ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

9 Quirky Places in the US that I've Been that You Should Visit

Updated on July 4, 2016
Hometown of Superman; Metropolis, Illinois
Hometown of Superman; Metropolis, Illinois
Wall Drug; Wall, South Dakota
Wall Drug; Wall, South Dakota
The Biggest Pit in the World; Copperton, Utah
The Biggest Pit in the World; Copperton, Utah
 The Future Birthplace of Captain Kirk; Riverside, Iowa
The Future Birthplace of Captain Kirk; Riverside, Iowa
Snake Alley; Burlington, Iowa
Snake Alley; Burlington, Iowa
The SPAM Museum; Austin, Minnesota
The SPAM Museum; Austin, Minnesota
The World's Largest Twine Ball [by One Man]; Darwin, Minnesota
The World's Largest Twine Ball [by One Man]; Darwin, Minnesota
 Bible-Themed Miniature Golf; Lexington, Kentucky
Bible-Themed Miniature Golf; Lexington, Kentucky
 Ben & Jerry's Flavor Graveyard; Waterbury, Vermont
Ben & Jerry's Flavor Graveyard; Waterbury, Vermont
  Roswell, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico

9 Quirky Places in the US that I've Been that You Should Visit, Too, plus 1 Quirky Place that I've Seen that You Should Avoid at All Costs

With places like Yosemite National Park and the Atlantic Ocean out there to see, why would anyone want to spend time visiting some off-beat, quirky location? Because quirky locations are far more memorable. Trust me. When people ask me about a trip to a National Park, I usually can just say, "It was very pretty and the hiking was nice." But if I have the chance to talk about a quirky place, I will definitely relate my story with detail and giddiness. Anyone can talk about seeing a waterfall, but that doesn't match the fun of visiting a Jell-o or Tupperware Museum!

The most important aspect of quirky places? Don't put off seeing them. They often lack funding, and can disappear after a manager's death or a building water leak. Get there. Meet the people. Take the pictures. And tell their stories.

1. Hometown of Superman; Metropolis, Illinois

In the comic books, Metropolis is a huge city with many comparisons to New York City. The town of Metropolis, Illinois, is more like Superman's hometown of Smallville, Kansas. It has a few diners, no movie theater, and a museum and some shops dedicated to Superman. The details are pretty fun--from a phone booth, to a newspaper resembling the "Daily Planet," to some headless stand-ups that you can use for photographs--this little town seems to be enjoying it's super name. Most striking, however, is the giant statue of Superman that stands in front of the Metropolis courthouse.

Obvious photo-op: The giant statue of Superman.

2. Wall Drug; Wall, South Dakota

You can't go anywhere in South Dakota without knowing about Wall Drug; over 500 miles on I-90 billboards proclaim this tourist attraction. [In fact, there's even a billboard at the South Pole proclaiming "Free Ice Water, 9,333 miles."] Its big draw has been a staple since the 1930s--free ice water and 5-cent coffee for all visitors. How can free ice water be such a draw in these days of bottled water? Hard to say, but the Wall Drug claims that each summer it gives away 20,000 cups of water a day. The Wall Drug isn't just a drug store, though. It's also a gift shop, western art museum, children's playground, jewelry store, and wedding chapel.

Obvious photo-op: The 80-foot Apatosaurus.

3. The Biggest Pit in the World; Copperton, Utah

Why would anyone want to see a big pit? Well, millions of people visit the Grand Canyon, don't they? This is much the same thing, only not so far out-of-the-way. It's cheaper, too--only 5 tax-deductible dollars.

The Kennecott Copper Mine pit is actually quite impressive. In fact it's so big it can actually be seen from space! Extraction has been going on since the 1860s, and the company is proud that they have turned a mountain into a hole that is almost 1 mile deep. Over 450,000 tons of material is removed daily in the search for gold, silver, copper, and molybdenum. Sometimes blasting is going on, but don't expect an awesome show; the blast will be a speck when viewed across the 2.5-mile-wide pit. Just take in the marvel that is human scavenging.

Obvious photo-op: Next to the gigantic tire from one of $3 million dump trucks.

4. The Future Birthplace of Captain Kirk; Riverside, Iowa

Once Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, wrote that Captain James T. Kirk was from Iowa. The super-small town of Riverside needed a theme for its yearly festival and the council thought, "Hey, why can't Kirk be from our town?" and wrote Mr. Roddenberry to ask if it could be so. They received an official letter with his permission, and with that, Riverside became "The Future Birthplace of Captain Kirk." A tiny, former beauty salon became the birthplace; a sad wooden plaque saying so is in the backyard. [Apparently they wanted to make a nice statue, but Paramount, which owns Star Trek, wanted $60,000 in licensing. So the wooden sign won't be going anywhere soon.] The city also holds an annual "Trek Fest", celebrating all things Star Trek.

