Go here, not there: 6 Canadian alternatives to your favourite US destinations

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It seems like 2017 is set to be Canada’s year. Not only is it celebrating its 150th anniversary, but Lonely Planet has also named it the number one destination on their Best in Travel list.

If that wasn’t enough, the recent Cheapflights compass report has revealed that flights to Canada from the UK cost an average of 10% less than flights to the neighbouring United States. It’s no wonder more and more people are choosing to bypass all-American favourites like New York and Las Vegas in favour of new Canadian adventures. In fact, our numbers show there’s been a 25% decline in flight searches to the US recently (we can’t think of any other reasons why Canada is, erm, trumping the USA in the popularity stakes at the moment… can you??)

All in all, it looks like 2017 is the year that you have got to see Canada. And if you’re a bit stumped on where to go, we’ve pulled together this handy guide to show you the best alternatives to your favourite US destinations…

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If you like New York City…
…try Toronto

Toronto Autumn Skyline

At six million people, Toronto doesn’t match the Big Apple in terms of sheer size, but the feel is quite similar. You have the same bustling downtown, the same energetic crowds, the same easy-to-navigate subway system, and the same access to theatre, arts and museums. It’s multicultural even by NYC standards, and the food culture is diverse and delicious. It’s so much like New York that more than a few movies set in Manhattan have been filmed there. All with a crime rate well below that of New York, and a population known for its politeness even by Canadian standards. Sounds good to us.

If you like Seattle…
…try Vancouver

Vancouver Skyline

It’s fair to say that the state of Washington and the province of British Colombia have more in common than their neighbouring states in their own countries. Nowhere is this clearer than in Vancouver, just a few hours’ drive northward from The Emerald City herself. The climate, population and architecture of these cities are near matches for one another. Pro tip: don’t necessarily admit that you’re visiting because of its similarities to Seattle – the two towns have had a not-so-friendly rivalry for quite some time.

If you like Las Vegas…
…try Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Gambling. Shows. Drinking heavily. Zip lines. Roller coasters. Fine-dining. These all scream Las Vegas. But you can get the same experience (albeit on a slightly smaller scale) at Niagara Falls. They have the same casinos, theatres, bars, and rides…and it’s cooler than Nevada by a comfortable 10 degrees.

If you like Boston…
…try Montreal

Montreal, Canada
photo credit: bakerjarvis via iStock

People visit Boston for its cultural significance, historic buildings, and European layout. Although it’s not an exact fit in style or appearance, Montreal has the same triad of offerings. It’s important to the arts, literature, and philosophy of Canadian life. It has been so for centuries. Its winding streets and narrow passages have a hint of European charm. It’s not the “big, bad city” like Toronto/New York or the party paradise of Niagara Falls/Las Vegas, but it serves a specific kind of traveller very well. (Note: Montreal has also been compared to Philadelphia for these same reasons.)

If you like New Orleans…
…try Quebec City

Quebec City skyline

Okay, we admit this isn’t a perfect match. It’s not swampy. The accents and music are different. The food isn’t as spicy. But the architecture, french influence, and layout of Quebec City give it a sisterly similarity. If you’re willing to trade in tourist shorts for a light jacket, your po’ boy for a baguette, and your zydeco for some podorythmie, then you’re in for a great time in the other French Quarter.

If you like Anchorage, Alaska…
…try Yellowknife


Anchorage and the surrounding area are known for their remoteness, brutal beauty, cold, and wildlife viewing. It’s adventurous travel for people who prefer earth to sidewalks, trees to streetlights, and mountain faces to buildings. Truth be told, there’s a lot of that available in most of Canada’s Northwest Territories, but Yellowknife gives that Anchorage-like access to both natural splendour and reasonable accommodation, as well as serving as a good base camp for more remote travel.

Ready for a Canadian adventure? Cheapflights.co.uk lets you search from hundreds of airlines and travel agents to find the cheapest flights.

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Go here, not there: 6 Canadian alternatives to your favourite US destinations was last modified: February 15th, 2017 by Jason Brick
Author: Jason Brick (85 posts)

Freelance writer, work-from home dad, ninja warrior and occasional gourmet cook. Writing is what I do, and my family is why I do it.