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Ghyslain's avatar

Are there really cities outside of Europe that feel and look European?

Asked by Ghyslain (7 points ) June 25th, 2012

I always here that cities like Montreal, Quebec City, Philadelphia, Buenos Aires, New York City, Havana, San Francisco, etc. feel and look European.

Are there really European-like cities outside of Europe or if one wants European just go to Europe?

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34 Answers

tups's avatar

I don’t know. What’s the point anyway? Why go to one country for a culture that is not related to that country? The beauty about the world is how cultures are different.

jazzjeppe's avatar

How would you describe “European” anyway? Not sure there is a correct way to do it. What people mean when they call a city outside Europe “European” i guess it could be anything from architecture to the people living there. New Orleans with its French architecture would be as much European as Rio with its Latin influenced architecture.

janbb's avatar

Quebec City is the only city I’ve been in in North America that feels European although Boston feels a little bit like England in parts.

harple's avatar

Nova Friburgo in the state of Rio in Brazil had a lot of Swiss settlers and the town still has Swiss elements. That said, of course the infrastructure is all Brazilian, so if you want to experience European it wouldn’t be the place to go.

jca's avatar

If you saw Sideways, it was filmed in a town in California that looked Dutch. Town was called Solvang, California.

gailcalled's avatar

Oslo looks very different from Palermo, Reykjavik from Barcelona.

bolwerk's avatar

I would venture to guess there is more variation in urban “feel,” if not form, inside of Europe than outside it (at least in the western world). American downtowns tend to be idealistically planned, or virtually nonexistent (post-WWII development).

Except for the good public transportation system, a place like Cologne makes you almost think you’re in an American city. Meanwhile, there is probably nothing like a medieval French or Italian city in America because that kind of urban form (tiny streets/alleys, walls around the city) didn’t make much more than vestigial sense by the time the Americas were being settled.

Tevye's avatar

I have heard people say Mexico City resembles a European city.

jaytkay's avatar

Buenos Aires, Argentina or Santiago, Chile?

I don’t know, I have never visited, but in my imagination they feel European.

marinelife's avatar

Philadelphia and San Francisco both feel very American to me. Vancouver BC has a European feel to it.

JLeslie's avatar

Quebec City for sure. My husband says Buenos Aires Also. I didn’t feel like Mexico City felt very European. My husband was born and raised in Mexico City. New York City in the sense that it is buildings that can be anything on the outside and beautiful apartments on the inside. When I was in Italy it felt a lot like that. But when you walk around NYC it doesn’t feel decidely European to me, except for maybe the old churches.

tups's avatar

What is European anyway? Europe varies very much, depending on where in Europe you are.

zensky's avatar

Tel Aviv

jaytkay's avatar

Tel Aviv

What European city does Tel Aviv look like?

I have never been to Tel Aviv or Europe

jaytkay's avatar

@zensky Serious question, Tel Aviv does not give me a mental picture like Montreal or Buenos Aires, I would like to hear a description.

And, also seriously, if you like it I think I would like it.

JLeslie's avatar

To me European is generally older architecture, although there can be some modern stuff thrown in, with winding streets, usually some hills, and streets are usually on the narrow side. Some areas have cobblestone or something besides regular asphalt. The people generally look put together, like they care somewhat about fashion, and various languages are spoken. Oh, and small cafes with very good bread and pastry and coffee.

@jaytkay Just checking, are you asking @zensky if he likes Tel Aviv?

jaytkay's avatar

@jaytkay Just checking, are you asking @zensky if he likes Tel Aviv?

No, I know zensky likes Tel Aviv.

I am interested to hear how Tel Aviv resembles Europe.

Symbeline's avatar

Québec City certainly has a European look, especially, obviously, its older parts. Went there last Summer to check out the sites, and Castle Frontenac. damn castle was closed due to renovations lol It was all pretty impressive.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Not a city, but Lake Placid. It is so full of European influence. Where can you hear Oma and Opa?

WestRiverrat's avatar

Sitka, Alaska has a decidedly Imperial Russian influence.

