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Regrettably, the number of tourist traps at popular landmarks across the United States is on the rise.

We have compiled a list of the most popular destinations in the US, as well as some places to avoid that are known for being tourist traps. Our information is based on references from various websites and travel forums.

With the information below, you can steer clear of tourist traps when visiting the US:

1. Hollywood Walk of Fame (Los Angeles, California)

Top 26 Tourist Traps at Famous Destinations in America
Hollywood Walk of Fame

Having a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a dream for countless entertainers. Whenever a celebrity is added to the walk, a grand celebration awaits. As a visitor, however, you may find it frustrating to locate your favorite celebrity's star. The arrangement of the stars appears haphazard, lacking any discernible organization.

During your stroll, you may encounter individuals attempting to sell items or photographs at inflated prices, all while donning elaborate costumes. Access to the area can be restricted at times due to the filming of various shows and movies, which means there is no guarantee of being able to explore the area.

Overflowing with people, crowded walkways, and surrounded by souvenir shops selling overpriced trinkets, the Hollywood Walk of Fame often fails to meet visitors' expectations, leaving them feeling unimpressed and overwhelmed by the tourist hubbub.

Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles

Some people think of the Hollywood Sign as an American icon. In the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, it sits on Mount Lee. It's free to look at the sign from a distance, but it will be hard work to get closer.

The sign is fenced off and watched by security, which disappoints people who were hoping to take a personal picture. Visitors are often let down by the over-the-top hype.

2. Times Square (New York)

Many movies and television shows have portrayed New York City and Times Square in a romanticized manner. When you're with other travelers, it's truly a pleasure to take in the vibrant lights and stunning architecture. However, once you arrive at Times Square, your excitement will only last for a brief moment. The region has gained a reputation for being excessively crowded, resulting in a diminished level of enjoyment.

Times Square can be quite overwhelming with its abundance of chain restaurants, pricey Broadway shows, and persistent costumed characters seeking gratuities. It's easy to feel both financially and mentally drained in this bustling area.

It's important to always keep your belongings secure to avoid any potential loss of your money, credit cards, and phone.

Although Times Square is a well-known landmark in the United States, it may not be the most compelling reason to plan a trip.

3. The Las Vegas Strip (Nevada)

The grand casinos, including Bellagio, MGM Grand, and The Venetian, that line the well-known Las Vegas Strip mesmerize visitors. This iconic boulevard runs right through the vibrant center of Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Strip is a captivating destination that offers a world of luxury and non-stop entertainment, attracting visitors from all corners of the globe. However, this can be quite expensive, leaving many visitors with depleted funds. In addition, the presence of large crowds and excessive commercialism detracts from the inherent beauty of the Nevada desert.

4. Niagara Falls (New York)

Niagara Falls is an awe-inspiring natural wonder that attracts visitors from all corners of the globe. Located on the border between the United States and Canada, near Buffalo, New York.

While entry to the park is free, visitors should be aware that there are additional charges for the attractions and tours offered in the surrounding area. The commercialization of waterfalls takes away from their inherent natural beauty. Overpriced amenities and crowded viewpoints detract from the experience of the majestic falls.

5. The first-ever Starbucks (Seattle, Washington)

Starbucks has gained immense popularity globally. No matter where you are in the world, you can always count on finding a Starbucks nearby. One might expect that visiting the first location would be an enjoyable experience... wouldn't you agree? Regrettably, that is not the situation.

When planning a trip to Seattle, it's advisable to steer clear of the initial coffee shop that has a siren logo. The lines are always long and the drink menu is not unique compared to other Starbucks locations. Feel free to capture some photos of the exterior, but there's no need to include it in your travel plans.

6. Bourbon Street (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Throughout the years, this region of New Orleans has gained a reputation as a top-notch party destination in the South. Regrettably, Bourbon Street doesn't quite live up to its reputation. This is an area of town that is often overlooked by most New Orleans residents – and for good reason.

Upon arrival, you will encounter a lively atmosphere filled with enthusiastic individuals who may be enjoying themselves a bit too much, making it difficult to determine their intentions or destinations. The streets have an unpleasant odor, as many individuals find a way to relieve themselves after consuming alcohol.

There are numerous incidents of crime in the area, making it extremely unsafe. Bourbon Street might not be the most secure place, so it may not leave you with the best memories.

For those seeking a more authentic experience in New Orleans, it's worth venturing beyond the touristy chaos of Bourbon Street. The city has so much more to offer beyond the well-known attractions.

