35 Places in America That Look Like Foreign Countries

The holidays are quickly approaching, which means scrambling to buy gifts, figuring out who to tip and how much, higher airline prices and millions of people hitting the road and the skies to visit family and friends. If you’re getting stressed about the season, you may want to consider a whole new travel plan: leaving on the actual holiday, instead of on the days before. Not only can you save money, but some surprising perks might help you realize why you should travel on the holidays more often. It really could be the best thing for your sanity and your wallet — and might make you feel like you’re traveling like a millionaire, without the millionaire budget.
Trinidad and Tobago
Slide 1 of 35: Love all things Italian? Then head to the “Little Italy” in the North End of Boston. A favorite destination of Italian immigrants in the early and mid-1900s, you’ll still find an array of Italian restaurants, bakeries, and shops in this historical section of Boston, which is also home to Paul Revere’s house.Related: 35 Strange But True Facts About America
Slide 2 of 35: It’s hard to get more American than the nation’s capital, but Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the French architect and artist appointed by President George Washington to design the city, took inspiration from the grand cities of Europe when he incorporated wide avenues with dazzling views of important landmarks, open squares, and great public walks into his plans for Washington, D.C.Related: 21 Crazy But True Facts About the White House
Slide 3 of 35: There’s no shortage of great spots to visit in San Francisco, but a must-see is Chinatown, home to the largest population of Chinese residents outside China. Enter through the Dragon’s Gate on Grant Avenue, and you’ll find streets filled with Chinese restaurants, bakeries, shops, temples, and herbalists.Related: 15 Places in America Everyone Should Visit at Least Once
Slide 4 of 35: The oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers. You can still see the influence of those early settlers in the Spanish colonial architecture littered throughout the historic city.Related: 10 U.S. Towns That Are Older Than America
Slide 5 of 35: The City of Brotherly Love is a testament to the European architectural styles popular in the 1700s. Early buildings display a strong Georgian and Federal influence, while later buildings took inspiration from the Victorian and Renaissance Revival architectural movements that were sweeping Europe at the time.Related: 20 Towns That Used to Run America
Slide 6 of 35: Known as The Big Easy thanks to its easy-going pace of life, New Orleans was first settled by the French in the early 1700s, and then later ceded to Spain. The architecture of the city is still heavily influenced by both of those nations, and the culture is a special mélange of many blended cultures.Related: 14 Places in America Where the Usual Laws Don't Apply
Slide 7 of 35: Settled largely by German immigrants in the mid-1800s, New Ulm is filled with German-inspired architecture and historical sites, including the August Schell Brewing Company, shown here, which has been pouring out bottled brews since 1860.Related: 50 Must-Visit Tiny Towns Across America
Slide 8 of 35: Situated along the beautiful coastline of southern California, Santa Barbara is sometimes called the American Riviera, thanks to its Spanish colonial and Mediterranean-style architecture. The Mission-style Santa Barbara courthouse, shown here, sets the tone for the area.
Slide 9 of 35: The capital of Vermont, Montpelier—inspired by the French city of the same name—is the quintessential New England town, and yet it has a distinctly European vibe. And of course, the area’s fall foliage thrills leaf peepers each year.Related: The 20 Friendliest Cities in America
Slide 10 of 35: Why travel all the way to Bavaria for a taste of an Alpine village, when you can travel to Leavenworth, Washington instead? Make sure to check out the Nutcracker Museum, where you’ll find thousands of the iconic utensils, as well as the many restaurants and breweries throughout the town.Related: 20 Must-Visit Mountain Towns Across America
