8 Tourist Traps You Can Totally Skip
If you’ve ever waited on a three-hour line only to find the Eiffel Tower just…meh, then you know the value of avoiding tourist traps. Here, eight places we firmly think you can skip, and what to do with your time instead.
Bright lights, big city. That’s about all Times Square is to NYC. It’s dirty, crowded and overrun with guys dressed up like Sponge Bob. As an alternative, head a few blocks east for some real culture at the New York Public Library in Bryant Park.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Seeking celebs? Don’t go to this rather ordinary sidewalk, crowded with tourists and tacky souvenir shops. Instead, hit up the historic Chinese Theatre or sip a cocktail at Chateau Marmont, where you just might spot a real famous person.
This waterfront San Francisco neighborhood is on most vistors’ must-see list. But you’ll be hard-pressed to find any locals riding the cable cars to Ghirardelli Square. For an authentic experience, get lost among the tiny streets and alleys of nearby Telegraph Hill.
The tallest Ferris wheel in Europe—lame. Why waste your time on an amusement park attraction when you could be riding a bike through Hyde Park, sipping high tea at Harrods or checking out contemporary art at the Tate Modern?
Philadelphia is rife with history, but queuing in line for a glimpse of a cracked bell isn't what our forefathers would have wanted. What’s much cooler is Elfreth’s Alley, an adorable residential street (the oldest in America!) just a ten-minute walk away.
Of all the breathtaking waterfalls in the world, this is not the one to visit. The natural wonder is obscured by ugly skyscrapers, depressing casinos and throngs of poncho-clad tourists. You’re better off just making for the Canadian border, ordering some poutine and calling it a day.
The Four Corners
The idea of standing at the cross section of four states (New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah) sounds cool, but the actual experience is pretty anticlimactic—especially if you drove three hours out of your way to get there. Skip the commemorative brass disk and opt for a trip to the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado, where you'll see some of the darkest, starriest skies in the country.
The Mona Lisa
We love you, Leonardo da Vinci (and Dan Brown). But we don’t want to wait in an hour-long line to get 20 seconds of face time with art’s most enigmatic lady. Instead, check out one of the other 35,000 pieces on display at the Paris Louvre, including some lesser-known Da Vinci works like St. John the Baptist or Virgin of the Rocks.