Fancy probably isn’t the first word you think of when it comes to McDonald’s restaurants. However, there’s more to it than just playgrounds and bright colors. The fast-food giant also boasts some pretty fancy and unique locations that are worth checking out, so here are the top 15 fanciest McDonald’s EVER.
15. Ahoy There!
If you’re familiar with McDonald’s, then you’re probably familiar with a fried fish sandwich called the Filet-o-Fish. But, did you know that the chain took this under-the-sea theme one step further in Freeport, Maine? In this seaside city, McDonald’s turned a classic old house that used to be owned by a ship’s captain – or a merchant, depending on who you ask – into a restaurant. McD’s thought it would be cool to turn this house into one of its 36,000 locations and, they were right. This beautiful house is 150 years old and has seen a lot of historical events. Since it was converted into a restaurant in 1984, it has also made history as one of the fanciest McDonalds in the world. This fancy location with classic New England architecture will bring you back to the 19th century.
If you really love McDonald’s food, then maybe you already think that all their locations are palaces. But in Madrid, Spain, there’s a location that actually looks like a palace. It’s located on an elegant street with other palace-like structures that create a high-end looking city block. “High end” and McDonald’s don’t always go together, but in this case, it definitely works. But this McDonald’s doesn’t stop at just a fancy facade. This location goes the extra mile for its customers and offers fancy chocolate dusted cappuccinos. Fancy indeed. The McCafe menu usually consists of regular coffee drinks and pastries, but this particular cappuccino is not offered on the standard menu. Even if your local McDonald’s isn’t as fancy as this one, you can always hope for the chocolate dusted cappuccinos.
13. Art For Fast Food’s Sake
Art Deco was a popular design style in the 1920s and 30s that influenced interior design as well as architecture. Buildings in the art deco tradition would have bright exteriors, sharp angles, and were often quite tall for the period. The Chrysler Building in Manhattan, New York, has been cited as a classic example of this style. However, you don’t need to go to New York to find cool examples of this unique style. The next time you’re in Melbourne, Australia, check out this McDonald’s. It began life as the United Kingdom Hotel in 1938 but was turned into a restaurant after its closure in 1988. A lot of people would agree that this particular location is the most beautiful McDonald’s in Melbourne, if not in the world. The three-story brick building represents the Art Deco era perfectly and is still very relevant and fancy even today.
12. The Plane! The Plane!
There’s an old television program called Fantasy Island. The show starred a mysterious man on a tropical island who could seemingly make peoples’ fantasies come to life. Starring Ricardo Montalban, he had a small assistant who used to yell “the plane! The plane!” when a new batch of guests landed on the island. Taupo, New Zealand, is sort of like a tropical island, and it has a plane that is now one of the world’s fanciest McDonald’s locations. Most people will agree that plane food is disgusting. However, this one might just be the exception to the rule. The decommissioned DC3 airplane is a classic piece of aerospace history that now houses the iconic Golden Arches. When McDonald’s bought the land for a new location in 1990, the plane was already on the site. So McD’s decided to buy it to attract customers – and it worked. And if your childhood dream was to visit the pilot in the cockpit, dream no more because you can now do it aboard this McDonald’s plane!
11. Riverboat Ronald
The coach of the Washington Redskins football team is known as “Riverboat Ron” because of his penchant for taking chances. McDonald’s probably didn’t think it was taking much of a risk when it turned an old riverboat on the Missouri River into a fast-food restaurant. It’s 40 years later, and the Riverboat McDonald’s is still going strong in St. Louis. The city council was initially skeptical about allowing the fast-food chain to use the location because they thought it might cost the city valuable tourism dollars. However, it turns out their fears were completely unfounded, and the restaurant pays about $100,000 in taxes to the city every year. So, in this case, it looks like everybody won when McDonald’s decided to put one of its fanciest restaurants in the Gateway to the West.
Trains used to be a very popular mode of transportation, but now they are mostly relegated to cargo and commuter models. McDonald’s came up with an interesting use of some old train cars in Tennessee. Instead of rotting away in some old rail yard, the cars have been refurbished to accommodate customers enjoying their Big Macs and fries. Train lovers and burger lovers alike flock to this fancy McDonald’s location to enjoy their favorite fast food as well as a bit Americana. If the idea of old train cars sounds ambitious, then you’ll love what a German franchisee came up with – a McDonald’s car on a working train. This idea was to have what was essentially a mini McDonald’s inside a train car. This “McTrain” operated from 1993 to 1995, but it was too expensive to operate and has since become part of German fast-food history.
9. McDonald’s On 42nd Street
The McDonald’s in Times Square is arguably one of the most iconic locations yet. Built to look like a vintage theater, this McD’s showcases glamor in all of its splendor. Even though you pay a little more for your food here than at other McDonald’s, the decor alone made it worth while. However, the city that never sleeps was ravaged by the effects of the global pandemic that struck in early 2020. The government-mandated lockdowns in places like New York were particularly hard on restaurants, and the fancy McDonald’s on 42nd Street was forced closed in June 2020. The official story is that the fast-food giant had already planned to close the iconic location before the arrival of the pandemic, so apparently, we would’ve lost it anyway. What a shame.
8. Buns and Circuses
Las Vegas is known for the Vegas Strip dotted with lights and glamour. You might even say it’s neon-fancy. The Circus Circus Casino is pretty fancy in its own right, but it’s not the only thing that stands out on the strip. McDonald’s constructed the biggest McDonald’s in Las Vegas, right next to the unique casino. The more than 8,000 square foot restaurant draws in huge numbers of customers – they must be hungry from all that gambling. TV screens broadcast something called the “McDonald’s channel.” The modern decorum is often compared to a Starbucks – in a good way. Two separate kitchens are needed to keep this fancy location operating smoothly 24 hours a day. We all can’t be lucky in Las Vegas, but we can all get our fancy McDonald’s fix.
