25 American Cities With The Most European Flair

Posted by , Updated on May 22, 2024

Europe and America are renowned for their unique characteristics. Can you identify them? Europe is often recognized by its socialist governments and welfare states under the European Social Model. In contrast, the United States is marked by individualism, government skepticism, and self-reliance, famously known as the “frontier spirit,” which drives the concept of the American Way. Europe’s long and well-documented history is reflected in its architecture. While America also has a rich past, Native Americans unfortunately didn’t have an extensive writing system. Due to Europe’s social model, there is a high appreciation for public services. Consequently, cities frequently boast excellent public transportation, residents benefit from free or low-cost healthcare, and education is typically free or affordable. On the other hand, in America, service pricing is primarily governed by the market due to its emphasis on capitalism. Despite these distinctions, similarities exist as well. The cities we’re focusing on today, located in the heart of America, display a noticeable European influence. This foreign impact can be seen in their language, architecture, or public amenities like efficient tram or metro systems. Here are the top 25 American cities showcasing the strongest European flavor!

Featured Image: pixabay


New York City, New York

New York City, New YorkSource: wikipedia, Image: pixabay

Although it is quintessentially American, it has several European things going for it. Possibly the most European of those is its public transport.


San Fransisco, California

San Fransisco, CaliforniaSource: wikipedia, Image: pixabay

Of course San Fransisco will be on this list. It is one of the few American cities that is not stereotypically zoned. This means that, much like in Europe, residences and shops are all in the same area which lends itself to a more vibrant sort of lifestyle.


Pella, Iowa

Pella, IowaSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

This sleepy little village will make you feel as though you are somewhere in the Netherlands with its Dutch architecture and tulip festivals.


Portland, Oregon

Portland, OregonSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Being liberal, hipster, and known for its quirkiness, what Portland lacks in historical architecture it makes up for with its European mindset.


Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South CarolinaSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

In spite of being southern, Charleston has a lot of old world charm to it. In some ways it comes across as a small European village…small historical center, well preserved architecture, and a laid back lifestyle.


Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, IllinoisSource: wikipedia, Image: pixabay

It is the variety of lively neighborhoods that give Chicago its European flair. In fact, most of those neighborhoods were built by immigrants who set up stores and shops from their home countries.


San Diego, California

San Diego, CaliforniaSource: wikipedia, Image: pixabay

Sitting in a cafe in downtown San Diego is almost sure to give you the feeling that you’ve been transported to Spain. And for good reason, San Diego was settled by the Spanish and still retains that flair.


Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati, OhioSource: wikipedia, Image: pixabay

Although it was the first city to be built after the American Revolution, Cincinnati’s All-American reputation has some strong European influences. Many of the immigrants here came from Germany. In fact, in the 1800s it was known as the Paris of America.


Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, MarylandSource: wikipedia, Image: pixabay

Known as the City of Neighborhoods, Baltimore takes the Chicago “neighborhood diversity” a step further. It can seem like each one has its own personality.


Tarpon Springs, Florida

Tarpon Springs, FloridaSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

With the highest population of Greeks out of any US city, Tarpon Springs will make you think you have been transported to the country that gave the world democracy.


Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, MassachusettsSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

This list would be incomplete without one of America’s most historically significant cities. Besides the history though, things like public transport, mindset, and lively neighborhoods all lend themselves to a European feel.


Calistoga, California

Calistoga, CaliforniaSource: wikipedia, Image: Lauren Bosak via Flickr

Found in Napa Valley in the middle of California wine country, it even comes with replica Tuscany style castles. You wouldn’t know you weren’t in Italy.


Fredericksburg, Texas

Fredericksburg, TexasSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Fredericksburg is quite unique in that not only does the city look German in some areas, you still have German being spoken here! (Texas German). From its biergartens to its Kirchen, this city is as close to Germany as you can get this side of the Atlantic!


Venice, California

Venice, CaliforniaSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Swallowed up by Los Angeles, which is often considered to be the epitome of American-ness, Venice was built to resemble its namesake and the European-ness is evident. From the canals to the laid back attitude, Venice gives you a bit of Europe in the middle of America.


Solvang, California

Solvang, CaliforniaSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

After Danish settlers arrived here they intentionally built it to look like a Danish town and reaped the tourism dollars.


Gallipolis, Ohio

Gallipolis, OhioSource: wikipedia, Image: Mike via Flickr

Founded by French aristocrats fleeing the revolution in the their home country, Gallipolis’s French heritage can be seen in its architecture and sleepy way of life.


Washington D.C.

Washington D.C.Source: wikipedia, Image: pixabay

Although it may seem strange to call the capital of the United States European, there are good reasons to have it on this list. With all its monuments, boulevards, and just overall layout, Washington seems like it could stand side by side with any European capital city. Furthermore, its bar and restaurant scene is quite lively and very Europe-inspired.


Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth, WashingtonSource: wikipedia, Image: Sam DeLong via Flickr

What Solvang was to Denmark, Leavenworth is to Germany. This model Bavarian town found in the mountains of Washington has everything except German speakers.


Frankenmuth, Michigan

Frankenmuth, MichiganSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Called Little Bavaria, many of the settlers here were from southern Germany. It’s not just the architecture though, the city even has an Oktoberfest!


New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, LouisianaSource: wikipedia, Image: pixabay

Originally called La Nouvelle-Orleans, the Big Easy is so obviously European that it would be hard to keep it off this list.


Seattle, Washington

Seattle, WashingtonSource: wikipedia, Image: pixabay

Seattle isn’t so much European with regards to architecture as it is in spirit. In fact, most Europeans have stated that they feel most at home here. From progressive liberalism to the popularity of football (soccer), it has it all.


Portland, Maine

Portland, MaineSource: wikipedia, Image: pixabay

Home to nearly a third of the state’s total population, this is the second Portland on our list. If you take a stroll through this town, especially the waterfront district, you’ll see why we included it.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaSource: wikipedia, Image: pixabay

One of the most historically significant American cities, Philly has everything from Old World architecture to lively markets.


Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Portsmouth, New HampshireSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

This sleepy little coastal village will remind you a bit of England with its narrow alleyways and shops.


St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine, FloridaSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

This city is the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the US and was founded by Europeans (1565). From its tumultuous past to its historic downtown and coastal fortress, St Augustine also puts a lot of emphasis on culture and arts, much like Europe.