Your local, unknown tourist attraction.

I recently saw a post asking about tourist attractions in your city/town that you’ve never visited. It basically implied famous attractions.

My question is aimed towards attractions that local residents take pride in and advertise, like the world’s biggest ball of yarn, or the world’s biggest…whatever.

So, what’s in your hometown that the rest of the country has no clue about?

I’ll start with my city: Magnetic Hill and the Tidal Bore.

Magnetic Hill is a spot where you drive your car down to the bottom of a small road, put your car in neutral, take your foot off the break and your car coasts back to the top. The water in the ditches even flows uphill. It’s an optical illusion, but a good one enough to be packed in the summer months.

The Tidal Bore has an apt title. For us locals it is a bore. But again, the summer months seem to draw tourists from all over the world? The Tidal Bore is a small wave (it used to be six feet high, but I doubt it’s even two feet) that runs up against the current of our main river. It’s caused by the Bay of Fundy reaching high tide and forcing it’s water into our smaller river opening. Told you it was a bore.

This tiny cemetery probably has more famous residents per inch than any other in the world. Its hidden behind a high rise on Wilshire. Marylin Monroe and Joe DiMaggio are interred next to each other. Rodney Dangerfields ghost is known to appear at midnight asking local pedestrians for some respect.

We have entire books and a long running magazine about unknown tourist attractions, though because of the books they are now somewhat known. Weird N.J. The Weird New Jersey books are fun reads and there is usually a place in almost every town in New Jersey. We also had a Gravity Hill, but it was changed about 20 years ago and no longer works the illusion.

We also have the Bell Labs Transistor Water Tower. We have the The Holmdel Horn Antenna, which Penzias and Wilson used to discovered the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) that permeates the universe. We have the first museum dedicated exclusively to the Vietnam war; the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Many people (even locals) are unaware that there is a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Alexandria: the Pope-Leighey House.

There is a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Oberlin, Ohio, not too far away. It’s down a side street and set back and has low key signage although regular tours are offered.

I like the Lustron homes myself:

Here is a locator site to see if there is one near you:

There are two near me and they are about ten minutes away to the east and west. I have been all through one of them as my son was thinking of buying it last year. The original heating system has been bypassed and I was trying to figure out how to restore it. Very interesting heating system. Real hot air (135 degrees F) recirculates through out the entire ceiling of the house for radiant heat. There are Jules Vern type levers in the utility room you push up and down to control the flow to different areas. They shift big vanes back and forth to steer the air. Kind of like a giant version of a car’s HVAC system. We uncapped the hole in the ceiling where the original furnace would have attached and I stuck my head up there. As someone yanked the levers I watched the vanes pivoting back and forth. Still working fine after 70 years.


Hmm. I was in Nova Scotia a few years back and riding the tidal bore on some river or another was something that we wanted to do but couldn’t fit in. I gather we didn’t miss too much. Its too bad Nova Scotia is so far from where I live (New Jersey). We loved it up there, especially the highlands of Cape Breton. As for local tourist attractions we have Lucy the Elephant

We had a woman Attorney disappear from her house. She was an Attorney when it was rare for a woman to be one. Her house still stands and the mystery has never been solved. It involves rich people and political scandal. At one time a feature film was planned, but it fell through.

Around these parts we’ve got the Big Chicken.

I don’t know how you want to define “unknown,” nor what constitutes a legitimate attraction. Anything of interest to anyone, and worth seeing, is bound to be on some website for everyone to find when they visit–unless we’re talking about really small towns. Magnetic Hill, for example, is even in Wikipedia.

You’ve got A big chicken. Not the only one.

There’s a big(ish) chicken in Dorking, Surrey, England. Though locally we refer to it as the Giant Cock.

I don’t suppose that joke works as well in the US. Yes, I know it’s not that funny, but people from Dorking, they’re just so up themselves - y’know?


DC is basically wall-to-wall monuments and institutions, so there’s not much that’s obscure, but I can think of two that I’ve lived near that aren’t particularly well known:

Fort Stevens: about a mile down Georgia Ave from the DC/Maryland line, tucked behind a church. Partially restored by the CCC in the 1930s.

