North American locales that make you feel like you’re in Europe

Places in North America that make you feel like you’re in Europe

You don’t always have to travel all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to get a feel for Europe’s most iconic cities. Destinations all around North America offer a taste of Europe, and some are so inspired by their European muses that you might forget you’re not in Europe during your visit. Before you shell out big bucks for an international trip, check out these 10 North American locales that make you feel like you’re in Europe.

 

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

North American locales that make you feel like you’re in Europe

Quebec has a strong French feel (Image: Andrea Schaffer)

When it comes to channeling a sense of Europe in North America, no one does it better than Quebec City. This Canadian city is probably as close as you can get to the streets of Paris without crossing the Atlantic Ocean, thanks to the carefully preserved French architecture, culture and language found throughout the city. Originally settled as the capital of New France, French is still the official language of the city.

Beyond the language, Quebec City maintains a distinctly French charm through its architecture, which boasts chateaus and many original structures from the original French settlers. Narrow cobblestone streets are lined with shops, boutiques and cafes, connecting into public squares in true European fashion. Quebec’s Old Town is where you’ll truly feel the city’s old French soul, surrounded by stone city walls and historic architecture.

 

Washington D.C., United States

Quebec isn’t the only city in North America that looked to France as a source of inspiration. It’s no surprise, though, that the American capital of Washington D.C. also manages to evoke a uniquely French feel – after all, its designer purposefully modeled the city after Paris to ensure the capital could withstand potential attacks. D.C.’s long boulevards – with no shortage of greenery – were taken right from Paris, and the city’s density also invokes a European atmosphere. Take an afternoon coffee break at one of the city’s sidewalk cafes, and you might feel as though the only thing separating you from France is a fresh baguette.

 

Puebla, Mexico

Spain’s colonial history is on full display in the historic city of Puebla, Mexico. A UNESCO World Heritage Site founded in 1531, this city has managed to hang onto its Spanish roots for nearly five centuries. Exploring the architecture of Puebla’s 17th-century churches, pedestrian-only streets, cobblestone public square and plethora of small shops and boutiques, it’s easy to get lost in the very Spanish allure of Puebla. Another very uniquely Spanish trait of Puebla? The main meal of the day, which is eaten in the afternoon in traditional Spanish fashion.

 

Solvang, California, United States

North American locales that make you feel like you’re in Europe

A Danish windmill greets visitors to Solvang (Image: bdearth)

Yes, that is a Danish windmill greeting visitors as they arrive at the sleepy California coastal town of Solvang. Nestled in the Santa Ynez Valley, Solvang is California’s true slice of Denmark. Danish pastries, wine tastings and a smorgasbord of traditional Danish foods welcome visitors’ palates to Solvang, but the town’s Danish feel extends far beyond the culinary scene. The town itself looks like it’s been plucked right from a city street in Denmark, thanks to traditional Old World architecture. If you really want to feel like you’re in Denmark, visit Solvang during December, when the annual Julefest brings a traditional Danish Christmas celebration to the town’s streets, or in September, when the Solvang Danish Days celebrate the town’s European heritage.

 

Pella, Iowa, United States

Speaking of American towns that welcome visitors with European windmills, you’ll find the country’s largest Dutch windmill in Pella, Iowa. Strolling through downtown feels as if you’re walking down a main street in the Netherlands, thanks to the many mills and Dutch architecture that define Pella. Adding to the authenticity are the local restaurants offering Dutch fare and sweets. Plus, an annual Tulip Festival adds to the traditional Dutch feel.

 

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

French Quarter (Image: David Ohmer)

While locales like D.C. and Quebec City emulate Parisian chic, it’s the French Quarter of New Orleans where you’ll find yourself partying like a Parisian. There’s a buzz of French culture that thrives here, whether you’re enjoying the traditional French architecture of the city or dining on the more authentic French cuisine found throughout New Orleans. Bistros serving up an endless array of coffee and pastries simply add to the European charm.

 

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

North American locales that make you feel like you’re in Europe

High tea is served at venues all throughout Victoria (Image: ironypoisoning used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

Who needs to travel all the way to England when you can have your fill of gardens, high tea and Victorian architecture right here in Victoria, British Columbia? Named for England’s Queen Victoria, this Canadian city continues to offer a dash of English charm through its high tea service at venues throughout the city and the effortlessly regal Butchart Gardens, which seem fit for royalty. British fare is plentiful in Victoria, too: crumpets, scones, Welsh Rarebit and fish and chips will have you thinking you’re dining in England in no time.

 

Leavenworth, Washington, United States

North American locales that make you feel like you’re in Europe

Leavenworth was designed to be a mock Bavarian town (Image: Mini D used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

Germany is much closer than you think. Just take a trip to the Washington town of Leavenworth, whose town center was inspired by a traditional Bavarian village. It was a planned move to attract tourism to the city in the 1960s, and since then, visitors have come year after year to enjoy a taste of Germany in the United States. Beyond the Bavarian architecture, Leavenworth also maintains a German feel through the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, German cuisine (you’ll never go without schnitzel or bratwursts here) and annual Oktoberfest celebration.

 

San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States

Norzagaray Street in San Juan (Image: Harvey Barrison used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

Norzagaray Street in San Juan (Image: Harvey Barrison used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

The colonial roots of Puerto Rico evoke a very European atmosphere in San Juan, particularly in Old San Juan. Historic buildings from the city’s colonial days make visitors feel as if they’re strolling through an old Spanish town, while cobblestone streets and centuries-old cathedrals add to the Spanish charm.

 

Portland, Oregon, United States

While you won’t find the city streets lined with European architecture or centuries-old buildings, there’s an undeniably European feel present throughout the Oregon city of Portland – though it’s not always easy to pinpoint why. Perhaps it’s the laid-back atmosphere and casual friendliness of the locals, or maybe it’s the cobblestone streets downtown or the bridges that cross over the Willamette River. Undoubtedly, there is something about the vibe in Portland that makes one feel like they’re hanging out in a quaint European town.

 

(Main image: Prayitno / Thank you for (3.5 millions +) views)

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