East Bethany Metal Dragon Roadside Attraction

42 Quirky Roadside Attractions

If you’re familiar with Roadside America and Atlas Obscura you’ll know both sites are dedicated to plotting out odd roadside attractions all over these United States (think America’s largest ball of twine.)

Spend a day checking out these unique & unusual roadside attractions—shoe trees, a skeleton army, a metal dragon, a shark girl—within 2.5 hours of Rochester.

Table of Contents

  1. City of Rochester
  2. Monroe County
  3. Genesee County
  4. Wayne County
  5. Ontario County
  6. Livingston County
  7. Orleans County
  8. Niagara County
  9. Erie County
  10. Onondaga County
  11. Cattaraugus County
  12. Chautauqua County
  13. Seasonal Attractions

Roadside Attractions in the City of Rochester

Parkside Whispering Pines Mini Golf
Parkside Whispering Pines Mini Golf

1. Whispering Pines Miniature Golf Course

Whispering Pines is America’s oldest miniature golf course. Play a round on your way home from Seabreeze.

Find more details on Roadside America

The Best Day Trips Around Rochester survey

The results are in!

We’re so excited to reveal the 2021 Best Day Trips Around Rochester survey results.

Rochester Yellow Brick Road

2. Yellow Brick Road between Park Ave & East Ave

The Yellow Brick road connects Goodwin Park at the end of Sibley Place to Park Ave just south of Alexander.

Writers and Books Giant Pencil
University Ave umbrella bus stop
Rainbow Walk

3. Giant Pencil

Just outside Writers & Books on University Ave., this giant pencil is a great photo op.

Down the street, look for other roadside art installations, like the umbrella bus stop and rainbow-colored walkway.

Memorial Art Gallery

4. Creation Story

The Memorial Art Gallery‘s ten-acre campus has dozens of sculptures on display in their Centennial Sculpture Park, but none so prominent as Creation Myth by sculptor Tom Otterness.

There are “two heroic figures at the corner of Goodman and University as well as 17 diminutive bronze muses scattered throughout the Park.” Look high and low!

Memorial Art Gallery
Memorial Art Gallery nighttime
Memorial Art Gallery Argentum Double-Positive

5. Argentum: Double-Positive

And if you’re driving by the Memorial Art Gallery at night, you can’t miss Argentum: Double-Positive by Jim Sanborn.

“The texts highlight the creativity and invention that have been the core industry of the City of Rochester for decades.”

Susan B Anthony Frederick Douglass Lets Have Tea
“Let’s Have Tea”

6. Tea in the Square

While you are in the neighborhood visiting the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, head down Madison Street to Anthony Square to find her enjoying tea with Frederick Douglass.

Find more information at the City of Rochester’s website

Liberty Pole
Liberty Pole in Rochester NY

7. The Liberty Pole

The current pole is the 3rd iteration, erected in 1965. The original pole first stood here in 1846. Designed by James H. Johnson, the architect of The Mushroom House and Phillis Wheatley Community Library.

Find more details on rocwiki

Phillis Wheatley Community Library
Phillis Wheatley Community Library

8. Phillis Wheatley Community Library

Speaking of the Phillis Wheatley Community Library, it was build in 1971. The library is named for Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753 – 1784).

She was the first published African-American woman and first published African-American poet. You’ll also enjoy the beautiful street art around the building.

Find more information on the library’s website

Monroe County Roadside Attractions

Powder Mills Park Rochester NY
Mushroom House

9. The Mushroom House

Private property but still great roadside-eye-candy! Located on the way to, but just outside, Powder Mills Park. Designed by James H. Johnson, the architect of The Liberty Pole and Phillis Wheatley Community Library.

Find more information on Roadside America

Wat Pa Lao Buddhadham
Wat Pa Lao Buddhadham

10. Wat Pa Lao Buddhadham

Have you ever found yourself driving along an average country road, turned a corner or crested a hill or cleared a hedgerow to see something completely unexpected?

That’s how most folks stumble upon Wat Pa Lao Buddhadham on Martin Rd in West Henrietta, NY. Here’s the story of one person’s journey to discover more about it.