7. Mount Rushmore (Keystone, South Dakota)

Top 26 Tourist Traps at Famous Destinations in America
Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota is a truly remarkable destination that offers a unique glimpse into United States history. The Black Hills proudly showcase the magnificent sculptures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Nevertheless, this destination is widely known as one of the most popular tourist spots in the United States. First of all, there is an entrance fee to access the area as it is a national park.

Once you're there, unless you're up for a full day of hiking or willing to splurge on souvenirs, you might feel ready to leave almost right away. This has nothing to do with its lack of aesthetic appeal. There is a limited range of attractions and activities available in that location. It's also a highly popular tourist destination in the United States. It is highly recommended to allocate a full day to explore this destination.

8. Empire State Building, New York City

The Empire State Building, a stunning example of Art Deco architecture, stands tall and proud in the heart of Manhattan, commanding attention as it graces the iconic New York City skyline. To enjoy the breathtaking city views from the observatory, a ticket is required, priced at $44 per person.

Long lines and a frequently busy viewing platform somewhat detract from the overall experience. One drawback is the inability to view the iconic Empire State Building from its observation deck.

9. Plymouth Rock (Plymouth, Massachusetts)

According to historical accounts, Plymouth Rock is believed to be the exact spot where the early explorers first stepped foot on American soil. However, it has been proven that they initially arrived on the opposite side of the Cape Cod Bay. While it may have been the initial landing spot for explorers in the United States, it is not particularly thrilling to visit. Unlike the other destinations on this list, Plymouth Rock may not boast bright lights or breathtaking views, but it does offer a unique experience centered around a simple rock.

A significant year in history, 1620 is etched into the rock, marking the founding of the United States by European explorers. After reaching the rock and capturing a photo, you'll probably be eager to depart. Massachusetts boasts a rich history that is unparalleled in the United States. Explore other destinations before making your way to Plymouth Rock.

10. Graceland (Memphis, Tennessee)

Elvis Presley had a significant impact on the music industry, shaping it into what it is today. The King of Rock n' Roll skyrocketed to stardom thanks to his exceptional songwriting abilities, impressive dancing skills, and undeniable charm. He resided at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee at one point. Presley was laid to rest there, alongside his other family members, following his passing. These days, it has become a popular destination for music enthusiasts from all over the globe.

Visitors are required to pay a substantial amount of money to gain entry into the museum. The individuals in charge of the museum are well aware of the immense number of Presley enthusiasts, allowing them to set prices at their discretion. Once you're inside, you'll come across numerous impressive artifacts, alongside a wide array of souvenirs available for purchase. Immersing yourself in Presley's music is a wonderful way to pay tribute to him and his enduring impact.

11. Four Corners Monument

Tourist Traps in the US
Four Corners Monument, Southwestern US

12. Four Corners National Park (Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado)

Did you know that the Four Corners is the only spot in the United States where four states meet? It's quite a unique geographical location! The convergence of Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico creates a captivating destination in the United States. However, this park doesn't quite live up to all the hype. The location is quite remote and can be expensive to reach due to its status as a National Park.

If you're looking to explore this region of the United States, be prepared to dedicate a full day to make the most of your visit. Once you arrive at the park, one of the most fascinating aspects is witnessing the convergence of four different states. Once you've had your picture taken on the circle at this particular spot, you'll probably be ready to depart. The drive from most other states doesn't seem worth it for just a half-hour experience.

13. The Gum Wall (Seattle, Washington)

Top 30 Most Notorious Tourist Traps in America to Avoid
The Gum Wall

Seattle is renowned for being the hub of groundbreaking technology companies that have made a global impact. One of the less appealing destinations (particularly for those with a strong aversion to germs) is the Gum Wall. In this particular area of the city, visitors of the Market Theater used to contribute pennies to the wall by sticking them onto chewed gum. Today, people visit Seattle to contribute to its vibrant culinary scene.

The Gum Wall, situated in Seattle's Pike Place Market, has gained quite a reputation as a popular destination for tourists, thanks to its unique and captivating appeal.

Throughout the years, travelers have played a significant role in its development, adding their own unique touch by attaching chewed gum to the walls, resulting in a vibrant and adhesive mosaic. While opinions on the matter vary, some people find it quirky and amusing, while others may consider it unhygienic and unappealing. Although the Gum Wall is a well-known tourist spot, its main appeal is its novelty rather than any profound historical or cultural importance.

When visiting this area, it is important to prioritize hygiene by washing your hands and thoroughly sanitizing them after disposing of your gum.

14. Dole Plantation (Wahiawa, Hawaii)

Throughout the years, Hawaii has gained a reputation for its year-round availability of delectable pineapple. Thanks to the favorable climate, the state is able to produce a wide variety of fruits all year round. Visitors to Hawaii can fully immerse themselves in the pineapple experience at the Dole Plantation.

