Which is the European “New York City”?
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New York City is certainly one of the most popular holiday destinations of all time, with 56.7 million tourists in 2022. From skyscraper buildings and dazzling bright lights to lively culture and an energetic lifestyle, it’s on just about everyone’s bucket list–why wouldn’t it be?
But what if we told you that you don’t have to go to the U.S. to get New York City vibes? There are many cities across Europe that have similarities to NYC, whether it’s the incredible, soaring architecture or the vast, vibrant culture.
Copenhagen is a breathtaking city that is the capital of Denmark. It is one of Europe’s oldest cities, founded in 1167, and is full of a great blend of modern architecture and historical culture. Visitors say that Copenhagen is like a less chaotic version of New York City, making it a perfect alternative.
The people of Copenhagen have a similar approach to a good quality of life that New Yorkers do. They value lifestyle, fitness and being social which makes it the perfect place for those who want to feel like they are submerged in the New York lifestyle. The architecture is more historic than the modern buildings you see in New York. It has notes of traditional European buildings, with hints of Roman, Gothic and Victorian architecture.
Berlin, the capital of Germany, is an incredible place to visit for those seeking similar culture and history to New York City. Berlin is a huge city with a metropolitan population of just over 3.5 million as of 2023.
The city center has a heavily modernized look, much like the neoclassical architecture of New York City. However, like NYC, there is an extortionate amount of history behind Berlin. Founded in approximately 1244, the city was one of the Prussian empires, and then, at the end of WW2, was the site of the final battle and Hitler’s surrender. As well as its history, there is an endless amount of exploring to do, and much like NYC, it could keep you busy for days on end.
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning London–arguably one of the most sought-after tourist destinations after New York City. Both cities have seemingly endless tourist attractions and are full of incredible history.
London may not have the sky-high buildings like NYC, but the London Eye and The Shard come pretty close. The city hosts seven centuries worth of architecture for history fanatics, i.e. Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London. There is a plethora of free museums to visit, such as the Tate Museum, British Museum and National Gallery. Much like NYC, London is the UK’s home of theater, with many West End shows at your fingertips, and the nightlife is similar, if not more busy, than that of NYC.
One of the great things about London is its vibrant pub culture. Pubs are an integral part of British social life and London is home to a wide variety of them. From classic, snug pubs that exude warmth and charm to modern gastropubs that tantalize your taste buds with delectable dishes, London has it all.
Pubs are not just places to grab a drink; they are also community hubs where locals and visitors alike come together to socialize, relax and enjoy good company. And with wifi readily available, you can even indulge in a game or two of Sweet Bonanza while savoring the flavors of local brews.
You may think that London is the only big city that can even come close to comparing to NYC, but you’d be wrong. Let’s introduce you to Liverpool. Liverpool is a city in northwest England. This metropolitan destination is the sixth largest city in the UK and is most famously known for being the hometown of The Beatles.
In the 19th century, Victorians actually referred to Liverpool as ‘The New York of Europe’, and the city doubles as New York for many British films, including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Captain America: The First Avenger. Liverpool also has a booming nightlife and a great selection of shops amongst their soaring modern buildings. If you want to feel like you’re in NYC (just with a different accent), Liverpool is a must.
Milan, widely known as the world’s fashion capital, hosts many likenesses to New York City. Milan is certainly a lot smaller than other cities on this list, but there is still plenty to compare. The city has a beautiful combination of modern skyscrapers and stunning traditional Italian architecture in the old town.
This city hosts Milan Fashion Week semi-annually, like NYC, and becomes a popular spot for all fashion lovers. Everywhere you turn in Milan, you’ll see some kind of fashion or retail store. Like NYC’s SoHo or Upper East Side shopping districts, you won’t be disappointed with this city’s dedication to its fashion.
Paris, the capital of France, is a huge tourist destination known for its culture, art, architecture, fashion, and, of course, great food. Paris is another one of those bucket list destinations for travelers, but how similar is it to New York City? Much like NYC, Paris is full of life, culture, and energy. The city is perfect, whether you’re visiting as a family or for a romantic getaway.
Parisian architecture hosts both modern and French Gothic styles–it is beautiful. There is also a long-term link between France and the US, including their gift of the Statue of Liberty, meaning a lot of their values and democracies are similar. Paris is a must-visit for those chasing the vibes of NYC, with a little more traditional French culture.
Quite literally referred to as the New York of The Netherlands, Rotterdam is a major port city and a great alternative for those chasing those NYC big-city vibes. You may have expected Amsterdam to be on this list, but you’d be surprised that Rotterdam hosts more likenesses. Rotterdam redesigned itself after a bombing in 1940, pushing it towards that postmodern style.
The city’s architecture has the same modern feel as NYC; even the Erasmusburg Bridge is eerily similar to the famous Brooklyn Bridge. Rotterdam seems to rise above the rest of The Netherlands, where the architecture is often low-rising, doll-like houses and impresses with its tall post-modern buildings.
So, where will your New York City alternative take you? Whether it’s a quieter lifestyle in Copenhagen or the shopping haven of Milan, you’re sure to find a destination that rings true to the iconic NYC.
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