Near my current house is the Bladensburg Dueling Grounds, a small strip of land just outside the DC line along a tributary of the Anacostia River known as “Dueling Creek” (formerly known as “Blood Run” and “The Dark and Bloody Grounds”). This spot was chosen because it was just outside the jurisdiction of the Washington police. Notably, Naval hero Commodore Stephen Decatur was mortally wounded in a duel with Commodore James Barron in 1820. Francis Scott Key’s son Daniel was killed in a duel here by a fellow Naval Academy midshipman, reportedly over a question regarding steamboat speed. In February 1838, Congressman Jonathan Cilley of Maine was killed by Congressman William J. Graves of Kentucky over comments Cilley had made about New York newspaper editor James Webb (who Graves was standing in for).

Dallas and Fort Worth have some surprisingly cool art collections- the Kimbell in Ft. Worth and the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas are world-class, the Crow Museum of Asian Art is remarkable, and so is the Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum (of Samurai stuff). Fort Worth has the Amon Carter and Sid Richardson museums of Western art- two of the finest in the country.

Interestingly enough, we’ve also got one of 25 actual copies of the Declaration of Independence in the main Library up on the top floor, along with a Shakespeare First Folio.

Love it !

On Long Island, off the top of my head, we have Tesla’s free energy tower, an abandoned Asylum people like to explore on spooky nights, Montauk Point military base (former) rumored to be the location of numerous mind bending sci-fi sounding experiments, Fire Island the gay beach Utopia, the Hamptons where all the rich people summer, Plum Island also of notorious mad science fame, Shoreham which hosts one of the few nuclear power plants to be protested out of operation before it was opened, and fun machete weilding gang MS-13. Also out East is a gift shop shaped like a giant duck not far from a mounted jet.

Of movie fame, the original Amityville Horror house, and the shark haunted beaches of Jaws, as well as the titular highway from LIE, and various spots from Eternal Sunshine. On the South shore, the Bayport of Hardy Boys, though I can’t seem to find some of the geographical highlights mentioned.

Like others have mentioned, I think we have our own haunted places book and relevant entries in Roadside America and Weird Places, but I haven’t checked them out.

In my hometown of Port Jefferson, P.T. Barnum lived there and there are a ton of things named after him but nothing that really speaks to his actual fame, a giant chair for photo ops, and not well known except to locals there is if you go to the beach and walk up the hill in the woods a bit, a large tree from which hangs a two person swing with a fantastic view of the harbor. Also, in the rich part of town, the Pink Mansion which featured in the film She Devil.

Apparently, there are also pirate smuggling tunnels, but they seemed to be bricking up the last one when i was a small child.

Local resident was world famous artist Henry Moore.

You’d imagine that his former town would make rather a lot of this, but here is what we got

Its a bunch of very ugly concrete objects in a cleared area - the house itself was demolished because it was on a tight corner and the trash wagon had great difficulty in making it around, so it had to go.

It does not look as nice as the picture might suggest, not by a long way

Joe DiMaggio? Joe DiMaggio is buried in the same cemetery as my dad, grandparents, and aunt and uncle — near San Francisco, at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma CA.

When I was a teen we took a trip from Yarmouth (arriving by ferry) to Quebec City, passing through Moncton. I have no idea whether the tidal bore would reach that far but since it was over four hours for the tide change, we did not stick around to find out.

Why is it a third as high now? The pumps are wearing out? :slight_smile:

For Phoenix, Pueblo Grande ruins. Honestly, it’s for people really into archeology or anthropology. Drive an hour south and see Casa Grande instead.

How about an almost unknown site within a well known tourist attraction?

Wakehurst Place is a very well known garden - the country outpost of Kew, amongst other things. And hidden away, unadvertised (we found it because we stumbled across the very understated signage) we have:

“In the Pinetum you may also come across an underground communications station used by Canadian troops during World War II.”

Yep, pretty much untouched in seventy odd years. Check this out and see how well they advertise it (not):


I live just a stone’s throw from Grandfather’s House. Seriously, it’s in Wikipedia.

Grandfather’s House

I also found the site of the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire, one of the deadliest fires in U.S. history. They were building condos on the site so the brass marker plaque was removed for a while. I think I’ve also found the location of the Brinks’ Robbery, but there’s nothing there to confirm it.

I have a fondness for finding sites of famous events that are neglected by tourists. I went to the location of the Hindenburg crash and there’s just a concrete pad, a post, and a couple huge hangars. Only one other person came around when I was there. And I made a visit to the Bradbury Building when I was in L.A. a few weeks ago; it’s kind of obscurely famous among film and TV buffs, and has two claims to fame for science fiction fans.