The Quirkiest City in Every State
If traveling more across America is on your bucket list, these are the offbeat treasures you need to see in every state.
Quirkiness Is All Around
Ask anyone to name the quirkiest city in America and you’ll probably hear New York City, New Orleans, Key West, or even Austin, Texas or Portland, Oregon—as the latter two have “weird” in their town mottos. But quirkiness is in the “eye of the beholder,” and examples can be found in some places you’d never guess. Scroll on to learn about the range of charming oddities that can make a town seem “quirky.” Then come back to discover how these 8 U.S. towns got their quirky nicknames.
New Orleans may be the hottest Mardi Gras destination now, but the first-ever Mardi Gras celebration held in America actually took place in Mobile, Alabama. This is a big part of the city’s rich history, which you can see at the Mobile Carnival Museum. Preserved floats, crowns, and extravagant costumes help make Mobile a place with a ton of character. There are many other places to celebrate Mardi Gras besides New Orleans, you know!
Alaska: North Pole
Yes, as in the place where Santa Clause lives! In this Alaska town, it is Christmas 24/7. The town used to be named Davis, but the name was legally changed in 1952 to reflect the whimsy and joy of the Christmas stories that kids of all ages cherish. If you want to be wowed, check out these photos of Alaska you’ve probably never seen before.
Bisbee’s present has very little to do with its past. Once a copper mining town, Bisbee today is a cultural enclave, teeming with quirky and imaginative artists and artwork. For a reminder of its past, you can visit the many historical sites and museums, or even book yourself a spooky ghost tour.
Arkansas: Hot Springs
Hot Springs, Arkansas is home to an Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo. They even have a fossilized merman on display. Is it real? Find out for yourself. If being up close and personal with the animals is your thing, check out the 49 other best zoos in every state.
California: Venice Beach
Let’s be honest, there are hundreds of places in California that can be described as quirky: Hollywood, San Francisco, Laguna Beach, and more. But no one will deny Venice Beach tops the list. Venice Beach is home to a world-famous boardwalk dominated by skateboarders, graffiti artists, and performers, and nothing is too strange for this locale. Beaches do tend to be the best spot for people watching; don’t miss 12 more best beaches in the United States.
Widely known for the prevalence of cannabis, this city plays host to the only known temple to to the intoxicating hemp plant, a.k.a. the International Church of Cannabis. Open since April 20, 2017 (the pot smoker’s holiday, 4/20), this establishment treats the plant as a holy sacrament. Church-goers follow a unique religion known as “Elevationism,” and claim that use of cannabis elevates one to higher self-understanding.
Connecticut: New Haven
New Haven is known for being home to one of the country’s (and the world’s) best universities: Yale. But while the school is chock-full of promising brains walking around, there are actually a lot of dead brains on campus too: A historic collection of brains can be found at the Cushing Brain Collection. Specializing in diseased, tumor-infested brains, the collection hosts hundreds of specimens in a two-floor house below Yale’s medical school library. If you’re an aficionado of the macabre, read on for 10 more utterly bizarre collections.
Milton is a beloved location for one very important reason: beer! Dogfish Head Brewery is located here—one of the most popular IPAs in the country. What makes the locale extra quirky is the giant, futuristic-looking sculpture called the Steampunk Treehouse. Now discover the best craft beer from every state.
Florida: Key West
You’d be hard-pressed to find quirkier than the Fantasy Fest in Key West, where your imagination is the only limitation. The ten-day extravaganza features off-the-wall performers, costumes, music, and more. Key West is definitely not your typical town and this is not your typical parade. Discover the wildest parties from around the world.
Erik S Lesser/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
ATL may be best known as a sports town, but it’s no stranger to whimsy. Case in point: Tiny Doors Atlanta, an art project placing tiny decorative doors in random outdoor spaces all over Atlanta. The wee doors when placed on a rock or a tree look like portals to a fairyland. The project has sparked a community movement of copycat artists, turning the installation into a bit of a cute, quirky public scavenger hunt.