Unique McDonald’s locations around the world

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first mainland china mcdonalds
First McDonald's in mainland China in Dong Men, Shenzen. Photo - Monkboughtlunch.com

Thanks to globalisation, we now see a few major brands all over the world. McDonald’s is perhaps one of the most internationally recognised brands that can be found almost everywhere around the globe. While you might not be surprised to learn that the biggest American fast food chain can be found in 32,000 locations across 100 countries; you may be surprised to learn about some of their locations. Travelling as far north as the Arctic Circle in Alaska, you would have the opportunity to see a McDonald’s with a snowmobile drive through.

communism museum prague mcdonalds
The Museum of Communism in Prague with an advertisement that says: "We are above the casino, just beside McDonalds." Photo - JR in Kingston

Besides being a symbol of globalisation, McDonald’s is also closely associated with capitalism. The high-profile food chain is known for valuing profits at the expense of everything else. Not surprisingly, McDonald’s took awhile to spread across former Communist nations. It eventually made its way to the Soviet Union in 1990, shortly before the collapse of the USSR. While McDonald’s has proved to be incredibly successful in this market, it is still incredibly ironic to see one situated at the Museum of Communism, Czech Republic.

mcdonalds in london hospital
McDonald's next to the entrance to Guy's Hospital near London Bridge Station, London. Photo - Nigel Chadwick

With over 12,000 outlets, USA is still home to more outlets than any other nation. While this seems perfectly normal, what is astonishing is that McDonald’s can be found in various hospitals across the country, including children’s hospitals. One cannot help but wonder if McDonald’s is assuring its customers that they can have a triple bypass surgery onsite should they choose to scoff one of their hamburgers.

picturesque mcdonalds
Dubbed as the 'most picturesque McDonald's in the world', this Golden Arches building is located in Yangshuo, Guangxi province, China. Photo - departing(YYZ)

While nature lovers might be cursing McDonald’s for ruining a picturesque view in southern China, avid Big Mac fans insist McDonald’s and nature can go hand-in-hand. Whatever the case, this beautiful photograph tells a thousand tales…

alaska mcdonalds
A McDonald's joint somewhere near North Pole in Alaska, US. Photo - mnarrowe

In case you run towards the Arctic Circle to avoid civilisation and fast food, McDonald’s makes sure you grab a bite of their Big Mac should you get enough of wild berries and squirrels…

luxor temple big mac
View of Luxor Temple with McDonald's in the background. Photo - GoGap

It is evident that McDonald’s is a symbol of Western capitalism and follows Westerners, particularly Americans, wherever they go. Luxor Temple is one of the biggest surviving temples from the ancient Egyptian civilisation and is located on the east bank of Nile River in Luxor, a city founded in 1400 BC. McDonalds somehow claimed a piece of history by opening its restaurant a stone’s throw from the ancient Luxor Temple.

windsor castle mcdonalds
Windsor Castle and McDonald's. Photo - TRVentura

The elite may head to the Windsor Castle to have a cup of tea with the Queen, but commoners can always have a meal at the restaurants that dot the historic English castle. While local pubs, restaurants and chip shops offer authentic English food, McDonald’s is there with its Big Macs, french fries and coke…

clifton hill melbourne mcdonalds
An old hotel converted to a McDonald's restaurant in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Photo - Adam Dimech

McDonald’s is often accused of hijacking priceless landmarks and converting them into tasteless restaurants, all in the name of providing ‘taste’. Take this building for example. Originally known as the United Kingdom Hotel, it was designed by James Hastie Wardrop and constructed in 1938. It is located in the Melbourne suburb of Clifton Hill in Victoria, Australia, and is on the Victorian Heritage Register. Critics complain that the historic hotel’s interior has been gutted and replaced with ‘standard’ McDonald’s fittings. Many also mock the ‘completely tasteless, crooked, backlit illuminated sign’ that sits needlessly atop what is otherwise a very elegant building.

glass house mcdonalds
The Glass House, also known as the Will Rogers Turnpike, is dubbed as the biggest McDonald's restaurant in the world and is located in Vinita, Oklahoma. Photo - agilitynut

