Weird U.S. State Facts You Won’t Believe Are True

If you’ve traveled America, you may think you know a lot about the U.S. But we dug around to bring you the bizarre state facts even locals can’t believe. Whether it’s the state with the most PhDs or the one that tosses fish into the next state over for fun, we know you’ll learn something new.

1. Colorado said ‘no’ to hosting the Olympics

Skiing in Colorado
Winter Park Ski Resort, Colorado | Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images

You’d think hosting the Olympics would be a great honor and way to bring money to a state. But that’s not how Colorado voters saw it when they were asked to host the 1976 Winter Olympics. They are the only state to ever turn down hosting the games. Coloradoans weren’t willing to deal with the cost, pollution, and unwanted growth.

Next: Cat-lovers united in this state.

2. Alaska has a town with a cat mayor

The cat mayor Talkeetna
The late mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska | Messy Nessy

If you’re from Talkeetna, Alaska, you’re likely familiar with the mayor, Stubbs the Cat. The funny thing is Stubbs wasn’t happy with his mayoral seat; in 2014, Alaskans were urged to submit Stubbs as a candidate for Senator when they weren’t happy with other choices. Maybe the world would be a better place if cats ran it?

Next: You’ll be thankful for your local dry-cleaner.

3. California had a laundry crisis

Carousel of clothing at dry cleaners
Dry cleaning is expensive! | kzenon/Getty Images

In 1849, during the Gold Rush, a hot commodity was laundry services. It was actually cheaper for California miners to send clothes to Honolulu for laundering than pay to have them washed in California. And you thought your dry-cleaning bills were bad!

Next: This state throws serious shade on Alabama.

4. Floridians throw fish into Alabama

Fish in a lake
A fish frenzy | nitimongkolchai/Getty Images

People will find any excuse for a party (Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day, and the Super Bowl, anyone?). But the weirdest reason in Florida? Flora-Bama Beach Bar hosts an annual “Mullet Toss,” where people stand on the state line and throw fish into Alabama. Sounds weird, but hey, it could be fun!

Next: This state’s residents are serious about a particular food.

5. It’s illegal to put tomatoes in clam chowder in Massachusetts

Clam chowder
Massachusetts clam chowder | Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

If you’ve spent time in the Bay State, you know seafood is a source of pride. Tourists and locals alike love the fresh clam chowder. But don’t you dare mess with clam chowder by adding tomatoes. The people of Massachusetts are so serious about it that it’s even outlawed.

Next: How you know the internet is watching you

6. Virginia is the ‘Internet Capital of the World’

A Data center
Data center | Thomas Koehler/Photothek via Getty Images

Most people don’t think about how the internet works. But chances are the state of Virginia has something to do with it. Ashburn, Virginia has over 5 million square feet of data space, meaning 70% of the world’s internet traffic travels through this state.

Next: Another popular food is a staple of this state.

7. New York is home to the first U.S. pizza joint

Pizza NYC
Pizza in NYC | Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for NYCWFF

New York and pizza are like peanut butter and jelly. But did you know the first pizza restaurant in the U.S. was built in New York City by Italian immigrants in 1905? New Yorkers loved it so much that there are over 1,600 pizza joints in NYC alone … And now we’re hungry.

Next: This underestimated state has lots of smart people.

8. New Mexico has the highest number of PhDs per capita

Sandia National Laboratorie
A tour of the National Solar Thermal Test Facility at Sandia National Laboratories | Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

You may expect Silicon Valley or New York City to have the most PhDs, but it’s actually New Mexico. The large population of PhDs is due to Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and many other research facilities. Plus, New Mexico is home to Intel, the National Forest Service, and National Park Service.

Next: The most amount of ghosts in the country

9. Wisconsin has the highest number of ghosts per capita

Allegedly haunted Summerwind mansion in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s abandoned and allegedly haunted Summerwind mansion. | Henry Groskinsky/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

This may sound made-up, especially if you don’t believe in ghosts. But this came from folklorist Robert Gard. As it turns out, Wisconsin has quite a lot of haunted places. If you’re intrigued, you can pick up a copy of the book Haunted Wisconsin and get your ghost-story fix.

Next: This larger-than-life state even has its own language.

10. ‘Texas German’ is a real language only spoken in Texas

Gruene Dance Hall in New Braunfels, Texas
Gruene Dance Hall in New Braunfels, Texas | Elizabeth W. Kearley/Contributor/Getty Images

Did you know the influence of German immigrants in the mid-19th century was so great that “Texas German” still exists? You can still hear people speak it in Fredericksburg, New Braunfels, Boerne, Schulenburg, and Weimar. Due to hostility toward Germany during both World Wars, Texas-German speakers started to prefer English. But some older Texans still keep the dialect alive.

Next: Bring your bug spray if you go to this state.

11. Minnesota has over 50 different species of mosquitoes

Applying Insect Repellent
A Minnesotan applies bug spray. | TinkerJulie/Getty Images

Minnesota is known for having the most brutal winters in the U.S. But this doesn’t mean summertime isn’t a hotbed for over 50 species of mosquitos who call Minnesota home. Minnesotans even joke that mosquitos are their unofficial state bird.

Next: This next state is home to many strange laws.

12. Georgia has the weirdest laws

little boy eating ice cream three years very appetizing, amid nature, green grass
Don’t put that ice cream in your back pocket. | kmk-vova/Getty Images

Every state has bizarre laws that make you scratch your head. But Georgia’s laws are the strangest. For example, don’t carry ice cream in your back pocket on a Sunday — it’s illegal. You also shouldn’t plan to hook a giraffe to a lamppost. And don’t even think about starting a rumor.

Next: If you love llamas, you need to visit this state.

13. Oregon is home to 25% of the nation’s llamas

An Oregon pack of alpacas
Debbie Miller, of Oregon, leads a pack of alpacas. | AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

You know you want to snuggle them! Oregon is home to over one-quarter of the nation’s llama population. We’re not quite sure why llamas are such a big deal there, but Oregon is home to a lot of llama ranches and llama backpacking tours.

Next: This next bizarre fact will explain a lot about this state.

14. Public intoxication must be legal in Nevada

A woman sells alcoholic crushed ice drinks in Las Vegas, Nevada.
You can drink alcohol beverages wherever you want in Las Vegas. | George Rose/Getty Images

It’s illegal to be publicly drunk in most states. But Nevada forbids any city to make it illegal. Another law allows the sale of alcohol 24-7 in restaurants, bars, and stores. So, if you visit Vegas and see a drunk person stumbling around the street, now you know why!

Next: Football fans will be surprised to learn about what happened in this state.

15. Pennsylvania was home to the Steagles

Pittsburgh Steelers v Philadelphia Eagles
Ola Adeniyi of the Pittsburgh Steelers rushes Jordan Mailata of the Philadelphia Eagles. | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The name itself is almost laughable, but this actually happened. During World War II, in 1943, neither the Philadelphia Eagles or Pittsburgh Steelers had enough men to fill both teams because so many people were fighting in the war. Thus, the two NFL teams joined forces to create the Steagles, combining not only their names but their logos. They didn’t do half bad either, completing the season with a 5-4-1 record.