Overrated Tourist Destinations
There are plenty of attractions that you must see when traveling. You can’t go to Paris for the first time without seeing the Eiffel Tower, and few people want to come home from Yellowstone without photos of Old Faithful. But for every tourist destination that’s come by its iconic reputation honestly, there’s a crappy tourist trap that isn’t worth your time or money.
Sure, a lot of this comes down to personal opinion. After all, one person’s tacky attraction is another person’s campy must-see perfect for Instagramming. Yet, we feel pretty confident that the overrated tourist destinations on this list are a total wash. Their lines are long, the crowds add hours to your visit, and the chances of having the time to genuinely take in what you’re seeing are very slim.
Our advice: With the time and money you saved by giving these a miss, find some place more beautiful, compelling and unique to visit instead.
Let’s start where America started, except that America didn’t really start here, anyway.
Put bluntly, this attraction is massively lame. It’s just a rock, in a fancy canopy that’s way more impressive than the rock itself. As the story goes, the Pilgrims first disembarked onto this rock in 1620 when they arrived in what would become America. They quickly founded Plymouth Colony, which is recreated down the road in a tourist destination much more worthy of your time.
But the truth is that no one even claimed that this particular rock was the arrival point until the mid-18th century, so…yeah, it’s likely all made up. Also, Native Americans were here long before the pilgrims showed up. Besides, the pilgrims landed at what would become Provincetown, on the tip of Cape Cod, a month before Plymouth anyway.
Let’s move across the ocean from Plymouth to another big ol’ dumb rock: the Blarney Stone near Cork, Ireland. The deal with this rock is that you’re supposed to bend over backwards to kiss it, and thus receive the gift of “blarney” – essentially eloquence.
If waiting in line for several hours to plant your mouth on a rock slimy with the moisture of a million other lips touching it is your thing, be our guest. But we’d rather walk around the more interesting grounds, including a garden of poisonous plants.
Completing our tour of overrated rocks, we’ll scoot over to Wiltshire, England, in order to warn you to avoid Stonehenge.
It’s not that this prehistoric monument is a total waste, but it’s never quite as grand as you were expecting. The stones aren’t 50 feet high, and the crowds take away the sense of eerie wonder that must have entranced those who stumbled upon the mysterious circle back in the day.
We’ll be honest – there are tons of stone circles all over the United Kingdom, many of which are far more impressive in their location and beauty than Stonehenge. The Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland are a great example.
It’s certainly not true that the waterfalls themselves are overrated. In fact, they’re stunning, a majestic display of the power of water.
The problem with the falls is the entire mini-economy of tourist crap that’s been built up beside (and under) them. The Canadian side is a little better than the American, but still, it’s just an unending array of gift shops, tacky restaurants and tourist attractions, as if Branson, Missouri set up shop beside one of Earth’s natural wonders…and blocked the view.
Times Square, the beating heart of New York City, is loud, tacky, overcrowded and not very much fun. That won’t stop most tourists from venturing into it anyway, only to break free, several minutes or hours later, gasping at how awful it is. Yep, we said it.
While Manhattan has made real efforts to improve this area with pedestrian-only sections and better traffic flow, it’s still insanity, so we can only recommend going there if you’re on your way to a Broadway show. Otherwise, the best way to see it, if you must, is to walk down 8th Avenue and take a quick peek at its humming activity.
Lest you think we have something against crowds, our next stop on the overrated tourism tour is one that’s remote and rarely very crowded. Four Corners is where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet, forming, well…you get it.
As you may be aware, states don’t have actual physical borders, so there’s not much here but a plaque in the ground and a bunch of state flags. If you’re driving by anyway, sure, stop, but don’t go out of your way, like, at all. At least it’s free.
This might be the most controversial inclusion on this list, and we get it: If you’re taking the time to go to India as a tourist, you’re probably going to go to the Taj Mahal. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.
First, you will drive forever to get there. Then, you will stand in line forever to get in. And then, once you’re in, you and approximately one million other people will pour through the palace, utterly ruining its serenity by chattering, taking photos and generally missing the entire point of the place, which was built to mourn and honor a lost love.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Your enjoyment of this attraction will really depend on how much you’ve taken in the title of the place, because it says it all: There is a tower in Pisa, and it leans. That’s about it.
