For a time, visitors flocked to these iconic tourist spots. Whether it was because of their unique architecture, gorgeous views, or unusual offerings, tourists couldn’t get enough of these destinations. However, these days, the only way to experience them for yourself is Google–they’re nothing but a distant memory any more.
Sutro Baths, San Francisco
When it opened in 1984, the Sutro Baths were touted as the largest swimming pool complex in the world. Created by Adolph Sutro, the complex included seven massive swimming pools, bath houses, and even an aquarium.
For decades, tourists flocked to the Sutro Baths. The venue struggled with its massive operating costs throughout its lifetime, but managed to stay afloat. It was eventually sold to developers in 1964, but it burned to the ground only two years later.
Azure Window, Malta
The limestone arch that jutted out of Malta’s Gozo Island was known as the Azure Window. This breathtaking destination brought in visitors because of the natural beauty of the area–and this spot was even featured in HBO’s Game of Thrones!
Unfortunately, the Azure Window is no more. Experts didn’t believe it would last forever, but they were still shocked when an intense storm was able to bring it down completely in 2017.
Original Penn Station, New York
The original Penn Station was a true feat of achitectural beauty–it was a must-see site in New York City. Designed in the Beaux Arts style, the station opened in 1910 and flourished through the 40s, with more than 100 million passengers annually.
However, in 1963, Penn Station was moved underground so that Madison Square Garden could take its original spot. Needless to say, this decision did not go over well, and some New Yorkers are bitter about it to this day.
River Country, Disney World
Disney World is a magical place, as long as you’re not trying to visit River Country. This country-themed water park was the first of its kind in Disney World when it opened in 1976. However, it ultimateyl closed from…more competition from Disney?
That’s right! In 1986, Disney World opened a second water park, Typhoon Lagoon. With its larger size, better parking, and more attractions, River Country just couldn’t compete. And then they opened a third water park, and things got even worse for River Country. It was closed down for good in 2001.
Stardust Casino, Las Vegas
If you wanted a classic Las Vegas experience, you headed to the Stardust casino. This iconic spot on the strip was a favorite of Frank Sinatra and was home to Siegfried and Roy’s magical act. Despite its historic status, it just couldn’t compete with the new, up-and-coming Vegas.
As more major casinos and venues started to show up on the strip, people began to forget about Stardust. It was demolished in 2007 to make way for a new casino…which was also demolished to make way for a new hotel coming in the 2020s.
Crystal Palace, London
The Crystal Palace was a massive plate glass complex first created for the Great Exhibition of 1851–which was the first world’s fair-type event of its kind. Whether you were looking for a cricket match, a roller coaster, dinosaur sculptures, or just some unbeatable sights, the Crystal Palace had you covered.
Unfortunately, the palace was destroyed by a fire in 1936. No one is certain what caused it, but only remants were left after it had done its damage. The site is now known as the Crystal Palace Park and serves as a memorial to the magnificent building that was once there.
Honey Run Bridge, California
It’s hard to find a classic covered bridge in the United States these days. And that’s why Honey Run Bridge in Butte County, California was such a treasure. This gorgeous destination hosted weddings, other events, and visitors who simply wanted to admire the beauty of the area.
Unfortunately, Honey Run was destroyed by the catastrophic 2018 California wildfires. However, there has been talk of rebuilding it, so hopefully future generations will get to enjoy it again.
Six Flags Over New Orleans, Louisiana
Hurricane Katrina is what finally did Six Flags Over New Orleans in, but the park had been struggling to survive long before that. The park was acquired by Six Flags in 2003, and they had problems making it profitable from the get-go.
So, when Katrina blew through and flooded the area in 2005, the company decided to declare it a total loss and had no intentions of rebuilding.
New York Hippodrome, New York
At its opening, the New York Hippodrome was the largest theater in the world. There was room for over 5000 guests, and over 1000 people could fit on the stage at once. It opened in 1905, but by 1939 there was already trouble on the horizon.
Like many massive destinations, the Hippodrome struggled under the weight of its own operating costs. It was eventually demolished to make way for a completely unremarkable office building.
The Buddhas of Bamiyan, Afghanistan
Afghanistan might not be the first place you think of when you hear the word Buddhism, but there was actually an important pair of Buddhist statues in the country. Known as the Buddhas of Bamiyan, these massive, hand-carved structures were created in the 500s and had attracted visitors ever since.
