The definition of a tourist trap according to Merriam-Webster is “a place that attracts many tourists and that charges high prices“.
Many places and attractions that we visit might be considered tourist traps yet many people keep going. Why is that? Are the places really a tourist trap if most people find them enjoyable and worth their time?
That’s certainly a tough question to answer and most likely has to do with personal taste.
Thrillist wants to help us avoid visiting places that aren’t worth our time and came up with an article featuring what they consider America’s Worst Tourist Traps.
Here are their picks:
- Niagara Falls- Niagara Falls, NY
- Hollywood Walk of Fame- Los Angeles, CA
- Times Square- New York, NY
- Epcot- Buena Vista, FL
- Seattle Space Needle- Seattle, WA
- Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market- Boston, MA
- Empire State Building- New York, NY
- The Four Corners- Shiprock, NM (and CO, UT, AZ)
- Plymouth Rock- Plymouth, MA
- Roswell- Roswell, NM
I’ve only visited 5/10 of the places that Thrillist considers the worst tourist traps in America and was surprised to see some of their selections.
Kim and I visited Niagara Falls as a day trip from Toronto years back and definitely enjoyed the visit. Maybe if we had spent a night in the area we would’ve came away with a negative feeling about it.
I visited the Hollywood Walk of Fame when I was around 10 or 11 years old. I remember it being a fun place to visit and am not sure how it fits the title of tourist trap. Isn’t it free to walk along the street and check out the celebrity marked sidewalks?
We try to avoid Times Square and rarely ever go there. While I am not a fan of the area, it can be a fun and free visit for tourists. Although with all of the shops selling things I’m not sure how many people visit just to go window shopping.
Kim and I stopped by for a quick visit to Faneuil Hall on our first visit to Boston. I remember it being pretty busy but plenty of food vendors offered samples and fairly priced food. Maybe things have changed since our visit…
The Empire State Building isn’t a place that I ever visit but I did run up the building to the 86th floor a couple of years back! While visiting isn’t cheap, if you like to get a sky high view of a city, then maybe this is for you.
The rest of the list are definitely places I’d like to visit so would I say that I’m a fan of tourist traps? No. I think these places have become “tourist traps” because obviously people enjoy visiting them. You just have to be smart when go so you don’t go broke. Simple things things like staying a bit outside of the area, not eating right in the most touristy places and looking for coupons/discounts are all things we do. Also, we do our research and try do some things that are a bit off the beaten path after getting our super touristy fix.
Find out why Thrillist picked these 10 places as the worst tourist traps here
What sites in the U.S. would you consider a tourist trap?
Written by Michael of Michael W Travels. Michael is a budget traveler, educator and dad showing his family the world with the help of miles and points. No place is off limits. His blog, Michael W Travels offers travel news, contests, deals, mileage bonus offers, trip reports and photos from his travels around the world.