East Bethany Metal Dragon Roadside Attraction

40 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—within 2 hours of Rochester.

Rochester
roadside attractions

1. Whispering Pines:
The USA’s Oldest
Miniature Golf Course

Parkside Whispering Pines Mini Golf
Parkside Whispering Pines Mini Golf

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

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2. The Mushroom House

Powder Mills Park Rochester NY
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.

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3. The Liberty Pole

Events Around Rochester Holiday Lights: Liberty Pole
Liberty Pole in Rochester NY

Speaking of the Liberty Pole, the current pole is the 3rd iteration, erected in 1965. The original pole first stood here in 1846.

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4. Phillis Wheatley Community Library

Things to do around Rochester NY: Phillis Wheatley Community Library Monroe County
Phillis Wheatley Community Library – image from Google Maps

And, 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.

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5. Wat Pa Lao Buddhadham

Wat Pa Lao Buddhadham
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.

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6. Susan B. Anthony and
Frederick Douglass Enjoying
Tea in the Square

Susan B Anthony Frederick Douglass Lets Have Tea
Susan B Anthony and Frederick Douglass “Let’s Have Tea” Statue in Anthony Square, Rochester, NY

While you are visiting the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, walk down Madison Street to Susan B. Anthony Square.

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7. Yellow Brick Road between Park Ave and East Ave

Rochester Yellow Brick Road

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

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8. Vest Pocket Park
Totem Pole

Roadside Attractions: Vest Pocket Park Totem Pole Honeoye Falls
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.

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LeRoy
roadside attractions

9. The Statue of Liberty
on Wolcott Street

Statue of Liberty LeRoy NY
Statue of Liberty in LeRoy NY

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.

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Palmyra
roadside attractions

10. Very Large Book of Mormon

Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon – image from Google Maps

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

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Finger Lakes
roadside attractions

11. Canandaigua City Pier Boat Houses

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

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.

12. Geneseo Tree House Creations

Geneseo Tree House Creations
Geneseo Tree House Creations – image from Google Maps

From Facebook, “Tree Creations is a growing tree house village (at a private residence), consisting of themed tree houses connected with rope bridges for all to enjoy!” You can make an appointment to explore or visit during an open “tree” house. According to their Facebook page, they open when leaves are on the trees, “available for visits and play from Late June until September.”

View Website | details

East Bethany
roadside attractions

13-14. Big Metal Dragon
& Tiny Bus

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

You can’t miss these when you drive up. 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!

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Arcade and Attica Railroad

Arcade and Attica Railroad offers a 2-1/2 hour train experience, including a 30-minute layover at Curriers Station where you can explore the train yard and grab a bite to eat.

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15. Rolling Hills Asylum Tours

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

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

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Lyndonville
roadside attractions

16. The Shoe Trees

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

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.

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East Aurora
roadside attractions

17. Vidler on the Roof Statue

Vidlers East Aurora

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

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5 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.

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18. Large Rooftop Toothbrush

Large Rooftop Toothbrush
Large Rooftop Toothbrush – image from Google Maps

Looks like great advertising to me!

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Williamsville
roadside attractions

19. Patriots and Heroes Park

Patriots and Heroes Park
Patriots and Heroes Park – image from Google Maps

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

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Lockport
roadside attractions

20. America’s Longest Underground Boat Ride

Lockport Caves Tour
Lockport Caves Tour – image from Google Maps

The Lockport Caves Tour may not be as much a roadside attraction as it is an activity, but it’s unusual all the same!

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21. Upside-Down Railroad Bridge

Upside-Down Railroad Bridge
Upside-Down Railroad Bridge – image from Google Maps

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Medina
roadside attractions

22. The Only Tunnel
Under the Erie Canal

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

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23. The Big Apple

Medina Big Apple
Medina’s Big Apple – image from Google Maps

A symbol of the region’s exceptional apple industry.

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Niagara Falls
roadside attractions

24. Second Coming House
of Prophet Isaiah

Second Coming House of Prophet Isaiah

You can even stop for a visit with the Prophet, who lives in the home and is welcoming.

