24 of the weirdest and most unique McDonald's restaurants in the world
- McDonald's operates more than 34,000 restaurants worldwide in 118 countries, but some locations are more uniquely designed than others.
- Around the world, McDonald's restaurants can be found inside historic train stations, decommissioned planes, and even century-old colonial mansions.
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McDonald's restaurants are among some of the most recognizable chains in the world.
From the golden arches to the signature red-and-yellow architecture, McDonald's restaurants tend to fall into a certain style when it comes to design.
However, some McDonald's restaurants are found in unique and downright strange locations.
Here are 24 of the weirdest and most unique McDonald's restaurants in the world.
The McDonald's location in Downey, California, is the oldest McDonald's restaurant that still looks as it did when it first opened.
It is the oldest surviving McDonald's location in the world, and it doesn't even have a drive-thru! Instead, customers can walk up to the restaurant's windows to order.
This location also features a vintage McDonald's sign with the fast-food brand's old mascot.
Speedee, a chef with a hamburger for a head, appeared on the original McDonald's signs alongside the brand's logo of two interlocking golden arches.
Some signs also advertised the low price of McDonald's hamburgers — just 15 cents at the time.
This McDonald's restaurant in Hangzhou, China, is located inside a 90-year-old villa that once housed a former Taiwanese leader.
Before being converted into a McDonald's and McCafe restaurant, the building was known as a cultural relic that was the residence of politician Chiang Ching-kuo for one month during the 1940s.
The restaurant has been called "the most controversial McDonald's outlet in the world."
Many locals objected to the restaurant opening inside the historic building, calling it a prime example of Western commercialism invading Chinese culture.
However, the restaurant has become somewhat of a tourist attraction since it opened in 2015, welcoming visitors from all over the world.
This McDonald's restaurant in Taupo, New Zealand, is located inside a decommissioned plane.
Named one of the "world's coolest McDonald's" according to a sign outside the restaurant, customers can enjoy everything from a classic Big Mac to Chicken McNuggets and McCafe beverages inside the plane.
There's even airplane-style seating where customers can sit and enjoy their food.
Visitors to this unique McDonald's restaurant can also view the D3 plane's cockpit.
This McDonald's restaurant in Clifton Hill, Melbourne, Australia, is designed in the art deco style of the 1920s and '30s.
The building was originally the United Kingdom Hotel and was designed by architect James Hastie Wardrop.
Constructed between 1937 and 1938, this restaurant has been called one of the most beautiful McDonald's buildings in the world.
Built in 1983, the Rock-N-Roll McDonald's in Chicago, Illinois, was known nationwide for its themed decor.
Filled with music and pop-culture memorabilia, the restaurant spanned two floors and was a replica of Ray Kroc's first McDonald's.
The decor was quintessentially '80s, but in 2017, the fast-food giant decided the location would be fully renovated and modernized.
After the restaurant was partially demolished and modernized, the memorabilia once housed in the restaurant went into the franchise owner's personal collection, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Another iconic McDonald's restaurant that has closed for good is, surprisingly, the chain's Times Square location.
Known for its giant marquee featuring thousands of light bulbs, the restaurant — perhaps surprisingly — isn't closing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic but rather as part of McDonald's regular review of its restaurant portfolio, according to a spokesperson.
This McDonald's in Sedona, Arizona, is the only one in the world with turquoise arches.
The restaurant, which was built in May 1993, is located in one of Arizona's most beautiful cities; it's known for its awe-inspiring red rock mountains, canyon walls, and pine forests.
The building has to adhere to Sedona's strict guidelines on building design and signage.
While the bright yellow color of a majority of McDonald's signs might work in other parts of the country, the turquoise color chosen by the Sedona, Arizona, location blends much better with the surrounding landscape.
Sedona also has strict restrictions on how tall buildings and signage can be, which is why the famous arches are placed lower-down than at most other McDonald's restaurants.
This McDonald's in Houston, Texas, is space-themed to pay homage to the nearby NASA space center.
On top of the large McDonald's restaurant, which also has a play place, is a statue of a NASA astronaut holding a container of fries.
The theme continues inside the restaurant.
Ronald McDonald and the rest of the "McDonaldland" characters line the walls wearing space suits and posing against a starry background.
The world's first floating McDonald's restaurant opened in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1980.
Moored slightly south of the Gateway Arch on the Mississippi River, this McDonald's was the very first McDonald's to be opened on a riverboat.
It was open for 20 years before closing in 2000.
The McDonald's restaurant in Freeport, Maine, looks much more like a house than a standard fast-food franchise.
