What better way to start your tour than at an airport? If you’re flying out of LAX, you can’t help but notice the Theme Building as you apporoach. Built in 1961, the building is all that’s left of a failed plan to ensconce the airport’s terminals under glass. It’s a prime example of the Googie style of architecture that thrilled forward-thinking modernists (and incensed critics) throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Though the space-themed restaurant that used to sit atop the Theme Building closed abruptly in 2014, the building is still a California classic that could also serve as an alien craft.
Most SNP/The UFO Bridge (Bratislava, Slovakia)
The Soviet Union may be just a memory, but it left a lot of iconic structures in Bratislava. Perhaps the most memorable is the structure fondly nicknamed “the UFO bridge” by residents. Originally dubbed the Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising (or Most Slovenského národného povstania, which shortens to “Most SNP”) to commemorate a World War II victory over the Nazis, the bridge was then renamed New Bridge (“Novy Most”). Now, depending who you ask, you might get a different name, be it the Most SNP, Novy Most or the UFO Bridge. No matter what you call it, the bridge towers over the Danube River like a Soviet-era UFO. It’s the world’s longest single-pylon suspension bridge and boasts a restaurant inside its iconic saucer.