Oh, you can climb it, too, if you like waiting in line to exert yourself near utter strangers in order to glimpse an ok-ish view of the Italian countryside. Also, it’s 18 Euros (about $20) to do so.
It’s not that Westminster Abbey isn’t impressive – it is. Here, you can visit the graves of famous Brits like Charles Dickens and Darwin, and explore the aisle where royal luminaries such as H.R.H. Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge walked on their wedding day.
It’s just that the church is so darn crowded, with guides leading herds of tourists around while braying out information. Also, a heads up before you go in: This is not the place where Prince Charles and Princess Diana got married (that’s St. Paul’s Cathedral) and it’s not where Jane Austen or William Shakespeare are buried (Winchester Cathedral and the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford, respectively).
There are a lot of famous churches and cathedrals in the UK; make sure this is one you really want to see.
There are a bunch of these strange wax-figure museums in cities around the world, including Amsterdam, Paris, Sydney, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York and Las Vegas. All of those cities are known as tourist destinations, which should give you all the warning you need.
This is, at best, a sort of weird place, and at worst, a hugely depressing slog which will make you question just why our society values celebrity so much. However, if interacting with creepy, poorly rendered copies of famous people is your thing, at least you know you have myriad opportunities to do so, as long as you’re willing to cough up some cash (generally between $20 and $35, or more if you want to tack on attractions like “Ghostbusters: Dimension Hyper Reality Experience”).
Versailles might be the most depressing tourist trap on this list, because it could be a beautiful and intriguing destination if it weren’t so filled with other tourists. But because so many people want to see Louis XIV’s palace about 30 minutes outside of Paris, and because the folks who run this place seem to have never heard of fire code guidelines, you’re almost guaranteed to see more of the back of strangers’ heads than the palace itself.
If you must go, explore the idyllic and less-crowded grounds instead, timed to when the fountains are on.
Wall Drug Store
About 10,000 signs alert you to the fact that Wall Drug is ahead when you drive across South Dakota, probably on your way to or from Mount Rushmore. The signs are fun, giving you something to look for while you drive what seems like an endless highway.
But just keep on driving and don’t stop: Once a gimmicky but real drug store, Wall Drug is now a shopping mall that specializes in crap. Imagine fake cowboy hats, fake cowboy boots and tacky t-shirts, not to mention overpriced food, as far as the eye can see. The only thing worth stopping for is the jackalope (a made-up jack rabbit/antelope cross-breed) statue, and the still-free cup of water.
South of the Border
Then there’s this place off three well-trodden highways in South Carolina, which makes Wall Drug look like the epitome of taste and subtlety. Like Wall Drug, South of the Border was designed to trap tourists (and their money), but it doesn't have Wall Drug’s history.
It was developed in 1950 to be intentionally campy, and boy, did the owners succeed. Attractions include a video arcade, a tiny amusement park, fireworks stores and a statue of “Pedro,” a crude caricature of a Mexican bandido.
This place is truly depressing, like the underbelly of American consumerism flipped over and left to burn in the sun.
Lest we start to think Americans have a lock on the tacky, Brussels steps up.
This inexplicably famous statue shows a little boy urinating into a fountain. Let’s be honest: If you go to Brussels, you’ll probably go to see him. But at least you won’t expect much. It’s a little boy. Peeing. That’s it.
The "Mona Lisa” at The Louvre
Millions of people flock to the Louvre in Paris every year, and a huge portion of those millions make their way to Room 711 to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous "Mona Lisa." We’ve been there. And we can tell you, it looks exactly like you were expecting, except smaller.
Is it worth it to wait in line for hours to peer through bullet-proof glass to see it? That’s up to you. But we can tell you that the Louvre has thousands of other pieces, almost all of which are beautiful and easier to see.
The Empire State Building
Yes, yes, it features in two of the greatest romantic movies of all time, “An Affair to Remember” and “Sleepless in Seattle.” All we can say is that these days, with its steep entrance fee, massive crowds and intensive security check, it’s hard to find much to love here. And when you actually get to the top, you can’t even see iconic sights like Central Park!
Our advice: Take photos of this building from outside, and move on. There are many places in the city that offer the opportunity to snap a great shot of the Manhattan skyline...and they won’t cost you $20.
Pyramids of Giza
They’re an ancient wonder, but pretty hellish for modern-day visitors.