Some McDonald's locations attempt to blend in with the local buildings and are designed more sympathetically.
This McDonald's location, however, was actually built inside a preexisting, 150-year-old colonial mansion. Located in Freeport, a small seaside town in Maine, the building was converted into the town's only McDonald's in 1984.
This Paris McDonald's is located in a historic building built in 1892.
The restaurant can be found on Rue Saint-Lazare in Paris, France. Though the building is now a McDonald's, it's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This McDonald's in Dallas, Texas, was built in the shape of the fast-food restaurant's iconic Happy Meal box.
Though the McDonald's location is less colorful now, it's still the same shape and features giant sculptures of a burger, fries, and a Coca-Cola cup.
Referred to as the "flying saucer McDonald's," this unique fast-food restaurant in Roswell, New Mexico, is truly out of this world.
According to Atlas Obscura, this fast-food outlet is the only space and UFO-themed McDonald's in the world.
Inspired by the extraterrestrial history of Roswell, the interior of the spaceship holds a play place, which is also space-themed.
This McDonald's restaurant in Kristiansand, Norway, was converted from an old bank building.
Though you might think patrons can stroll up the steps to enter one of the most unique McDonald's buildings in the world, customers actually enter from a side entrance.
A McDonald's in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is similarly grandiose — though it has cartoonish fry sculptures on the front of the building.
The building almost resembles the White House.
However, past its columns and grand facade, customers can still enjoy McDonald's favorites like the Big Mac or Brazilian menu items like the Crispy Bacon Steak or Big Tasty Turbo Cheese burgers.
This McDonald's restaurant in Tver, Russia, looks slightly more mid-century-modern than many US locations.
While most restaurants in the United States feature the colors red and yellow, this Russian location uses green and yellow in its design.
A McDonald's location in Porto, Portugal, was previously occupied by Cafe Imperial, a famous coffee shop open in the city since the 1930s.
The giant bronze eagle was designed by Portuguese sculptor Henrique Moreira and is usually the first thing customers notice when they approach the restaurant.
Inside the restaurant, guests find glamorous details like crystal chandeliers and a massive stained glass window behind the counter.
According to a previous article by Business Insider, the colourful window is original to the coffee shop that previously occupied the space, and it features beautiful coffee-related scenes.
The restaurant has been called the world's most beautiful McDonald's.
This McDonald's in Debrecen, Hungary, was built inside a historic-looking building.
Independence, Ohio, is home to a McDonald's that's known as one of the fanciest fast-food restaurants in the country.
It was designed in accordance with building requirements from the city where the median household income is more than $100,000, according to census data.
Inside, guests are greeted by gold chandeliers and a majestic banister.
"The building is unique to any I have ever seen and it is a joy to take a break and walk to the second floor and enjoy the view while I enjoy breakfast or lunch," wrote one Tripadvisor user.
This McDonald's is found in Barstow Station, a fake train station in Barstow, California.
The "train station" opened in 1975, and is also occupied by a Subway, a Dunkin', and a Panda Express.
The restaurant is surrounded by passenger train cars, which are used as dining areas.
Despite having a unique theme, the restaurant still serves up McDonald's favorites.
A McDonald's restaurant is also found inside the historic Denton House on Long Island, New York.
The building was originally an 18th-century farmhouse that was converted into a Georgian-style mansion in the 1860s.
McDonald's originally intended to knock the building down after it was purchased in 1985.
However, according to Atlas Obscura, the fast-food giant faced pressure from preservationists to restore the home to its former grandeur.
The town then allowed the chain to build onto the existing building to create space for a drive-thru.
There's also a McDonald's inside Budapest's beautiful Western Railway Station.
This unique McDonald's location can be found in Batumi, Georgia.
Located in downtown Batumi, this McDonald's stands out for its reflective glass exterior. Patrons eating inside the restaurant can also gaze out onto the pool of water and manicured grass surrounding the building.
Inside, the restaurant's furnishings are similarly modern in design.
Built in 2013, this location also won the award for The Best Commercial Building of 2014 by the architecture website ArchDaily.
This McDonald's restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina, was renovated to fit with the local guidelines from the nearby Biltmore Estate.
Resembling a ski lodge, the restaurant fits in perfectly in the mountain town. However, inside is much more glamorous than perhaps any outside viewer could expect.
The restaurant features everything from red oak tables to a self-playing baby grand piano, wrought iron railings, and a fireplace.
Around the holidays, the location also decorates for Christmas, filling the restaurant with garlands, wreaths, and a decorated tree.
Employees are also reportedly required to dress in black vests and bow ties to go along with the "classy" theme of the location.
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