Cities Journal

Top 21 Most European Cities in the US

New Orleans, LA (French Quarter)-flickr-JasonParis
Photo credit: JasonParis / Flickr

There are quite a few reasons why you might be looking for a city in the United States with a particularly European feel to it. Perhaps you are traveling to Europe soon and you want to prepare yourself for your upcoming travels. Perhaps you just came from Europe and you are acclimating to the U.S. Perhaps you just want to light up in the street without someone calling you devil spawn.

Whatever your reasons may be, there are quite a few U.S. cities that have some of that Old World charm. We have selected 21 cities that we feel have that European “feel” right here in our United States.

1. New Orleans, LA

When people discuss which cities in the United States are most European, many will mention New Orleans. For one, it was established by French colonists and when you have the French give birth to a city, somehow it sticks. And nowhere is this more pronounced than in the Big Easy. For example, its original name was La Nouvelle-Orleans, after a city in France.

After about half a century, the Spanish Empire in 1763 began ruling New Orleans. In fact, it was from New Orleans that the Spanish launched their campaigns against the Brits in 1779.

Today, the vast majority of old architecture that still stands dates back to the days of Spanish rule, despite what many people think. Its architecture is probably the most obvious European thing about New Orleans, but it is far from being the only feature reminiscent of the across-the-Atlantic atmosphere. There is also the fact that NOLA still boasts street cars when most other American cities got rid of them. It also boasts a specific cuisine and a number of festivals with European roots – Mardi Gras being the most famous of them all.

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  • Jeff

    Hey, that photo of Portland, Oregon is actually Portland, Maine.

  • Keenjane

    I came here looking for a vacation inspiration without going too far from home. Luckily, I live in Philly, so I just need to wait for warm weather and I can have a fiscally responsible staycation! Yay Philly!

  • Allyx Kelley

    Check your photos; the lighthouse you have up for Portland, OR is actually Portland Head Light, in Portland, ME.

  • kIsS tHe PaNdA

    I live in Charleston and it is lovely, though a bit small. San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, DC and NYC are dream cities for me.

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