10 Overrated Tourist Destinations, According To Reddit — And What You Should See Instead
If you're anything like me, when it comes to summer (which is well and truly here — hurrah!), you're always in pursuit of a very particular kind of vacation: The type where you can really explore the place like a local, but in which you can see all the notable hot spots, too. You want to know the most overrated tourist destinations, but only so you can avoid them in high season (checking them out without the crowds is somewhat acceptable as long as you don't carry a guide-book with you, right?). You want to be far, far away from the tourist traps, but not too removed from the action, either — because there's actually nothing worse than travel FOMO (which I get all the time. Thanks, social media). And of course, you want to socialise on your trip, but without feeling like you're amongst the hustle and bustle of too many other travelers with the same accent as you, or that you're destroying the place for the locals with your big, fat carbon footprint.
I get you. Traveling responsibly, and in a way that's unique to you, is growing increasingly more difficult, it seems. That's why it's pretty useful to consult friends about the most famous, overrated spots — or if not friends, the internet. Luckily, a recent AskReddit thread addressed this very topic, so I dug out the most useful responses; then I took it a step further and researched what we should all be checking out instead. You're welcome, travel fanatics. May your hotels always been comfortable and your flights never delayed.
1. Bourbon Street, New Orleans
Perhaps the most famous street in the iconic French Quarter of New Orleans, where the famous Mardi Gras festival takes place in February, this area is ruined completely by the overpriced booze and the dirt, according to one Redditor. If it's not festival season, cut Bourbon Street out completely in favor of Jackson Square, which is home to fortune tellers, St. Louis Cathedral, the Louisiana State Museum and the famous City Hall.
2. Madame Tussauds, London
As a Londoner myself, I can attest that there are indeed more exciting things to do than queue up to see wax statues of celebrities for $34 a ticket. Avoid this tourist trap completely, but if you do want your sightseeing fix, the London Eye at night or on a clear day is pretty cool. Or (weather conditions permitting again), a river boat cruise along the Thames is a great way to learn more about the city and see the landmarks from a different perspective.
3. The Mona Lisa, Paris
You could go see the world's most famous painting in the triangular-shaped Louvre museum in Paris. But by "see," I mean catch a glimpse through a gap between 40 people's heads, 12 feet away from the actual painting (which is so much smaller IRL). If you're going to the Louvre anyway, you should check out these other amazing works of art. Or if you want your culture fix for free, check out the amazing La Marais neighbourhood, one of Paris' oldest and most cool districts, packed full of smaller art galleries.
4. Times Square, New York City
Times Square seems to be a must for anyone new to New York City, and I get it; I mean, it's a bright, brash, and mesmerising display — for all of say, 10 minutes. Then you realize you're surrounded by hundreds of other people trying to also get the perfect Insta-shot and paying $5 for a stale pretzel. If you do want to check it out, however, go at midnight for the 'Midnight Moments' art displays; Times Square is projecting a selection of creative works from local artists across their billboards, which is pretty cool.
5. Mall Of America, Minnesota
America's largest and most famous mall is still just that — a mall, people. Instead, rent a car and take Minnesota's North Shore drive. Or, take a walk around the beautiful Canal Park, which is also near Lake Superior, another great strolling spot. Minnesota has so much to do in the great outdoors; don't spend your trip stuck inside a mall.
6. Oktoberfest, Munich
The annual 16-day folk festival is famous for its beer, traditional German costumes and of course, drunken antics. As this one Redditor advises, why not skip the festival in Munich completely and take a trip to the rest of the region? Bavarian countryside is impossibly beautiful and fairytale-esque; you can sail, stroll and windsurf in the Starnberger region to the south of Munich known as Fünf-Seen-Land ("the Land of Five Lakes"), or go hiking or skiiing on the country's highest mountain, Zugspitze. Basically, that whole area is beautiful, and you can go boozing anywhere, right?
7. Bondi Beach, Sydney
A couple of years back, the nearby Manly beach was named a better spot than Bondi — so you could check that out instead of fighting it out for a sunbathing spot in summer isn't your thing.
8. Navy Pier, Chicago
This 3,300-foot-long pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan sounds a touch overrated, doesn't it? Aside from some fireworks, a Ferris wheel, and a cinema, it sounds like the Navy Pier isn't too exciting a place for a traveler to visit. If you're in the Windy City in summer, though, it might be worth checking out the world's largest food festival instead. Who doesn't enjoy celebrating the wonder of food, after all?
9. Manneken Pis, Brussels
Manneken Pis is a famous small bronze statue in Brussels, showing a naked little boy urinating into a fountain's basin and designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder around 1618. But if the idea of seeing that doesn't ignite the flames of culture within you, check out the chill spot Mont de Arts (Art Hill) or the antique flea markets in Place du Jeu de Balle. And because Brussels (which is the capital of Belgium) is super-small, you can probably fit a lot in during one day.
10. Hollywood, California
Hollywood got quite the trashing on Reddit, with users saying the trash, over-priced everything, and sleaze factor bring the tourist spot into disrepute. California, though, is still a place of laid-back beauty (and beautiful people, of course); you just need to know where to go. So why not head north instead? Insta-worthy spots include Golden Gate Bridge, Napa Valley and Yosemite National Park; additionally, some of the state's best beaches are located in Northern California, where fewer tourists venture.