We Were Here: 12 Places Where Tourists Can Leave Their Mark

As 2 American tourists recently learned, you can get in trouble for carving your initials into the wall of the Colosseum in Rome. There are places, however, where you are allowed to leave your mark as you travel. So get a pen, some spray paint and even your chewed gum ready when you visit these tourist spots.

Photos

Madison Avenue

Madison Avenue

The ad men of Madison Avenue unleash their creative juices, and sometimes a little bit more, on Manhattan’s famed north-south avenue. Don a fedora like Mr. Draper, and explore the avenue’s famed architecture in style. Just don’t look too hard for Sterling Cooper’s offices at 405 Madison Avenue -- it doesn’t exist. 960 1280

Getty Images   

NY Rail Travel

NY Rail Travel

Work hard, play hard in Manhattan, and when evening comes, take the train up to the wife and kids in posh Westchester County. And so it goes for chain-smoking, debonair Don Draper. Leave behind the hustle-and-bustle of the Big Apple yourself, and take the Ethan Allen Express from NYC to Rutland, VT, passing through the Catskills and Vermont’s Green Mountains on the way. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Betty and Don Draper's House

Betty and Don Draper's House

The fresh white paint, the perfectly manicured lawn … everything seems just a little too perfect. And for Don and Betty Draper, it is -- in fact, this house isn’t really located at 42 Bullet Park Road in Ossining, NY. It’s actually in Pasadena, CA. 960 1280

waltarrrr, flickr   

The Roosevelt Hotel

The Roosevelt Hotel

Sorry, Don, but you had it coming: The lying, the cheating -- Betty had no choice. See the Midtown Manhattan hotel where Don stayed after his wife gave him the boot. Of course, with its grand interior décor from posh mahogany furniture to luxurious suites, you may not ever want to leave. 960 1280

The Roosevelt Hotel  

LA Music Center

LA Music Center

Ah, Roma! A city packed with ancient wonders -- but it was Betty’s Colosseum-high-hair we couldn’t keep our eyes off during her trip to the Eternal City with Don. Which may explain why location didn’t really matter so much; the episode was actually filmed at the Music Center in downtown LA -- a city landmark for the arts since it opened in 1964. 960 1280

Getty Images   

P.J. Clarke’s

P.J. Clarke’s

“Should we drink before the meeting, after the meeting or both?” That is the question, and the guys and gals of Mad Men find the answer at this famous saloon on Third Avenue in Manhattan. Kick back with a selection of specialty cocktails, wine, beer and spirits. You’ll find plenty of options -- whether you swing by before, during or after a meeting. 960 1280

Sheila Y., flickr  

Oyster Bar

Oyster Bar

Make it a 3-martini power lunch at this iconic seafood restaurant in Grand Central Terminal’s lower level. Just don’t get too plastered on oysters and vodka if you have a big business meeting that same day -- unless, of course, your name is Roger Sterling, and it’s payback time for hitting on Don’s wife a few nights before. Bad move, Roger -- Don’s got your number. 960 1280

Jazz Guy, flickr  

Dublin House

Dublin House

We knew Joan’s fiancé, Greg, was no good, especially after his behavior with Joan in Roger’s office one day. So when Greg says he’s been sitting in the Dublin House until 2 a.m. after being declined a medical residency, we say, “Stay there!” Of course, you may want to as well, and for all the right reasons: This Upper West Side Bar has some of the best Guinness this side of the pond. 960 1280

Paul Lowry, flickr  

Bloomingdales

Bloomingdales

Oh, Pete, you’re such a bad, bad boy. Too bad Trudy didn’t realize as much before you rather ungraciously returned the ceramic chip-and-dip platter from her aunt here. (How could you?!) Fill your own “Little Brown Bag” up at this legendary department store on Third Avenue in Midtown. And don’t worry: Your secret’s safe with us if you return the chip and dip. 960 1280

iStock  

The Pierre Hotel

The Pierre Hotel

We still don’t get why Peggy had a tryst with over-the-hill Duck Phillips -- and at this elegant hotel overlooking Central Park, too. (Seriously, Peggy, what were you thinking?!) Obliterate the memory from your mind, and enjoy the Pierre’s finer side, from its high ceilings and abundant natural light to a delectable evening for 2 at the hotel’s Sirio Ristorante. Men named “Duck” not invited. 960 1280

