New York: Don’t See Times Square
Unless it's New Year's Eve, there's really no reason to hang out in Times Square. It's overcrowded, under constant construction, filled with mascots begging you to pay them for a picture, and lined with overpriced chain restaurants.
Times Square is easily the biggest waste of time when there are so many other things to see in New York. If you simply must see times Square, wait till you can go at New Year's when there is actually something worth doing there - that is if you can handle the crowds. Otherwise, you might want to consider this better activity...
New York: See the High Line
For a more authentic NYC experience, visit the High Line in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. You'll get to experience some nature, and you can stop at a local eatery to grab some takeout for a picnic. it's easily one of the most relaxing spots in the city that never sleeps.
if you aren't familiar with the High Line at all, it's an elevated linear park located where once stood the New York Central Railroad. Having opened in 2009, it's already become one of the most iconic modern architectural wonders of the city.
Mexico: Don't See Cancun
Once you graduate from college, it’s time to graduate from Cancun as well. This Mexican city is notorious for being a Spring Break hotspot, attracting all sorts of obnoxiously drunk young Americans. And don’t expect to get any relaxing peace and quiet on the beach. This place is packed. Always.
Cancun does have one advantage over other locations in Mexico, however, because it is a tourist location. Compared to some locations in the country, the locals are friendlier and the crime rates are lower, making it a relatively safe place to let loose. With that said, it's still not the only place to go in Mexico.
Mexico: See Oaxaca
If you’re looking for a more authentic Mexican experience than Cancun, Oaxaca is where you want to be. It’s full of history, delicious foods, and scenic views that can rival those of Cancun. It is easily one of the most worthwhile destinations in the entire country.
Oaxaca is one of 32 states that make up the Federative Entities of Mexico. The city is known for its indigenous roots and lively culture. Evidence of human habitation traces all the way back to 11,000 BC. In Oaxaca, you'll also find numerous national parks in the area to explore.
Tuscany: Don’t See the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Is the Leaning Tower of Pisa cool? Yes. Is it crowded? Yes. Is there anything else to do in Pisa? Not really. The Leaning Tower doesn't even lean that much anymore. If you are planning on visiting Pisa, you'll have to go through Florence, anyway, and there are tons of other (better) sights.
Most people going to the Leaning Tower of Pisa because they have heard of it before and why not? And then also to take that goofy picture of themselves looking like trying to hold it up. It's cliche and its been done a million times, so it's probably you can safely skip without any regret.
Tuscany: See the Duomo (in Florence)
As the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence (just a 20-30-minute drive away) has tons of things to see. Our fave? The Duomo. Take the narrow staircase to the top of the Duomo; it's a cheap workout that’s well worth the views. Plus, the ticket cost includes access to Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistery of San Giovanni, the Crypt of Santa Reparata, and the Opera Museum.
The Duomo of the Florence Cathedral was designed as far back as 1296 but was not completed until 1436. The architectural took much effort to design and get just right but in the end it was all worth it. No doubt, you'll learn all about it when you visit this location in Florence - which you should.
Paris: Don’t See the “Mona Lisa” at the Louvre
The Mona Lisa may be the most famous painting in the world, but it's also TINY, behind bulletproof glass, and visitors have to crowd behind barriers keeping them around a yard away. You won't have a chance to get a good look with everyone trying to see the exact same thing.
Let's face it: You've probably seen enough pictures of the Mona Lisa in your lifetime that a small glimpse of it in real life is not really going to be a life-changing experience. Sure, it would be cool to see, but there's plenty of other excellent things to catch in France.
Paris: See Musée d'Orsay
Instead of fighting the crowds for this single artwork, take a trip over to the Musée d'Orsay where you can see 34 Manets, 56 Cézannes, 86 Monets, and 24 van Goghs. By comparison, the Louvre has a total of four paintings by these powerhouse artists. so, again, not much to see there.
For art lovers looking for a life-changing experience, the Musée d'Orsay is the place for you. Among the paintings featured at the art gallery are Van Gogh's Self Portrait, Monet's Blue Water Lillies and Camille Pissarro's White Frost. Art at the gallery dates from 1848 to 1914.
