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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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