Although it may seem enticing and enjoyable to certain individuals, the admission fee for the Dole Plantation is quite high. Once you enter, you'll encounter a Pineapple Train, maze, and other attractions. And, of course, there's also delicious fresh pineapple to enjoy. However, many people strongly believe that although they may have had an enjoyable experience, the Hawaiian Islands offer a plethora of more thrilling activities.

15. South of the Border (South Carolina)

South of the Border showcases a vibrant portrayal of Mexican culture. This roadside attraction is located along Interstate 95 near Dillon, South Carolina. The area is filled with numerous souvenir shops, rides, and restaurants that require visitors to spend a significant amount of money in order to fully enjoy their experience.

It perpetuates outdated stereotypes about Mexican culture, potentially overlooking the true diversity and richness of Mexico's heritage.

However, behind the lively facade is a tired rest stop filled with cheesy attractions, average restaurants, and an overall feeling of neglect. Exercise caution when approaching this location, as it has a tendency to attract a large number of tourists.

16. Fisherman’s Wharf (San Francisco)

Top 26 Tourist Traps at Famous Destinations in America
Fisherman’s Wharf

The delicious seafood restaurants and picturesque waterfront views at Fisherman's Wharf are what draw tourists there. It is located on a historic stretch along San Francisco's northern waterfront.

Attractions and restaurants at the Wharf, such as Alioto’s, Scoma’s, and the Pier Market Seafood Restaurant, have quite high prices. The area primarily attracts tourists instead of locals and is filled with souvenir shops that sell generic merchandise. Businesses that cater to tourists frequently overshadow the area's true maritime culture.

Nevertheless, beneath its surface charm, you'll find a bustling tourist center filled with expensive restaurants, tacky souvenir shops, and persistent seagulls hoping for a taste of your fish and chips.

17. Wall Drug (South Dakota)

Wall Drug is a vast shopping and entertainment complex. Situated in the quaint town of Wall, South Dakota, it attracts travelers making their way to Mount Rushmore. The wide range of products and attractions available here are specifically designed to cater to the needs and interests of tourists.

It offers an Old West experience, but what you actually get is a heavily commercialized version that falls short of the authentic reality. So many signs along the highway create anticipation that the actual attraction rarely lives up to.

18. International Drive (Orlando, Florida)

International Drive is a vibrant boulevard that runs through the heart of Orlando's lively entertainment district. It boasts popular destinations such as Universal Orlando Resort and Madame Tussauds.

Additionally, there are various dining, shopping, and entertainment options available, such as ICON Park and The Wheel. Unfortunately, the area can be quite overwhelming for visitors, with its expensive choices and crowded attractions.

19. The Alamo (San Antonio, Texas)

Top 30 Most Notorious Tourist Traps in America to Avoid
The Alamo (San Antonio, Texas)

The Alamo is a significant Spanish mission with a rich history, including its role in a renowned battle. It proudly stands in the heart of San Antonio, Texas.

While admission is free, it's important to note that there are nearby attractions and parking options that come with additional costs. Despite having a lengthy history, the Alamo is relatively small, especially when compared to the contemporary cityscape that surrounds it.

Unfortunately, the reality of this iconic landmark often falls short of expectations. Amidst a downtown landscape that has lost some of its former charm, the Alamo's small size and unimpressive exhibits often leave visitors feeling disappointed and wondering if it truly deserves its reputation as a must-visit destination.

20. Faneuil Hall Marketplace (Boston)

Located in historic buildings in downtown Boston, Faneuil Hall Marketplace now serves as a bustling shopping center. Constructed in 1742, Faneuil Hall played a pivotal role in hosting important historical events, such as protests against British taxation. The Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market were developed in the early 19th century with the goal of boosting Boston's trade.

Today, the Marketplace has become more renowned for its pricey food and souvenirs rather than its historical significance. With an overwhelming number of tourists, the place feels more like a commercial mall than a one-of-a-kind historical site.

21. Plymouth Rock (Plymouth, Massachusetts)

Plymouth Rock is a significant historical landmark that commemorates the arrival of the Mayflower's Pilgrims in Massachusetts in 1620. Situated in Plymouth, just 40 miles south of Boston. While there is no cost to enter, the anticipation surrounding a small, worn stone may result in a letdown.

The rock doesn't provide much visual appeal apart from the engraved date on it. Historians have raised doubts about the authenticity of the site, as there is no historical evidence linking it to the Mayflower's landing.