Read more on Exploring Upstate

roadside attraction totem Honeoye Falls
Honeoye Falls

11. Vest Pocket Park Totem Pole

Vest Pocket Park, home of the famous Honeoye Falls Totem Pole, is a small park located on W. Main St. There are several picnic tables and benches and has a lovely view of Honeoye Creek and the falls.

Find more information on the Village of Honeoye Falls website

Genesee County Roadside Attractions

Rochester-Area Roadside Attractions - Big Metal Dragon in East Bethany NY
Rochester-Area Roadside Attractions - Tiny Bus in East Bethany NY

12. Big Metal Dragon &
13. Tiny Bus

You can’t miss these when you drive up on Transit Road near Keller Road. The bus and the dragon are right across the street from each other; you will probably notice the bus first as it is closest to the road and bright yellow.

Find more details at Roadside America

Statue of Liberty LeRoy NY
Statue of Liberty in LeRoy NY

14. The Statue of Liberty on Wolcott Street

This Lady Liberty stands 8 1/2-feet tall—the same size as the original’s index finger.

In 1950, the Boy Scouts of America, in celebration of their 40th anniversary, purchased 200+ copper statue replicas for municipalities throughout the country; only 100 remain today. She was recently restored to her original glory and place overlooking Oatka Creek.

Find more information at Waymarking

Rochester-Area Roadside Attractions - Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany, NY
Rolling Hills Asylum

15. Rolling Hills Asylum

The location is so rural Google has yet to street-view map it! Rather surprising with its well-documented haunted history.

Find out more at Roadside America

Wayne County Roadside Attractions

Giant Book of Mormon Hill Cumorah
Giant Book of Mormon on Hill Cumorah

16. Very Large Book of Mormon

Located near the visitor center at the foot of Hill Cumorah.

Also, make sure to drive up the hill above the visitor center for a sweeping west-facing view.

Fox Sisters
Fox Sisters original home

17. Fox Sisters, birth place of Spiritualism

One of the greatest religious movements of the 19th century began in the bedroom of two young girls living in a farmhouse in Newark, New York.

You can continue on your spiritual-ism journey by visiting Lily Dale.

Learn more from Smithsonian Magazine

Roadside Attraction Clyde Blockhouse
Clyde Blockhouse

18. Clyde Blockhouse

Clyde Blockhouse, 1758, Wayne County, Town of Galen. Constructed about 1758 near the Clyde River, supposedly by “Indian Traders.” This trading station was reported to have been a smuggling station from Canada during the American Revolution.

A settlement grew up around the blockhouse originally known as Lauraville and then later the Village of Clyde.

Learn more from the New York State Military History Museum

Ontario County Roadside Attractions

Roadside attractions: Canandaigua Lake Boat Houses pier 2
Boat Houses on Canandaigua City Pier

19. Canandaigua City Pier Boat Houses

Take a walk or drive down the Canandaigua City Pier and check out Boathouse Row.

Interesting fact: Homeowners are prohibited from actually living in these boathouses—they are for daytime use only.

Learn more from My Finger Lakes

Ontario County Roadside Attractions

Geneva I Love NY Seneca Lake cover
Finger Lakes Welcome Center in Geneva

20. I Love NY

Find this giant photo op in Geneva on the shore of Seneca Lake, just outside the Finger Lakes Welcome Center.

Livingston County Roadside Attractions

Five Arch Bridge
Five Arch Bridge

21. Five Arch Bridge

You can’t miss this bridge traveling along NY-39 between Avon and Geneseo.

Completed in 1857, the Five Arch Bridge carried the Rochester-Avon-Geneseo-Mount Morris Railroad over Conesus Creek.

Today, it’s inactive and a nice place to have a picnic, take seasonal photos, or just sit beside the creek.

The Stone Mill Road walking trail connects Five Arch Bridge and Avon Driving Park.

Livingston County Veterans Monument
Livingston County Veterans Monument

22. Livingston County Veterans Monument

You’ll find 250 metal poppies at the Livingston County Veterans Monument constructed at the county’s Hampton’s Corners Complex located just south of Geneseo off NY-63.

Orleans County Roadside Attractions

Roadside Attractions - Shoe Trees Lyndonvile
The Shoe Trees in Lyndonville, NY

23. The Shoe Trees

Footwear has found its way into these branches for several decades. Successfully catching your shoes in the branches will grant a wish, or good luck.

