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17 Popular Tourist Attractions That Aren't Really Worth The Hype, According To People Who've Actually Been There

Guess I should erase "Museum of Ice Cream" from my bucket list.

Have you ever chosen your vacation spot solely so that you could visit a specific tourist destination? And then were you upset that you traveled all that way only to be disappointed?

MTV / Via giphy.com

A while back, Reddit user u/superlemondaze asked, "What’s a tourist attraction you’ve been to that was 100% not worth the hype?"

Pop TV / Via giphy.com

Here are some of the most disappointing responses and where you should visit instead:

1. "If you go to the Great Wall of China, I'd suggest not going to the section right there in Beijing. It's very rebuilt and touristy."

the wall is packed wall to wall — no pun intended
Kevin Frayer / Getty Images

"Take a van ride a ways out of the city, to the Simatai section. Now there's some uncrowded, old-school Great Wall."

there's only a handful of tourists here
China News Service / China News Service via Getty Images

2. "The Fountain of Youth down here in St. Augustine, Florida. The actual fountain is just a fake cave with a pipe that you fill a cup from."

cheesy, outdated welcome sign for the fountain of youth
Nik Wheeler/Corbis via Getty Images

"There were way cooler things there than that, like a dude who fired a cannon, a bunch of peacocks, and these guys who built replica ships using the techniques from the 16th/17th century."

u/BeefMcGeef

"No one ever hears of the much more intimate Fort Matanzas about 12 miles away that's free but accepts donations."

small but interesting fort
Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

3. "Romeo and Juliet's balcony in Verona. Like, 10,000 people all crammed into this tiny alleyway just to see a balcony that I found out was built after the play was written."

small balcony high above a crowd
Michel Porro / Getty Images

"In Verona, visit the Arena (maybe watching a show, magical experience) and Piazza Bra, Castelvecchio, the view from Castel San Pietro, Piazza dei Signori, and Lake Garda if you have time. You'll love the city."

large, historic theater
Marco Secchi / Getty Images

u/thegiam

4. "The pawn shop from Pawn Stars. A guy who was with us in Vegas insisted on going, and the rest of us got dragged along. We got corralled through the store, and there was literally nothing worth a second look there. Fucking waste of time."

Gold and Silver Pawn
Denise Truscello / WireImage / Via Getty

"I was particularly annoyed at the prices of used musical instruments there. I’ve been selling drums for 10 years, and I’m not about to buy a kit for higher than the new price just for the honor of having bought it there."

u/PBaz1337

"The Mob Museum is pretty neat. First Friday is too, if you're into the art scene. Container park is nice but kind of touristy. There's a Chinatown that has absolutely amazing food."

the Mob Museum and nice and big
Ethan Miller / Getty Images

5. "Plymouth Rock. Put bluntly, this attraction is massively lame. No one even knows if this is the right rock or even if there was a rock."

small rock behind bars
Michael Springer / Getty Images

u/Beobee1

"Plymouth itself is interesting. I really enjoy Burial Hill Cemetery; it's a peaceful place to contemplate history."

historical cemetery
Boston Globe / Boston Globe via Getty Images

u/Beobee1

6. "Roswell, New Mexico. You’d think it would be a hotspot for conventions and space geeks, but it was an incredibly tiny town with dozens of alien shops and barely any people."

crowded UFO museum
Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images

"It was creepy as hell."

u/properrocky

"You gotta go during the UFO Festival! It’s the same small town, but with more alien stuff."

aliens, cosplayers, and neon lights abound
Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images

7. "Centralia, Pennsylvania. A town that has had a coal mine fire underneath it still burning since 1962. It sounds super cool to go see it, but it's just a few roads with graffiti on them and a bunch of ATV trails."

a pipe for ventilation for the underground fire not too far from some houses
Leif Skoogfors / Via Getty

u/bkarst5

"Oh, Knoebels is much more interesting and fun."

amusement park with wooden roller coaster
The Washington Post / The Washington Post via Getty Images

 —u/bkarst5

8. "Any Instagram gimmick where you need to spend money on tickets and wait in line for a photo op. I'm specifically thinking of the Museum of Ice Cream."

long line outside what's essentially a selfie museum
Alexi Rosenfeld / Getty Images

"You should check out the Tillamook Creamery in Tillamook, Oregon. You can stuff your face with cheese and ice cream and also watch it get made, and you don't even need to do the tour."

creamery
Education Images / Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

9. "'Mona Lisa,' no. The Louvre, yes. Spend your time looking at everything else."