Obvious photo-op: The USS Riverside--a mock-up starship at the front of the town.

5. Snake Alley; Burlington, Iowa

Snake Alley was once recognized by Ripley's Believe It or Not as the "crookedest alley in the world." While Lombard Street in San Francisco has also stated the same, the trip to Snake Alley will be much more pleasant because you will more than likely be the only person there. The street consists of 5 half-curves and 2-quarter curves that rises about 60 feet over a distance of 275 feet. The bricks are all laid at an angle, which aids in footing--and makes a cool noise when you drive over them. The street is also the site of an annual bike race; the bikers race uphill in what I can only perceive is a death wish.

Obvious photo-op: The view from the top.

6. The SPAM Museum; Austin, Minnesota

The city smells like SPAM, thanks to the factory where the tinned meat is made. But don't let that deter you--this place is awesome! Hormel, the makers of SPAM, realize that it is a bit of a joke, and they aren't afraid to poke fun at themselves. This free museum introduces you to the history of SPAM, takes you through past advertising campaigns, offers dozens of interactive displays and games, and, yes, even tells you what SPAM is made of. The gift shop sells all things SPAM--from SPAM mittens to SPAM mouse pads, from SPAM jewelry to many many varieties of packaged SPAM! If you're not craving SPAM by the end of your visit, you must be vegetarian.

Obvious photo-op: With SPAMMY, the SPAM Museum mascot.

7. The World's Largest Twine Ball [by One Man]; Darwin, Minnesota

If you're going to see any quirky landmark, this one is a must-see. A large twine ball is the king of all things quirky. It's so quirky that Weird Al Yankovic even wrote a song about it.

In 1950, some guy wrapped twine in a ball for 4 hours a day for 23 weeks. Then he died. The twine ball is currently housed in a gazebo on Main Street. A museum and gift shop is next door, where you can buy a souvenir miniature ball of twine.

Sure, there are bigger twine balls these days [hence the "by one man" clarifier], but this one was the original. You have to admire and/or wonder about a man who would wrap twine until his death.

Obvious photo-op: The ball of twine.

8. Bible-Themed Miniature Golf; Lexington, Kentucky

The Lexington Ice Center and Miniature Golf features 54 holes of Bible-themed golf goodness. The first 18 holes depict the Old Testament, such as the 7 days of creation [with a super-easy Day 7, because God rested on the seventh day], the Garden of Eden, and Noah's ark. The next 18 holes are from the New Testament, starting with the Star of Bethlehem and finishing with the Last Supper. The last 18 holes are the hardest and are based on Biblical miracles, including Jesus feeding the multitudes, Moses parting the Red Sea, and the burning bush. Don't let the Jesus-factor turn you off; this is the best mini-golf I've ever played and by-far the most memorable.

Obvious photo-op: Mount Sinai, the toughest hole.

9. Ben & Jerry's Flavor Graveyard; Waterbury, Vermont

Yes, Ben & Jerry's has their factory here. You can tour it and get free samples and blah blah blah. But the best part is the Flavor Graveyard located behind the factory. Here, the dearly departed ice cream flavors that met their end are given final remembrance. Each tombstone is decorated with a picture of their lid, along with a sassy poem and the year(s) of the flavor's life. For example, Sugar Plum's stone says, "It swirled in our heads, it danced in our dreams, it proved not to be though the best of ice creams." Take the time to browse the graveyard and snap some photos. Then, if there's time, you can go on the factory tour.

Obvious photo-op: The tombstone of your choice!

And finally, the moment you've all been waiting for...

Stay away from: Roswell, New Mexico

A town that celebrates a UFO landing [the truth of which is left up to you to decide] could be very well be the king in the land of quirky attractions. Alas, Roswell fails miserably. This small town offers very little of interest. If you happen to be passing through keep in mind the town shuts down after 6:00pm. The museums in Roswell are unorganized, overloaded, and over-priced. The gift shops have nothing of particular interest. And it's way-the-hell out-of-the-way. Save your time and money. See the twine ball instead!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      2 years ago from USA

      I've been to a few of these places, including Roswell, and have to agree that Roswell is rather over-hyped. When we were there about 10 years ago, the stores even closed mid-day for lunch. Where we were supposed to get lunch is anyone's guess! The museum, however, was rather interesting if you wanted to spend hours reading all the material.

      Wall Drugs is a fun stop! Wish we had known about Metropolis! Interesting article!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)