cable Cars
  • Chinatown
  • Nob Hill
Boston Massachusetts Georgian
  • Cobblestone Streets
  • Freedom Trail
  • Brick Buildings
St. Augustine Florida Spanish
  • Historic Fort
  • Spanish-style Architecture
  • Vibrant Local Culture
Leavenworth Washington German/Bavarian
  • Bavarian Architecture
  • Oktoberfest
  • Festivals
Holland Michigan Dutch
  • Tulip Time Festival
  • De Zwaan Windmill
  • Tulip Gardens
Frankenmuth Michigan German
  • Bavarian-style Architecture
  • Bronner’s Christmas Store
  • Traditional German Festivals
Vail Colorado Austrian/Alpine
  • Alpine Architecture
  • Pedestrian-friendly Streets
  • Après-ski Culture

While an overseas adventure may seem out of reach, these American towns offer a European escape close to home, blending the best of two continents for a rich, immersive experience. So why not plan your next domestic holiday and discover the European essence within the United States?

FAQs About U.S. Cities with a European Vibe

What is the most European city in the USA?

New Orleans is often considered the most European city in the USA due to its French Quarter, vibrant culture, historic French architecture, and rich culinary and musical traditions reminiscent of European cities.

Which American city has the most European-style architecture?

Charleston, South Carolina, is renowned for its cobblestone streets, pastel antebellum houses, and meticulously preserved European-style architecture and gardens, giving it a historic European charm.

Are there U.S. cities that offer a similar vibe to Southern Europe?

Yes, Savannah, Georgia, offers a Southern European ambiance with its tree-shaded promenades, 19th-century parks, and historic squares, providing a serene and picturesque experience.

Is there a U.S. city reminiscent of multiple European locations?

San Francisco, California, offers a unique blend of European vibes with its eclectic neighborhoods, iconic cable cars, vibrant Chinatown, and historic architecture, reminding visitors of various European cities.

Where can I experience European colonial history in the USA?

Boston, Massachusetts, is a great destination to experience European colonial history with its cobblestone streets, brick buildings, Georgian architecture, and sites along the Freedom Trail.

What U.S. city feels like an old Spanish town?

St. Augustine, Florida, is rich with Spanish influence and features Spanish-style architecture, a historic fort, and vibrant local culture, providing a distinctly European feel.

Is there a Bavarian-themed town in the USA?

Yes, Leavenworth, Washington, is a Bavarian-themed town in the Cascade Mountains, known for its Bavarian architecture, exposed-beam structures, and festivals like Oktoberfest.

What U.S. town is similar to the Netherlands?

Holland, Michigan, invokes the spirit of the Netherlands with its Dutch-inspired architecture, the authentic De Zwaan windmill, and the annual Tulip Time Festival celebrating Dutch culture.

Which city is known as Michigan's Little Bavaria?

Frankenmuth, Michigan, is known as Michigan's Little Bavaria, featuring Bavarian-style architecture, hospitality, the world's largest Christmas store, and traditional German festivals.

What American mountain town feels like an Austrian village?

Vail, Colorado, with its alpine architecture, pedestrian-friendly streets, European-style chalets, and vibrant après-ski culture, closely resembles a quaint Austrian village.

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JJ Sterling
As the co-founder of Urban Splatter and an architecture graduate from Chicago, I thrive on crafting a digital nexus where architectural innovation intersects with boundless digital opportunity. My academic roots in the Windy City's rich architectural tapestry inspire a unique vision for Urban Splatter's journey into the ever-evolving digital frontier of design. Join us as we navigate the exciting confluence of structure, style, and technology.

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