10 Worst Tourist Traps in America

tourist trap
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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.

What sites in the U.S. would you consider a tourist trap?

Find out why Thrillist picked these 10 places as the worst tourist traps  here

4 thoughts on “10 Worst Tourist Traps in America

  1. > I think these places have become “tourist traps” because obviously people enjoy visiting them

    I totally agree, and I think the opposite is true as well; a successful tourist trap must actually be attractive to keep on attracting tourists.

    I’d think the Vegas Strip would be the top tourist trap; it’s completely manufactured and traps millions of tourists in for days, using every technique to make them spend money. Of course being trapped in Vegas is an enjoyable experience for many, too.

  2. I have to say Baltimore’s Inner Harbor belongs on the list. And as much as I love New Orleans, the tourist trap vibe runs strong in and around Bourbon Street.

  3. Penguin- Great points! I guess we could definitely add Dubai to the list too!

    Pat- Good picks but we have a soft spot for New Orleans. Definitely one of my fav U.S. cities!

    Tiff- Great question! I’d think all of Disney in Florida would get lumped in with this.

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