For those of you who have traveled around the globe a bit, you know that there are some places that are just better to avoid and some things that are just better to not do. Many of those involve personal safety and common sense. For example, walking around in certain parts of Rio de Janeiro at 3am is an extremely efficient way to shorten your life expectancy by several orders of magnitude. Or trying to cross the border between North Korea and South Korea without an ID. Or running across Pakistan dressed as Uncle Sam. Don’t. Just don’t. And while that is all very good travel advice, today’s list is not going to be about that. We are going to go in a different direction. Instead of talking about the places that most people probably wouldn’t go anyway, we’re going to talk about the places that everyone always goes. The Louvres, the Big Bens, the Great Walls. These are things that you probably have tucked away somewhere on your bucket list and know for sure that you want to see. But the fact is that some of those places just aren’t quite worth it. From long crowds to hyper-commercialization, you would probably do well to avoid them. These are 25 seriously overhyped tourist attractions that you might want to reconsider!
Mill End Park - the smallest park in the world (Portland, Oregon)
It’s a tiny tree in the middle of a street in Portland. And while it is in the Guinness Book of World Records, it’s probably not worth going out of your way.
Plymouth Rock (Plymouth, Massachusetts)
It’s just a medium sized rock in a gazebo. And “medium sized” is probably being a bit generous.
South Of The Border (South Carolina)
This rest stop/amusement park has advertisements along the highway stretching from Florida all the way to New York. You’d think it was bigger than Disney World. Spoiler alert: it’s not. It has maybe 5 rides and a mini golf course.
The first Starbucks (Seattle, Washington)
Aside from the whole why-would-you-even-go-to-starbucks-anyway argument…it’s not even technically the first Starbucks.
Four Corners Monument (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah)
It’s the only place in the United States where 4 states meet. Sound cool? It’s not. Rather than driving there to pay and see some lines in the sand, just look at a picture and call it a day.
The Future Birthplace of James T. Kirk. (Riverside, Iowa)
Unless you are driving through Iowa and have absolutely nothing better to do, this won’t be much of an impressive stop (this does not apply to serious trekkies).
The biggest ball of twine in the US (there is more than one)
Whether you’re in Kansas, Minnesota, or any other state trying to grab the “biggest ball of twine” record, it’s not worth it. It’s a ball of twine that’s really big. Drive on.
This UNESCO site in China has been renovated so extensively and it is so packed with tourist shops, that you might forget where you even are. Locals love it, but if you’re in China for just a short while, look elsewhere.
Manneken Pis (Brussels, Belgium)
Be prepared for a letdown. It’s not very big, and doesn’t even stand out much. Just a little statue of a peeing boy. The locals always have a good laugh at all the tourists snapping photos.
The Astronomical Clock (Prague, Czech Republic)
It’s the oldest operating astronomical clock on Earth (installed in 1410 so it’s been running for over 600 years), and it’s in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. So what could disappoint? Well, most people come to see the “animation” every hour. Take it from us…just watch it on youtube and move on.
The Mona Lisa (Paris, France)
Unless you are absolutely obsessed with art history, this is a guaranteed disappointment. If you were expecting some sort of huge painting, think again. The rest of the Louvre is nice though. (in case you’re wondering, the Mona Lisa wasn’t even well known until it was stolen in 1911)
The Salem Witch Museum (Salem, Massachusetts)
If you have to wait in line, it’s not worth it. Basically you’ll just end up watching a presentation and looking at a couple mannequins. Just read a book about it. At least you won’t be wasting your time.
Wall Drug (Wall, South Dakota)
Also known as the Wall Drug Store, if you live anywhere near South Dakota you’re probably sick of all the billboards advertising this place. And it’s nothing. Just a couple stores and restaurants.
Checkpoint Charlie (Berlin, Germany)
You’d miss it if you didn’t know what to look for. It’s just a hut in the middle of a street with a few fake soldiers for tourists to take pictures. Better to just go see the Berlin Wall Memorial.
Mystery Spot (Santa Cruz, California)
It’s basically a tilted cabin that creates some optical illusions. It might be worth it if you’re in the area, but definitely not to go out of your way for.
Pigeon Forge (Tennessee)
Basically somebody decided to set up some of the tackiest tourist traps in the most beautiful part of the state. It’s even been called the Hillbilly Las Vegas. We’ve probably sold you with that, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
The Liberty Bell (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
You can see it just as well from outside, with no wait.
Stonehenge (United Kingdom)
You can’t even get close to it. Basically you just stare at a pile of rocks from a distance.
The Sears/Willis Tower (Chicago, Illinois)
If you want a view of the city, head to the top of the Hancock Building.
The Alamo (San Antonio, Texas)
The history is amazing, the building…not so much.
Blarney Stone (Blarney, Ireland)
It’s just one section of one wall in a castle. There are plenty of way cooler things to see on the Emerald Isle.
The Little Mermaid Statue (Copenhagen, Denmark)
The main appeal for locals is watching tourists fall into the water.
Loch Ness (Scotland)
It’s just a lake…with tourists.
Mount Rushmore (South Dakota)
All those cool pictures you’ve seen? Those are zoomed in. The reality is quite different. And a lot less impressive.
The Mall of America (Minnesota)
It’s just a shopping mall, but bigger.