7. Funnest Place On Earth
The city of Orlando, Florida, is mostly associated with a little amusement park called Disney World. However, this sprawling piece of magic built on dreams and swampland isn’t the only giant attraction in those parts. Orlando is known as the city with the largest McDonald’s in the world and boasts 19,000 square feet of fancy fast-food fun. All those park goers get hungry on the drive back to their hotels and stop in for a bite and a crack at the fun center. This larger-than-life McDonald’s features a 30 foot tall Ronald McDonald and a host of games and activities, like an arcade and a bowling alley. The three stories of food and fun is open 24 hours a day to accommodate the never-ending stream of tourists that flock to the Orlando area to visit the theme parks. Disney parks might be the happiest places on earth, but this McDonald’s, if not the fanciest, might be one of the funnest places on earth.
6. Back To The Diner
There are a lot of iconic scenes in the hit comedy Back to the Future starring Michael J. Fox. One of the best would have to be the throwback to the classic 1950’s diner. Des Plaines, Illinois, would be perfect if you wanted to take a little journey back in time, without actually having to go back in time! This was the home of a museum replica of the very first McDonald’s restaurant and was called the No. 1 Store Museum. This location offered vintage artifacts like posters and even some red and white tiles from the original store. Unfortunately, due to the expense of maintaining this property, it was closed in 2018 and then demolished. This fancy location deserved to survive, but hopefully, the tiles and other memorabilia found their way to other locations to be preserved.
5. Mt. McDonald’s
Olympic Park, London was built for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games for athletes from around the world to showcase their super talents. One of the cool things about the construction project is that parts of it became famous almost overnight. McDonald’s was the official food sponsor of the Games, and since it operated a very fancy restaurant in Olympic Park, it has since become a big tourist attraction. Even though McDonald’s operated the location for only six weeks, it made quite an impression. The restaurant itself was recycled with many of the materials being reused for other projects. Even the cooking oil was recycled and used in biofuel to power McDonald’s delivery vehicles. Although this might not be as fancy as other McDonald’s we’ve seen, it was still a pretty huge one!
If you ever find yourself in the vibrant city of Ulsan, South Korea, you might want to take a little side trip to visit this iconic and gigantic McDonald’s. One of the interesting things about this location is that it was designed primarily as a drive-thru location. What makes it magnificent is the giant wing-like covering that hangs over the restaurant. Not only is it a drive-thru, but it’s also a gas station. It’s very convenient to be able to pick up tasty fast food meals and fill up your tank at the same time. This fancy McDonald’s structure is airy with shiny, high rooftops and plenty of neon lights that glow bright well into the night – ready to welcome customers anytime they get hungry. This fast food location/gas station is a good idea, and there’s no reason that it shouldn’t catch on in the United States. Ok, so the gas pumps might not be a very fancy aspect of this McDonald’s, but it makes a lot of sense. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy their favorite burger and fries while filling up your gas tank?
3. Keep It, Fancy
Porto, Portugal might not be at the top of your list when you think of fast-food, but McDonald’s makes the grade. This picturesque European town boasts one of the fanciest McDonald’s locations in all of the world. The fast-food giant pulled out all the stops and outfitted this location with crystal chandeliers and stained glass windows. It really does look like something out of a storybook. One of the first things you notice when you walk in is the Art Deco style; the ornate friezes adorning the ceiling, and most famously, the massive stained glass window behind the counter. The stained glass window is the centerpiece of this McD’s and was made by Portuguese artist Ricardo Leone. Not only is this McDonald’s beautiful, but it also serves a lot of delicious, exclusive menu items, like a “Miami Burger” that promises to taste like America. You can also order butternut squash soup and finish your meal with specialty Portuguese pastries, all in one of the world’s fanciest McDonald’s.
2. The Food Is Out There
A lot of people believe in the existence of extra-terrestrials. Recent disclosures by the U.S. government seem to suggest there could be something to all of the sightings and blurry photographs. Either way, the people at McDonald’s aren’t waiting around to find out. Rosewell, New Mexico, the location of a rumored UFO crash in 1947, has a Mickey D’s that was designed to look like a spaceship. There is a lot of glass, metal, and neon lights in this “McSpaceship” that mostly looks like it was inspired by a love of disco. Perhaps surprisingly, this fancy McDonald’s in the New Mexico desert wasn’t built until the 1990s, even though the area had been known as a famous UFO hot spot for decades. Thousands of people make their way to this area to soak up the extraterrestrial ambiance and visit the out of this world McDonald’s. The building itself is very cool, but there are also pieces of art, signs, and even statues of little green aliens to make your experience complete.
1. Happiest Place On Earth
We know that Disneyland likes to bill itself as the happiest place on earth, but the people at McDonald’s’ might have had something to say about that. Many people from earlier generations had a McDonald’s experience of a different era. 1979 saw McD’s roll out the very first Happy Meals featuring McDonaldland cookies, and cool toys. They also used to offer that awesome orange drink – or more like, neon orange drink! The little cardboard Happy Meal boxes were colorful and covered with fun games, puzzles, and jokes to entertain kids as they ate their burger and fries. Well believe it or not, Dallas, Texas once boasted a McDonald’s location that was shaped just like one of these classic Happy Meal boxes. Sadly, perhaps due to pressure from people who hate it when other people have fun, McDonald’s decided to remodel this location. So it now looks just like a regular McDonald’s instead of an awesome, fancy, stand out location. This is sad, but while it lasted, it was definitely one of the most humorous McDonald’s locations around.