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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tuscany: See the Duomo
As the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mount Vesuvius: Don’t See Pompeii
Everyone has heard of ancient 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 music, this is a hot spot you have to visit.
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.
Sydney: See Whale Beach
Instead, go to Whale Beach. It’s 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.
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).
Iceland: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.