huge crowd around the masterpiece
Marc Piasecki / Getty Images

"I always say that the biggest art and historical piece in the Louvre is the Louvre itself. The entire underground area was lost for ages, it used to be a water canal surrounding a mini castle thing at some point, with a big tower in the middle, walls and smaller towers around, and it was just one of the three bigger parts that form the museum today."

huge art museum
Nurphoto / NurPhoto via Getty Images

"You can see the base of the towers and walls to this day, some parts are visible for free just to the left of the inverted pyramid!"

u/azehel452

10. "The glass bridge over the Grand Canyon is a total rip-off tourist trap. It takes HOURS to get there from Vegas. They charge you $20 to park in an empty desert."

high balcony overlooking the Grand Canyon
Paul Rovere / Getty Images

"They charge you $30 per person to take the bus from the parking to the attraction (it's like walking from parking into a mall — no distance at all). Then they charge you $30 per person if you actually want to walk on the bridge. You cannot take pictures or bring a camera onto the bridge, but they will sell them to you, of course."

u/TommyHole

"To get a real taste of the Grand Canyon, it’s best to rent a car and drive about two hours further to the national park center."

clear view of the canyon
David Mcnew / Getty Images

11. "Pier 39 in San Francisco. I'm from the East Coast. I'd never been to SF before. Everyone said, 'skip Pier 39....it's a tourist trap.' However, I figured I'd go and see for myself. It's a tourist trap."

busy but bleak boardwalk
Afp Contributor / AFP via Getty Images

"Nothing of value save for the seals, sea lions, and Musee Mechanique. Other than that....chains and ripoffs."

u/ElBomberoLoco

"Monterey Wharf in SF is much better."

fishing wharf with lots of sea lions
San Francisco Chronicle / San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

12. "I live in Atlantic City, and I'm amazed that people actually come here for vacation. It's just a few crappy casinos and some run down strip clubs. The food is good but incredibly overpriced."

crowded boardwalk
Alexi Rosenfeld / Getty Images

"Ocean City is a better boardwalk, and it's just down the road. It's sad people don't understand that."

beachside boardwalk
Alex Edelman / AFP via Getty Images

13. "That famous cheesesteak place in Philly. Awful service, plus the food downright sucked."

Geno's Steaks
Richard Levine / Corbis via Getty Images

"Reading Terminal Market is the shit. We go there every year during Comic-Con, and I gotta give props to the staff for not batting an eye at serving five Tony Starks, three Captain Americas, 12 Power Rangers, and a Black Panther."

indoor food market
Nurphoto / NurPhoto via Getty Images

14. "Manneken Pis in Brussels. There's so much interesting folklore and a lot of souvenirs and whatnot around Manneken Pis, and you expect it to be this really amazing statue... Until you see it."

statue of a little boy peeing, and he's dressed up like a famous harmonica player
Virginie Lefour / AFP via Getty Images

"It's down a tiny little street with hundreds of people stuffed into the corner where he sits. I know he's very respected and loved in Belgium, but he's just so tiny and the street was so crowded. I found it very hard to be excited once I actually saw him."

u/findvision

"I was in awe of the Grand Place nearby. Such a cool place."

high ceilings and filled with art
Europa Press News / Europa Press via Getty Images

15. "Magnolia Silos in Waco, Texas, as made famous by the TV show Fixer Upper — 100% waste of time and money. Everything in the store can be bought at Target, or it's just show merchandise."

modest, hisptery storefront
Fort Worth Star-telegram / Tribune News Service via Getty Images

"People come from across the country for this little store."

u/occassional_user

"Czech Stop is most definitely worth it if you are near there."

16. "Mount Rushmore. It looks exactly like any picture you've ever seen. It's not easy to get up close to it."

four president heads carved into the mountain
Karen Bleier / AFP via Getty Images

"If you're in that area, I recommend prioritizing Devil's Tower. It's well worth it."

flat top volcano
Mladen Antonov / AFP via Getty Images

17. And finally: "If you ever come to Chicago, stay away from Navy Pier. Everything is way overpriced (rides, games, food), and the tourists that visit are rude and annoying."

retro pier
Raymond Boyd / Getty Images

"Try the Art Institute, the Field Museum, or the Christkindl Market (winter only, obviously) instead."

Christmas market
Scott Olson / Getty Images

Some responses have been edited for length/clarity.

Have you ever traveled to a popular tourist spot, only to be sorely disappointed? Where do you think people should visit instead? Let us know in the comments!

Disclaimer: This article was written to provide future travel recommendations or suggestions. However, it’s important to keep in mind your own health, community health, and COVID-19 exposure risk.

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