The 7 Most ‘American’ Places Outside US

February 19, 2009 by Natalie  

Americans are known to work hard and play even harder. That’s why when they’re exhausted from their 9-5’s, they like to relax, kick up their feet and take a vacation to get away from the daily stresses.

What if Americans could jet off to some place that offers an exotic twist but still maintains the familiar comforts of the American lifestyle? What if they could spend the day hiking through the rainforest but still grab a Big Mac for supper, all while feeling safe, comfortable, and welcome? Here are the 7 most ‘American’ places outside the US, places where Americans will feel right at home.

Toronto, Canada

Population: 2.5 million
Language: English
Approximate Distance: 60 miles

american-toronto1 The 7 Most American Places Outside US

american-torontocn1-201x300 The 7 Most American Places Outside US

Peter Ustinov famously described Toronto as “New York run by the Swiss”, and it is one of the top vacationing spots for Americans looking for fast and easy international travel. Toronto comes without the dreaded culture shock or 10 flights.

Only a 90 minute drive from the US border, Toronto’s climate is similar to any of the northern states complete with hot, humid summers.

Since the US is Canada’s leading trading partner, it’s pretty easy to understand why Toronto would share many of the same restaurants, shopping centers, products, customs and amenities that are present in the US.

american-torontocityhall-150x150 The 7 Most American Places Outside US

Toronto may make Americans feel like they’ve never left home but the city definitely has great tourist attractions to keep tourists busy.

The CN Tower which held the world record of tallest free-standing structure for 30 years, one of the largest zoos in the world, the Toronto Zoo, as well as several famous art galleries, museums and sporting events – just to name a few.

Overall, Canada isn’t that different from the US. While staying there, Americans can still watch their favorite television shows, rent the same movies, eat many of the same foods, read about the same celebrities and communicate fluently. And despite some sibling rivalry between the two countries, Americans are overwhelmingly welcome to cross the border.

Sydney, Australia

Population: 4.28 million
Language: English
Approximate Distance: 9400 miles

america-sydney The 7 Most American Places Outside US

Considering Australia is predominantly of British origin, it makes sense that this is another country that will provide a safe and homey tourist destination for Americans. The two countries share a very long and deep relationship spanning back many years and have subsequently developed a tight bond. america-sydneyopera The 7 Most American Places Outside US

Both countries share similar outlooks, cultures and values and both have a strong commitment to democracy and human rights.

From evolution to linguist similarities, Americans share much common ground with the Aussies down under.

The climate is temperate with warm summers making for easy adjustment for southern or northern Americans. Australia is also one of the top ten most tourist friendly countries in the world so Americans don’t have to worry about feeling unwelcomed.Giraffes at Taronga Zoo

Sydney provides an ‘American’ feel while still offering incredibly unique experiences. From the wild outback to fascinating wildlife, Sydney is known for its spectacular beauty and famous landscapes. Check out Sydney’s most famous beach, Bondi Beach, take a tour of Taronga Zoo, visit the Chinese Garden of Friendship or taste a bit of culture at the famous Sydney Opera House.

Sydney will gladly open her arms and take tourists on a journey of a lifetime, all while still providing the basic comforts and luxuries Americans are used too.

London, England

Population: 7.55 million
Language: English
Approximate Distance: 3000 miles

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London Tower Bridge

London, England may be on the other side of the world, but it is another great place for a comfortable American vacation. The US was founded by 13 British colonies but the two share much more than just history and lineage.

The predominant language used in London is English (though the British certainly have their own unique slang) so the learning curve is small. London is also influenced by the familiar Anglo-Saxon culture Americans are accustomed too.

From music and art to fashion, sports and media, the similarities between the US and London are great. London is also a European hub for business, finance, politics and more so Americans will recognize many of the brands and companies while travelling through the city.

Cabot Square viewed from Canary WharfHowever, London is still rich with historic treasures, containing four of the World Heritage Sites and for those looking for a bit of fun and adventure, there are many worthwhile tourist attractions including beautiful parks and gardens, theaters, galleries, museums, and many famous landmarks such as the Buckingham Palace.

Tourists can enjoy London all while still feeling the ease of being at home in “the States” England is also one of the top ten countries that love America, so Americans can expect a warm and friendly welcome - just remember to drive on the other side of the road!

Monterrey, Mexico

Population: 1.3 million
Language: Spanish
Approximate Distance: 280 miles

america-monterrey The 7 Most American Places Outside US

Cola de Caballo

143 miles south of the US border lies another top destination spot for Americans looking to balance familiarity with the exotic. As one of Mexico’s largest cities, Monterrey looks and feels much like Phoenix but with a more pronounced Spanish flavor.