South Dakota: Don’t See Mount Rushmore
How could you not be intrigued by four faces carved into a mountain? If you're hoping to get a close-up view, however, you'll come away disappointed. There's also not much else near the area aside from the Mount Rushmore viewing platform. You are better off seeing some of the natural wonders of the country.
Mount Rushmore is national monument located in South Dakota that features the sculpted heads of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. For many, Mount Rushmore has some negative symbolism attached to it as the desecrated area in the Black Hills was sacred to the Lakota Sioux indians.
South Dakota: See Badlands National Park
Instead, take Highway 240 through Badlands National Park to get up close to some dramatic natural geologic formations as well as incredible wildlife. The Badlands National Park is also located in South Dakota and has the largest mixed prairie grass in the United States that is undisturbed. The area is co-managed by the Oglala Lokota.
The Badlands National Park preserves as many as 64,144 acres. The land was originally reserved for the Oglala Sioux tribe. Wildlife in the area includes prairie dogs, bison and bighorn sheep. The area is regularly visited and in 2020 had 916,932 which was a COVID year mind you.
Los Angeles: Don’t See the Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame isn’t as great as you’d think. Sure, stars need to be nominated, but anyone can nominate the person. Then, they just need to pay $40,000 to get their star. As if that wasn’t enough reason to avoid it, the street is dirty, littered, and lacks all the glamour you want to see from Hollywood.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame has numerous names and you couldn't possibly look at all of them, even if just to find your favorite celebrities. On top of that, there are all sorts of eccentric people around that are going to be distracting you and blocking your view, including street performers.
Los Angeles: See Griffith Observatory
Go to the Griffith Observatory instead. It’s off the beaten path and surrounded by nature. Since it’s tucked away, a lot of people leave it off their list, but it’s one of the best ways to see the Hollywood sign. Did we mention that it’s also free?
The Griffith Observatory is a great learning experience for kids and adults interested in space. You'll have your chance to look through a real telescope and view objects in space you couldn't see with your typical telescope at home. There are also plenty of exhibits that teach about the Universe and its many wonders.
London: Don’t See the Tower of London
London has dozens and dozens of attractions for travelers to explore. The Tower of London, however, shouldn't be on your list. If your life's mission is to see the Crown Jewels, by all means, stop by for a visit. For £25-£27 (around $32-$35), however, there's not much else to see.
The Tower of London, for those who don't know, is a historic castle on the River Thames in central London. The beginnings of the tower were built as far back as 1078, however, it was rebuilt in 1285 after a siege. Since, then it has undergone expansions, the last built in 1399.
London: See Tower Bridge
Instead, take a walk across the Tower Bridge. Enjoy incredible skyline views of downtown for only £10 ($13) from the high-level walkway and stand on the glass floor for a unique look of the raising of the roadway. It is truly a sight to see and the view is a lot more romantic than some withered castle.
The Tower Bridge is a bascule and suspension bridge that crosses the River Thames. it is located near the Tower of London and is just as iconic. The deck of the bridge is capable of holding and accessible to both vehicles and people. The bridge was completed in the 19th century and opened in 1886.
Philadelphia: Don’t See the Liberty Bell
There's no denying that the Liberty Bell is steeped in American history. However, you have to fight the crowds trying to get a look at it. The front of the Liberty Bell Center has a window where you can peek in at your leisure, although the famous crack is on the opposite side.
The Liberty Bell was featured in the Pennsylvania State House, also known as Independence Hall today. This is where the beginnings of the declaration were adopted. It also served as the primary meeting place of the Second Continental Congress from 1775 to 1783. The bell itself was commissioned in 1753.
Philadelphia: See Elfreth’s Alley
If you're really interested in America during the 1700s, a more authentic visit would be to Elfreth's Alley. It's the country's oldest residential street, and the houses were built as far back as 1728. Elfreth's Alley is made up of 32 houses built between 1703 and 1836. It is a National Historic Landmark.
At the location, there is the Elfreth's Alley Museum. The museum is an 18th century home of a pair of dressmakers at the time. The house has been preserved and restored for future generations. The Alley also hosts many celebrations each year that are also worth checking out if you happen to be around for one.
United Kingdom: Don’t See Stonehenge
After traveling two hours outside of London, visitors are often stunned to see the "dramatic" views of Stonehenge are more likely a trick of the camera. The ancient stone arrangement actually sits right next to a busy roadway, and large crowds mean endless queuing without ever getting very close.
