Discovering European America – North American Cities That Feel Like European Cities

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Are you dreaming of strolling through cobblestone streets, sipping espresso at local cafés, and getting lost in Old World charm architecture? Visiting Europe does not have to be expensive; there are affordable cities in Europe you can visit to make your European trip a reality. But if leaving the country isn’t an option for you, why not explore U.S. cities with a European vibe? Surprisingly, there are budget-friendly destinations right here in the U.S. that capture the essence of European allure. You don’t have to book a flight across the globe to experience the magic of Europe. 

Let’s explore the enchanting cities that promise a taste of Europe without breaking the bank or leaving the country.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Let’s kick off our journey in the lively streets of New Orleans. The French Quarter, with its charming architecture, upbeat jazz, and delectable Creole cuisine, mirrors the spirit of Europe. Stroll down Bourbon Street, savor beignets at Café du Monde, and let the lively atmosphere transport you to the heart of France on a budget. In addition to its distinctive energy, New Orleans will always remain the home of hospitality, since it warmly welcomes visitors all year. If you visit just in time, you might witness the celebration of Mardi Gras, one of the city’s most celebrated festivals.

Catalina Island, California

If visiting the Mediterranean is on your bucket list, then escape to Catalina Island, where you can enjoy Mediterranean vibes on the West Coast. The island off the coast of California features a Mediterranean-inspired experience with its pristine beaches, charming streets, and seaside activities. In addition to its coastal charisma, Catalina Island offers a variety of wines, including homegrown wine from the Rusack Vineyards winery. Catalina Island offers a European island ambiance without needing a transatlantic flight. 

St. Augustine, Florida

Explore the historic beauty and Spanish roots of one of the oldest cities in the U.S.–St. Augustine. The city exudes history and European influence. Stroll through its narrow streets, marvel at the Spanish Colonial architecture, and visit the historic Castillo de San Marcos for a snippet of Spain right in the heart of Florida. Dig deeper into the city’s history by going on an Old Trolley Tour of St. Augustine, where local guides make the experience even more enjoyable by combining history with laughter. 

Montpelier, Vermont

Vermont may be the last place on the list when you think of towns and cities with European vibes, but Montpelier surprises with its New England charm. This quaint town’s historic architecture, artisanal shops, and tree-lined streets create a picture-perfect setting reminiscent of a European village. Montpelier, like Europe, offers a variety of outdoor activities that will make you feel like you’re traveling through European natural riches.

Holland, Michigan

For a taste of Dutch heritage without leaving the Midwest, head to Holland, Michigan. Known for its annual Tulip Time Festival, this city embraces its Dutch origins with charming Dutch windmills, tulip-lined streets, and traditional wooden clogs, offering a slice of Europe in the Midwest–all on a budget-friendly scale. Its walkable streets let visitors enjoy Holland’s European charm. Enjoy a stress-free and comfortable stay in Holland by booking hotel reservations early and getting the best suites at an affordable price.  

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston’s cobblestone lanes and colonial buildings transport visitors back in time. The colonial architecture and revolutionary spirit reflect the influence of Europe and how the roots of the United States are entwined with it. Explore the Freedom Trail, visit the historic neighborhoods, and feel the European influence that lingers in this iconic American city. Enjoy a dynamic city view of Boston by visiting View Boston, a 360-degree deck overlooking the city that gives stunning and orienting views from far above the heart of Boston.

Leavenworth, Washington

Escape to the Pacific Northwest and explore the Alpine grandeur of Leavenworth, a charming town in the Cascade Mountains. Its Bavarian architecture will take you to Europe, especially during the winter, when its captivating appeal peaks. Since winter is the best time to visit Leavenworth, gear up for ski activities in town. From the picturesque Alpine-style buildings to the annual Oktoberfest event, Leavenworth provides a taste of Germany without leaving the United States.

Lindsborg, Kansas

Lindsborg, known as “little Sweden,” embraces its Scandinavian roots with Swedish-style architecture, quaint shops, and festivals. The town’s commitment to preserving its heritage makes it a unique and budget-friendly European-inspired destination in the Midwest. Visit the Lindsborg Old Mill and Swedish Heritage Museum to dive deeper into Lindsborg’s Swedish influences. For budget-conscious travelers, visiting Lindsborg from December to February is best when it is off-peak, and hotel bookings are generally cheaper.  

Tarpon Springs, Florida

Florida features another European-like city. Known as the “Sponge Capital of the world,” Tarpon Springs reflects the influence of the Greeks who settled there. Explore the picturesque waterfront, savor the Greek cuisine, and experience a touch of the Mediterranean on the Gulf Coast. For travelers seeking a taste of authentic Greek cuisine, check out to book local restaurants while saving you money. 

Solvang, California

Nestled in the heart of California’s Santa Ynez Valley, Solvang transports visitors to Denmark’s breathtaking scenery. With its half-timbered buildings, windmills, and cobblestone streets, this lovely city exudes a distinct Danish touch. From the aroma of freshly made pastries wafting through the air to the small boutiques displaying Scandinavian treasures, the city of Solvang captures every aspect of European beauty in an American setting. Visitors can enjoy classic Danish delights like aebleskiver and smørrebrød, or simply stroll the streets and see the colorful flower boxes on each window sill.

Vail, Colorado

While Vail is well-known for skiing, it also provides a taste of European flair in the middle of the Rockies. The beautiful pedestrian village, complete with cobblestone walkways and Bavarian-style architecture, exudes a pleasant and inviting environment reminiscent of a European mountain hideaway. Vail is the perfect destination for a taste of European vacation in North America. To make your vacation more convenient, check out travel tours and deals for your next Vail getaway.

Ready to Explore the Most European Cities in America?

You don’t need a passport or a big budget to enjoy the irresistible charm of Europe. These affordable US destinations are ready to dazzle you with their European-inspired appeal. From the jazz-filled alleys of New Orleans to the Alpine elegance of Vail, each of these low-cost destinations provides a one-of-a-kind and captivating experience, allowing you to have a taste of Europe without having to cross the Atlantic. So, pack your bags, go on an in-country adventure, and enjoy the Old World charm that awaits you right here in the United States.

Daniel de Vries
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