Best Saddest Place on Earth - 2011
As its creepy but inspiring "Builder's Creed" tells the stone kids with their puppy standing before it outside the Great Mausoleum, Forest Lawn's original location is as "unlike other cemeteries as sunshine is unlike darkness." Hubert Eaton's 1917 vision of what depressing burial sites could become rivals Disneyland for chutzpah and American ingenuity, and has resulted in a lovely but criminally underused green space in Glendale, punctuated by winding roads dotted with statues of David, inspiring patriotic displays and a wedding chapel that hosted the Reagan-Wyman nuptials. There are enough sculptures, mosaics and cryptic engravings to drive a dozen Dan Brown novels — the hilltop museum even boasts an actual ancient moai statue from Easter Island. Picnics and pets are verboten, but the revolutionary memorial park's labyrinths and gardens beg to be reclaimed as a peaceful village green, a place where "lovers new and old shall love to stroll and watch the sunsets grow," just as The Builder intended. 1712 S. Glendale Ave., Glendale. (855) 800-5296, forestlawn.com.