Slide 11 of 35: You might think you’ve suddenly been transported to Denmark, but actually, this is the little town of Solvang, California. Founded in the early 1900s by Danish transplants, Solvang is still full of Danish bakeries, restaurants, shops, and activities.
Slide 12 of 35: It might look like a sleepy Greek town, but actually, it’s Tarpon Springs, Florida. Home to the largest population of Greek-Americans, Tarpon Springs is a great place for a gyro and a glass of ouzo.
Slide 13 of 35: Another city with a decidedly alpine feel, Vail sits at the base of Vail Mountain, one of the preeminent ski resorts in the United States. Playground of the wealthy, Vail is not only a popular winter destination, but also boasts many warm-weather amusements.Related: 12 Destinations You Should Actually Visit During the Off-Season
Slide 14 of 35: Nicknamed “Little Bavaria,” Frankenmuth, Michigan was founded by German immigrants in 1845. Today, it shows off its roots with wood-covered bridges, architecture typical to 1800s Bavaria, and a terrific Oktoberfest celebration every fall, and the World Expo of Beer each May.
Slide 15 of 35: Named by homesick Dutch settlers, Holland, Michigan hosts a tulip festival every May, and pays homage to its roots with Dutch-inspired architecture and design. The 250-year-old De Zwaan windmill, shown here, is the only working Dutch windmill in the United States.Related: 18 Small Towns with Strange Claims to Fame
Slide 16 of 35: Americans just can’t get enough of the Bavarian Alps, as so charmingly displayed in the tiny mountain town of Helen, Georgia. A popular Oktoberfest destination, the town’s zoning laws require every building—even fast-food joints—to portray typical Bavarian alpine design.
Slide 17 of 35: Founded by immigrants from the Netherlands, Pella, Iowa shows off typical Dutch architectural design in many of its iconic buildings, including the Vermeer Mill, shown here, and the Pella Opera House. The town celebrates its Dutch heritage with an annual tulip festival.
Slide 18 of 35: Named for the town of Glarus in Switzerland, New Glarus was founded by Swiss immigrants in the mid-1800s. Today, the town remembers its Swiss roots with a downtown styled with Swiss chalet-inspired architecture. Make sure to grab a beer at the New Glarus Brewing Company.
Slide 19 of 35: Looking for a bit of Sweden in America’s heartland? Then you’ll love the little town of Lindsborg, which celebrates all things Swedish, including the architecture, the history, the food, and the festivals. No wonder it’s nicknamed “Little Sweden.”Related: 35 Tiny Towns That Attract Hordes of Tourists Every Year
Slide 20 of 35: You could travel to Venice, Italy to take in the famous canals bordered by historical buildings, or instead, you could travel to the oceanfront town of Venice, California, and admire the newer—but no less lovely—canals flanked by beautiful homes. Afterwards, take a walk down the boardwalk and past the flamboyant Muscle Beach, where bodybuilders abound.Related: These Are the Places with the Best Weather in America
Slide 21 of 35: Kansas City calls itself the “City of Fountains,” and for good reason. There are 48 publicly operated fountains in the city, but the most spectacular and famous is the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain in the Country Club Plaza. The European-styled fountain celebrates four of the world’s great rivers: the Mississippi, the Volga, the Seine, and the Rhine.
Slide 22 of 35: No need to travel to Europe to enjoy German-inspired architecture or fine wines; you can sample both in Hermann, Missouri. Founded by German immigrants in the mid-1800s, today the city still has a European vibe, and the flourishing wineries surrounding the town add more into the bargain.
Slide 23 of 35: Founded by German immigrants in the mid-1800s, residents of Fredericksburg, Texas often refer to it as Fritztown. Along with many German bakeries, restaurants, historic homes, and public buildings, the city is also known for its many wineries.Related: 20 Weird and Wacky Destinations for a Family Road Trip
Slide 24 of 35: If you feel like you’ve been transported to somewhere in Europe upon sight of Charleston’s cobblestone streets, pastel-colored buildings, and antebellum architecture, you aren’t alone. Tourists flock to this southern gem to take in the scene, the laid-back pace, the friendly people, the many festivals, and the historic monuments.