JLeslie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Probably in MO, and the upper midwest. Actually, a friend of mine from years past also in MD. Why does Oma and Opa mean it is European to you? I don’t feel like Wsconsin looks or feels European, but there are Germans all over, Johnsonville Brats, Kohler (I think the founder was Austrian actually) etc. In MI all my friends are Polish (except one who is Italian Irish, and another part German) a lot of them use Busha for grandma and eat Paczkis, but it never feels like Europe to me there. There are ski towns in MI that have that European ski lodge look, but then the people open their mouth and it is pop, out and about, all the way. LOL.

wundayatta's avatar

Every city has its own unique feel. I live in Philadelphia, and a lot of people think it feels European. While it is an older city, and certainly one of America’s oldest, it does not have nearly the age that most European cities have.

It is, however, a walkable city, and you can get anywhere by public transportation. There are cafes and restaurants everywhere, and the sidewalks are used for cafes and restaurants, and that is pretty European. It has parks and green space and it isn’t totally overrun by the automobile.

So Philly has some attributes of European cities, but it isn’t really like one, because it is too young. If Europe is what you want, then you really have to go there.

DominicX's avatar

Campos do Jordao, Brazil is known for it’s European look: http://blog.groupon.com.br/files/2011/11/viagem-desconto-campos-do-jord%C3%A3o-gorupon-oferta-hotel.jpg

That’s what immediately came to mind for me. However, how European can you get in a tropical climate…?

gailcalled's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe: As you know, I love Lake Placid but find most of Main Street, which is essentially the town, to be tacky and either pseudo Yodel-in-the-Alps restaurants, sporting goods stores, aprés ski bars, or generic clothing shoppes.

I would exempt the little movie theater and the public library.

Once you get into the High Peaks or the canoeing areas, it is spectacular in a modest sort of way.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

@jca, Solvang is touristy, and nothing like Europe, except in a faux Dutch sort of way.

I’ve traveled all over the U.S., and while several cities may have a cosmopolitan spirit similar to European cities (San Francisco, for example), none are to me particularly European in architecture/atmosphere. As @wundayatta said, best to go to Europe for European cities.

I agree with @janbb, though; out of all the East Coast cities, Boston is probably the closest, partly because the center, where the oldest streets are, are narrow and full of older, smaller buildings. This is largely due to the original geography of Boston, though, compared with other cities that had room to grow up and out (New York and Philadelphia, for example).

lillycoyote's avatar

Of the cities you mention, I have been to Montreal, Philadelphia, New York City, and San Francisco. I don’t see any of them being “European” least of all Philadelphia. I don’t know who has described Philadelphia as “European” but it’s not; it’s Philly; absolutely and thoroughly, Philly, for better or worse. As New York is New York. And San Francisco is San Francisco.

All of these cities have their own flavor, their own vibe. If you want European, go to Europe.

The only city in the U.S. that I can think of that might have a European flavor is New Orleans, as @jazzjeppe mentions. And possibly, San Antonio, TX. But New Orleans is unique too, unlike any other city. Every great city is unique.

bookish1's avatar

Former colonial metropolises still have the imprint of European city planning on them… Circles, huge boulevards (good for cars and tanks!), etc. Mumbai is the first example that comes to my mind. I would expect Rabat to be similar.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: Oma and Opa are German for Grandma and Grandpa.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I know. Did it seem like I didn’t know in my answer? And, busha is grandma in Polish. My niece and nephew call their grandma Nonna, Italian for grandma. But the cities they live in are not European feeling. There are people all over America who use languages from the old country, especially for terms of endearment with relatives. I agree hearing a bunch of languages being spoken in a city can help it feel more European, but without the other parts necessary to give it that feel, for me it is just another American city, especially if it is just a few choice words or phrases being spoken. That is America to me.

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie And I’m a Bubby which delights me.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb :). I was actually going to cite Yiddish as another language I hear, or heard, fairly regularly, and bubby didn’t even occur to me when I was thinking it.

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