Arts and Culture

FREE and Weird U.S. Destinations

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As the saying goes 'œThe best things in life are free.'  While I agree wholeheartedly, my newest interpretation of that adage is that 'œthe best free things in life are weird.'  I came to this conclusion on a recent trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, where I visited a particularly weird/FREE sculpture garden, which I will tell you more about shortly.

Life is about memories and experiences, and what better way to remember those memories and experiences forever than by making them as bat-shit-crazy as possible? Amiright?  Yes I am.  Below are a couple of the FREE, crazy, weird destinations for your next pilgrimage.  I’m sure there are millions more similar destinations, so please share '˜em if you got '˜em!

Gilgal Sculpture Garden, Salt Lake City, UT
On a nondescript neighborhood street, hidden behind a Chuck-A-Rama buffet, there is Gilgal Garden, the 18-year project of a former Mormon bishop and stonemason who died in 1963.  Inside you’ll discover a 25-ton sphinx bearing the effigy of the prophet Joseph Smith, a self portrait of the artist, Thomas Battersby Child, Jr., wearing some smart brick pants, and a hill full of various disembodied limbs amongst a plethora of other nutty sculptures.

During highschool, young hooligans such as myself would sneak in at night to scare the bejesus out of ourselves, but the garden is equally creepy during the daylight hours.  Now an official Utah State Park, the garden’s purpose and message is still unclear, even to the Mormon Church, whose teachings it is based on.  Next time you’re passing through Utah, be sure to stop in, sit below the sphinx, and let the heeby jeebies wash over you.

Watts Towers, Los Angeles, CA
Described by a friend as 'œOne of California’s stranger folks art items of the mid 1900’s. It’s really amazing to see in person, and *hundreds* do every year!' Watts towers are indeed a non-so-hidden gem.  Erected (hehe) from 1921 to 1954, the 17 interconnected towers reach up to 99 feet high were made a National Historic Landmark in 1990.

The towers were dreamed up by a self-made architect Simon Rodia, and are made out of steel and porcelain and decorated with found objects.  Featured in many a music video and television series, the towers are a staple in the weirdo fabric of L.A.’s history and are a must see on your next trip to the City of Angels.

Photos from: Robert Hirschi, www.wattstowers.us, weirdca.com

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Ali was born and raised in the Wholesome/Creepy capital of the world, Salt Lake City, UT. Once she was old enough to blow that pop stand she escaped to the place that was the anti-SLC: The Peoples Gay-public of Drugifornia aka San Francisco (holla 30 Rock!). You can now find her throughout this glorious city slurping Pho and scheming with her best friend Pinky doing what they do every night; try and take over the world.