We all know about the famous landmarks in the United States like the Statue of Liberty in New York or Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. And while those are undeniably beautiful structures, there are actually many other landmarks scattered across the 50 states that are more, shall we say, unusual. From a large standing pistachio nut in New Mexico to a huge doctor bag in Delaware, here are some of the lesser-known and very curious landmarks in the United States that you probably had no idea existed.
1. The Igloo City Hotel
This abandoned building on a highway in Alaska seemed like it had a chance to be something cool. Entrepreneur Leon Smith began the project in 1960 and envisioned the “Igloo City Hotel” as a bar and shop, but it was never finished.
Supposedly the windows were too small for the building codes of the time, and unfortunately, Leon died in 1999 without ever seeing his dream become reality. The massive Igloo is a tourist spot today, and many people are impressed by its beauty.
There are plenty of McDonald’s branches in every state, but there’s one that stands out from the rest. In Sedona, Arizona, The iconic yellow arches were swapped for unique-looking turquoise ones.
When the restaurant opened up in 1993, the city council wanted to make sure that Sedona kept its scenic environment. So, the council requested the loud yellow color to be changed to a more pleasing turquoise.
If you ever wondered where unclaimed baggage goes, at least we know where they go in Alabama. The Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama is a shop that sells people’s belongings that haven’t been claimed.
You can actually find some pretty fancy stuff there, like a $15,000 Rolex watch! Over a million tourists pass through the center a year, and a percentage of their earnings goes to charity.
With the name Mammoth Orange Cafe, you would think this cute shop in Redfield, Arkansas sold oranges, but that’s actually not the case. Ernestine Bradshaw opened the cafe in the ’60s modeling the design on orange stands in California.
What started as a dairy bar is now a popular cafe that’s been passed down to the generations of the Bradshaw family. Today, locals and tourists come to check out the unusually shaped orange dome known for its fried pie and catfish. Yum!
Salvation Mountain, located in the California Desert, is quite colorful and is a symbol of peace and love. Artist Leonard Knight started adding to it, and many people joined.
The rock has many verses from the Bible and other religious scripture written on it and it is a popular tourist destination. The mountain is so popular, it’s been featured in a number of music videos like Kesha’s “Praying” and “Birds” by Coldplay.
The Giant Frog Bridge in Connecticut involves a very serious history lesson. The bridge that crosses the Willimantic River has four 11 foot tall frogs on every pillar.
According to artist Leo Jensen, a battle of frogs took place in the town back in 1754. One summer night, the town was woken up to loud noises only to find piles of dead bullfrogs. It turns out there was some sort of frog turf war!
How cool is this old-school leather doctor bag sculpture? Back in the day, doctors would make house calls using bags like these, and it makes sense that the sculpture would be in front of an actual medical center.
The detailing is stunning, with the gold clasp and stethoscope peaking out from the top. Just as a warning, you can’t pick up the bag—it’s about 20 ft tall!
This McDonald’s in Orlando, Florida sounds like an absolute dream. The restaurant is 19,000 square feet, and you can order things that aren’t on your typical McDonald’s menu, like Belgian waffles or a build your own oven pizza!
And it gets even better. The building has more than 100 arcade games, a dessert bar, and a play palace. Okay, when are we booking our flights to the Sunshine State?
There are many dog lovers out there, but only some will build a dog-shaped bed and breakfast. Denis Sullivan and Frances Conklin always loved dogs, and after saving up by selling miniature dog carvings, they built their dream passion project— a bed and breakfast shaped like a 30-foot Beagle!
You can find this cute spot in Cottonwood, Idaho, and don’t worry, your dogs are encouraged to stay as well.
What’s this huge catsup bottle doing on the side of the road in Collinsville, Illinois? The tall standing structure was built in 1949 by the W.E. Caldwell company to supply water to the Brooks catsup plant.
Although it doesn’t have any condiments inside, it’s still a fun attraction and quite an unusual one.
This liquor store in Fortville, Indiana is different than other liquor stores you’ve probably been to. If you haven’t guessed by now, the reason we’re saying this is because there’s a massive pink elephant parked in front of the store.
The elephant appears to be drinking a martini, and since pink elephants are associated with getting drunk, it seems quite fitting. And if you come during holidays like Halloween and the 4th of July, the locals dress up the 12-foot animal in different costumes!
Some landmarks are made by accident, like the Hula Hoop Tree in Amber, Iowa. in 2015, two hula hoops were found on a tree after a storm and for some odd reason, people started adding more hula hoops to it.
However, the tree was removed after the hoops were weighing down its branches. Oh well!
Sometimes a change in advertising can make all the difference, and in this case, become a landmark. In Florence, Kentucky cira 1974, developers requested a new mall to be advertised on this water tower, saying, “Florence Mall.”
But when they found out it was illegal to advertise for something that was not yet built, the words were changed to “Florence Y’all,” which got so more attention. In fact, Florence’s minor league baseball team changed their name to Florence Yall’s last year.
