Although most Americans can’t travel to Europe right now, there’s plenty to explore in the U.S. if you’re seeking a getaway with a European feel. We’ve rounded up five cities across the country that offer a slice of European lifestyle in the meantime—no passport needed.
Bavaria comes to life in this storied ski town in the midst of the Colorado Rockies. We can’t pretend it’s by chance—Vail Village, the town’s charming center, was purposely modeled after the ski villages that dot the Alps. Stroll Vail’s storybook streets and duck into Valbruna, an upscale ski boutique with European flair, and try the escargot at the Left Bank, an authentic French eatery in the heart of the village.
This quaint town nestled along Lake Michigan, about two and a half hours outside Chicago, lives up to its namesake. Complete with a windmill, the town—named one of America’s prettiest by Forbes—offers more than 100 locally owned businesses situated along its cobblestone streets. And a visit during Holland’s annual Tulip Time Festival, held every spring since 1929, is well worth a trip—6 million tulips are planted throughout the town, and their bloom is an explosion of color paying homage to the Dutch.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Founded by the French in the 1700s, this vibrant city has held fast to its European flair. Wander among the French and Spanish Creole architecture—the city was heavily shaped by both, as it changed hands between them multiple times—and peruse the French Quarter, New Orleans’ oldest and most lively neighborhood. Indulge in a sweet beignet from the world-famous Café du Monde, open 24 hours a day and tucked within the heart of the quarter.
Santa Barbara, California
They call it the American Riviera for a reason—Santa Barbara is a Mediterranean escape on the California coast. Red-clay tiled roofs, like those found on the city’s iconic Lady of Sorrows church, set the mood for a Spanish state of mind, and its year-round mild temperatures add to the allure. If you’d like to really scratch your European itch, stop by nearby Solvang for a touch of the Dutch. This small town has scaled reproductions of some Copenhagen landmarks and authentic Dutch cuisine.
Tarpon Springs, Florida
The highest concentrations of Greek-Americans in the U.S. call this tiny fishing town home, just 45 minutes outside Tampa. Historically a hot spot for sponge diving (and considered the “Sponge Capital of the World”), Tarpon Springs offers a Mediterranean experience on the Gulf of Mexico, from shops hocking Greek wares to fishing boats constantly coming and going. Sample a sweet slice of baklava from Hellas Bakery as you walk the docks, and take home a sponge for yourself.