For one thing, the Pyramids of Giza (the most visited pyramids in the world) are in a desert, and, as you may have heard, deserts are usually hot and dry. That makes for a difficult journey to the site. Add in the difficulties of negotiating your entrance fee — different prices are set for different pyramids — and the fact that exploring the structures involves navigating long, dark, narrow, low tunnels to see a bunch of empty rooms…and, well, we’ll pass.
This fountain in Rome was completed in 1762 and has been revered for its beauty ever since. We’re mentioning that because you’ll likely have trouble doing more than glimpsing it unless you go at the crack of dawn.
Hundreds of people wait for hours to throw a coin in because a legend insists that doing so assures that they’ll return to Rome one day. Don’t bother being one of them — just book a return trip!
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The appeal of this array of stars set in concrete eludes us. It’s not like the famous people are there, or that the stars are in any way distinctive — they just have a famous person’s name on them.
If watching celebrity superfans and teenagers let loose on family vacations is your thing, then by all means, head down to Hollywood Boulevard. But we suggest you skip the stars as well as the former Mann’s Chinese Theatre (now the TCL Chinese Theatre), an inexplicably overhyped gaudy monstrosity of a cinema on the same street.
The history at this famous site in San Antonio is interesting, of course, and the courage of the people who died there compelling. But a glance at the website, where instructions for this “Shrine to Texas Liberty” include “Gentlemen, please remove your hats…” reveals the problem: It takes itself way too seriously, and streamlines a complicated history into simplified ideas about bravery and sacrifice.
Also, it’s small and often crowded and too hot.
Tower of London
Look, we know you’re going to go to the Tower of London if it’s your first time in the city. Just don’t say we didn’t tell you what to expect. The crowds are endless, so bad that in some parts you’ll queue for a half-hour in order to ride a people mover — including past the Crown Jewels — to maximize the number of people who can “see” the exhibits. And you’ll pay about $40 for the honor of doing so.
Also, keep in mind that this is a place that tries to pass off a bunch of loud crows as “the Tower Ravens.” Off with their heads.
Copenhagen Little Mermaid Statue
Fancy a long walk through Copenhagen for no other reason than to gaze at a four-foot-high statue stuck on the waterside, while jostling for space alongside a bunch of other tourists who got snookered into doing this?
If so, we have a suggestion of which statue to see. Prepare to wait a long, long time to get your photo taken with her.
It’s a very cool sculpture, Mount Rushmore, set high in the Black Hills of South Dakota, begun by Gutzon Borglum in the 1920s and finished in 1941. But even if you have no issues with the men portrayed and the men who carved them, the problem is that it is set very high in the hills, so far away from the viewing platform at the National Park dedicated to it that you need to bring binoculars to really see much of anything.
Also, there are hundreds of people around you trying to see the same four faces. Next.
When you’re planning a trip to Rome, people will tell you you have to visit the nearly 2,000-year-old Colosseum, but oh, we wish you wouldn’t. The queues to go in are long and disorganized. And once you make it in, the walking is difficult, there are tons of people there, and few interpretive signs are provided.
If you have to go, try to do so in the off-season, when there are fewer people and cooler temperatures. We hate to double-diss Rome in this list, but alas! Thumbs down. (And don’t worry: There are a million other amazing sites to explore in the city instead.)
Grand Canyon Skywalk
You might remember when this opened in 2007; people went nuts over the idea of a glass walkway jutting out over the rim of the Grand Canyon, theoretically allowing visitors to gaze down into the abyss. But the key word here is “theoretically.”
These days, the Skyrim is so crowded that you can barely see your own feet, let alone any tremendous views, and the price gouging is out of control: The cheapest ticket is nearly $50. Maybe instead just drive to a lookout on the canyon rim, and, you know, look out?
Statue of Liberty
The strange thing about the Statue of Liberty is that so many tourists are willing to go to Herculean efforts (generally involving at least a long subway ride and a ferry) to get to it when there is so much else to see and do in New York City. At least it’s now open, having been closed after September 11, 2001 for many years because of security concerns.
But the big secret of the Statue is that the views out of the crown aren’t very good, and you have to climb an extremely claustrophobic staircase to get to them. Our advice is to take the Staten Island ferry for a great view of Lady Liberty for far less time and money.
We get it: Whales are majestic and beautiful creatures. But the truth of the matter is, unless you’re going whale watching in an area where there happen to be lots of active whales who like to jump and slap their tails around, you’re going to be underwhelmed.
