Europe is known for many things, as is America. Can you think of some? On the one hand, in Europe you have more socialist governments and welfare states. This has come to be known as the European Social Model. On the other hand, in the United States, you have the American Way. This has been associated with the “frontier spirit”, or the ideas of individualism, distrust of government, and a do-it-yourself mentality. Europe has an extensive and well recorded history and much of its architecture reflects that. The United States also has a long history but unfortunately Native Americans did not have a well developed writing system. Europe, as a result of its social model, puts lots of emphasis on public services. This means that cities typically have excellent public transport, people receive free or affordable health care, and education is also usually free or affordable. In the United States, capitalism dominates and the prices of all these things are usually set by the market. The differences can go on, but today we will focus on similarities. The cities in this list, in spite of being in the middle of good ole’ America all exhibit a European influence. Whether it is language, architecture, or public services (like an efficient tram or metro system), these are the 25 American cities with the most European flair!
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New York City, New York
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
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.
This sleepy little village will make you feel as though you are somewhere in the Netherlands with its Dutch architecture and tulip festivals.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
After Danish settlers arrived here they intentionally built it to look like a Danish town and reaped the tourism dollars.
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.
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.
What Solvang was to Denmark, Leavenworth is to Germany. This model Bavarian town found in the mountains of Washington has everything except German speakers.
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
Originally called La Nouvelle-Orleans, the Big Easy is so obviously European that it would be hard to keep it off this list.
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.
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.
One of the most historically significant American cities, Philly has everything from Old World architecture to lively markets.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
This sleepy little coastal village will remind you a bit of England with its narrow alleyways and shops.
St. Augustine, Florida
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.