Learn more at Atlas Obscura

Culvert Road in Medina Under the Erie Canal
Culvert Road in Medina Under the Erie Canal

24. The Only Tunnel Under the Erie Canal

This road is the only road known to go under the Erie Canal, with a plaque noting that it was featured in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

Find out more at Roadside America

Medina Church Middle of the Road
Medina’s Church Middle of the Street

25. Medina Church in the Middle of the Street

St . John’s Episcopal, erected in 1832, was the first church in the village of Medina. It is listed in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not because Church Street divides to go around the building.

Learn more on Waymarking’s website

Medina Big Red Apple
Medina’s Big Red Apple

26. The Big Apple

A symbol of the region’s exceptional apple industry.

Find more information on Roadside America’s website

Niagara County Roadside Attractions

Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima dome reflections
Our Lady of Fatima

27. Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima

Enjoy a self-guided tour of 15 acres of gardens surrounding the glass Dome Basilica. You can climb the steps to the top and stand next to a 13-foot statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

There are 100+ life-size statues encircling the heart-shaped Rosary Pool.

Visit Fatima Shrine’s website

Lockport upside down bridge
Lockport’s upside down bridge

28. Upside-Down Railroad Bridge

Rumor has it that the railroad built it this way to block tall ships delivering goods on the canal.

And if you are familiar with the history of conflict between the emerging railroad and existing canal, the railroad had intentionally hindered canal transport making sure bridges were so low larger ships (carrying more cargo) could not pass.

Learn more at Roadside America

Second Coming House of Prophet Isaiah

29. Second Coming House of Prophet Isaiah

Prophet Isaiah Henry Robertson passed away in January 2020, leaving some uncertainty as to the future of this magnificent home so see it while you can.

Learn more at Roadside America

Haunted House of Wax
Haunted House of Wax – image from Google Maps

30. Haunted House of Wax

For as poor as the reviews are, and as small the attraction, I’m surprised at its prime real-estate!

Find more information at Roadside America

Roadside Attractions Turtle Building

31. The Turtle-Shaped Building

The building has been vacant for 22 years, but is still a major roadside attraction. Check out this 2017 news article.

Learn more at Roadside America

Erie County Roadside Attractions

Vidlers East Aurora

32. Vidler on the Roof Statue

The most treasured 5 & 10 with candies you’ve not seen since childhood. Vidler’s is the perfect place for fun stocking-stuffers.

View more at Roadside America

4 Old Country Stores Around Rochester

When you walk into one of these old country stores, you feel like you are stepping back in time with aisles of old-fashioned toys, knickknacks and candies.

Read more

Wilkeson Pointe Park Whirligigs pathway
Wilkeson Pointe Park Whirligigs close
Wilkeson Pointe Park Whirligigs up
Wilkeson Pointe Park
Wilkeson Pointe Park – image from Google Maps

33. Wilkeson Pointe Park Whirligigs

Not only a really cool roadside attraction, it’s a beautiful location on Lake Erie.

Find more at Roadside America

Veterans and Heroes Park Buffalo flag
Veterans and Heroes Park Buffalo bridge
Veterans and Heroes Park Buffalo soldier
Veterans and Heroes Park Buffalo America the beautiful

34. Patriots and Heroes Park

An interesting place to sit and reflect. The monuments and detail are fascinating!

More on Roadside America

Stonehenge in Buffalo
Ridgelawn Gardens Cemetery

35. Ridgelawn Gardens Cemetery Stonehenge

You can’t see it from the main road, but drive in and veer left & you can’t miss it. But make sure you’re in Ridgelawn Cemetery and not Buffalo Cemetery right next door.

Find out more at Roadside America

Canalside Shark Girl
Canalside Shark Girl – image from Google Maps

36. Canalside’s Shark Girl

Shark Girl is an extremely popular 2014 art installation by the Albright-Knox Gallery.

Learn more on Roadside America

Forest Lawn Cemetery Blocher tomb
Blocher Tomb
Forest Lawn Cemetery Rick James
Forest Lawn Cemetery baby Hannah
Forest Lawn Cemetery bells

37. Forest Lawn Cemetery

There are so many roadside attractions in Forest Lawn Cemetery. A beautiful park-like cemetery with extraordinary final resting places.