And let's face it: Stonehenge is just a bunch of old rocks stacked in a circle. It wouldn't be particularly impressive if it weren't for the fact that it is so old. You could easily recreate it today and people certainly have. This touristy site is simply so commercialized that it has lost all meaning.
United Kingdom: See Callanish Stones
On the other hand, Scotland's Callanish Stones are less trafficked and situated overlooking Loch Roag. It's the perfect excuse to tour the incredible Scottish landscape. The Callanish Stones can be enjoyed in a far more peaceful environment that can really help you take it all in. Plus, you'll get a lot better pictures.
The Callanish Stones in Scotland, like Stonehenge, are a collection of stones arranged in a circular pattern. The Stones were erected in the late Neolithic era, which was between 4000 to 2,500 BCE. In addition to their historical significance, they've also been a part of pop culture, including the series Outlander and the Pixar film Brave.
San Francisco: Don’t See Alcatraz
Alcatraz is notorious for the abandoned prison located on the island in the middle of San Francisco Bay. But for $40, we can think of better ways to spend half a day. The small, rocky island becomes easily crowded and isn't necessarily a looker. Most of the appeal of this Lighthouse prison is its uniqueness and history.
Alcatraz is not particularly old but from 1934 to 1963, it housed famed criminals like Al Capone among other dangerous people. Because of the mystery surrounding what exactly went on at the prison and the many stories from there, many people Alcatraz Island to be haunted. the prison has also been a location in many films, including The Rock.
San Francisco: See Angel Island
Instead, spend $15 to take the ferry to Angel Island for an afternoon of hiking or biking complete with expansive surrounding views of the bay. You can even camp overnight. Angel Island of glorious parks, exquisite beaches and terrific hiking trails to explore. it is also located in San Francisco Bay.
Angel Island was once the home of a military installation. Now it is part of the Angel Island State Park as of 1955. The Island is rich with grassland and woodlands. The Island is accessible by private boat or via a public ferry, making it accessible to nearly anyone. So, why not check it out?
Mount Vesuvius: Don’t See Pompeii
Everyone has heard of the ancient city of Pompeii and its unfortunate distinction of being consumed by volcanic ash during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE. Because of this, the site is overrun with tourists while many of its treasures have been removed and sent to museums around the world.
Pompeii, located near Naples was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The villas and many of its residents were buried under several meters of volcanic ash. Objects and bodies were entombed under the ash. Over time they had decayed, but archeologists made casts from the bodies for future generations to see, as strange and morbid as that may be.
Mount Vesuvius: See Herculaneum
Just up the Italian coast, the city of Herculaneum fell to a similar fate. A wealthier city than Pompeii, it has more ornate houses, better frescos, and they are all still in their original locations. The Herculaneum is truly one of the best-preserved cities from the time period and everything is in its original location.
Like Pompeii, Herculaneum was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Everything was preserved under the volcanic ash. Skeletal remains were also found by archeologists. Seeing most of the buildings at the site might take you anywhere from two to three hours, depending on how fast you are but its well-worth your time.
Cairo: Don’t See the Pyramids of Giza
What many tourists don't realize is that the pyramids at Giza lie in the shadow of sprawling Cairo, quite literally just on the other side of the highway. It's literally across from a Pizza Hut. The Pyramids of Giza are fascinating but if you want the feel of revisiting history, Giza is not the place to do it.
Giza is the second-largest city in Egypt, and as such, it is a highly developed area. Preservation of history is not necessarily the primary interest, although they certainly have done a good job of preserving the pyramids. It is just the surrounding development really takes away from it all.
Cairo: See the Pyramids of Dahshur
For a less touristy experience, make the short trek to Dahshur where the pyramids are older and better preserved. They're far enough away to keep throngs of tourists from overcrowding the experience. If you want to see the pyramids closer to how they would have looked at the time, this is your best bet.
Dahshur located in the desert on the west bank of the Nile river. The area has several pyramids including two that are among the oldest, largest and best-preserved in the country. the pyramids are believed to have been built from 2613 to 2589 BC.
Ireland: Don’t See the Blarney Stone
Blarney Castle is a fun place to visit, but the Blarney Stone itself is pretty lackluster. By now, the wall has been smoothed by the millions of strangers that come to kiss it. They’ll wipe it down if you ask, but it still isn’t worth the risk, especially what's going on nowadays.
