McDonald's operates more than 36,000 restaurants worldwide, and there's nothing particularly unique about most of them. In fact, part of the draw of those golden arches is that you know exactly what you're going to get. For the most part, a Big Mac tastes like a Big Mac no matter what state or country you visit. You can expect fast service, free ketchup packets, and boring red-and-yellow decor.
But among the thousands of McDonald's restaurants, there are a few that stand out. You'll find some that are nestled in unusual (and beautiful) locations, some that have extraordinary facades or interiors, and even some that offer entertainment. These luxurious McDonald's restaurants may not exactly provide a fine dining experience, but they are definitely worth a visit if you find yourself nearby. You may even be surprised to find some unique menu items that aren't available elsewhere.
20 A Sea Captain’s Former Home In Maine
This McDonald's in Freeport, Maine is practically unrecognizable. That's because it's located inside a Greek Revival-style house that was once the home of a sea captain. McDonald's purchased the property in the 1980's and planned to tear it down, but residents intervened and fought for the historic building to be preserved. The interior still resembles someone's home, with wooden chairs and tables, separate rooms, and a fireplace. Now, you can chow down on your Egg McMuffin and take in a bit of history at the same time.
19 An Airplane McDonald's In New Zealand
This is the only McDonald's location on this list that features a decommissioned airplane as part of the restaurant (as you can see in the photo above). That means you can enjoy your chicken nuggets and fries (or maybe a McFlurry?) in one of the twenty airplane seats without having to buy a plane ticket or even wear a seat belt. If you're curious, you can even check out the cockpit. This McDonald's is definitely worth a visit if you happen to be in Taupo, New Zealand, that is.
18 A Storefront-sized Happy Meal In Dallas
This McDonald's in Dallas, Texas is definitely a kid's paradise. Not only does it look like a gargantuan happy meal, but it also features a huge McDonald's Play-place inside. Surprisingly, this wacky McDonald's has a tasteful interior, with designer touches such as Ralph Lauren wallpaper, crystal chandeliers, and mahogany booths. There's nothing like a luxury setting that will also keep the kids occupied for a little while. All this McDonald's needs is a fancy adult happy meal to compliment its luxurious interior.
17 A 1795 Mansion In New York
This McDonald's may be the most luxurious fast food restaurant you'll ever encounter. McDonald's purchased this mansion in New Hyde Park, New York with the initial intention of tearing it down. But like the residents of Freeport, Maine, the locals in New Hyde Park fought for landmark status for this beautiful historic building. As a result, this is the only McDonald's with a glassed-in veranda where guests can enjoy their Quarter Pounders in style.
16 An Art Deco McDonald's In Melbourne, Australia
This McDonald's, located in Melbourne, Australia, was once known as the United Kingdom Hotel. McDonald's decided to preserve this gorgeous 1930's art deco building (which was definitely a great decision), which has intricate details like alternating colored bricks. This distinctive McDonald's is quite simply a beautiful place to eat.
15 A Decorative Tower In Paris
In France, a Big Mac is called "Le Big Mac," and you can get burgers on a ciabatta bun. Separate McCafes feature croissants and coffee in mugs. The food is locally sourced, so the quality is better, and France's franchises are designed to invite people to take their time. It's a step-up from fast food for sure. This McDonald's branch is located on Rue Saint-Lazare in Paris, and its facade is an extraordinary sight.
14 A UFO McDonald's In Roswell
Roswell, New Mexico is famous for a long list of alleged alien sightings (and the TV show of the same name), so it's no surprise that this McDonald's is spaceship-themed. This bright neon-trimmed McDonald's even includes a Play-place that is shaped like a UFO and features the solar system and spacesuit-clad McDonald's characters inside. You might not see any extraterrestrial activity during your visit to Roswell, but this McDonald's is certainly the next best thing.
13 A Floating McDonald's In St. Louis
This floating McDonald's in St. Louis, Missouri was decommissioned in 2000, but it was a favorite local hot spot for 20 years before it was sadly closed down. Located on the Mississippi River, this gem will always be remembered as one of the finest McDonald's restaurants in history. It will be forever missed by St. Louis natives and the ducks and fish, of course, who often benefited from the falling french fry crumbs.
12 A Magnificent Drive-through In South Korea
This tiny McDonald's, which is located alongside a gas station (which makes it all the more impressive, in our opinion), is made magnificent by the giant wing-like covering that hangs over the restaurant. The menu in South Korea is also pretty unique. You'll find shrimp burgers, McSpicy Shanghai burgers, and bulgogi burgers, among other special treats. The variety of flavors alone makes this McDonald's worth a visit, and a quick snack while you're on the road.