Sharing a border and being large trading partners has had a huge impact on Monterrey life, blending mariachis and tacos with Wal-Marts and Applebee’s.

Monterrey is a fast growing metropolis full of ‘americanizados’ (Americanization) as well as rich culture. Although some of the more southern areas of Mexico have shown concern regarding the growing American influence, in Monterrey, residents welcome it with open arms.

The great thing about travelling to Monterrey is while you can still experience things like American-style football, fast-food restaurants, American television and the latest US fashions, there is still a very strong commitment to keeping Mexican tradition and culture alive.

There are hundreds of landmarks and cultural sites such as the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey or Museo de Historia Mexicana and breath taking scenery full of waterfalls, mountains, caves and wildlife.

Cerro de la Silla (left), Santa Lucia Riverwalk (right)

Monterrey has also been ranked as one of the most secure cities in Latin America and Mexico, so Americans thinking of making Monterrey their getaway of choice, will find themselves in a safe home away from home.

Stockholm, Sweden

Population: 807,301
Language: Swedish
Approximate Distance: 5400 miles

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Globe Arena

With the unique location of being built on 14 different islands, Stockholm, Sweden is certainly a rare sight to behold for any tourist. It is considered one of the most beautiful capital cities on the planet, but it’s also one of the most Americanized cities in Europe.

The Swedes have always been early adopters of American products and trends, and this has created a melting pot of western and European culture that is prevalent in Stockholm.

american-stocksodertornet-195x300 The 7 Most American Places Outside USStockholm is also a very ‘English-friendly’ European city. Since the late 1940’s, English has been a compulsory subject in school for Swedes and despite its northerly location; Stockholm’s weather is much like Seattle but with a slightly colder winter.

The beauty of Stockholm for American tourists is not just its minimal learning curve, but also the extraordinary location, preserved mediaeval city Gamla Stan with fairy tale towers, renowned museums, distinguished theaters, World Heritage Sites and how easy it is to see it all – most attractions are found in the inner city.  There is even an amusement park complete with a tunnel of love, roller coaster, and funhouse.

Stockholm is known for its superb and diverse food thanks to immigration, but Americans can still enjoy an all-American chain like TGI Friday’s.

Frankfurt, Germany

Population: 670,000
Language: German
Approximate Distance: 4000 miles

american-frankfurt The 7 Most American Places Outside US

St. Katherine's Church and Hauptwache (Top), St. Bartholomeus' Cathedral (Bottom)Frankfurt, Germany seems an unlikely place for those looking to vacation in an ‘American’ city, but it’s the most US-influenced city in Germany. After World War II, Frankfurt was left in ruins and the city turned to innovation rather than restoration and constructed a city skyline that would give New York a run for its money.

This stunning landscape of skyscrapers has dubbed Frankfurt as a German “Mainhattan” (Frankfurt is located on the Main River).

Another surprising fact about Frankfurt is that one in three people living there do not hold a German passport. That means it’s easy to find someone who speaks your language and serves your favorite food. Frankfurt has long developed a reputation as being a liberal and hospitable haven stemming from centuries of being a trading center.

Frankfurt has already secured itself as a major economic and business hub for Germany and Europe, but it is working to distinguish itself as an attraction for literature and art connoisseurs.

The city has an energetic nightlife, an array of museums and festivals and one of the most important zoos in Europe, the Frankfurt Zoological Garden – almost all of which lie inside the old city walls.

Frankfurt offers the frills of home surrounded by historic wonders spanning back 1200 years.

Panama City, Panama

Population: 813,097
Language: Spanish
Approximate Distance: 2600 miles

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Panama and the US have had close historical ties dating back decades. The US has assisted Panamanians in promoting economic, political, security and social development through out the country and many Americans are now making Panama their retirement destination of choice because Panama is such a welcoming and friendly place for Americans to travel to, Casco Veijoparticularly Panama City.

Panama City is the capital and largest city of Panama and has previously been chosen to be the American Capital of Culture. Panama uses the American dollar and most Panamanians are bilingual in English as well.

However, even with such a strong American presence, Panama City still offers many stunning attractions and historical sights to see that are exclusive to Panama culture.

Stroll along beautiful beaches, hike through tropical rain forests, relax in world-class hotels (Panama City has the 2nd highest hotel occupancy rate in the world behind Perth, Australia), and get a taste of Panamanian culture by visiting the Old Quarter.Panama City offers a safe and beautiful vacationing spot where Americans can easily fit in.

Bridge of the Americas

Whether Americans want to travel to the other side of the world or take a 90 minute road trip to the neighboring country, they can easily find a warm, welcoming tourist destination where they can relax and explore something new, all while feeling like they’ve never left home.