This is one of the most bizarre things an actor or anyone has ever done. National Treasure actor Nicholas Cage bought a plot in aNew Orleans cemetery and built himself a white pyramid tomb with the Latin words “Omnia Ab Uno” (Everything from one).
Why did he do this? Is it a homage to the movie National Treasure, or maybe it involves the Illuminati? What’s even crazier, is that tourists come to see the tomb and leave lipstick marks on it for no apparent reason.
You can either stand on a long line at the MOMA to see The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, or you can check out a cool doorknob version of the painting in Bethesda, Maryland.
Hardware store owner, David Goldberg, didn’t know what to do with his collection of old doorknobs, so he decided to put it to good use by making a Starry Night mural. It took him four months to finish, he used 1,200 doorknobs, and you can find the mural right outside his store.
If you ever wanted to learn about an odd statue in Worcester, Massachusetts, we got you covered. In 1912, The turtle boy statue (a nude young boy riding on a sea turtle), was built in the center square.
Years later, it was moved behind City Hall, and it’s not exactly clear what the inspiration behind it was. Locals love the turtle boy figure though—t-shirts have been made, and there’s even a microbrew named after the statue!
The battle of the largest cherry pie pan is on! Two places in Michigan have competed for the world’s largest cherry pie pan, and it’s kind of hilarious. The town of Charlevoix took that title in 1976, but Traverse City beat them 11 years later, with a pan whose diameter was 17 feet 6 inches.
But don’t worry, these towns don’t just build pans—they make huge cherry pies with them. Just to give you an idea, one bakery made a pie that was 28,000 pounds!
Not surprisingly, a huge hockey stick landmark sits in a city where a number of hockey players are from.
The stick stands in Eveleth, Minnesota, home to hockey players like Doug Palazzari, Sam LoPresti, Mike Karakas, and Wally Grant. The hockey stick is free-standing, and Minnesotans are quite proud of their hockey roots.
Most churches have a simple cross on the outside of their building, but the First Presbyterian Church in Port Gibson, Mississippi, is not like most churches.
They have a golden hand on top of their steeple with a finger pointing up towards the sky. Supposedly the church’s first minister Dr. Zebulon Butler used to make that gesture during his sermons, and the hand is a tribute to him.
Continuing the theme of oversize object sculptures, this gas pump might be more random than any others that we’ve seen.
Located in King City, Missouri, this monument for gas is 21 feet long and is fittingly called, “Big Pump.” This place obviously doesn’t look like a gas station, but we’re wondering if the smaller gas pumps work.
Let’s start by saying that this photo is stunning! The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas sits on a Native American reservation in Arlee, Montana. The site has 1000 Buddhas lined up in a row and is considered to be an international center for peace.
The Buddhas represent the Noble Eightfold Path which symbolizes the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. The belief is that 1000 Buddhas will be born in this age.
When someone says they want to replicate Stonehenge (located in England), you probably wouldn’t think they would use cars right?
Architect Jim Reinders decided to build a replica in Alliance, Nebraska using cars, called it the Carhenge. The strange project was a tribute to Jim’s father who owned a farm on the land, and 39 cars were used for this tribute.
If you drive down State Route 375 in Nevada, you won’t find much–mostly just mountains deserted land. But there is one strange thing on that road, and that’s two mailboxes.
One mailbox says Steve Medlin and the other says “alien.” Because of its proximity to Area 51 (a military base with alleged alien sightings), people are fascinated by this mailbox and even camp out there hoping to see an extraterrestrial creature.
In a beautiful green forest in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, a stone staircase stands by itself. These steps were actually part of a huge mansion owned by costume designer Madame Sherri, and she used to host fancy parties.
Unfortunately, the mansion was destroyed by a fire in 1962, and this staircase was the only thing that remained.
This massive elephant in Margate City, New Jersey is one of the older landmarks on this list. Lucy the Elephant was built by James V. Lafferty in 1881 to encourage real estate growth and attract more tourists.
You can actually book her for a stay on Airbnb, and it is the only place on Airbnb that is considered a National Historic Landmark.
For all you pistachio lovers out there, we have good news for you. On your next road trip out West, stop along Route 54 in Alamogordo, NM to PistachioLand. A 30-foot pistachio stands at the entrance and it has a vineyard with 12,000 pistachio trees!
The landmark was in honor of Tim McGinn’s father who spent his life growing and selling pistachios in the area. Tourists visit all the time to buy pistachio products and of course to take a photo with the landmark.
We’ll admit this one isn’t exactly a landmark, but he’s so iconic we’ll mention him. The Naked Cowboy has become a permanent fixture in Times Square, New York City, and he plays guitar for tourists.
His real name is Robert John Burck, and he’s actually from Ohio. Believe it or not, he ran for mayor in 2009, and former New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg mentioned him in the Democratic Party debate in 2020.
This unique building in High Point, North Carolina is the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers. The 19th-century stunner was built in 1926 to promote the area as the furniture capital of the world.