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25. Haunted House of Wax

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

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

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26. The Turtle-Shaped Building

Roadside Attractions Turtle Building

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

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15 Discover Niagara Shuttle Stops

The Discover Niagara Shuttle is a 2-hour round-trip journey from any starting point if you’d like to simply enjoy the ride. Otherwise, you can hop on and off at any stop–no ticket required!

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Buffalo
roadside attractions

27. Wilkeson Pointe Park Whirligigs

Roadside attractions Outer Harbor Buffalo Wilkenson Pointe
Wilkeson Pointe Park
Wilkeson Pointe Park – image from Google Maps

Not only a really cool roadside attraction, it’s a beautiful location on Lake Erie. There is an art installation near the parking lot, but I won’t ruin it for you.

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28. The World’s Largest Six Pack is in Silo City

Silo City Six Pack
Silo City Six Pack – image from Google Maps

The world’s first silo brewery open in an abandoned Buffalo grain elevator.

map | details | RiverWorks

29. Lake Effect Man Sitting on a Giant Beer Tap

Lake Effect Man
Lake Effect Man – image from Google Maps

As long as you are visiting, stop in to Pearl Street Grille & Brewery!

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30. Brain Museum, University at Buffalo, South Campus

Brain Museum
UB Brain Museum – image from Google Maps

Founded in 1994, our Brain Museum is the only one in the United States dedicated exclusively to the brain.

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31. Ridgelawn Gardens Cemetery Stonehenge

Ridgelawn Gardens Cemetery Stonehenge
Ridgelawn Gardens Cemetery Stonehenge – image from Google Maps

You can’t see it from this road, but drive in and veer left & you can’t miss it.

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32. Giant
Martin Luther King Jr. Head

Giant Martin Luther King Jr. Head
Giant Martin Luther King Jr. Head – image from Google Maps

Nestled in amongst the hedges is a rough likeness of MLK Jr.–to be kind.

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33. Gigantic Buffalo Nickel

Gigantic Buffalo Nickel
Gigantic Buffalo Nickel – image from Google Maps

In a small corner park across from Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

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34. Canalside’s Shark Girl

Canalside Shark Girl
Canalside Shark Girl – image from Google Maps

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

map | details | Albright-Knox

35. Forest Lawn Cemetery
Deathbed Scene in Marble
(Blocher tomb)

Rochester-Area Roadside Attractions - Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo NY Deathbed Scene in Marble Blocher Tomb
Blocher Tomb – image from Google Maps

Albeit the most unusual, there are plenty of other places to visit in Forest Lawn. A beautiful park-like cemetery, second only to our own Mount Hope.

map | details | famous residents

Syracuse
roadside attractions

36. Victorian House
On Top of a Factory

Victorian House Atop a Factory
Victorian House On Top of a Factory – image from Google Maps

The fun part of this quirky roadside attraction is that no one ever lived in the house. I had thought maybe it was a zoning law hack, but no. It simply hides equipment on the roof. In an article on syracuse.com, it was build as a gimmick to attract attention to the business. I’d say it worked.

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37. Green-on-Top Traffic Light

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

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.

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Olean
roadside attractions

38. Squirrels on Parade

Squirrels on Parade in Olean NY
Squirrels on Parade in Olean NY – image from Google Maps

Many of the statues are along a north-south two-block stretch of N. Union St from Sullivan to State St., where a second group can be found.

map | details | find them all

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.

39. Holiday Lights

Holiday Lights Colony Lane Henrietta
Colony Lane in Henrietta

Because December is the darkest month, we welcome these grand displays of holiday lights 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! Find these 10 Rochester-area neighbors with extraordinary holiday lights between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

40. The Skeleton Army

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

Get directions to 4017 CR-4 in 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).

Some of the images appearing on this page have been sourced using Google Maps.

Where are your favorite roadside attractions?

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

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2 thoughts on “40 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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