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19 Responses to “The 7 Most ‘American’ Places Outside US”

  1. exotic world gifts on February 20th, 2009 1:02 am

    for me Germany is my favorite destination. I love to visit Frankfurt again.

  2. Numayos on February 20th, 2009 3:06 pm

    Prague has the biggest american community in Europe. It’s very difficult to understand you have not mention that city.

  3. Dogggis on February 20th, 2009 3:07 pm

    Panama? You’re kidding right? I lived there for two years, the only American part of Panama was the military bases. Trust me, when you stepped off base, you definitely knew you were in a 3rd world country. And btw, good luck finding someone on the street that speaks English.

  4. SomeJoe on February 20th, 2009 4:03 pm

    “London is also influenced by the familiar Anglo-Saxon culture Americans are accustomed too.” Influenced? It’s only the home of the Anglo-Saxons…

  5. David on February 20th, 2009 4:10 pm

    LOL, you have to be kidding. London “enjoys the same Anglo-Saxon culture” and “main language is English although the British have their own slang”??? As far as I know English comes from England, not the other way around, and where do you think the word “Anglo-Saxon” has it’s origins?

    It’s like an Alaskan saying that “in New York you still have some of the white people we are used to see around here”.

  6. Davide on February 20th, 2009 4:44 pm

    Please correct your spelling of Capital in “Panama City is the capital and largest city of Panama and has previously been chosen to be the American Capitol of Culture.”

  7. Dave Thomas on February 20th, 2009 4:52 pm

    If you’re going to travel thousands of miles to the cultural epicenter of a foreign nation and eat at a fucking Friday’s, you sir have missed the point. Tell you what, drive to your local mall, buy a book on said foreign city, and eat at the Friday’s there. If you’re looking for the most “American” experience, might as well stay and spend your money here. Lord knows we need it. Seriously what sort of dipshit is this list for?

  8. The Retroist on February 20th, 2009 5:19 pm

    Great call on Stockholm. I cannot wait to go back.

  9. gregg on February 20th, 2009 6:41 pm

    Thanks. But Toronto is definitely not just 60 miles from New York.

  10. Mick on March 2nd, 2009 9:44 pm

    This is so stereotypical of Americans… When I was in the U.S.A. I went to Yellowstone to go hiking and see the nature of the place… Unfortunately I couldn’t get any sleep because the American idea of a vacation is to have an enormous RV and have the generator running all night long to power the TV… Then the next morning I tried to enjoy a peaceful view, but unfortunately most Americans sound like they’re speaking through a megaphone when they speak… So if you’re one of those Americans and can’t live without TV and McDonalds for a day, please don’t bother leaving your country, you won’t appreciate anything and you’ll just piss everyone off in your “travels”.

  11. Cristina on March 5th, 2009 6:29 am

    “The predominant language used in London is English (though the British certainly have their own unique slang) so the learning curve is small. London is also influenced by the familiar Anglo-Saxon culture Americans are accustomed too.”

    I’m sorry to tell you but the STANDARD English everyone learns at school is British English while American is a “slang”. Go to any non-English-speaking country and talk “American” and you are bound to get some comments, but speak standard English and people will understand you.

    And btw: England is THE CRADLE of the Anglo-Saxon culture, not just “influenced” by it.

    Ehh a little research goes a long way…doesn’t it?

    *from a fellow travel writer who speaks both Standard and American English*

  12. Rubik on March 12th, 2009 7:48 am

    Ignorants please READ… they are talking about cities with huge AMERICAN INFLUENCE over their own culture (is sad but true)… is not communities or language, or economic situation or 1st or 50th world…

    this is about places where Americans can find things they can find on USA, and the lifestyle is INFLUENCED by the way Americans live somehow, i been in a couple of does cities and I agree… also I’m from one of them too…

    Thats the reason Prage is not mentioned because Is not about how many americans are living there…

    I agree with Cristina about London…

  13. Jade on March 15th, 2009 7:57 pm

    Sydney’s awesome, but way cleaner than any American city.

  14. mikyyy on March 23rd, 2009 3:46 pm

    Big Mac for dinner? Yes I’m sure we all want to travel to other countries to have that and not try eating some decent food.

    The whole part about London? I could only think “this guy is a retard”.

    You’re the kind of person that gives americans bad rep all over the world.

    Keep up the good work.


  15. itsourworldtoo on March 28th, 2009 1:41 pm

    WTF is this????????
    Americans are fucked up. Comparing everything to themselves.

  16. on April 2nd, 2009 8:50 pm

    The 7 Most ‘American’ Places Outside US…

    Americans are known to work hard and play even harder. That’s why when they’re exhausted from their 9-5’s, they like to relax, kick up their feet and take a vacation to get away from the daily stresses….