Most whale-watching tours involve staring into the middle distance over the ocean for long periods of time, only to be sent running to the other side of the boat to see what looks like a small dark island appear and disappear in the water. And you paid $50 a person for that. Yay?
Bird poop. Sorry, but that’s what Venice is full of, due to all of the pigeons that flock here. Also flocking? Tons and tons of tourists.
What no one tells you about Venice (but we will) is that the canals make for lots of narrow and confusing streets, with quite a few dead-ends along the way. Now, picture those tiny streets packed with people, and smeared with…well, you know. Poop.
All anyone ever talks about regarding New Orleans is how charming it is, and given what the city has been through in the last 15 years, with Hurricane Katrina decimating it, we’re all for its charms being celebrated.
But the French Quarter is not charming. It’s full of visiting day drinkers and businesses that use sleaze to sell more drinking. Other areas of the city, like Algiers and the Garden District, are far more enticing and authentic.
The Las Vegas Strip
Everyone visiting Las Vegas thinks that it’ll be like being in one of the “Ocean’s 11” movies (original or 20th century versions). It is not. It’s much more like tromping around a bunch of fake (cool, but fake) attractions in the blazing desert heat.
Everything costs $1,000,000. Everyone is nice to you because they want your money. You can’t get close enough to those freaking fountains at the Bellagio to even really see the show.
Eventually, you’ll give in, go back inside, and play the slot machines for hours, just like everyone else.
The Hollywood Sign
For those who feel that giant letters just do not get enough tourist attention these days, this famous sign, high in the hills over Los Angeles, is must-visit. For everyone else, though, shots of it in your favorite L.A.-based movies or television shows are likely satisfying enough.
The hike up to the sign is steep, and, well, let’s just say the letters aren’t more interesting from behind. Hit pause next time you’re watching, instead.
This used to be called the Sears Tower, and it’s a very, very tall building in Chicago, once the highest in the world, actually.
In theory, it offers amazing views of Chicago and Lake Michigan, but once you factor in the crowds and Chicago’s frequent bad weather, it’s not worth the trouble.
By the way, the Willis Tower offers the Skydeck, a glass-floor that extends out from the tower. You’ll pay $24 a person to enjoy all four feet of it. Yep. Four feet.
There’s no denying that Denali, the highest mountain in North America is stunning, an immense form on the horizon seen from the national park that bears its name.
The problem is that you have about a 1 in 3 chance of actually seeing it, since it makes its own weather and seems to be awfully fond of creating fog.
Alaska is a long way to travel to see fog, even if you vaguely understand that there’s a mountain in it somewhere.
Najing Dong Lu
Shanghai’s most famous street is frequently called a shopper’s paradise. It’s a pedestrian area, often compared to Times Square, which should be all the warning you need: like New York’s “shopper’s paradise,” Najing Dong Lu is crowded and full of scam artists.
And the shopping? Mediocre, and full of chain stores. Visitors who stand out from the Chinese crowd will be particularly targeted, harassed by frequent offers of counterfeit goods and ladies of the night.
Christ the Redeemer Statue
Like the Hollywood sign — a comparison that is not often made with Jesus — the famous Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro is better appreciated from afar or on screen.
The problem here isn’t the beauty of the statue, which is just as impressive up close, but rather the grueling traffic on the road to get there, and the massive crowds once you finally make it. Not to mention that plenty of tours stop for 10 minutes, tops.
Old Town Prague
Prague’s Old Town section, dating back to the Medieval era, is both historical and attractive.
Everyone else has figured this out too, however, so you’ll be lucky to catch a glimpse of the actual tiny, exquisite buildings while you trundle along, jostled constantly and trying not to trip over the cobblestones.
Arrive early or late for a better shot of actually seeing something there.
This cathedral in Paris, where prayers are said 24 hours a day, is stunning. As a bonus, the views over the city are gorgeous, too.
So, why is Sacre Couer on this list? Because of the super-aggressive hustlers on nearby streets, including by the entrance to the funicular that many visitors will take to and from the cathedral to avoid multiple steep staircases.
These ever-present scam artists don’t take no for an answer, and ruin what should be a peaceful, contemplative place.
Oh, great, another super-tall building. This one is in Dubai, and, as of this writing, is the current record holder for tallest in the world.