The Blarney Stone is made from carboniferous limestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle. It has been a part of the castle since 1446. The legend suggests that by kissing the Blarney stone, you could be granted the gift of eloquence and persuasion. Of course, this is just a legend. No science involved.
Ireland: See the Rock of Cashel
If you want to see castles, visit the Rock of Cashel. It’s just as old and far less crowded. Not to mention, it’s extremely close to other sites that may spark your interest. Many people visit the Rock of Cashel, Cahir Castle, and the Swiss Cottage all in one day.
The Rock of Cashel is located in Cashel Ireland is also a place surrounded in legend. Local legends say that Rock originated from Devil's Bit, a mountain where satan was banished by St. Patrick. The Rock then became the seat for the King of Munster, long before the Norman invasion, in 1101.
Memphis: Don’t See Graceland
Unless you’re an absolute Elvis fanatic, Graceland isn’t worth your time. In person, it’s a lot smaller and costs quite a bit of money once you factor in parking and all the little extra things that should be included in the ticket. To see everything, you'll spend well over $70 per person.
Graceland isn't even where Elvis's roots are from. Graceland is merely the estate owned by Elvis. it is now owned by his daughter Lisa Marie Presley and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The estate was built back in 1939 and is a huge tourist destination, particularly for Elvis fans.
Memphis: See the Stax Museum of American Soul Music
Stax Museum of American Soul Music is so much better than Graceland. It’s twice as big and highlights tons of influential artists including James Brown, Ray Charles, Isaac Hayes, and more. If you love soul music, this is a hot spot you have to visit. You won't regret it.
Stax museum offers exhibits about the beginnings of soul. There's also a dance floor at the museum where you can let loose and an exhibit about sound equipment. You can also check out Isaac Hayes’ glittering custom Cadillac Eldorado. These are just some of the things you'll find at Stax.
Sydney: Don’t See Bondi Beach
No doubt Bondi Beach would be the best place to visit…if it wasn’t for all the people. The sand, rocks, and water are all warm and cozy, but it’s hard to walk anywhere without running into someone. Surfers, joggers, and beach-goers can make it hard to enjoy Bondi the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.
Bondi Beach in a suburb surrounding Sydney, Australia. The area has over 11,000 residents and is 0.5 square miles. it's not the biggest beach but it is certainly gorgeous. That also being said, it doesn't take many tourists and locals to fill this beach up to unpleasant levels.
Sydney: See Whale Beach
Instead, you can go to Whale Beach. It’s about 650 yards of beautiful golden sand fringed by trees. Not only are there changing rooms, showers, and toilets, but there are also lifeguards on weekends. It’s much less crowded than Bondi and will give you the beach day you’re looking for.
Whale Beach is another suburban beach that is lesser-known and thus much better for those who don't like crowds. Its 40 km from Sydney and is a well-known surf spot. You'll love the pristine waters and powder sand beach. Venture outside of the norm for an unforgettable Australian vacation.
Iceland: Don’t See the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. Unless you’re going early in the morning on the off-season, it can be incredibly crowded. Not to mention, it’s costly at around $60 USD for basic entry (depending on the exchange rate).
Besides the outrageous price, the wait times really take away from the majesty of the lagoon. And did we mention it's manmade? If you like standing around to get into a lagoon full of people, then enjoy. But if you are looking for a relaxing hot springs, there are plenty of those around.
Romania: See the Mývatn Nature Baths
The Mývatn Nature Baths are just as beautiful and restorative as the Blue Lagoon, and it costs half as much. As a comparison, the Blue Lagoon is 8100 Icelandic crowns minimum, while Mývatn is 4500 crowns. While Mývatn doesn’t have masks, it does feature two different pool temperatures, natural steam rooms, and adult beverages.
The Mývatn Nature Baths are an alkaline bathing lagoon in Iceland, surrounded by nature. The steam baths use geothermal steam. The Cafe Kivika is a great spot to grab lunch or dinner. The area also offers gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, as well as a view of the northern lights.
