5 Foreign-Themed Towns in the United States
Think you need a passport and thousands of dollars to travel the world? Think again! Right here in the glorious U.S. of A, there are plenty of towns with a decidedly international flair. Visit the Czech Republic in Iowa! Check out the Greek islands in Florida! Click through for some of America’s very, well, un-American towns.
1. Leavenworth, Washington
Back in the 1960s, the economy of the Central Washington town of Leavenworth was struggling after the largest employer had left town. How could this sleepy Central Washington town be saved? Well, by turning it into a Bavarian village, of course! Taking its cue from another famous Bavarian-themed town, Solvang, California, Leavenworth transformed itself into what it is today. It’s now home to some delightfully kitschy architecture and one of the most spectacular holiday light displays in the nation.
2. Tarpon Springs, Florida
Greek immigrants were originally drawn to Tarpon Springs, Florida, to dive for sponges in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Now, well over a century later, Tarpon Springs is still home to the largest concentration of Greek-Americans in the United States.
3. Kingsburg, California
You don’t need to shop for cheap furniture to get a taste of Swedish culture, you just need to venture about 20 miles south of Fresno. Kingsburg was founded by Swedish immigrants, and they remained a majority of the town’s population for decades. Today, Swedish-style architecture, vikings, and yellow and blue everything have earned this town the nickname, “Little Sweden.”
4. Opa-Locka, Florida
In the early 1920s, Florida was booming — real estate prices were soaring, and communities were being planned from the ground up. One of those communities was Opa-Locka, a pre-planned town founded by aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss. Inspired by One Thousand and One Nights, Curtiss built dozens of Moorish-style buildings in suburban Miami.
5. Czech Village, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Czech immigrants arrived to the Czech Village community in the 1880s, and, though most of the Czech population has moved on, it still holds on to its Czech tradition. You’ll find several Czech restaurants, bakeries, bars, some shops selling imported goods, and even the Czech and Slovak Museum and Library. The community was devastated by floods in 2008 — though Czech Village is in the process of rebuilding.