Photo Courtesy of World Chess Hall of Fame (St. Louis, MO)

Roadside Attractions on the Great River Road

We love the kitsch! And Instagram is calling, these are the funky places to stop and say – “Been there!”


Paisley Park (Chanhassen, MN)

An extraordinary space that was home to an extraordinary man. One reviewer said it best, “I’m so glad that I made time to bathe myself in the Purple Rain of this absolutely magical place.”

Wabasha Street Caves (St. Paul, MN)

These caves were transformed into a nightclub in the 30’s and you can still party like it’s 1939 during their Thursday Swing Night.


World’s Largest Six Pack (La Crosse, WI)

Once the home to Old Style, these brewery storage tanks may now be filled with La Crosse Lager. But still – it looks like like a giant six pack of beer, there are no losers here.

The Rock in the House (Fountain City, WI)

Unstaffed and on the honor system. Drop a couple bucks in the box and take a peak at what happens when a 55 ton boulder comes down off a bluff and into your house.  When it comes to roadside attractions, this one absolutely ups the kitsch ante.


Field of Dreams Movie Site (Dyersville, IA)

“If you build it, they will come.” You might remember the baseball themed Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams. Check out the movie site and maybe catch a ball game.

Fenelon Place Elevator (Dubuque, IA)

The world’s shortest, steepest, railroad. No need to walk to the top of this 189 ft hill when you can ride. Check out the beautiful view at the top and it’s worth the $3 for adults and $1.50 for kids.


World’s Largest Catsup Bottle (Collinsville, IL)

The World’s Largest Catsup Bottle® stands proudly next to Route 159, just south of downtown Collinsville, Illinois. This unique 170 ft. tall water tower was built in 1949.

Popeye Character Trail (Chester, IL)

Statues of every major character in the Popeye the Sailor Man cartoon, and a lot of obscure ones too, are peppered throughout this little city.


Photo by Michael DiFilippo / Courtesy of World Chess Hall of Fame

World Chess Hall of Fame (St.Louis, MO)

Enjoy three floors of chess, art, and culture, plus an award-winning gift shop, with no chess experience necessary. Share a selfie of their hand-carved, 20-feet-tall World’s Largest Chess Piece, too!

Laclede’s Landing Wax Museum (St. Louis, MO)

Five levels of lifelike (ish) wax figures. I hear context clues can help you figure out who some of the figures are, where others are spot on.


Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden (Calvert City, KY)

It’s definitely a side trip off the Road, but I have a feeling you won’t find anything quite like this elsewhere.

Kentucky Bend (Tiptonville, KY)

Thirty square miles of Kentucky cut off from the rest of the state. A surveyor mishap?


Peabody Hotel Duck March (Memphis, TN)

Every day the duckmaster marches the ducks down the elevator, along the red carpet, and to the hotel fountain. Again in reverse in the evening.

The Jungle Room at Graceland (Memphis, TN)

Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley, is a testament to kitsch (think rhinestone studded leisure suites) but somehow the Jungle Room takes it over the top.


Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash (Dyess, AR)

Visit the home of Johnny Cash and see the restoration efforts that have preserved this unique American farming community and the childhood of an American music icon.

Bassett POW Camp (Joiner, AR)

Right on the Great River Road, not much denotes that WWII German and Italian prisoners were housed here. History seems to not want to remember.


Devil’s Crossroads (Clarksdale, MS)

Where legendary blues guitarist, Robert Johnson, was supposed to have sold his soul to the devil.


Cemeteries (New Orleans, LA)

Everybody does it. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in New Orleans, do as the fanny packed tourists do and check out a cemetery, there’s lots to choose from.

National Hansen’s Disease Museum (Carville, LA)

Did you know Hansen’s Disease is a nice way to say leprosy? Carville was where hundreds of patients were banished to. Got the heebie jeebies yet?