17 Weird and Wonderful Attractions

The world is a weird and wonderful place. Expect the unexpected with 17 of the world’s quirkiest attractions, from underwater scooters in Bora Bora to abandoned Slovenian military barracks

The world is a weird and wonderful place. Expect the unexpected with 17 of the world’s quirkiest attractions, from underwater scooters in Bora Bora to abandoned Slovenian military barracks.

Interesting Attractions and Activities

Bora Bora Underwater Scooter – The Islands of Tahiti 

Set off on an adventure in the Bora Bora lagoon on an underwater scooter and explore unknown depths through the secure clear base. Progressive immersion is done from a hydraulic platform with an experienced diver accompanying guests during their time under water. Trips tend to last 2 – 2.5hrs and the scooter can go up to three metres deep, where a world of sea life awaits. You don’t need to be a swimmer or diver to enjoy this trip – just hop on and scoot down. Prices from £142 per person. www.tahititourisme.uk

Cat House – Valencia, Spain

At the foot of a blue wall on Valencia’s Carrer del Museu, the facade of a tiny house attracts the attention of passersby. The house is only a foot or two tall but is designed in a classically Valencian style with a Spanish tiled roof, a little fountain and a garden. Local legend has it that the old woman who previously owned the house behind the gate left it for Valencia’s stray cats. www.visitvalencia.com/en

Tin City – Naples, Florida’s Paradise Coast

Named after the building’s rustic tin roofs, Tin City is a vibrant open air shopping district with over 30 charming boutiques and two riverside restaurants. Located on the Gordon River in Naples, Tin City was part of the development of the area as a waterfront destination and dates back to the early 1900s when it became the centre of the city’s fishing industry. The colourful buildings retain the old Florida charm and this iconic destination has become a much-loved shopping and dining hotspot in Florida’s Paradise Coast. Florida’s Paradise Coast

Randyland – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

An extravagant art museum located in the Mexican War Streets district of Pittsburgh’s Northside, Randyland is widely regarded as one of America’s most colourful public art landmarks. Owner Randy Gilson transformed his home into a must visit attraction using paints, plants, sale finds, construction materials and plastic animals. With free admission, guests can access the colourful creation everyday, 10am – 7pm. visitpittsburgh.com

Archie McPhee – Seattle, Washington 

For over 30 years, Archie McPhee has been bringing strange and amazing things to the world. The unique attraction designs and manufactures impractical items to make customers’ lives that little bit better. Owner Mark Pahlow first started selling rubber lizards and other wacky things and found that people couldn’t get enough of his collectible junk. Finally settling down in Seattle’s Wallingford neighbourhood, visitors are guaranteed to get lost in this quirky concept. visitseattle.org

Metelkova – Ljubljana, Slovenia

An old abandoned Slovenian military barracks, Metelkova is now a punky-political art centre. Built in 1911 by the Austro-Hungarian Army, the site is made up of seven barracks buildings across three acres of land and is covered in psychedelic works of art, graffiti and punk rock visuals. Several buildings have been torn down over the years, however most of the standing ones are covered in mosaics, sculptures and folk art. It also houses a bar, nightclub and hostel, as well as the free-living squatter population. Through art, the destination depicts both historical and political freedom. www.slovenia.info

Click&Boat, Sailboat Galeone 97 – Naples, Italy

Sailboat Galeone 97 is a massive multi-deck sailing ship used for cargo and wars between the 16th and 18th centuries. This elegant vintage boat is about thirty metres long, and has six exclusive double bedrooms, four bathrooms and spacious interior areas. It can be chartered both for a weekly charter (and in that case it can accommodate about 12-14 passengers) and for a special event of up to 90 guests. Guests can organise lunches, dinners or parties while sailing the wonderful Neapolitan and Amalfi coasts, soaking in a jacuzzi and drinking a glass of Prosecco at sunset. www.clickandboat.com/en

Light at Sensorio – Paso Robles, California

Sen­so­rio, the inter­sec­tion of art, tech­nol­o­gy and nature, is designed as a des­ti­na­tion for enter­tain­ment, explo­ration and adven­ture. It fea­tures two instal­la­tions by inter­na­tion­al­ly acclaimed British artist Bruce Munro. Artist’s largest art­work to date, a 15-acre walk-through and truly unique expe­ri­ence is made of more than 58,800 stemmed spheres lit by fibre optics, illu­mi­nat­ing the land­scape in sub­tle blooms of mor­ph­ing colour that describe the undu­lat­ing land­scape. The lat­est instal­la­tion, Light Tow­ers cel­e­brates Paso Rob­les’ wine coun­try, fea­tur­ing 69 tow­ers com­posed of more than 17,000 wine bot­tles, illu­mi­nat­ed with glow­ing optic fibres whose colours morph to an inspir­ing musi­cal score. www.visitcalifornia.com

