9 US towns to visit that feel European
You do not have to leave the US to feel as if you have taken an international trip. There are a host of towns scattered throughout the country that have a distinctive European feel. From quaint villages to magical outdoor landscapes, these towns will make you feel as if you have been transported to a different world and era. Here are nine of the best cities to visit if you want to feel as if you have stepped into a European postcard:
Sunrise in Solvang, CA. Photo by Alonso Reyes
This Danish village replica features brightly colored storefronts, blooming flowers, and horse-drawn carriages. The name of the town translates to "sunny fields" in Danish, making it the perfect name of this bright village. Solvang was established more than a century ago by Danish settlers, and the town has remained true to its roots since then. One of the best times to visit Solvang is during the town's Danish Days festival in September.
Downtown Frankenmuth, MI photo by Aaron Burden
For a dose of the merriment of Christmas, all year long, be sure to put a trip to Frankenmuth at the top of your trip bucket list. Reminiscent of a classic Bavarian town, this Michigan destination is home to some of the country's most authentic German food. Be sure to bring your appetite so that you can indulge in sausages, kraut, and pretzel bread. Bronner's Christmas Wonderland claims to be the biggest holiday store in the world, making it a must-see stop on your tour of Frankenmuth.
This midwestern gem gives you a glimpse of authentic Swedish culture with a myriad of special events and festivals. The highlight of the year is the October Svensk Hyllningsfest, celebrating its Swedish roots with cooking lessons, a fun parade, a smorgasbord of food offerings, and more. Make sure to visit the Swedish Pavilion, a historic site that was constructed in 1904 for the World's Fair and then transported to Lindsborg.
Photo by Arun Kuchibhotla
New Orleans, Louisiana
This big city experience still manages to epitomize the laid-back European lifestyle with its heavy French influence. In December 1803, the French sold the land to the US in the Louisiana Purchase deal. However, despite the change of ownership in the land, the city of New Orleans still features a definitive French feel. For a particularly magical experience, head to the French Quarter, where you will take in the city's rich history and diverse culture.
Photo by Michael Browning
You cannot miss the English colonial influence as you stroll through Boston. This historic city offers an abundance of row houses, old churches, and other architectural elements that harken back to when the English first settled America. The fantastic array of fresh seafood is just a bonus.
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Georgia gem has built a strong reputation for its Alpine Village. While the town is a great destination at any time of the year, it truly comes alive in the fall for its many Oktoberfest events and activities. The holidays are also an especially beautiful time to visit. No trip to Helen is complete without a trip to its iconic restaurant, Old Heidelberg. Nosh on schnitzel, German potato pancakes, Goulash, and then wash it all down with a German brew.
Although this West Coast mountain town is worlds away from Germany, it does not feel like it as you stroll through the charming village. The snow-capped peaks of the Cascades are the perfect backdrop for this Bavarian-inspired town. After a trip to Gustav's, head over to the special nutcracker museum to experience some of the best holiday traditions of Germany in Leavenworth.
Venice Beach, California Photo by Stephen Leonardi
While it is primarily known for its miles of stunning coastline and sandy beaches, it is no coincidence that Venice, California, shares the same name with Venice, Italy. This Southern California hotspot also features a network of canals, bridges, and other elements that make part of this town feel like Italy.
New Glarus, Wisconsin
This Swiss haven has what you are looking for if you are after cheese and chocolate. Visit an authentic Swiss bakery or satisfy your craving for some cheese fondue. The Swiss Historical Village and Museum and the Swiss Center of America are also good stops to put on your list when visiting New Glarus.