22. Mall of America (Bloomington, Minnesota)

The Mall of America stands as one of the largest malls in the United States, situated in the vibrant city of Bloomington, Minnesota. Many items have higher prices, and the amusement park rides can be quite costly.

The mall's expansive dimensions frequently result in crowded walkways and prolonged waiting periods. The commercial atmosphere overshadows any potential for unique cultural experiences.

23. Waikiki Beach (Honolulu, Hawaii)

Waikiki Beach is a renowned stretch of sand along the coast of Honolulu. Experience the beauty of sandy shores and crystal-clear blue waters. While the beach itself is free to access, the surrounding hotels, bars, and activities can be quite expensive.

The beach, frequently packed with people, fails to meet the expectations of a serene paradise. The intense commercial activity that overshadows the natural beauty frequently disappoints visitors.

24. Grand Ole Opry (Nashville, Tennessee)

The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee is a true symbol of country music. Shows can be quite expensive, with ticket prices often being on the higher side. On top of that, there may be additional facility fees to consider.

Performances may not live up to expectations unless you have a deep appreciation for country music. The attraction primarily caters to tourists, seldom providing a genuine local experience.

25. French Quarter (New Orleans)

Top 30 Most Notorious Tourist Traps in America to Avoid
French Quarter

The French Quarter, located in the heart of New Orleans, is a lively and historic neighborhood. It's brimming with high-end souvenir shops and upscale restaurants.

The excessive crowds and over-commercialization of this place somewhat detract from its historical charm. This popular destination is known for its vibrant nightlife, which may overshadow some of the daytime attractions for visitors.

26. Little Italy (New York City)

Little Italy offers a delightful taste of Italian culture right in the heart of New York City. Located in the heart of Lower Manhattan, this hidden gem is perfectly situated between the vibrant neighborhoods of Soho and Chinatown. Although there is no charge for admission, be prepared for expensive Italian cuisine.

The name suggests an immersive cultural experience, but urbanization has greatly diminished its authentic Italian charm. Modern storefronts and commercialization overshadow the community's historic roots.

27. International UFO Museum & Research Center (Roswell, New Mexico)

Top 26 Tourist Traps at Famous Destinations in America
International UFO Museum & Research Center

Sensationalist tourists and alien enthusiasts are drawn to this New Mexico museum that capitalizes on the 1947 Roswell UFO incident.

Exhibits at this attraction are more kitsch than educational, and the town of Roswell has embraced its alien theme so much that it overshadows other aspects of the area’s history and culture.

28. The Space Needle (Seattle, Washington)

Top 26 Tourist Traps at Famous Destinations in America
Space Needle

If you're looking for breathtaking 360-degree views of Seattle, then a trip to the 605-foot-tall observation tower might be worth the wait and cost.

Visitors who were not impressed mentioned that the Space Needle's lack of knowledge was a drawback. Upon reaching the summit, there is a noticeable lack of information regarding the nearby buildings or the historical importance of the structure.

29. Salem Witch Museum (Salem, Massachusetts)

Some tourists may not find this landmark captivating. Located in a charming New England church, the Salem Witch Museum invites visitors to delve into the haunting events of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials.

Some people view the experience as sensationalist and criticize it for being a staged display of witchcraft gimmicks and commercialism. If you're a fan of lore, this enchanting archive of wizardry is sure to captivate you.

30. SeaWorld (Multiple Locations)

SeaWorld has three US locations in Orlando, San Diego, and San Antonio, making it a popular destination for family fun and marine life enthusiasts.

Single-day tickets in Florida begin at a price of over USD 100. Additionally, visitors have the option to enhance their experience by adding all-dining bundles and skip-the-line privileges for an additional cost per person. This family outing comes with quite a hefty price tag.

In recent years, SeaWorld has faced criticism for its treatment of animals, which has prompted the park to discontinue the use of orcas in its shows. Consequently, SeaWorld's educational value and authenticity have come under scrutiny, causing many tourists to pass on visiting.

In Conclusion

With its diverse range of attractions, the United States draws in millions of visitors every year, spanning from the East Coast to the West Coast and from the Southern states to the North. Nevertheless, amidst the allure of renowned landmarks, an increasing number of tourist traps can often leave you feeling let down by America and the pursuit of the American dream.

Here is a compilation of seven of the most overrated tourist destinations in the US, along with our helpful tips and advice to ensure you have a memorable trip.

Tourist traps in the US are generally less prevalent compared to Europe and can often be easily identified. Some tourism spots in the US may require a hefty entrance fee, offer overpriced souvenirs, and may not live up to the hype.

Before visiting popular destinations in the US, it's a good idea to join travel forums. This way, you can save both time and money.

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