The usual caveats apply here: if you absolutely must have a birds-eye view of Dubai or enjoy the idea of visiting an 148th floor, go for it, but most people will wonder if the trip to the top was worth $100 a person. Yes, really.
Beijing’s most famous tourist attraction fails in the same way Versailles does: in an effort to let in as many tourists as possible, far too many people are in the Forbidden City most of the time.
It’s hard to imagine that a site as large as this one could feel crowded, but because most visitors want to see a relatively small portion of it, they tend to cluster together in cramped areas.
You’ll be moved along quickly by workers, and have a stunning view of the backs of many strangers’ heads.
There’s plenty to see in the Vatican City, but frankly, it’s depressing to experience this much wealth in one place. Everything not nailed down (and some things that are) seems to have been plated with gold, and there are enough tapestries and velvets and jewels to make you think you’ve wandered into Liberace’s closet.
Of course, there are some stunning works of art here, and you can enjoy them if you don’t think too hard about how much good such wealth could do in the world instead of piled up here.
Lavish in a completely different, tackier, way, Elvis’s mansion is still attracting visitors, 40 years after his death. It’s become one of those self-perpetuating tourist destinations, where people go because it’s there for people to go to, more than because they’re real fans of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Save yourself the trip and some money by buying a velvet Elvis painting at your local thrift shop. It has exactly the same effect.
The Sydney Opera House
Often referred to as one of the most iconic buildings in the world, and few visitors to Sydney will miss taking a photo of it. That’s all fine, but only those who actually want to attend a performance should make further efforts to see it up close.
Most visitors agree that the interior is nothing special, and not worth the trouble. Also, there are about a million steps around the property, making the appearance that you can glide right up to it decidedly incorrect.
Moscow’s jewel is a must-see for most visitors. But be warned: It’s just a square. There’s not much in there besides huge crowds. The better idea is to visit the old buildings around it and nearby, and snap photos of the skyline from outside of it.
Since construction scaffolding there seems to have become a new constant for Russia and it’s particularly dense around here, there’s even more reason to appreciate it from afar.
The White House
No matter what your opinion of the current residents of the White House, the tour itself is a bit of a snooze, unless you happen to snag a ticket during the winter holiday season when the decorations are pretty enough.
After waiting in a line for a very long time, it takes forever to clear security to get inside: seriously, it’s worse than taking a plane. The White House itself is surprisingly small, and the section you’re allowed to see even smaller. Add in the Secret Service watching everyone’s every move, and maybe you’d rather just watch another episode of “The West Wing”?
The Great Wall of China
Sure, if you’re in China, you should take the time to see the Great Wall. It’s pretty, uh, great. What’s not great, though, is Mutianyu, the restored section of the Wall not far from Beijing, where most tourists end up.
It’s frequently overcrowded, and, due to the restoration’s air-brushing effects, lacks the atmosphere of the rest of the wall. If you go, make sure you visit the less crowded, less tidy sections.
Khao San Road
We're sure this short street once deserved to be the most famous in Bangkok. But like so many places on this list, its popularity was its downfall.
If you visit today, you'll mostly find a line of vendors selling the same elephant pants, cheesy bags with "Bangkok" printed all over or T-shirts with lewd references catering to the party backpacker crowd. Everything you find here, from the food to the alcohol to the souvenirs, is over priced and the entire road is meant for tourists. Do yourself a favor and skip visiting this "attraction" altogether.
It seems extreme to deem an entire country as a tourist trap, but when you're as small as Monaco, generalizations are a bit inevitable.
We concede that the tiny country is very beautiful, with glittering views of the Cote d'Azur and aesthetically pleasing structures like the Prince's Palace. The problem is that Monaco is all looks and no substance. As an entire country that mostly seems to exist so the rich can go squander their money, the micro-nation is simply soulless. Unless you're part of the 1 percent and are going to gamble, a half-day trip from France is all you need. Better yet, don't bother visiting.
We'll let you in on a secret: People who live in Miami usually skip South Beach.
The city is filled with beaches, many of which are much more beautiful than the crowded and dirty one that basically puts Miami on the map. Yes, the area is definitely worth visiting, especially if you want to experience the legendary South Florida nightlife. But if you want to enjoy the sand, go elsewhere.
Sunny Isles Beach is the best in our opinion, but you can also stay within the city of Miami Beach by booking a hotel with a private beach.
