12 Places Around the World That Are Weirdly Popular on TripAdvisor
We’re talking about places that make you look at their high ratings and think, “Really? There?”
For example, one of the highest rated tourist attractions in Cornwall, England is a tunnel leading to a supermarket. Another highly rated attraction, this time in California, is an alley were people have stuck used gum over the years. Or, there’s the Prada store that’s literally in the middle of nowhere. Even better, there’s a room full of dirt in New York City that people apparently really enjoy.
These places may not have obvious appeal to the casual TripAdvisor user. But for those who’ve gone to these places, it’s easy to see why they’re so special. Just take a look at the reviews and you’ll see that there are people in the world who go gaga for the seemingly everyday, mundane, or just plain odd attractions that you may not even have bothered to stop for.
They may not be world renowned restaurants, important, historical landmarks, or prestigious museums filled with fine art, but these places might be good to put on your travel bucket list. Especially if you’d like to go off the beaten path once in a while.
Don’t take our word for it, check out the reviews.
Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world — Dunedin, New Zealand: 4 stars
Move over, San Francisco. You’ve got nothing on Baldwin Street. This road actually still holds the Guinness World Record title for the steepest street in the world. So, if you’re a world record enthusiast, it’s easy to see why this place has four stars on TripAdvisor. One reviewer who rated it five stars, said, “It is what it says. It's steep!”
Bude Tunnel — Cornwall, England: 5 stars
With over 480 five-star reviews, this tunnel is the highest rated attraction in Cornwall. It’s not a special tunnel at first glance; It just connects a supermarket parking lot to a main road. But occasionally (especially at Christmas) it is decorated in colorful lights. Reviewers have called it the “8th wonder of the world” and an “amazing, magical experience.” Plus, it’s free to experience.
The Gnome Reserve and Flower Garden — West Putford, England: 4.5 stars
Nature lovers can easily enjoy this beautiful garden that’s perfect for walking around on a nice, spring day. But what makes it special (maybe even a little strange) is that it’s also a gnome “sanctuary,” where dozens of little gnomes populate the grounds. It’s quirky, to say the least. “I defy anyone to come here and not to smile. It is a little oasis of happiness and innocent joy,” said one reviewer. It also has a TripAdvisor “Certificate of Excellence.”
Carhenge — Alliance, Nebraska: 4.5 stars
Anyone who has driven through Nebraska knows there isn’t too much to see. But, there is Carhenge, a replica of Stonehenge, only made with cars. While it seems like a typical roadside attraction, it’s actually a pretty impressive sight to behold. Carhenge is actually created with old, vintage automobiles, and looks like a fascinating piece of art in the middle of the Plains. “Carhenge is a wonderful take on Stonehenge. Sure, it is a tongue-in-cheek take, but it is kind of impressive,” said one reviewer.
Bubblegum Alley — San Luis Obispo, California: 3.5 stars
This one is just what it sounds like: an alley filled with gum. But it’s not exactly a candy store. Bubblegum Alley (rated 3.5 stars, so it’s very good but not for everyone) is famous in San Luis Obispo for being a place where people have been sticking their used gum for years. But the result is actually pretty fascinating (and colorful). “Yes it's an alley with gum. That's it. Would be interesting to know history. That being said I found it colorful, interesting and strange. Of course I took some gum and stuck it on the wall,” one reviewer said.
Hole N’ The Rock — Moab, Utah: 4 stars
Hole N’ The Rock looks like it might be a natural wonder (aside from the big, painted sign) when you’re driving past, but it’s actually a unique home that was carved into the rock in Utah's Canyonlands Country. Now, it’s a nice little gift shop, petting zoo, and trading post where you can take tours all year. One positive reviewer called it “ultimate hokiness,” which we’re going to assume is a good thing.
The Thing — Benson, Arizona: 3.5 stars
What is The Thing? Well, you’ll probably have to stop there for yourself. This decades-old attraction has apparently been renewed and improved over the years, according to reviews, so it’s been getting some higher reviews recently. Even if you don’t figure out what The Thing is, you can still shop in the massive gift shop for something unique. One very recent reviewer called it a “mandatory” stop for them on their trip.
Prada Marfa — Valentine, Texas: 4 stars
You probably didn’t expect to see high end fashion in the middle of the Texas desert. Well, you’re not alone there. Plenty of other TripAdvisor users were surprised by this highly-rated Prada “store” about an hour from Marfa, Texas. You sadly can’t buy any shoes or handbags there, though — it’s just an art installation. Those who visit can leave a memento like a lock on a fence nearby. “It's simply a storefront in the middle of nowhere but that's what makes it so unique. I love random things and this fits the bill,” one reviewer said.
16 Avenue Tiled Steps — San Francisco, California: 4.5 stars
Who thought a staircase could be such an attraction? It helps when it’s covered in a beautiful mosaic. Even though this attraction in San Francisco is just a set of steps in a residential neighborhood, they are completely Instagram-worthy. One reviewer said, “Maybe this is too far away from the wharf for your typical tourist, but these fun, arty steps open up to one of the best views in SF.”
Fremont Troll — Seattle, Washington: 4 stars
You’ve probably heard the tale of the troll under the bridge. Well, Seattle actually has one. This 18-foot tall stone carving looks like a troll under the Aurora Avenue Bridge, and it’s a pretty popular tourist site. The sculpture is considered a good spot for “selfies” according to one reviewer. Another reviewer said, “Leave it to Seattle to place a sculpture of a massive troll that looks like it's emerging from the ground with a real VW bug in one of its hands.” Not bad for a sculpted piece of rock.
The New York Earth Room — New York City, New York: 4 Stars
Out of the dozens upon dozens of well-reviewed attractions in New York City, here is one that is a solid four stars: a room full of dirt. But it’s an important room full of dirt, because it’s a quiet and peaceful place in the city (one of few), and it is actually an indoor art installation by Walter De Maria, created in 1977. Reviewers have noted the smell of the soil in particular. And despite it having four stars, the reviews are diverse and remarkably complicated. “I thought I wouldn't enjoy this, but honestly...it was amazing,” said one reviewer. “I think if I lived in NYC in this concrete jungle, the smell, the quiet and the energy of this installation would appeal. For me however, I live in a beautiful, wild, nature-filled place, so to me it was just a room full of dirt,” said another.
World’s Largest Chest of Drawers — High Point, North Carolina: 3.5 stars
With furniture like this, you’ll probably never have to worry about storage again. American roadside attractions seem to have a fascination with overly large things (big balls of twine, giant bricks, large dog statues, etc.), and one of these attractions has got to be one of the most ordinary of them all: a chest of drawers. While one reviewer was disappointed by the “what you see is what you get” aspect of this attraction, another described it as “furniture galore!”