11 An Observatory Lookalike In Tbilisi, Georgia
This McDonald's in Tbilisi, Georgia looks exactly like an observatory, but you won't be doing any stargazing inside this restaurant, that's for sure. While the building has a very unique facade, don't be fooled, as it isn't equipped with telescopes. You might not find any gadgets for stargazing, but you will find a unique Georgia menu in this location however, and many of the meals include ice cream.
10 A Modern Architecture McDonald's In Sydney, Australia
This beautifully-designed McDonald's was a project executed by Juicy Design. The glass and steel exterior is complimented by a colorful interior that goes beyond the basic red and yellow of a traditional McDonald's. Located on George Street in Sydney, Australia, this McDonald's features colorful graphic wall art, unique light fixtures, and modern furniture that make it look like an experiment in modern architecture rather than a fast food restaurant.
9 A Mountain Escape McDonald's In China
Nestled in front of the beautiful karst peaks of Yangshuo is this McDonald's, which provides both waterfront and mountain views. How's that for a fine dining experience? There's nothing special about the interior of this McDonald's, but the menu will make your mouth water. You can get a burger on a black bun with white sesame seeds and black pepper sauce or try a burger on a white bun with black sesame seeds and a sweet and spicy sauce.
8 An Entertainment McDonald's In Orlando, Florida
This McDonald's in Orlando, Florida is one of the largest in the world and probably also the most fun. Inside this two-story McDonald's, you'll find a massive playhouse and dozens of arcade games. This massive location even features family-friendly concerts. The kitchen is equipped with a bar where you can sit and watch the staff prepare your food. There is also a pizza oven because at this McDonald's, you can order customized pizza and pasta dishes. You'll also find a unique array of desserts, including sundaes that can be fully customized. If you're in the mood for something besides a burger, this McDonald's has it all.
7 A Glitz And Glam McDonald's In Times Square
Located in bustling Times Square, New York, this McDonald's is built to look like a vintage theater. The huge overhanging sign with countless lights add a more-than-glamorous touch to this iconic fast food location. It's a good thing that this McDonald's is all dressed up because inside, you'll probably pay more for your burger and fries than in other locations in New York City.
6 A Retro McDonald's In Illinois
When McDonald's first opened in the 1940's, you could get a hearty burger and fries for about 25 cents (imagine that...). Unfortunately, this retro McDonald's doesn't really offer retro prices, but it is designed to look like one of the original stores. The bright neon lights and vintage signage are nostalgic of a different time and place.
5 A Lion On The Sign In Germany
These tiny golden arches are being carried by a bird with a lion on its back. We're not sure what this signifies, but it sure does look fancy. At this McDonald's location in Salzburg, Germany, you can try a McCurry Wurst, which is the McDonald's version of a popular German dish made with sausage and curry sauce. Bratwurst burgers are also available. In Germany, the locals call McDonald's restaurants "Mekki" or "McDoof."
4 A 19th Century Town Hall In Ireland
The Bray Town Hall building in Ireland dates back to the 19th century and now features a McDonald's inside. It looks out of place next to the historic architecture, but it is right at the heart of the city. Make sure to order a Shamrock shake if you're visiting during the month of February or March; it's the Irish thing to do!
3 An Eagle-topped Stained Glass McDonald's
This McDonald's located in Porto, Portugal stands out immediately due to the large eagle statue that tops the restaurant's Golden Arches. It is housed in a 1930's building with a decadent interior that includes chandeliers, mirrors, and beautiful art deco stained glass work. You can even enjoy a Portuguese custard tart with your coffee in the separate McCafe section. This historical McDonald's certainly takes fast food to a whole new level.
2 A Marble And Mosaic McDonald's In Rome
This fancy McDonald's located in Rome, Italy is definitely a tourist attraction all on its own. Located by the Spanish Steps, you enter this McDonald's through a European chocolate shop. It's filled with marble and mosaic accents that help it blend in with its surroundings. The food items are unique as well, as you can buy pastries or even peruse the salad bar. You may even be able to put together a healthy meal at this luxurious McDonald's.
1 A Former Bank In Norway
This former bank in Kristiansand, Norway is now a McDonald's restaurant, and it might just be the classiest fast food joint in the entire world. With stately columns and intricate molding, it's certainly impressive just to look at. You may not be able to open up a checkings or savings account inside, but you can certainly fill up on a McFeast sandwich (which contains an Angus Beef Patty in their iconic bread roll bun).