America. Home of Hollywood, Walt Disney World, the world’s largest burger, 1,857 metre deep canyons, the first man on the moon and, for decades, the world’s tallest building. When it comes to inventing stuff, we all know that our friends Stateside like to go big. That’s precisely what makes it one of our favourite travel destinations!
Get a load of these ridiculously extra American feats of mankind. Have you ticked any off your USA bucket list?
Salvation Mountain – Imperial County, California
Are you a sucker for street art and colourful places, far from the norm? Salvation Mountain – next to Slab City in the Californian Badlands – takes the concept to a whole new level. Covered in half a million gallons of rainbow paint, this man-made mountain is bedecked in religious quotations and depictions. But you don’t need to be religious to feel uplifted by its glaring brilliance – on a clear, sunny day, it’s sorta like life with the filter turned right up.
Burning Man, Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Try and envisage every crazy custom from around the world, every mental festival you’ve ever read about, every art installation, fantastical unicorn costume or theatre show you’ve ever seen… all at once. Is it looking like one crazy-amazing dream? Well, the US still went one better.
Every August, over 70,000 people descend on Nevada’s Black Rock desert hundreds of miles from the nearest sign of civilisation, to erect their own. In Black Rock City, they party non-stop for a week before vanishing back home again, leaving no trace.
Interested? Be warned – this is no Glasto. The concept of the event is decommodification and radical inclusion. In layman’s terms? Zero money is traded for food, booze, performances or other necessities – instead people create, build, and share what’s needed. Basically, think dust storms, giant burning statues, 8am surprise sets from the world’s best DJs… and glittery people in otherworldly costumes, riding around on funky bikes and amazing floats. You’ll likely return spiritually transformed rather than just hungover.
The Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota
What’s almost as cool as Burning Man? Well, in Mitchell, South Dakota is home to the World’s Only Corn Palace. No, this is not a Simpsons episode. This is real life. This multi-purpose arena may look like the Sultan’s Palace in Aladdin, but its interior is decorated with ‘crop art’. The murals and designs covering the building are made from corn, and a new design is constructed each year. A-maizing, right? Sorry – corny joke.
Ben & Jerry’s Flavour Graveyard – Waterbury, Vermont
Like “all good things”, Ben & Jerry’s Flavour Graveyard’s webpage states, “our ice cream flavours have a beginning and an end”. Head to the ice cream factory in Vermont, book yourself a tour, gorge on pots of some of the factory’s finest flavours, and then head out back to visit the headstones of some of the brand’s dearly ‘de-pinted’. You’ll see touching tributes to flavours like the Jack Daniel’s whiskey and amaretto-laced Tennessee Mud (1988-1989), the classic 90’s strawberry and shortbread-packed Cool Britannia (1995-1998), and limited edition rum infused Schweddy Balls (2011-2011). *wipes a tear away*.
Raw cookie dough with a spoon
There’s a reason why raw cookie dough never made it into the Ben & Jerry’s Flavour Graveyard. Because it’s the REASON WE WERE BORN.
New York’s Cookie Do Confectioners in trendy Greenwich Village serve up tubs of this stuff with a spoon. No ice cream, no oven baking. Nothing but 100% raw, edible cookie dough with confetti sprinkles, chocolate chips and gooey marshmallow. Give us a moment to take this all in… And then pass us our second helping.
Black Tap – New York
Black Tap is known for being a New York City staple when it comes to their craft burgers and CrazyShake milkshakes. Their menu features award-winning burgers like The Greg Norman – wagyu beef, house buttermilk-dill, blue cheese and rocket, The All-American Burger, and some seriously Instagrammable vegan buns. To top off your meal, it’s pretty much obligatory to try one of their insanely popular CrazyShake milkshakes like the Cotton Candy, Brooklyn Blackout or Cookies ‘N Cream Supreme.
The Clown Motel – Tonopah, Nevada
Thought Vegas was all about bright city lights, champagne and glamour? Those looking for something alternative should head two hours outside of the city Strip to Nevada’s Clown Motel to enjoy thousands of clown figurines, unexplained midnight door slams and stellar views across the cemetery next door. Quirky, hey?
Bubblegum Alley – San Luis Obispo, California
Clean freaks, it’s best you skip this one. Melbourne may have one of the best laneways for street art in the world, but California has a 21-metre-long alley colourful enough to rival it… made entirely out of decades of used chewing gum. Since the 1970s, Bubblegum Alley has been a favorite SLO tourist attraction and continues to disgust and delight snaphappy travellers. Happy posing…just perhaps don’t lean.
Still not impressed? Maybe you need to head to Highpoint, North Carolina to check out the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers. Or just head to our USA Travel Guide to start planning your epic trip there!