Romania: Don't See Bran Castle
Even though Bram Stoker didn’t specify, people generally associate Dracula’s castle with the real-life Bran Castle in Romania. While it’s a perfectly beautiful place, it’s become a bit of a tourist trap. You show up expecting to see a vampire, but all you get are a bunch of vendors more interested in your wallet than your neck.
Bran Castle in Romania couldn't possibly be the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula because there is no evidence that he even knew about it. This castle is merely a typical Romanian castle. Even the description of Dracula's castle does not match up with this real-life location. It's all a marketing ploy.
Romania: See Peles Castle
There’s no shortage of breathtaking castles in the historic Transylvania region of Romania, but Peles Castle, which is nestled in the Carpathian mountains, might be the best one there is. Once home to the royal family of Romania, the castle now houses a museum and is open to the public. You might not find a vampire, but you will find some absolutely stunning views here.
If you really want to see a breathtaking castle, Peles Castle is massive. And even though you won't get the vampire vibes from it, you'll be fascinated well enough. The castle was built between 1873 and 1914 and cost around 16,000,000 gold to build. It is quite a sight to see.
Nevada: Don't See the Vegas Strip
There’s nothing more depressing than the sight of thousands of schmucks throwing their money away. That’s exactly the experience you’ll get if you visit the Vegas strip--complete with obnoxious lights and plenty of terrible buffets. Unless your idea of a good vacation involves seeing your fellow man debase himself in every way imaginable, Vegas doesn’t have a lot of strong selling points.
Vegas has to be one of the cheesiest and most cringy tourist traps in the nation. Everything you do there costs a ton of money, except for the hotels because they are expecting you to blow all your money on the casinos, which you will because there's not much else to do but see some popstar perform way past their prime.
Nevada: See the Seven Magic Mountains
Instead of losing your savings as the blackjack table in Vegas, why not take a short ride outside the city limits and increase your humanity? Seven Magic Mountains is an art installation composed of neon-colored boulders stack up on each other. Located squarely in the middle of nowhere, this art piece is a refreshing change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Seven Magic Mountains is an interesting art display outside of Vegas, so you'll actually have to leave Vegas to check it out, which isn't a loss. Just be sure to bring plenty of water because it's hot there and dry, and you don't want to get dehydrated.
Florida: Don't See Disney World
I’m not entirely anti-Disney World--it sounds fun on paper. But what you don’t see on paper are the massive crowds, brutal Florida heat, and hefty price tag. And if you stand any chance of snagging all the Fast Passes and dinner reservations you really want, be prepared to start planning the nitty-gritty of your trip at least six months in advance.
Who knew a vacation was so much work? And you've got to go through all that just to walk around and wait in line all day in the humidty. And despite the size of the amusement park, there isn't really a whole lot to do. There is a lot of empty space in the park and restaurants and very few rides to go on.
Florida: See the Everglades
Disney World might have a charming, adorable mouse, but the Everglades have ancient, unfeeling alligators. All I’m saying is that I know who would win in a head-to-head matchup. If you must travel to Florida, I would say that the best reason is to experience its multiple, unique environments, and there’s nowhere better to do that than the swampy Everglades.
The Everglades are a natural region with an ecosystem unlike any else on earth. Weather in the area is also diverse. A majority of fires in the Everglades are caused by thunderstorms. It should also be noted that the Everglades are protected as a national park. The 1.5 million-acre Everglades National Park is a must-see destination for nature lovers.
Greece: Don't See the Parthenon
There’s nothing wrong with the Parthenon itself, but these days, it always seems to be in a state of constant renovation. You go there expecting to see an ancient wonder, but instead, you’re greeted by unsightly scaffolding. Plus, most of the sculptures that were once there are now housed in the British Museum.
The Parthenon is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis dedicated to Athena, the Greek goddess. it was completed as far back as 432 BC. In recent times, there have been efforts made to restore the Parthenon, so what you are actually seeing is not from that far back.
Greece: See the Temple of Poseidon
If you can’t bear the thought of visiting Greece without seeing a dilapidated temple, then try the Temple of Poseidon instead. It’s typically not jam-packed like the Parthenon, but it’s just as beautiful, thanks to its seaside location.
The Temple of Poseidon was built between 444 and 440 BC. It is located at the end of Cape Sounion. The structure stands 60 meters tall. While there were originally 38 columns, only 16 of them remain today. Only four of them have been re-erected in the last 100 years or so.