McDonald’s got hold of this 29,135 sq. foot building that spans the Will Rogers Turnpike section of Interstate 44 highway in Oklahoma, US. It was originally built as the ‘Glass House’ restaurant for the now-defunct Interstate Hosts company.

barstow station mcdonalds
A McDonald's restaurant in Barstow Station, Barstow, California. Photo - Johns Never Home

Regardless of what the detractors say, McDonald’s also comes up with some unique ideas as well. This McDonald’s restaurant, located in Barstow, California, is made up of refurbished railcars. Given the long history of Barstow as a railway hub, McDonald’s just got it right this time!

sedona arizona
Photo - MPR529

McDonald’s restaurants are known for their distinct golden arches and modernistic facade which the global fast-food chain tries to keep uniform around the world in order to pull crowds. However, it has made a few notable exceptions. Sedona is a resort town in Arizona, also known for its New Age centre. The town legislature commands that all buildings in Sedona must wear the southwestern colours like khaki, reddish brown or turquoise. However, golden was certainly not one of them so McDonald’s had to adopt turquoise instead of its trademark golden colour for its arches. It also had to paint the building a dull brownish-yellow colour to blend it with the surroundings, in stark contrast with its practice of using bright colours and distinct building exteriors to stand out from the rest. After all, it has got money to make!

Douglas DC3 McDonald's
A Douglas DC3 converted into a McDonald's restaurant in Taupo, New Zealand. Photo - running bull

Besides introducing new and weird food items, McDonald’s is also willing to go the extra mile when it comes to opening restaurants and attracting customers. The US fast food chain obtained a decommissioned DC3 aircraft and installed it in Taupo, New Zealand, as a McDonald’s restaurant, much to the diners and aviators’ delight!

roswell arizona mcdonalds
A McDonald's restaurant in Roswell, New Mexico. Photo - billhinsee

The US government may have covered up the June/July 1947 incident that took place in Roswell, New Mexico, in which an unidentified flying object (UFO) crashed near the Roswell Army Air Field. However, McDonald’s decided to uncover the secret in a unique way. To celebrate the town’s association with UFOs and conspiracy theories, it opened a themed restaurant with a mysterious exterior and a peculiar interior, full of extra-terrestrial murals that give a strange feeling to the place…

happy meal mcdonald's
McDonald's in Dallas, Texas. Photo - Pooua

If you ever wondered why McDonald’s is so popular among kids, here’s one reason. The McDonald’s PlayPlace in Dallas, Texas, is designed to look like a Happy Meal box. Imagine you’re a 7-year-old kid driving by with your parents and notice such a restaurant right in front of your eyes. Wouldn’t you force your father or mother to take you for a meal there? Yes, McDonald’s is well aware of children’s psychology and knows how to target its young customer base very well…

one of the oldest mcdonalds
Photo - caribb

A funky looking McDonald’s in Wolcotts and Bushnells Additions, Chicago, Illinois, opened on the 50th anniversary of the first McDonald’s. It is pretty identical to the first few restaurants that opened during the 194os.

oldest mcdonalds
The oldest operating McDonald's is in Downey, California. Photo - susanreep

There is more to the original McDonald’s than what it seems as it was the first American fast food chain that revolutionised the food industry in the country and abroad. And for this very reason, the photograph above is historic as it is the oldest standing McDonald’s restaurant in the US.

san bernardino mcdonalds
Site of the first ever McDonald's located in San Bernardino, California. Photo - Tamsin Slater

The place from where it all began! Many smart mothers back then would not let their children go to a McDonald’s and have a meal because they were very suspicious of a 15 cent hamburger. “How could it be real beef?” most moms argued. More than 50 years later, many young mothers take their kids to McDonald’s and get them a Big Mac with french fries and coke. Some mothers might have changed but not McDonald’s…

mcdonalds on the moon
Photo - Flamenco Sun

Some say, if there will ever be a human colony on the moon, chances are there will be a McDonald’s as well. God help us!

(Written by Shweta; Additional input and editing by Moign Khawaja)

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  1. I liked seeing the different kinds of McDonald’s and I was especially interested in the Alaska and aircraft ones. I also agree that if there is a colony on the moon that there will be a McDonald’s, too. They just have to be everywhere don’t they.

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