Roadside attraction

A roadside attraction is a feature along the side of a road, that is frequently advertised with billboards to attract tourists. In general, these are places one might stop on the way to somewhere else, rather than being a final or primary destination in and of themselves. It was primarily a U.S. phenomenon in the 1940s to 1960s.


When long-distance road travel became practical and popular in the late 1930s, entrepreneurs began building restaurants, motels, coffee shops, and more unusual businesses to attract travelers. Many of the buildings took the form of common objects of enormous size (see Novelty architecture), often advertising the items sold there, and became attractions in themselves. Some other types of Roadside Attractions include monuments and pseudo-scientific amusements such as the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot.

With the building of the U.S. interstate highway system in the mid-1950s, most roadside attractions were by-passed and quickly went out of business. But the most famous remained attractive enough to travelers to make them leave the comfort of the highway for a brief time and remain in business.

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