The Pierre Hotel  

Bob's Big Boy Broiler

Bob's Big Boy Broiler

Welcome to the diner where lust turned to love: It all started with a milkshake -- it spilled, and Don got angry at his careless kid. But then the secretary-on-vacation-with-the-family, Megan, stepped in and cleaned up the mess and … Don’s heart melted. Visit the scene of it all at this iconic American diner in Downey, CA. 960 1280

The annual Burning Man Festival, held in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, is a week-long event described as “an experiment in community art, radical self-expression and radical self-reliance.” More than 60,000 free-spirited people converge on the desert to create and display some interesting works of art, including this oversized “Bummer.”  960 1280

Charlie Johnston/Nevada Magazine  

The art at the Burning Man Festival can be radical. Artists are not quiet about expressing their political views. An artist created this cartoonish replica of U.S. President George W. Bush, portraying him as a liar. This exhibit is part of a larger art installation called Art on the Playa, which allows artists to display their artwork and create special art events and exhibitions all around Black Rock City. 960 1280

Reuters  

Black Rock Desert is the perfect canvas for some unique art, including Victor Grigras creative sculpture (in the forefront) and an art car that looks similar to a pirate ship (right). 960 1280

Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Commons  

In the middle of all the action, people attending the Burning Man Festival can chill out and take a nap inside the Center Camp Cafe. Center Camp serves as a meeting place for the entire makeshift city. It contains the Cafe, Camp Arctica and a number of other Black Rock City institutions. 960 1280

Reuters  

For an entire week, people converge on Black Rock Desert to create a unique oasis and metropolis aptly called Black Rock City. 960 1280

Nevada Commission on Tourism  

Art projects and quotes inscribed on rocks line Guru Road, a two-lane road located just outside near Black Rock Desert. 960 1280

Nevada Commission on Tourism  

Held in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, Burning Man Festival is an “anything goes” event that’s been described as "Mad Max" meets Woodstock. The festival usually starts on the last Monday in August and ends on the first Monday in September. 960 1280

Reuters  

In addition to burning a male statue in effigy, the temple (pictured) is also burned -- a regular activity at the event. 960 1280

Nevada Commission on Tourism  

Art displays are set up all around Black Rock Desert during the Burning Man Festival. Contrary to what you may think, festival attendees are not inconsiderate hippies. Before everyone leaves, people pitch in to restore the desert back to its original state at the end of the festival. “Leaving no trace” is one of the 10 principles attendees must abide by at the event. Other Burning Man principles include radical inclusion, participation, gifting and civil responsibility. 960 1280

Nevada Commission on Tourism  

Burning Man started as a bonfire ritual on the 1986 summer solstice, when Larry Harvey, Jerry James and a few friends met on Baker Beach in San Francisco. The group at the time burned a 9-foot man effigy. It wasn’t until 1990 when Kevin Evans and John Law organized the first Burning Man Festival in Black Rock Desert. 960 1280

Nevada Commission on Tourism  

In addition to stationary art, there are a number of artists who build fun, art cars aka motorized mutant vehicles. No, you’re not hallucinating. It’s normal to see a giant red telephone roaming around the desert. Artists must submit designs for their mutant cars in advance. Black Rock City has its own DMV, or Division of Mutant Vehicles, that must approve and inspect all art cars. 960 1280

Charlie Johnston/Nevada Magazine  

Some art cars are extreme -- like this one. In this case, it’s an extravagant, decorated bus with platforms on the sides and on the top -- enough space to carry a festive crowd. 960 1280

Charlie Johnston/Nevada Magazine  

At the end of this free-spirited event, the ceremonial Burning Man effigy is ignited with pyrotechnics. The artsy, male statue has increased in size since the first Burning Man Festival -- from an 8-foot statue to 104-foot statue. 960 1280

Reuters  

Casa de la Panaderia

Casa de la Panaderia

The Casa de la Panaderia, a local government building, is located on the north side of the Plaza Mayor in central Madrid. 960 1280