The Eiffel Tower
We are by no means saying that the Eiffel Tower itself is overrated. In fact, we'd encourage you to cut ties with anyone snobbish enough to say so.
What is overrated, however, is going up the tower. Sure, there's something romantic about saying you were at the top of one of the world's most famous buildings, but the problem is that the view you get of Paris is not the best. Why? Well, because a view of Paris that doesn't include the Eiffel Tower is inevitably underwhelming. Besides, the arduously long lines are not really worth it.
For the best view of the City of Lights, we recommend going up the Arc de Triumph at night. You'll get to see why the area is called l'etoile, or the star, and get a magnificent perspective of Paris that includes the Eiffel Tower. Another option is to go up the Montparnasse Tower, if only so its ugliness doesn't intrude on the otherwise breathtaking panorama.
Hoi An is included in every guidebook to Vietnam for its incredibly well-preserved ancient town. We won't deny its beauty, accentuated by canals and bridges connecting different architectural styles.
But once again, tourists have ruined a good thing and Hoi An is now more like Disneyland than a real town. The entirety of the place seems to run mostly to please tourists, with aggressive vendors, exaggerated prices and too many crowds. If you visit in summer, the extreme heat exacerbated by the masses makes you feel like a sardine in a tin can.
Swing at the End of the World
If you use any kind of social media, chances are that you've stumbled upon pictures of travelers in Ecuador swinging right onto what looks like the edge of a steep mountain.
Though the pictures are definitely Insta-worthy and the views are pretty, this is a case of fake social media. In reality, you have to wait in line for 30 to 40 minutes just to get on the swing for about three pushes while your friends or tour guide snap pictures of you. Besides that, the swing isn't really at the edge of a cliff but rather on a slope that gives that illusion if you point your camera at the right angle.
Ecuador has many places that are truly breathtaking and wondrous. Wasting a couple of hours of your time just to go take a picture that's really an optical illusion is simply a bad decision.
The thing about Phuket city is that besides being overly touristy, its beaches are most definitely not what they look like in pictures. Perhaps before the area was a poster child for overtourism or before plastic waste overtook the world, Phuket was truly a beautiful place to visit.
Sadly, that just isn't the case anymore. Go to any public beach in Phuket, and you won't be able to walk 2 feet without running into trash. Even the sand sometimes also has trash, so sunbathing isn't very pleasant. The only clean beaches you'll find are the private ones, and those are not only expensive but feel more like Miami's South Beach than anything. You'll get restaurants with Western food, pop songs blaring and overpriced beer.
The one exception to this are the Phi Phi Islands, which are not actually in Phuket, but which constantly get tagged as such. This is partly the reason why people expect beaches in Phuket city to be idyllic.
La Sagrada Familia
The construction of the Sagrada Familia has has taken hundreds of years longer than that of the Great Pyramid of Egypt.
Gaudi's most famous work and Barcelona's most iconic landmark, this church is certainly unusual and worth seeing — from the outside. What's really overrated is standing in line for hours and hours and paying almost $25 to go inside. Not that the geometric patterns and columns of the inside aren't astonishing, but much of it is still not finished and the crowds are unbearable.
Although this is a place of worship, its status as a main tourist attraction have stripped it of any introspective, spiritual or even sacred feeling. We're not sure this is what Gaudi had in mind for his masterpiece.
Sacred Monkey Forest
Ubud's Sacred Monkey Forest is a tourist, backpacker and digital nomad favorite. It's lauded as a must-see place in Bali, which we think is just plain wrong.
To begin with, Bali has many incredible sights that should be visited, including its numerous temples, like Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, its rice terraces and the imposing Mount Batur.
The Monkey Forest could be interesting as a temple, but its main draw is the several wild monkeys that have made their home here. What you mostly spend your time on is seeing people get way too close to the monkeys to try to snap a picture, which is something we definitely don't recommend, as monkeys can be aggressive and have very powerful jaws. There are also monkeys all over this Indonesian island, so we don't get the appeal of going to a jammed-packed attraction just to see them.
Let's be honest: Maid cafes are creepy.
Now a typical stop in the itinerary of Western travelers — many of which have a disconcerting obsession with Japan — maid cafes are something you should skip. Their whole gimmick is that they're normal cafes, but instead of a regularly-clothed waitress, you get one that's dressed like a sexy maid. If that doesn't give you the immediate creeps, there's not much we can do for you.
