Ever wondered what is one of the most germ infected and disgusting tourist spots in the world? We have found it for you: the Bubble Gum Alley in California!

When you step on a piece of gum, get one stuck in your hair or find a chunk under your desk, it can easily ruin your day. But in San Luis Obispo in California, it is perfectly fine to chew big chunks of gum and stick it…on the walls of the Bubblegum Alley! This local landmark attracts thousands of tourists each year, eager to discover this 15 foot high and 70 foot long piece of gum-bomination.

The history of who actually started the gum fiesta is a little unclear. Some believe that the tradition of the alley started after WWII as a graduating event of San Luis Obispo High School classes while others believe it started in the late 50’s as rivalry between San Luis Obispo High School and Cal Poly students willing to show their creativity. In the 70’s, the alley underwent a full cleaning because many shop owners really started to become disgusted and complained that it was too unsanitary and disgusting.

The gum graffiti survived other cleanings in the 70’s but when in 1996 people attempted to clean it again, it was not passed by the city as the wall is now considered as a real form of art and a unique tourist attraction.

A similar alley also exists in Seattle. Located 15 feet above Post Alley in Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market, the 15 foot high and 50 foot long wall is covered in several inches of gum. The Gum Wall started in the early 1990s, when people, irritated that they had to wait in line to get tickets to the theatre, stuck chewing gum on the wall. At first, they would use the gum to stick small coins to the wall, but in time, the tradition of the coins disappeared and the gum remained. The wall got cleaned by the theatre attendants twice but they gave up in 1999 when it became a certified tourist attraction.

In both cases, the walls serve as a test case for the deterioration of used gum left exposed to the elements over a long period of time. Such information is a great value to municipal budget planners who devote appreciable annual sums to the cleaning and removal of dropped chewing gum. Actually, the gum is holding up quite well. Rain and freezing temperatures have no effect on the clumps. On the other hand, hot weather and summer sun do leave their marks. Indeed, gum stuck to overhanging ledges tend to droop and sag over time.

Would you dare stick your gum on one of those walls?

Gum Alley, California, daveynin, http://flic.kr/p/i32dbX, (CC BY 2.0)

Gum Alley, California, youngthousands, http://flic.kr/p/4WocL6, (CC BY 2.0)

Gum Alley, California, youngthousands, http://flic.kr/p/4WocL6, (CC BY 2.0)

Gum Wall, Seattle, Jason Taellious, http://flic.kr/p/7YYRqg, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Gum Wall, Seattle, Benjamin Vander Steen, http://flic.kr/p/9CtJ8m, (CC BY 2.0)

Gum Wall, Seattle, garann, http://flic.kr/p/m9wJLh, (CC BY-SA 2.0)