The building was put on the market in 2018, so if you ever wanted to own and maybe even live in a 32-foot building shaped like a chest of drawers with socks hanging out, it can be yours for only $235,000.
This may be one of the weirdest-shaped buildings we’ve seen. This basket landmark is located in Newark, Ohio, and was built in 1997. The building was the home of the company Longaberger, which made hand-woven baskets.
You can actually walk inside, and the place has a 30,000 square foot atrium! The Big Basket building will soon become a luxury hotel, so you’ll be able to book a stay at one of the strangest buildings in the United States.
On the famous Route 66, there’s a Pops restaurant complete with a 66-foot tall pop bottle. in Arcadia, Oklahoma on the well-known road, this bottle lights up when it gets dark and is known as “Bubbles.”
Architect Randy Elliott designed the bottle and wanted it to fit in the rest of the cool Mom and Pop shops along Route 66.
If you plan to spend a whole day at Mill Ends Park in Portland, Oregon, you might run out of things to do. That’s because the entire park is only 452 square inches.
It holds the Guinness World Record for the smallest park in the world and is just one tiny green patch with a tree in the center. In 1948, Journalist Dick Fagan asked for it to be listed as a park for humans, but we think it’s more of a park for ants.
How many of you can say you bought coffee from a shop that shaped like a coffee pot? The Koontz Coffee Pot in Bedford, Pennsylvania, was created by David Koontz in 1927 to encourage people to buy coffee from his shop.
The building got partially ruined in the 1980s, but it was bought by The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor and moved from the Lincoln Highway to the Bedford County Fairgrounds.
If you find yourself in Providence, Rhode Island, you might want to check out the huge blue termite at the extermination company, Big Blue Bug Solutions.
The bug, also known as Nibbles Woodway, is supposedly 928 times bigger than a real termite and is quite well known. It’s been featured on TV shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show and Family Guy and gets dressed up for holidays like Halloween and Christmas. You can even pick up a stuffed animal version of Nibbles!
Here’s a super creative water tower design. The Peachoid is a 135-foot water tower located in Gaffney, South Carolina, right off Interstate 85. It was built in 1981 by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company and closely resembles the peach from the book James and the Giant Peach
It’s a well-known landmark for anyone driving between North Carolina and Georgia. Although Georgia is known as the Peach State, North Carolina actually grows more peaches, and this tower was built to make that known.
Have you ever been to a palace made out of corn? Corn Palace, located in Mitchell, South Dakota, is a Moorish-style venue that hosts concerts and sporting events and is covered with murals made from corn.
Built in 1921, 50,0000 tourists visit the venue per year and famous artists have performed there, like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson!
If you can’t fly to Egypt, this pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee might just be the next best thing. The Great American Pyramid was built in 1991, and was used as a concert venue, and was the home to the Memphis Grizzlies NBA team.
Today it’s known as the Bass Pro Shops Pyramid and includes a hotel, bowling alley, and an archery range.
Did you even know there’s a city in Texas called Paris? What’s even better is that this city has a 65-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower, complete with a three-and-a-half-foot pink cowboy hat sitting at the top.
At night, the tower lights up with the colors of the Texas flag, and the people of Paris, Texas are very proud of it.
When you drive along the U.S. Highway 191 in Southern Utah, you’ll definitely spot the roadside attraction that says “Hole n’ the rock” in huge white letters. This rock was a home for cowboys in the early 20th century.
Back in the day, cowboys used a cave in the rock for shelter, and in 1945, Leo and Albert Christensen expanded it to make a diner. Today, visitors can take a tour of the 14 room house inside the rock.
Did you know there’s an actual troll under the George Washington Memorial Bridge in Seattle? The troll structure is 18 feet tall, but don’t be scared. The residents of Seattle love it, and it’s been hiding under the bridge for 30 years.
The area had become a place for illegal activities and in 1990. there was a competition held to rehabilitate the spot. The troll sculpture won, and the city hosts a party every year on his birthday called Trolloween!
Back in the ’60s, a terrifying moth-like creature appeared in an area of West Virginia, and many people reported sightings. In 2002, a festival centered on the Mothman started, and in 2003, the 12-foot Mothman statue was unveiled.
Built by artist Bob Roach, 12,000 people come to the festival to see it, and tourists show up to see the monument all year long.
Wisconsin is very proud of its dairy products and its cow, Chatty Belle. The landmark in Neillsville is the largest cow sculpture that talks.
She’s 16 feet tall and was named by a local first-grader, who won 100 pounds of butter for winning the naming contest. If you visit Chatty Belle, she’ll tell you facts about Wisconsin’s dairy industry.
One of the most unique arches is located in Afton, Wyoming. The arch is a stunning structure made out of Elkhorn antlers. It stands in the main street of the town, and a majority of the antlers are from the Wyoming Elk Reserve in Jackson, Wyoming.
The arch was built in 1958, and thousands of people visit the town just to see the magnificent landmark.