If you want to check out a themed cafe, we recommend the Alice in Wonderland restaurant or the Vampire Cafe.
The Space Needle
As far as city symbols go, the Space Needle is nothing to gush about, but it does make the Seattle skyline instantly recognizable.
We're not against the Space Needle per se, but we wouldn't recommend paying the $30 to go to the top. The price seems exaggerated given that the structure doesn't even provide the best views of the city. Seattle also has many mountains and viewpoints that provide much better scenery for free.
If you want to have the cheesiest, most expensive tourist experience of your life, go to Epcot.
This Disney park in Orlando, Florida, has you pay around $120 for the privilege to go in and see stereotypical replicas of actually cool places. Then, you get to go and spend even more money for inauthentic experiences and food that is for the most part pretty awful.
Epcot may not be the worst Disney park in the U.S., but it's a pretty close contender.
Even if you're not a die-hard fan of the "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" trilogies, this preserved movie set looks like a place you'd want to visit.
Small houses with round doors are carved into the sides of soft hills and surrounded by the green countryside. The problem is that to see them, you have to pay about $85 for a tour that lasts around two hours. Groups of tourists are rushed through the set, so you don't have much time to really take it in and enjoy the beauty. As it should be obvious, the houses don't have interiors.
Hobbiton is certainly pretty, but the experience of it is an expensive let down, especially when there are so many other amazing places in New Zealand.
Winding down the hill like a snake, we can understand why Lombard Street in San Francisco first drew attention as a tourist attraction. What we don't understand is why it has remained one.
An estimated 6,000 people visit Lombard Street daily, creating heavy traffic and making it impossible for residents to go on with their life. People willingly wait in traffic just to spend a few minutes driving down a zig-zagging street. Given that residents have complained about this problem for years, we deem this attraction one of the worst examples of tourism gone wrong in the U.S.
We hate to be those people, but if you had visited Tulum 10 years ago, you would have found the perfect jungle paradise that people still go look for.
Then, of course, tourists arrived in masses. With them came the bulldozers that turned the town from small and sleepy to loud and crowded. Jungle was replaced by concrete and luxury condos, and resorts stand where there were once wooden structures. Sacred cenotes are being used for raves by spring breakers. Beaches are now also facing serious trash problems, even those within the Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve, which are supposed to be protected. The situation is so bad that there are several op-eds trying to decipher who killed Tulum.
This area of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is one of the saddest examples of a magical place turned amusement park by unregulated and unconscious mass tourism. We're sorry to say this, but don't waste your time with it.
The London Eye
The London Eye, the Ferris wheel that dominates part of the city's skyline is beautiful ... from afar. But doing a long line and paying a lot of money to go on it really isn't worth it.
For one, the views aren't that great, and the experience is basically the same you'd get at any carnival that comes through your town. Unless you're dying to be trapped above the ground with your date, there are many more exciting things to do in London.
The Middle of the World
Ecuador capitalized on its location right on the Equator (hence the country's name) by building a monument and a museum on the "middle of the world." Both were really just a gimmick to allure tourists, and when the GPS was invented, it was discovered that the spot was actually around 700 feet off.
While the distance to the real middle of the world isn't huge, it's still not very worth it. Yes, you can balance an egg on a nail according to testimonies, but besides bragging rights that don't mean much to anyone, it's not a very interesting place.
Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, is definitely one of the best small towns in the U.S. But while we love the town, we'd advise anyone visiting to avoid its boardwalk on the weekends.
During the week in the off-season, it's very pleasant, but when the crowds take over, it turns from peaceful to loud and crowded. All the stores and restaurants nearby are also overpriced and usually not that good anyways.
Like much of Hawaii, Oahu was taken over after the kingdom was colonized by the U.S. and turned into a cash cow. But no place on the island has suffered as much as Waikiki Beach.
Where there was once a rugged shoreline and one of the most sustainable societies in the world, there are now countless hotels and resorts. None of these resorts are visually interesting, and they only work to provide visitors with access to the beach while blocking the sun and the view for everyone else.
You'll hardly see a Hawaiian at Waikiki unless they're working — that should be the only sign you need.
Casa di Giulietta
The house that supposedly inspired Shakespeare's most famous play is incredibly beautiful. Sadly, visitors saw its traditional beauty and decided that the best way to honor it would be by treating it like a bathroom stall in a dingy bar.