Sedmak/iStock/Getty Images  

Plaza de la Villa

Plaza de la Villa

The quaint square of Plaza de la Villa features some of the oldest buildings in Madrid, dating all the way back to the 15th century. 960 1280

Danita Delimont/Gallo Images/Getty Images  

Puerta de Europa

Puerta de Europa

The Puerta de Europa, 2 twin office buildings in Madrid, was constructed by famous American architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee. 960 1280

Tim Draper/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images  

Café Gijon

Café Gijon

After the Spanish Civil War, Café Gijon was a famous hot spot for Spanish intellectuals. Now, you can stop by this legendary restaurant for a delectable breakfast, lunch, dinner or espresso. 960 1280

Tunguska, via Flickr  

Palacio de Cristal

Palacio de Cristal

Constructed of glass and metal, the Palacio de Cristal is the centerpiece of a gorgeous and lush escape within the busy city of Madrid. 960 1280

Jose Ignacio Soto/iStock/Getty Images  

Antigua Pasteleria del Pozo

Antigua Pasteleria del Pozo

The world-famous bakery Antigua Pasteleria del Pozo is a necessary stop to make in Madrid. Try the yemas, a sweet treat made of egg yolk, lemon, cinnamon, sugar and syrup. 960 1280

Juan Antonio F. Segal, via CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0  

Royal Palace of Madrid

Royal Palace of Madrid

The Royal Palace of Madrid is the Spanish royal family’s official residence, but it is now used only for state ceremonies and receptions. Take a tour of the gorgeous palace to gawk at its breathtaking opulence.  960 1280

Sylvain Sonnet/Photolibrary/Getty Images  

Parque Warner Madrid

Parque Warner Madrid

This exciting Warner Bros. theme park is a great place to take the kids on a family vacation to Madrid.  960 1280

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.  

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor is the central square in Madrid. There’s no better place in the city to eat tapas, sip sangria and people-watch. 960 1280

StockstudioX/Vetta/Getty Images  

Buen Retiro Park

Buen Retiro Park

This public park is one of the largest green spaces that Madrid has to offer. Some of its highlights include the Retiro Pond, the Rosaleda (“rose garden”) and the Palacio de Cristal. 960 1280

Rognar/iStock/Getty Images  

Gran Via

Gran Via

The stylish street of Gran Via is home to the best upscale shopping in all of Madrid. By night, the street transforms into the hottest place to experience the city’s wild nightlife.  960 1280

JTB Photo/Universal Images Group/Getty Images  

Temple of Debod

Temple of Debod

Originally located in southern Egypt, the Temple of Debod was dismantled and reassembled in Madrid. In 1972, the glorious archaeological site opened to the public in Madrid’s Parque del Oeste. 960 1280

Vichie81/iStock/Getty Images  

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium

Real Madrid, the city’s famous soccer team, plays on this iconic field. All sports lovers can appreciate the dedication of the fans in this huge stadium. 960 1280

Victor Carretero/Real Madrid/Getty Images  

Market of San Miguel

Market of San Miguel

The Market of San Miguel is a major food destination in Madrid. Visitors can sample a wide array of Spain’s most delicious bites and sips. 960 1280

Chris Mellor/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images  

The Madrid Zoo Aquarium

The Madrid Zoo Aquarium

The Madrid Zoo Aquarium, one of the biggest in all of Spain, is a family-friendly destination that everyone will love. 960 1280

Alex Lecea, via Flickr  

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia

Art lovers will appreciate the expansive Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. This museum, named after Queen Sofia, features brilliant works of art from the 20th century. 960 1280

Gregor Schuster/The Image Bank/Getty Images  

Museo Nacional del Prado

Museo Nacional del Prado

The Museo Nacional del Prado contains some of Europe’s most beautiful works of art, from the 12th century onward. Visit the museum for free every evening from 6 to 8 p.m. 960 1280

Emad Aljumah/Moment/Getty Images  

The Hot List

Explore America’s most stunning scenery.
Join the conversation on Social Media!
Stay updated on the latest travel tips and trends.
Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.