Unique dining and drinking experiences

Taco Beast – Steamboat, Colorado

The Taco Beast at Steamboat Ski Resort is a piste basher turned food truck taking street food dining to a whole new level. Serving tasty, Mexican dishes on the mountain, skiers must follow the Taco Beast on Twitter to find out its location for the day. Once they’ve tracked it down, diners can enjoy delicious tacos, chips and queso, five different types of salsa and a variety of Mexican beers and soft drinks. www.steamboat.com

Wolfie’s Carousel Bar – San Diego, California

Located in the Little Italy neighbourhood, Wolfie’s Carousel Bar is a spectacular French bar and bistro where the centrepiece is an intricate, revolving carousel. Built in 1881 by carousel master carver and builder, Charles I.D. Looff (nicknamed ‘Wolfie’), the hand-carved carousel amusement ride invites guests to pull up a chair, sip on a cocktail, and pretend they’re in a 19th century Parisian restaurant. www.sandiego.org

Whisky a Go Go – West Hollywood, California

The world-famous staple to the Sunset Strip rock scene, Whisky a Go Go, first opened in 1964 and has had a wealth of acts perform since. Located in an old bank building, the bar is legendary in the music industry and was one of the first venues to be added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Nirvana, Van Halen and Led Zeppelin are just some of the famous names that have taken to the stage. Today the bar is just as full of energy, with an array of events throughout the week and a classic diner menu. www.visitwesthollywood.com

Vowz Bar – Tokyo, Japan

A taste of Shinjuku nightlife with a touch of Buddhism, Vowz is run by monks and features Buddhist-inspired cocktails. Created to provide an accessible way for people to learn about the religion, the bar welcomes all visitors, serving a unique evening to gain an insight into some spiritual practices. www.japan.travel/en/uk

Hip hotels

The Stanley Hotel – Estes Park, Colorado

For travellers looking for a spooky experience, The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, is a must-visit. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, the 1901 establishment inspired Stephen King to write The Shining, one of the most famous horror stories of all time. Still retaining its history, the interior has been renovated over the years but still has a turn-of-the-century feel and is said to have ‘high spirited activity.’ The hotel even offers ‘spirited’ rooms with paranormal activity including suite 217, the room where King once stayed. Ghost hunters favourite rooms include 401, 407, and 428. www.colorado.com

Madonna Inn – SLO CAL, California 

Located in San Luis Obispo, Madonna Inn is recognised for its whimsical décor and hospitable charm. Each of the 110 rooms are individually styled; the Pony Room features a pint-sized carousel steed whilst the Caveman Room offers waterfalls and rock walls. The hotel’s restaurant, The Gold Rush Steakhouse, is a pink paradise serving delicious steaks and outside, guests can enjoy a hilltop pool with a 45-foot waterfall that plunges into a lagoon. www.slocal.com

Delta King floating hotel – Sacramento California 

The Delta King is an authentic 285-foot paddlewheel riverboat that was originally built in Glasgow, Scotland.Revived to its former glory and moored along the Old Sacramento Waterfront, the 44 enchanting state rooms are a stone’s throw away from charming Old Sacramento. The Delta King has been restored and converted into a boutique hotel with one-of-a-kind facilities for riverfront dining, nightlife, conference facilities and a beautiful riverside wedding venue. www.visitsacramento.com

Magnolia Saloon in Hotel Jeffery – Yosemite Mariposa County, California

As well as the Yosemite Valley Floor hosting iconic structures such as Half Dome and El Capitan, there are also miles of wilderness and a rich gold rush history in Yosemite Mariposa County. Hotel Jeffery in the historic town of Coulterville is a perfect example of a quirky gem waiting to be explored. This 1851 hotel is home to the oldest bar in California to be in continuous service; Magnolia Saloon. The bar comes complete with polished bar and bat wing doors, giving guests a glimpse into the atmospheric past. Originally a Mexican structure built of rock and adobe, the hotel and bar was used by stagecoach passengers on their way to Yosemite and has hosted gold miners, Presidents, gunfighters and adventurers from every continent, including President Theodore Roosevelt and the ‘Father of the National Parks’, John Muir. www.yosemite.com

Trixie Motel: Palm Springs, California

A pink oasis located in the heart of Palm Springs, Trixie Motel is the first motel to be owned and operated by a world-famous Drag Queen. Trixie Mattel, winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars Season 3, and her partner bought the Inn and transformed it with seven custom themed rooms, including three suits, three Queen rooms and a honeymoon suite. The four-month-long refurbishment into a pretty in pink motel will be the feature of the ‘Trixie Motel’, an eight episode series on Discovery+ this summer. www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com