You'll see the walls full of gum, love notes and scribblings that make it look like a sixth grader's notebook. Somehow, nobody has thought to put a stop to this infamous practice or the creepy tourist tradition of groping a Juliet statue to "get good luck in love."
Once again, tourists have damaged a place that could've been incredible.
Mall of America
Mall of America is the largest mall in the U.S. That's its entire claim to fame. But really, it's nothing except a mall, and we'd hope that after the age of 15, we wouldn't have to hang out at the mall for no reason anymore.
It does have a roller coaster inside, but so do other much cooler attractions. It's not even good for shopping since you'll have to walk long distances to get from one side to the other. Skip it altogether when visiting Minnesota.
Seattle's Gum Wall
We thought hipsters had stopped being a thing a while ago, but this wall in Seattle proves us wrong. What's the attraction? That it's covered in gum. Big deal, so is every desk in every high school in the world.
The worst part about it is that people actually make lines to take pictures in this unsanitary "attraction." Hopefully, a global pandemic will make them see the error of their ways, and this wall — who some ridiculous people call a work of public art — will disappear soon.
Every travel guide to Stockholm sends people to Drottninggatan for shopping. And, apparently, every tourist heeds the call.
Rather than being good for shopping, the street has become a long gallery of souvenir shops that locals avoid like the plague.
Like Drottninggatan, Myeong-Dong is a shopping district in Seoul, South Korea, that now mostly exists for tourists. The street does have actual shops, but the crowds make it annoying for actual shopping, and things are overpriced.
People who don't know better also say the street food is great. They're simply wrong. Most of the street food stalls on the street are subpar, probably because they know tourists don't know any better.
If you really want to see it, satisfy your curiosity. It definitely isn't terrible. But there's much better places for food and shopping in the South Korean capital. We personally love Hongdae's youthful vibe and Insa-dong.
St. Louis' Gateway Arch
The arch once marked the westward expansion of the United States. It's the largest arch in the world and something worth seeing if you're in St. Louis.
But it's definitely not cool enough for you to make a trip to St. Louis just to see it. And given that it's basically the only attraction in the city, unless you have family or business there, you'll be fine seeing it in pictures.
Sydney Fish Market
The largest fish market in the whole world is bound to attract tourists. Many, many tourists.
This is what dooms Australia's Sydney Fish Market, which could be cool otherwise. But the walking dollar signs that tourists often are to locals has inflated the prices of the fish here. Rather than a local shopping experience, you'll spend most of your time bumping into other people and trying to hear anything over the noise.
Why is Myrtle Beach still a thing? Everyone knows that the South Carolinian beach town is dirty, overcrowded and overpriced. What's worse is that its beaches really aren't that nice at all.
We get air travel used to be expensive, so people didn't have a choice except to go to nearby beaches. But that has changed, and you can now access actually nice beaches in the same amount of time and for the same amount of money. Don't go to Myrtle Beach. Just don't do it.
The towering mountain that dominates the skyline of Hong Kong could be its greatest treasure. After all, it is the tallest hill in the city, meaning that it provides sweeping views. You also take a cute historic tram up to the top, which is actually an enjoyable ride.
So what's the problem with Victoria Peak? Greed.
Once you get to the peak, you're invaded by an ugly mall filled with overpriced restaurants and gimmick-y attractions like Madame Tussauds. You can still get a view, but you have to basically work to escape the traps. The whole experience feels like the definition of a tourist trap, which is terrible given that this is one of the most visited attractions in the world.
Yes, yes, Disney is a dream destination for many people who can't get to Florida or California.
But wasting time you could be using to explore Paris and its surroundings going on rides designed for children and meeting people in large cartoon suits? That's just not right.
We're sorry, Dubrovnik. We really do think you're one of the most beautiful places in Europe.
Like so many other places on this list, however, Dubrovnik is impossible to enjoy. It's not just that it's popular and many people visit. It's that a lot of these people are day trippers who come in giant cruise ships. It's basically Venice 2.0.
These people come down the ship in swarms, filling up the Croatian city with hundreds, sometimes thousands of more people who are in a rush to take pictures in the same spots. Given that Dubrovnik is a very old city and was not designed for a large population, the amount of people that come is simply unsustainable.