Off the Beaten Track … 15 Weird but Fun Places to Visit

If you’re looking for some fun places to visit, it may be time to get off the beaten track and explore some fun but odd American attractions.

By all accounts, you don’t need to be odd to enjoy the 15 locations or attractions that follow. All you need is to be in the mood for some fun and unforgettable times!

Metropolis, Illinois

Did you ever wonder where Superman’s hometown was? Well, according to residents of this quirky town, Clark Kent did his news reporting and Superman did much of his crime-fighting right in the heart of the small southern Illinois community of Metropolis.

Never mind that Metropolis, population 7,000, is hardly noted for the skyscrapers and big-city evils often associated with Superman’s efforts to contain crime. Just put logic aside and take the Illinois State Legislature and residents of Metropolis, Illinois, at their word. After all, DC Comics reportedly went along, declaring Metropolis, Illinois, Superman’s hometown in 1972.

Metropolis, Illinois, is noted for its signature statue of Superman, and locals seem devoted to everything about Superman. There is a museum devoted to Superman and his exploits, and, as reports, “the local bank is ‘home of super financial services.’ The town newspaper calls itself The Planet. A sign in the grocery store informs customers: ‘Just as Superman stands for truth, justice and the American Way, Food World stands for quality, convenience and friendly service.’”

Riverside, Iowa

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Riverside is another small, Midwestern town that has taken the initiative and put itself on the map. How did it do this? Simple. By declaring itself the hometown of Capt. James T. Kirk of Star Trek fame.

If you’re a Trekkie, you may understand any underlying connection between Capt. Kirk and Riverside better than I do. But what is clear is that Riverside, population 1,000, seems as devoted to its native son as Metropolis, Illinois, seems devoted to Superman.

Again, if you’re a Trekkie, you may recall that Star Trek is set well into the future—meaning Capt. Kirk hasn’t exactly been born yet. In fact, he won’t be born for more than another century. That’s hardly a problem, though, as the town website and the sign at the town entrance declare Riverside the future birthplace of Capt. James T. Kirk.

Riverside is particularly noted for the Star Trek-themed section of its local museum, a scale model of the USS Enterprise-inspired “USS Riverside,” and its annual TrekFest held in late June.

2 thoughts on “Off the Beaten Track … 15 Weird but Fun Places to Visit

  1. Once Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, wrote that Captain James T. Kirk was from Iowa. The super-small town of Riverside needed a theme for its yearly festival and the council thought, “Hey, why can’t Kirk be from our town?” and wrote Mr. Roddenberry to ask if it could be so. They received an official letter with his permission, and with that, Riverside became “The Future Birthplace of Captain Kirk.” A tiny, former beauty salon became the birthplace; a sad wooden plaque saying so is in the backyard. [Apparently they wanted to make a nice statue, but Paramount, which owns Star Trek, wanted $60,000 in licensing. So the wooden sign won’t be going anywhere soon.] The city also holds an annual “Trek Fest”, celebrating all things Star Trek.

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