We’re Lovin’ It: The 19 Coolest McDonald’s Restaurants (Slideshow)
June 23, 2014
Upsize your next Big Mac attack with a side of scenery at these unbelievable McDonald’s restaurants
19. New York City
So black you could miss it on a dark night, the McDonald's on New York City’s Canal Street is also one of the skinniest restaurants around, fitting right in with the rest of Chinatown’s businesses and yet standing out due to its cast-iron exterior.
18. Jurong Central Park, Singapore
The first McDonald’s opened at Liat Towers in Singapore in 1979, and since then more than 120 McDonald’s restaurants have opened on the island. Singapore’s first green McDonald’s opened at Jurong Central Park in 2011. It received the inaugural Green Mark Award for Restaurants from Singapore’s Building Construction Authority. With smooth edges, swaying palm trees, and breezy patio dining room, this is easily one of the most laid-back McDonald’s restaurants in the world.
17. Sochi, Russia
Near the Black Sea, this palatial McDonald’s features a large terrace and a second floor balcony. This busy McDonald’s was one of five built for the Sochi Olympic Games in 2014; a move that helped grow McDonald’s business in Russia and allowed it to not only add restaurants to its Russian portfolio but menu items too, including smoothies, parfaits, and grilled chicken wraps.
16. Bangkok, Thailand
The aesthetics are more bungalow than burger joint at this McDonald’s in Thailand’s capital, which boasts calming water fountains, teak flooring, and an airy veranda.
15. Sedona, Ariz.
While nearly all 35,000 McDonald’s locations around the world feature the company’s signature golden arches, the “turquoise McDonald’s” as locals have dubbed it, features turquoise arches. The city felt that the famous “golden arches” would be an eyesore and clash with the natural coloring of the area. McDonald’s offered to swap out the yellow with turquoise to blend in with the local color palette.
14. Ulsan, South Korea
We just couldn’t stop staring at this McDonald’s with its sweeping wing-like awning and kaleidoscope lighting. The combo McDonald’s drive-thru and gas station is a welcome nighttime spectacle in southeast South Korea.
13. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The 10,000th McDonald’s in Asia Pacific also happened to be Vietnam’s first. It’s all about the 24-hour drive-thru at Vietnam’s first McDonald’s — the first drive-thru restaurant in Vietnam. During opening day earlier this year, hundreds of fast-food fans pulled up in their scooters to order Big Macs, French fries, and McPork sandwiches.
12. Savannah, Ga.
While its exterior may at first appear typical for the South, it’s the inside that makes this one of the coolest McDonald’s around. When it opened in 2005, this was the first ‘green’ McDonald’s (which attained LEED certification) features large windows which reach 75% of the interior (reducing the need for electric lighting and heating), waterless urinals, and a cistern that harvests rainwater for irrigation. Outside, there is preferred parking for hybrid cars and bike racks.
11. Paris, France
In a country brimming with Michelin star restaurants, “MacDo” as the locals call it is the largest fast-food chain in France. The fast-food giant has stepped up its game serving up French-inspired fare like the McBaguette and designed dining rooms that include comfy cushioned chairs and striking art gallery-like interiors.
10. Barstow, Calif.
A popular stop for travelers on Interstate 15, the McDonald’s here pays homage to the town’s railroad heritage. When it first opened, the McDonald’s consisted of three side-by-side railway cars. While the cars remain, the Barstow Station McDonald’s has been redesigned with a more sleek and modern look.
9. Sydney, Australia
The Strand location on George Street looks more like a study in modern architecture than a fast-food joint. Design firm Juicy integrated printed graphic wall art, bold pops of orange, pink, white, and black, and cool lounge-like furniture. The glass and steel exterior is beautiful, reflecting the interior light.
8. Bray Town Hall, Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland
Around the back of this picturesque Irish building dating back to the 19th century, McDonald’s has once again found a home in a historic building. The walk-up restaurant looks a tad out of place in such a pastoral setting, but with a location right inside the Town Hall, they’ve certainly figured out the most central location in the city!
7. New Hyde Park, N.Y.
A gorgeous Georgian mansion that dates back to 1795 houses one of the most beautiful McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. McDonald’s originally purchased the house with the intent of tearing it down and building a standard restaurant, but the citizens of New Hyde Park managed to wrangle landmark status for the residence (whew!). This resulted in one of the most elegant restaurants in the McDonald's franchise, complete with a glassed-in veranda seating area and a grand staircase.
6. Rome, Italy
This marble- and mosaic-filled restaurant is among the fanciest McDonald’s locations we know of and has become a tourist attraction in its own right. Located in historic Piazza di Spagna next to the Spanish Steps, the restaurant, which has a large salad bar, created an uproar when it opened in 1986 but has since succeeded for the most part in blending in with the ancient city’s architecture.
5. Melbourne, Australia
The Art Deco McDonald’s in Clifton Hill, Victoria was once an old hotel. Today, the neon lit, multi-story Macca’s (the moniker folks Down Under have given the American chain) serves burgers, French fries, and shakes in a retro dining room.
4. Roswell, N.M.
Roswell has had its fair share of strange UFO sightings since the first supposed alien crash landing in 1947, and this one might rank high on that list. Downtown Roswell’s "Unofficial crash site" McDonald’s location boasts a UFO-shaped exterior complete with florescent lights. The restaurant also features flying rockets with Ronald McDonalds in the Playroom. Might be time for a road trip out West!
3. Porto, Portugal
The opulent McDonald’s in the hillside city of Porto in northern Portugal is housed in the former Imperial Café, an historic coffee shop from the 1930s. It has become a popular tourist spot for visitors to admire the Art Deco stained glass windows, embellished facades, and ornate chandeliers.
2. Dallas, Texas
They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and for one McDonald’s, that is decidedly true. Driving down Montfort Drive, you’ll see the world’s biggest Happy Meal. The inside of the restaurant features Austrian crystal chandeliers, Ralph Lauren wallpaper, granite floors, mahogany booths, and a playroom. Fancy digs for burgers and fries!
1. Taupo, New Zealand
Taupo, New Zealand has the honor of being home to the only McDonald’s location that includes a decommissioned plane as part of the restaurant. The former DC-3 passenger plane was built in 1943 and ferried passengers around the country for a New Zealand airline company called SPANZ during the 1950s and 1960s. After her passenger life, she carried large loads of manure. The plane’s last flight was in October 1984, and she was brought by road haulage to Taupo by a local aircraft enthusiast and placed in her current position, originally as a feature attraction for a car dealership called the Aeroplane Car Company. McDonald’s purchased the plane in 1990 when they built the McDonald’s, which opened that November. While the restaurant is separate from the plane, diners can enjoy their meals inside the plane. Now that makes for one happy meal!