  17. sydney chef on April 3rd, 2009 12:26 pm

    Sydney is far from being “American”
    Most Sydney residents are dead against the Bush politics that so defamed the US, the homogenisation of shopping, food and entertainment exported from the US, and certainly don’t take well to Americans who complain about the smallest thing because it “isn’t like it is in America.”
    I am from Sydney.
    I travel. A lot.
    I spend time, effort and money to do it.
    The reason is - because I can experience the ‘dreaded culture shock”, learn a bit more about OTHERS on this planet, and broaden my horizons with new perspectives, different food, climates and experiences.
    My favourite places don’t HAVE McDonalds and processed food. They don’t have obesity epidemics, rampant gun crime and A.D.D. amongst their kids.

    And you infer many places aren’t “safe”?
    As “safe” as America?

    Dude - Sydney is not “safe”
    There are as many muggings, rapes, burglaries, home invasions, murders and bashings as the US enjoys. Like home, Sydney is a market leader in crime.
    So is London. try it on over there, or walk the wrong street and the locals will carve you up like our Thanksgiving Turkey.
    Try Dubai for a SAFE city with all American comforts, fast food joints, big cars, wide highways. You didn’t list it. LOTS of Americans in Dubai and most enjoy it. All nationalities are welcomed in Dubai - except Israel.
    Thats about 6 less countries than the US refuses to welcome.
    Lots of fat people because of the cars and fast food too. But hey - you want those home comforts buddy.
    And ALL your five star hotels. Screw local hospitality. Stay at a Marriott!

    I thought the list was pretty cool. And that you had a great sense of humour.
    I thought “what an awesome satirical article”

    Then I realised, you hate leaving America, but couldn’t bear to not go overseas so you paid a fortune to make a foreign place a replica of home so you can empty their souvenir shop at the two or three attractions that your insurance will cover.

    I’d recommend seeing more of the REAL America - enjoy your own country, culture, people. It’s a big place with lots of ‘culture shock’ to discover, and lots of differences - and you don’t have to be scared of everything “non American”
    So many people don’t see their own country before travelling the world.
    You sound like you’d be a lot happier in Disneyland or the Statue of Liberty than seeing Paris or Phuket.
    Why not accept that, and try to support the country you love by promoting what you love about it to others?
    It builds jobs, tourism and confidence in your once great country again.
    Seriously, after 8 years of Bush demonstrating hatred and disdain for most of the planet, Americans are NOT generally safe. Not because America is “safe” - but because a lot of the world that once worshipped their commitment to freedom and democracy now regards them as fascists and hypocrites.
    And - you didn’t mention Guam.

  18. Carrie on April 5th, 2009 4:43 am

    “Mick” is all that is wrong with the world. How’s that stereotyping working out for you? Don’t forget that ALL Americans are just like what you described. Um, yeah. All of them. And you were where? For how long? Do you know how big this place is, dude? And you saw AMERICA?

    I’d say come back to see that this is a MEL-TING POT of all different kinds of people, even many who have the same disgust you have for the behavior you described on your “typical American vacation…” BUT, you are doing what old white men have done for years to marginalize people who weren’t like them. And you are the ONE person I hope experiences this every day for the rest of your life. And I could care less if you return. Please read this though a megaphone to get the proper perspective you were looking for. I’d ask what country you are from, but wouldn’t want to think poorly about an entire country based on my experience with ONE of you…

    And with all the corrections and disgust about this article, I dare suppose that the author is referring to places for an American who doesn’t travel much to not feel so out of place (though it sounds like it may be a bit off on a place or two, from the comments). It seems to be a “stepping stone” list, for someone to leave their box and get real-life understanding of other cultures and still find out where the bathroom is with relative ease and not be scared of how out-of-place a traveler can sometimes feel. I’m not sure that everybody who finds this comforting will hop off the plane and head for McDonald’s or TGIF in that country. How elitist to assume so… quite amusing.

    Give the writer a break and take some deep breaths, man, sounds like too much time on one’s ass and not enough time working off the aggressions… xoxo…. go on, slice away at me and have fun if that’s the only way you can make up for whatever’s eating your shorts. I’m impervious.

  19. Most Americanized Cities Outside America - General U.S. - City-Data Forum on June 23rd, 2009 9:58 pm

    [...] I’d guess maybe Medicine Hat, Alberta or something in the Caribbean. Or maybe some city in the Philippines as they were ruled by the US for a time. (The Marshall Islands was part of the US until much more recently, but they don’t seem large enough to have cities by the meaning you’re likely using) Online I find one, questionable, list. The 7 Most ‘American’ Places Outside US | My Bad Pad [...]

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