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We're Lovin' It: The Coolest McDonald's Restaurants

07/12/2014 02:44 pm ET | Updated Sep 11, 2014

While most McDonald's restaurant designs are as formulaic as the recipe for a Big Mac, the fast-food giant has more than a dozen cool spots around the world that add a side of ambiance to its meals.

With more than 35,000 restaurants in 119 countries, there are plenty of locations for The Daily Meal to choose from. Many of us have been guilty of stopping for a taste of home while touring the world. We're not alone. McDonald's serves approximately 70 million customers each day, so chances are, you might also be headed there soon. Why not add a side of scenery with your value meal?

  • 1 #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. Click Here to More of the World’s Coolest McDonald’s Restaurants Photo Credit: © Flickr / Ika Ink
  • 2 #4) Roswell, New Mexico
  • 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! Photo Credit: McDonald's
  • 3 #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. Photo Credit: McDonald's Click Here to More of the World’s Coolest McDonald’s Restaurants
  • 4 #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! Photo Credit: Mcdonald’s
  • 5 #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! Click Here to More of the World’s Coolest McDonald’s Restaurants Photo Credit: © Flickr / Turner

From a plane to a train to a UFO, McDonald's has some impressive fast-food structures. But the restaurants weren't always so flashy. Founded in 1948 by brothers Dick and Mac McDonald in San Bernardino, Calif., the first McDonald's was a self-service drive-in restaurant serving 15-cent hamburgers, potato chips, and soft drinks.

It wasn't long before franchised locations began opening up across the U.S. -- the 500th restaurant opened in 1963 in Toledo, Ohio, and the first international locations opened in Canada and Puerto Rico in 1967.

MacDo, Maccas, Mickey D's... no matter what the locals call it, the majority of McDonald's restaurants are adorned with golden arches and maintain a similar image, but we have found the locations with the most novel designs.

While a few of our favorite McDonald's restaurants have closed like the McDonald's designed to look like a stern-wheel paddle boat on the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Mo., the world's biggest McDonald's in London's Olympic Park (built temporarily for the London Olympics in 2012 from 100 percent recyclable and sustainable materials) and Japan's Quarter Pounder (a temporary marketing takeover to promote Quarter Pounders; the restaurant have all reverted back to regular McDonald's restaurants), there are plenty of memorable spots to enjoy the chain's famous French fries and shakes.

From cool ice cream from the cockpit of a decommissioned airliner in Taupo, New Zealand to a Happy Meal inside -- where else? -- a jumbo Happy Meal, we're sure you'll be lovin' these McDonald's restaurants as much as we do.

-Lauren Mack, The Daily Meal

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