Slide 25 of 35: Trip to the Sahara Desert on your bucket list? If that’s a bit too far, travel instead to the Great Sand Dune National Park in south-central Colorado. You’ll see the tallest sand dunes in North America, with some topping out at 750 feet high. You’ll enjoy hiking, sandboarding, and sandsledding across this natural wonder.Related: The 21 Wildest Places in America
Slide 26 of 35: While it doesn’t match the 29,029-foot height of the world's tallest Mount Everest, Denali—formerly called Mount McKinley—is no slouch at 20,310 feet. In fact, Denali, the centerpiece of the wild and rugged Denali National Park in Alaska, is the highest mountain in North America. If you’re a serious mountaineer, climbing it is definitely one of your must-dos.Related: 20 American Treasures to See Now—Before They Disappear
Slide 27 of 35: Mix together Spanish, Cuban, Native American, New England, and African influences, drench it all in the balmy sunshine of the Gulf of Mexico, paint it pastel, and you come up with Key West, Florida. This small island is the southernmost point of the United States, and is closer to Cuba than Miami.Related: The 30 Best Towns to Move to for Retirement
Slide 28 of 35: You could travel outside the United States to marvel at the tropical beauty of the Polynesian islands, or you could forgo a passport, and visit Hawaii, instead. As one of the three points of the Polynesian Triangle, Hawaii is a paradise for snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, and simply enjoying the many fantastic sights, such as the Wailua Falls on the island of Kauai.Related: Island Living: 20 Tropical B&Bs That Are Only an Airplane Away
Slide 29 of 35: It might resemble the vineyards of France, but it’s actually Napa Valley in Northern California. The heart of the Californian wine industry, Napa Valley is filled with vineyards and wineries, making it the perfect vacation destination for wine lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
Slide 30 of 35: Its alpine beauty might look like it belongs in Switzerland, but Mount Rainier is actually the highest mountain in the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest. Located around 60 miles south of Seattle, Mount Rainier is 14,411 feet high.
Slide 31 of 35: The rugged coastline of Big Sur, in central California, is a popular spot for hiking, camping, and beachcombing. Some of the most glorious scenery on the California coast is found along State Route 1, which winds through Big Sur, and crosses over the Bixby Bridge, an open-spandrel arch bridge with a distinctly Ancient Roman vibe.Related: The Best Tiny Beach Towns from East to West
Slide 32 of 35: Nicknamed “Switzerland of America,” Ouray, Colorado is a picturesque town nestled in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. It was once a gold-rush town, but today, it’s a mecca for hikers and other outdoors enthusiasts.Related: 18 Small Towns That Changed America
Slide 33 of 35: A melting pot of Cuban, Central and South American, Haitian, and American influences, Miami is full of color, tropical heat, and plenty of excitement. The Little Havana section of town is known for its annual festival, Cuban restaurants, and street art.Related: The Best U.S. Cities for a Summer Staycation
Slide 34 of 35: The town of Kahaluu on the island of Oahu has all of the natural beauty you’d expect from Hawaii, but what you might not expect to see is a replica of the gorgeous 950-year-old Byodo-In Temple found in Uji, Japan. Surrounded by equally lovely grounds, the temple welcomes visitors of all faiths to relax, meditate, or simply enjoy the peaceful splendor.Related: 25 Tiny Towns to Visit for a Glimpse at How We Used to Live
Slide 35 of 35: They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but you’ll feel like you’ve left the United States altogether while taking in the Paris Las Vegas Hotel on the famed Vegas strip. Designed to resemble its namesake city on a smaller scale, you’ll enjoy the 540-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower, two-thirds-scale Arc de Triomphe, a replica of the La Fontaine des Mers, as well as the facade, inspired by the Louvre and Paris Opera House.

