North America

Nine times the USA was so completely EXTRA

America. Home of Hollywood, Walt Disney World, the world’s largest burger, the first man on the moon and, for decades, the tallest building. When it comes to inventing stuff, we all know that our friends Stateside like to go big and bold. That’s what makes it one of our favourite travel destinations! Get a load of these ridiculously extra feats of mankind. Have you ticked any off your list?

  1. The Corn Palace – Mitchell, South Dakota

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Nope, this isn’t a Simpsons episode. This is real life. Mitchell, South Dakota is home to the World’s Only Corn Palace. This multi-purpose arena may look like the Sultan’s Palace in Aladdin, but its interior is decorated with crop art. The heaps of murals and designs covering the building are made from corn, and a new design is constructed each year. A-maizing, right? Sorry – corny joke.


2. Ben & Jerry’s Flavour Graveyard – Waterbury, Vermont


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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*.


3. Raw cookie dough with a spoon

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There’s a reason why Cookie Dough never made it into the Ben & Jerry’s Flavour Graveyard. And we think America got the memo.

New York’s Cookie Do Confectioners serve up tubs of the stuff with a spoon. No ice cream, no oven baking. Nothing but 100{67e156e4ee2ef9246962f65a4f1efdaee88fb3c7951f538c2a80b1896ec79ca1} 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.


4. The Clown Motel – Tonopah, Nevada

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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?


5. Salvation Mountain – Imperial County, California

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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 manmade 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.


6. Bubblegum Alley – San Luis Obispo, California

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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.


7. Black Tap – New York City, New York

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‘Black Tap’ may sound like another hipster burger and beer joint… but this New York City staple with multiple locations is so much more. It’s in fact the most EXTRA burger and shake shack on the planet. By miles. Their Cotton Candy, Cookie, and Sour Power Black Cherry Crazy Shakes cost as much as their filthy burgers, but we recommend you share.


8. Chicago River, every St Patrick’s Day

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Come on now Chicago, we all love St Paddy’s Day… but chill out now!
Every year, the windy city celebrates with not one but three epic Paddy parades through the city centre – one of which is the largest outside of Dublin, a 5k marathon called the Leprechaun Leap to raise money for the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and heaps of festivities among its many Irish pubs.
Their craziest tradition? They’ve been dying the Chicago river bright green every year since 1962.
And those conscious about pollutants needn’t worry – Chicago is green in the environmental sense, as well as the literal – tthis crazy colouring is actually little more than a vegetable dye.


9. Burning Man, Black Rock Desert, Nevada

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Try and envisage every crazy custom from around the world, every mental festival you’ve ever read about, every art installation, amazing costume or theatre show you’ve ever seen… all at once. Is it looking like a crazy -good dream? Well, Nevada still went and trumped it.
Every August, over 70,000 people descend on Nevada’s arid desert hundreds of miles from the nearest civilisation to erect one of their own, known as Black Rock City. There, they party non-stop for a week before vanishing back home again, leaving no trace.
Interested? This is no Splendour in the Grass. The concept of the ‘festival’ (if we can call it that) is decommodification and radical inclusion. In layman’s terms? Zero money is traded for food or booze – instead people create and then 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 amazing floats as their modes of transport.


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!


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