7 Most Beautiful McDonald's in the World, According to Travelers
Eye-popping architecture isn't something we usually associate with a trip to McDonald's (although there are more than a few nostalgists who seek out the subtle pleasures of the fast-food chain's '70s-through-'90s design aesthetic). But one McDonald's location has recently drawn attention for its views, which will drop your jaw faster than a hot incoming Big Mac: Tourists have named a beachside location in Tenerife the most stunning in the world. Read on to find out why, and see six more McDonald's locations that have gone viral for their beauty (which, admittedly, may be in the eye of the beholder, and depending on how hungry they are).
This beach-abutting facility in the Canary Islands is nothing special in itself, the Daily Mail reports—it's a fairly basic counter with some seating near the sand—but visitors have taken to social media to rave about the view. Customers can scarf a combo meal while partaking of a view that includes the expansive beach and bright blue sea. "When you're away why not try a McDonalds. This one has breathtaking views on the seafront," said one commenter on Tripadvisor. "This McDonalds has the best location I've seen! Right on the beach you can get all your favorites with a great view," wrote another.
A number of travel and design authorities, including Architectural Digest, have described this Portuguese McDonald's location as the most beautiful in the world. The restaurant is housed in the historic Cafe Imperial building, featuring gigantic stained glass windows, museum-worthy friezes, and ornate crystal chandeliers. "If you aren't going to eat a cheeseburger or a Big Mac you should come in and just see how the inside of the most beautiful McDonalds in the world looks!" one commenter wrote on Tripadvisor.
This modern, minimalist location, designed as a stylish glass box by Mei Architects, looks more like one of Brad Pitt's pads than a fast-food joint. Windows from floor to ceiling allow for views inside and out and show off a curving staircase that could have been lifted from the Guggenheim Museum.
In the mid-'80s, McDonald's bought this rambling 18th-century Long Island farmhouse as a teardown, with plans to build a same-old drive-through location in its place. Local preservationists said no way, and the company came around, agreeing to restore the home and place the restaurant inside. The result opened in 1991. With two levels, a sweeping double staircase, massive vaulted ceiling, and glass-enclosed portico, it quickly earned the nickname "McMansion." It's the only McDonald's within a fully restored building in the U.S., considered so beautiful that local couples use it as a location for wedding photos.
Befitting the town reputed to be a landing pad for extraterrestrials in the 1940s, this McDonald's was designed to look like a giant spaceship—the only UFO-themed Mickey D's in the world. (Yep, there's an astronaut-themed play space too.) The building has neon trim that glows at night "and shines like space metal in the day," says Atlas Obscura. "While there are a handful of McDonald's around the world that go out of their way to fit in to their community despite the overwhelming influence of corporate conformity, few take it quite to this extent."
Going the Long Island location one better, this Australian Mickey D's took over an entire hotel. It may be the franchise's only Art Deco location, an example of the Jazz Moderne style of architecture. The former site of the United Kingdom Hotel, this Mickey D's boasts an interior and elements designed in the late 1930s, including "curved wings, deep rounded balconies, slim metal railings, and central stepped fin," says Visit Melbourne. "It is noted as being one of the most architecturally and historically significant buildings in Victoria."
This month, the Daily Star reported that visitors to Bray, in County Wicklow, Ireland, have declared the town's Mickey D's "the most beautiful McDonald's in the world"—at least to Game of Thrones fans. The location was built inside a former town hall from the 19th century that boasts a majestic Tudor-style exterior and high vaulted wooden ceilings. "The small fountain outside features a wyvern, a mythological winged dragon from the Brabazon coat of arms," wrote one Tripadvisor reviewer. Another visitor from San Franciso said: "We could have this in America, sure, but we waste money on other things… The best-looking McDonald's in Europe that I've set foot in! Go see for yourself!"