Travel

The Weirdest McDonald's Locations in the World

Published On 08/03/2016 Published On 08/03/2016
McDonald's in a plane
The Taupo, New Zealand McDonald's in a DC3. | Flicker/jaafaralnassar

You know why we love McDonald’s? The easy-access roadside bathrooms come to mind. Besides that, we love McDonald's because it's consistent. No matter where you are in the world, if you don't want to deal with iffy street food, or meat of undetermined origin, you can always find a pair of golden arches for a little taste of home. And for the most part, they all look the same. Plastic chairs, big red clown in a yellow romper. And maybe if you're lucky, a fancy-pants McCafé.

But some of the restaurants have a story all their own. Whether it's a historic mansion on Long Island or the smack-middle of a desert, some McDonald's locations are comfortably outside the norm. Here are the 10 craziest.

auroradesign/Instagram

Taupo, New Zealand

This might be the only aircraft on Earth where you dig into a piping-hot Filet-O-Fish and are not immediately the biggest asshole on the plane. And for that, we thank the former mayor of Taupo. He purchased this decommissioned DC3 while in office, and McDonald's opened a location inside -- complete with cockpit tours.

Flickr/Irish Typepad

Barstow, California

Rail-car diners have kind of been done to death. Now, setting up a fully franchised burger factory in a few rail cars in the middle of the desert? THAT takes some originality. So in a big hat-tip to Barstow's history as a rail hub, this McDonald's has placed the entire restaurant in some decommissioned rail cars. It sits on historic Route 66, making it possibly the most American meal you can eat for under $7.

Wikimedia Commons by U.S. Navy

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Your Jack Nicholson impression will be that much more authentic when you actually DO eat your breakfast 300 yards from 4,000 Cubans who are trained to kill you. (Yes, that's a hair melodramatic, but what do you expect from a '90s military courtroom drama?) This on-base McDonald's at Gitmo, surrounded in razor wire, ain't exactly the world's most inviting drive-thru. It is, though, certainly among the most badass. 

Flickr/William Murphy

Bray, Ireland

It's actually pretty amazing some mid-sized Midwestern town wasn't the first to put a McDonald's in a city hall. Instead, the good people of Bray were the first to accomplish the feat. Since 1997 this Mickey D's has occupied the ground floor of the 19th-century building that houses the city government -- perfect for that discount reception after a shotgun wedding. 

Wikimedia Commons by Tomasz Sienicki

Kristiansand, Norway

This looks like the kind of building where the ancient Romans would have held opulent orgies, where the high-fructose corn syrup flowed like wine. This grand-columned edifice in Norway, of all places, was a bank once upon a time. Since being overtaken by the golden arches the front doors are no longer operable, but it's still an intimidating place to get your Big Mac on.

Flickr/NNECAPA Photo Library

Freeport, Maine

Perhaps you read on some pioneering lifestyle website that lobster rolls were returning to McDonald's. And as hesitant as you might be to try shellfish from the people who brought you the McRib, this McDonald's might be easiest way to enjoy a lobster roll in an old sea captain's house. The white-wood structure dates back to the 1850s and was actually kept standing by a historic preservation group that called itself the "Mac Attacks."

Wikimedia Commons by Guetztoub

Negev desert, Israel

Proving that Israeli kids on road trips can be every bit as obnoxious as American ones, someone had the foresight to build a McDonald's in the middle of the barren desert road from Israel's populated areas to the resort cities in the south. So when kids starts kvetching that "I want McDonald's" -- or however one says that in Hebrew -- nobody has to listen to it for more than a couple of hours. Of course, the other dining options out there are sand and more sand, so hungry adults probably appreciate it as well.

Wikimedia Commons by DanTD

New Hyde Park, New York

Historic walking tours of 19th-century Georgian mansions are great, but you know what makes them even better? McChicken. You doubt? Hit this Long Island mansion where you can traipse through parts of a historic home and then quench your thirst with a 64oz Diet Coke. The house was scheduled for demolition when McDonald's purchased it in the 1980s. Historic preservation activists kept it standing, and it's now one of the most educational McDonald's in the world.

Flickr/Robert Nyman

Prague, Czech Republic

And the award for most ironic McDonald's on the planet? How about this one sitting on the ground floor of the MUSEUM OF FREAKING COMMUNISM. Because nothing screams "power to the proletariat" like teenagers working over a fryer. Jokes aside, it actually offers one of the nicer atmospheres of any McDonald's restaurant, with a venerable sidewalk café in a historic building where you can enjoy your Happy Meal and people-watch -- the trappings of Europe with the comforts of home.

Flickr/Per-Olof Forsberg

Lindvallen, Sweden

After downing your body weight in McNuggets, we all have that same feeling, right? "Let's go shred some powder!" Wish. Granted. This here is the world's first ski-up McDonald's, where fortunately you won't get stuck behind a slow-moving group of skiers yelling, "We’d like two number fives, no cheese... no, I said NO cheese," because, alas, there is no ski-thru. There is, however, a fully operational McDonald's in the middle of a ski resort, and that's a Swedish innovation right up there with Volvo.

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Matt Meltzer is a staff writer with Thrillist who's second-ever meal in Europe was at the Monaco McDonald's. Follow him on Instagram: @meltrez1.

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