Boston, Massachusetts

Love all things Italian? Then head to the “Little Italy” in the North End of Boston. A favorite destination of Italian immigrants in the early and mid-1900s, you’ll still find an array of Italian restaurants, bakeries, and shops in this historical section of Boston, which is also home to Paul Revere’s house.

Washington, D.C.

It’s hard to get more American than the nation’s capital, but Pierre Charles L’Enfant, the French architect and artist appointed by President George Washington to design the city, took inspiration from the grand cities of Europe when he incorporated wide avenues with dazzling views of important landmarks, open squares, and great public walks into his plans for Washington, D.C.

San Francisco, California

There’s no shortage of great spots to visit in San Francisco, but a must-see is Chinatown, home to the largest population of Chinese residents outside China. Enter through the Dragon’s Gate on Grant Avenue, and you’ll find streets filled with Chinese restaurants, bakeries, shops, temples, and herbalists.

St. Augustine, Florida

The oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers. You can still see the influence of those early settlers in the Spanish colonial architecture littered throughout the historic city.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The City of Brotherly Love is a testament to the European architectural styles popular in the 1700s. Early buildings display a strong Georgian and Federal influence, while later buildings took inspiration from the Victorian and Renaissance Revival architectural movements that were sweeping Europe at the time.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Known as The Big Easy thanks to its easy-going pace of life, New Orleans was first settled by the French in the early 1700s, and then later ceded to Spain. The architecture of the city is still heavily influenced by both of those nations, and the culture is a special mélange of many blended cultures.

New Ulm, Minnesota

Settled largely by German immigrants in the mid-1800s, New Ulm is filled with German-inspired architecture and historical sites, including the August Schell Brewing Company, shown here, which has been pouring out bottled brews since 1860.

Santa Barbara, California

Situated along the beautiful coastline of southern California, Santa Barbara is sometimes called the American Riviera, thanks to its Spanish colonial and Mediterranean-style architecture. The Mission-style Santa Barbara courthouse, shown here, sets the tone for the area.

Montpelier, Vermont

The capital of Vermont, Montpelier—inspired by the French city of the same name—is the quintessential New England town, and yet it has a distinctly European vibe. And of course, the area’s fall foliage thrills leaf peepers each year.

Leavenworth, Washington

Why travel all the way to Bavaria for a taste of an Alpine village, when you can travel to Leavenworth, Washington instead? Make sure to check out the Nutcracker Museum, where you’ll find thousands of the iconic utensils, as well as the many restaurants and breweries throughout the town.

Solvang, California

You might think you’ve suddenly been transported to Denmark, but actually, this is the little town of Solvang, California. Founded in the early 1900s by Danish transplants, Solvang is still full of Danish bakeries, restaurants, shops, and activities.

Tarpon Springs, Florida

It might look like a sleepy Greek town, but actually, it’s Tarpon Springs, Florida. Home to the largest population of Greek-Americans, Tarpon Springs is a great place for a gyro and a glass of ouzo.

Vail, Colorado

Another city with a decidedly alpine feel, Vail sits at the base of Vail Mountain, one of the preeminent ski resorts in the United States. Playground of the wealthy, Vail is not only a popular winter destination, but also boasts many warm-weather amusements.

Frankenmuth, Michigan

Nicknamed “Little Bavaria,” Frankenmuth, Michigan was founded by German immigrants in 1845. Today, it shows off its roots with wood-covered bridges, architecture typical to 1800s Bavaria, and a terrific Oktoberfest celebration every fall, and the World Expo of Beer each May.

Holland, Michigan

Named by homesick Dutch settlers, Holland, Michigan hosts a tulip festival every May, and pays homage to its roots with Dutch-inspired architecture and design. The 250-year-old De Zwaan windmill, shown here, is the only working Dutch windmill in the United States.

Helen, Georgia

Americans just can’t get enough of the Bavarian Alps, as so charmingly displayed in the tiny mountain town of Helen, Georgia. A popular Oktoberfest destination, the town’s zoning laws require every building—even fast-food joints—to portray typical Bavarian alpine design.

Pella, Iowa

Founded by immigrants from the Netherlands, Pella, Iowa shows off typical Dutch architectural design in many of its iconic buildings, including the Vermeer Mill, shown here, and the Pella Opera House. The town celebrates its Dutch heritage with an annual tulip festival.

New Glarus, Wisconsin

Named for the town of Glarus in Switzerland, New Glarus was founded by Swiss immigrants in the mid-1800s. Today, the town remembers its Swiss roots with a downtown styled with Swiss chalet-inspired architecture. Make sure to grab a beer at the New Glarus Brewing Company.

Lindsborg, Kansas

Looking for a bit of Sweden in America’s heartland? Then you’ll love the little town of Lindsborg, which celebrates all things Swedish, including the architecture, the history, the food, and the festivals. No wonder it’s nicknamed “Little Sweden.”

Venice, California

You could travel to Venice, Italy to take in the famous canals bordered by historical buildings, or instead, you could travel to the oceanfront town of Venice, California, and admire the newer—but no less lovely—canals flanked by beautiful homes. Afterwards, take a walk down the boardwalk and past the flamboyant Muscle Beach, where bodybuilders abound.

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City calls itself the “City of Fountains,” and for good reason. There are 48 publicly operated fountains in the city, but the most spectacular and famous is the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain in the Country Club Plaza. The European-styled fountain celebrates four of the world’s great rivers: the Mississippi, the Volga, the Seine, and the Rhine.