However, that all came to an end in 2001 when the site was destroyed by the Taliban. It’s still possible to visit the remains of the statues, but they are no longer standing.
Vidam Park, Hungary
It was no Disney World, but Vidam Park in Budapest entertained and delighted guests for the six decades it was open. Known for its classic amusement park rides, Vidam had hundreds of thousands of visitors during its history.
There was no unusual or exciting closure story for this one–they simply had financial difficulties that they couldn’t fix. The park officially closed in 2013, although the ruins of Vidam are still there (and still extremely creepy).
Duckbill Rock, Oregon
What you see was what you got with the duckbill rock of Cape Kiwanda–it was a seven-foot sandstone rock that looked like a duck’s bill. Not the most riveting destination, but it was still a beloved spot by people who had visited.
In 2016, the formation toppled over. At first, experts thought it had toppled on its own, but video footage was later recovered that showed people knocking it down themselves. Apparently it was an act of revenge, as a friend had recently broken a leg on it.
Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, China
“The porcelain throne” might be an old dad joke, but the porcelain tower of Nanjing was much more ancient…and impressive. This tower, built in 1412 during the Ming dynasty, was considered one of the seven wonders of the Medieval world and left everyone who saw it speechless.
The original tower was destroyed during a 19th-century, rebellion but its story doesn’t end there. In 2008, a wealthy Chinese man decided to create a replica, which you can still visit to this day.
Original Wembley Stadium, London
If you’re looking for a good football (not the American kind) match, Wembley Stadium is the place to be. The original Wembley opened in 1923 and recieved an upgrade in 2007. Fans of the original were none too pleased…
While the new, improved Wembley is bigger and more impressive looking than the original, fans still miss the feel of the old stadium. They took particular issue with the destruction of the two towers that adorned the building.
West Pier, United Kingdom
If you were looking for a fun-filled seaside British holiday in the 1800s, there was no better place to visit than West Pier in Brighton. During its heyday, the pier saw millions of visitors annually, many of whom were there to experience the concert hall that was added on.
By the 1960s, West Pier was struggling to stay afloat, and by 1975 it had shut down entirely. However, remnants of the pier still remain, although they are in no condition to visit.
Paleis voor Volksvlijt, Netherlands
For years, London was home to the beautiful Crystal Palace, and once word got out about it, the Netherlands decided they needed something comparable. So the Paleis voor Volksvlijt was constructed in the 1860s. This huge and breathtaking building was home to numerous cultural events, fine dining, and even two shopping centers.
However, the building burned to the ground after a 1929 fire and it was never rebuilt. The Bank of the Netherlands now occupies the space where the palace once stood.
Jonah’s Tomb, Iraq
Jonah is an important figure in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and his alleged tomb was a site of both historical and religious significance for millions of people. Located in Mosul, Iraq, the shrine was an important place of pilgrimage and boasted beautiful ancient architecture.
In July of 2014, ISIS militants blew up the site as well as several other important historical sites around Mosul.
Love Locks Bridge, Paris
Is there anything more obnoxious than a couple in love in Paris? The answer is no, and most of them like to congregate on the Pont des Artes–a bridge that crosses the Seine river. No one is sure how the tradition started, but for years, people have been writing their love’s name on a padlock and attaching it to this bridge. At this trend’s peak, there were over one million padlocks!
In 2014, a fence on the bridge collapsed from the weight of the padlocks, so they were all removed, while the fencing was replaced with glass panels. Some people have been trying to keep the tradition alive, but this spot is all but dead for lovebirds now.
Rotbav Fortified Church, Romania
The Rotbav church was constructed in the 1300s and later protected residents with its thick, defensive walls during World War II. It’s not the most flashy tourist destination, but it was one with an immense history and historical importance.
Unfortunately, many of the “fortified” churches of the region have fallen into disrepair–including the one at Rotbav. It collapsed under its own weight in 2016.
Spreepark was an amusement park that managed to see the fall of the Berlin Wall. Originally called the VEB Kulturpark Plänterwald by East German communists, it became Spreepark after German reuinifcation. While the park delighted millions of visitors, things were not all cheery under the surface.
It turns out that the park’s owner was actually using amusement park rides to smuggle cocaine into Germany. Spreepark closed in 2002 and most of what remained was destroyed by a fire in 2014.