More at Roadside America

View Forest Lawn’s famous residents

Onondaga County Roadside Attractions

Green-on-Top Traffic Light
Green Light on Top – image from Google Maps

38. Green-on-Top Traffic Light

The traffic light at the intersection of Tompkins & Milton Tipperary Hill in Syracuse has its green light at the top—a symbol of Irish pride and resilience.

Learn more on Roadside America

Cattaraugus County Roadside Attractions

Griffis Sculpture Park
Griffis Sculpture Park
Griffis Sculpture Park

39. Griffis Sculpture Park

The main Mill Valley Road site is definitely something that need to been explored on foot over several hours. But the Rohr Hill Road site is something you can enjoy just looking out the car window!

Sculptures like these pictured above can be found on both sides of Rohr Hill Road and are freely accessible by car whenever the roads are safe for driving. 

The view is extraordinary, especially in the fall, and lots of folks stop to take pictures here.

Though this is technically part of the Griffis Sculpture Park, there are no restrooms or amenities.

Chautauqua County Roadside Attractions

Lucy Statue
Lovely Lucy
Scary Lucy
Scary Lucy
Lovely Lucy
Lovely Lucy

40. Scary Lucy & Lovely Lucy

Sculpted by Dave Poulin in 2009, Scary Lucy shows Lucille Ball during her famous tipsy TV pitch for Vitameatavegamin health tonic.

A new Lovely Lucy statue, sculpted by Carolyn Palmer, arrived in August 2016, but the town of Celoron decided to keep Scary Lucy as well.

It’s become a destination for visitors to Lucy’s hometown in Jamestown, NY.

Learn more at Roadside America

Seasonal Roadside Attractions

Not all things worth seeing are permanent! Holidays and seasons bring out the creative side in all of us. Check out these displays when & while you can.

Endicar Irondequoit neighborhood holiday lights giraffe
Endicar Drive in Irondequoit

41. Christmas Lights

Because December is the darkest month, we welcome these 7 Spectacular Christmas Lights Around Rochester to brighten the night.

These homeowners and communities go all out to celebrate the season, so let’s get out there and celebrate with them!

Roadside Attractions Skeleton Army Canandaigua Canandaigua Country Road 4
The Skeleton Army

42. The Skeleton Army

Head out to Hopewell near Canandaigua for this amazing Halloween display!

Over 200 skeletons (humans, horses, dinosaurs and dogs!) are marching on the home, which is heavily defended by trees (think of the Ents from Lord of the Rings).

Street Art: Exploring Rochester’s Murals & Graffiti

The term street art means different things to different people. Here, we interpret street art to mean any outdoor, free, public wall art. 

Read more

32 Roadside Waterfalls Near Rochester

Impressive waterfalls are not all buried in dark ravines accessible only by difficult trails. And for some, you do not need to get out of your car.

Read more

20 Paved Pathways for Easy Strolls

These paved pathways and boardwalks are ideal for folks using strollers, walkers, wheelchairs, or managing other mobility challenges.

Read more

21 Hidden Places Around Rochester

Explore some of our hidden gems this week! There’s no time like the present to start checking some off these extraordinary places your list.

Read more

100+ Other Museums Around Rochester

Explore some off-the-beaten-path, and odd-collection museums around Rochester, like those dedicated to trains, planes, and brains!

Read more

132 Things to Do Around Rochester

We’ve pulled together a list of fun and unique things to do around Rochester, NY within two hours of home—perfect for quick getaways.

Read more

Where are your favorite roadside attractions?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!


2 thoughts on “42 Quirky Roadside Attractions”

  1. Tree Creations (Tree Houses) in Geneseo, NY (listed on America’s Roadside Attractions) has a whimsical tree house village connected by rope bridges that includes an actual automobile and an airplane off the ground among the trees. It’s Free with an appointment and the contact info is on the website.

    1. Joe, that is a great recommendation! I actually didn’t think of Tree Creations as a roadside attraction, but I think you’re right! They are still on my list of places to visit. According to their Facebook page, they open when leaves are on the trees, “available for visits and play from Late June until September.”

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Please follow the most current recommendations from the CDC and New York State for spending time away from your home. The great outdoors can provide a well needed respite & escape during stressful times. Please move quickly through parking lots, trail heads, and scenic areas. If crowded, choose a different park, trail, or time to visit. Please day trip responsibly.