Hermann, Missouri

No need to travel to Europe to enjoy German-inspired architecture or fine wines; you can sample both in Hermann, Missouri. Founded by German immigrants in the mid-1800s, today the city still has a European vibe, and the flourishing wineries surrounding the town add more into the bargain.

Fredericksburg, Texas

Founded by German immigrants in the mid-1800s, residents of Fredericksburg, Texas often refer to it as Fritztown. Along with many German bakeries, restaurants, historic homes, and public buildings, the city is also known for its many wineries.

Charleston, South Carolina

If you feel like you’ve been transported to somewhere in Europe upon sight of Charleston’s cobblestone streets, pastel-colored buildings, and antebellum architecture, you aren’t alone. Tourists flock to this southern gem to take in the scene, the laid-back pace, the friendly people, the many festivals, and the historic monuments.

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Trip to the Sahara Desert on your bucket list? If that’s a bit too far, travel instead to the Great Sand Dune National Park in south-central Colorado. You’ll see the tallest sand dunes in North America, with some topping out at 750 feet high. You’ll enjoy hiking, sandboarding, and sandsledding across this natural wonder.

Denali National Park, Alaska

While it doesn’t match the 29,029-foot height of the world’s tallest Mount Everest, Denali—formerly called Mount McKinley—is no slouch at 20,310 feet. In fact, Denali, the centerpiece of the wild and rugged Denali National Park in Alaska, is the highest mountain in North America. If you’re a serious mountaineer, climbing it is definitely one of your must-dos.

Key West, Florida

Mix together Spanish, Cuban, Native American, New England, and African influences, drench it all in the balmy sunshine of the Gulf of Mexico, paint it pastel, and you come up with Key West, Florida. This small island is the southernmost point of the United States, and is closer to Cuba than Miami.

Kauai, Hawai

You could travel outside the United States to marvel at the tropical beauty of the Polynesian islands, or you could forgo a passport, and visit Hawaii, instead. As one of the three points of the Polynesian Triangle, Hawaii is a paradise for snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, and simply enjoying the many fantastic sights, such as the Wailua Falls on the island of Kauai.

Napa Valley, California

It might resemble the vineyards of France, but it’s actually Napa Valley in Northern California. The heart of the Californian wine industry, Napa Valley is filled with vineyards and wineries, making it the perfect vacation destination for wine lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Mount Rainier, Washington

Its alpine beauty might look like it belongs in Switzerland, but Mount Rainier is actually the highest mountain in the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest. Located around 60 miles south of Seattle, Mount Rainier is 14,411 feet high.

Big Sur, California

The rugged coastline of Big Sur, in central California, is a popular spot for hiking, camping, and beachcombing. Some of the most glorious scenery on the California coast is found along State Route 1, which winds through Big Sur, and crosses over the Bixby Bridge, an open-spandrel arch bridge with a distinctly Ancient Roman vibe.

Ouray, Colorado

Nicknamed “Switzerland of America,” Ouray, Colorado is a picturesque town nestled in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. It was once a gold-rush town, but today, it’s a mecca for hikers and other outdoors enthusiasts.

Miami, Florida

A melting pot of Cuban, Central and South American, Haitian, and American influences, Miami is full of color, tropical heat, and plenty of excitement. The Little Havana section of town is known for its annual festival, Cuban restaurants, and street art.

Kahaluu, Oahu, Hawaii

The town of Kahaluu on the island of Oahu has all of the natural beauty you’d expect from Hawaii, but what you might not expect to see is a replica of the gorgeous 950-year-old Byodo-In Temple found in Uji, Japan. Surrounded by equally lovely grounds, the temple welcomes visitors of all faiths to relax, meditate, or simply enjoy the peaceful splendor.

Las Vegas, Nevada

They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but you’ll feel like you’ve left the United States altogether while taking in the Paris Las Vegas Hotel on the famed Vegas strip. Designed to resemble its namesake city on a smaller scale, you’ll enjoy the 540-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower, two-thirds-scale Arc de Triomphe, a replica of the La Fontaine des Mers, as well as the facade, inspired by the Louvre and Paris Opera House.

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