Only One McDonald's Has This Color Sign

When it comes to branding, you can't get much more recognizable than McDonald's golden arches. As soon as the curves of that bright "M" come into sight, you know a Big Mac with special sauce is in your immediate future. And while that sort of familiarity can be comforting, it's also fun to ponder the fact that — as classic as the fast food eatery's iconography is — not every single McDonald's has yellow arches. There exists, in the world, a place where McDonald's arches are painted a different hue. Need even more reason to love this anomaly? They're painted in the most fabulous of shades: turquoise.

If you want to visit this mysterious turquoise-arched McDonald's, it might require a road trip (or a plane trip). Those who live in the west won't have too far to go, though, especially native Arizonians. Because among the red rocks and big blue skies of Sedona, you'll find one of the few McDonald's in the world with non-yellow arches. And like the spaceship-shaped McDonald's in Roswell, New Mexico, this novelty location has become a major tourist attraction — people from all over the world sojourn to the state to snap a picture with Sedona's one-of-a-kind Mickey D's logo.

Ironically, that's sort of antithetical to why the arches are a unique color in the first place. In an interview with Fox News first published in September 2014, Nicholas Gioello, development services manager for Sedona's Community Development Department, explained that the decision was driven by the local officials' desire to avoid anything that might detract from the city's natural beauty. When McDonald's came to the area in 1993, it was only a few years after Sedona had been incorporated as a city (in 1988), so officials were still deciding what sort of restrictions they wanted to impose on the aesthetics of exterior building and signage.

"We want everything to blend into the natural surroundings, which includes mostly earth tones. The view is really why people come to Sedona," Gioello told Fox. So how did the color turquoise come into play? Taking a proactive approach, local franchise owner Greg Cook reached out directly to the Community Development Department to determine an appropriate and aesthetically-pleasing arch color.

The conversation reportedly started with a pretty practical suggestion from the community development director in the mid '90s — try to blend in with the teal and red signage of the shopping center adjacent to where the new McDonald's would be situated. So, after putting their heads together, Cook and the Community Development Department came up with the idea of turquoise.

This theory about the origin of Sedona's turquoise arches was confirmed by former Arizona McDonald's spokeswoman Rhonda Grundemann, who echoed to Fox News that, yes, the color was a result of city mandates at the time the restaurant was opened. Grundemann also went the extra mile to reach out to Cook, the franchise owner, who didn't have anything to say about the color turquoise but seemed pleased to comment nevertheless. "Twenty one years later, we're happy to still be a part of the Sedona community," he said.

Of course, little could they have anticipated back then that such a seemingly subtle distinction would eventually cause such a big stir. Thanks to the ubiquity of social media, the Sedona McDonald's turquoise arches became an internet sensation somewhere along the way. Per Gioello, "I've seen people get out and take pictures in front of the sign with their families." In fact, a cursory scan of the Sedona McDonald's tag on Instagram reveals that the location has become a pilgrimage point for everyone from young millennial tourists to international travelers. Arguably, this influx of visitors is more disruptive to the scenic city than a set of yellow arches would have been. You won't hear Gioello complaining, though, since the tourism these turquoise arches inspire means more business for the community. 

Now, if you're a keen and clearly devoted patron of McDonald's, you've likely noticed that the color of its arches isn't the only thing amiss about the Sedona restaurant. Because unlike other McDonald's where the arches sit atop a pole that towers over the eatery, this location's arches are lower on the front of the building and on a sign near the road. As you might have surmised, the Community Development Department also had a hand in this decision — height restrictions in Sedona allegedly prohibited taller arches.

Still, thanks to their cool color, the arches of this particular McDonald's are a sight to see. Just don't go rushing out the door for a weekend getaway to route 89A, where the restaurant is located in Sedona, with the wrong mindset. You should know that, unlike the Roswell McDonald's, there isn't necessarily anything inside of Sedona's restaurant that makes it special. When you visit, you're going to get the same greasy (but oh-so-glorious) burgers and fries. Then again, when all is said and done, you'll walk away with a super-hashtag-ready snapshot in front of the only turquoise McDonald's arches anywhere... and, even if McNuggets weren't involved, the IG post alone would be worth the visit.