In a world filled with undesirable places, there’s plenty of crap tourist traps to go along with them. Sometimes even the best cities, especially in America, have some of the worst tourist traps, and we’re here to keep you out of the fires of tourism hell. Have a look at the crappiest tourist traps of America, then send us all your completely unbiased reasons why we’re absolutely wrong in this somewhat objective opinion piece.
St. Louis Gateway Arch (St. Louis, MO)
While the ‘Lou ranks high in our Places You Needn’t Visit in America list, we thought they deserve the matching award for having one of the biggest tourist traps in America. And that’s mostly because once you’re at the top of the St. Louis Arch, you’re praying their elevators don’t give out, otherwise you’re literally trapped inside a giant steel lookout of the downtown. The 630-foot arch, an architectural beauty to be honest, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, which is 50 years of staring across a crime-ridden playground. Once you’re outside the arch, you’ll wish you could run back in. Hope you’re not afraid of heights!
Hollywood Walk of Fame (Los Angeles, CA)
It’s a toss-up between this and Santa Monica’s pier and promenade, but when you consider how ridiculous it is that people lay down next to these stars on the sidewalks of filthy Hollywood Boulevard, the choice becomes a little more clear. With more than 50 years and 2,500 five-point stars comprised of the entertainment industry’s best known actors, directors and performers, you can really lose yourself amongst the crazies in this part of Los Angeles. With nearly 10 million visitors each year, it’s easily one of America’s biggest crap traps for tourism.
Four Corners (NM, AZ, CO, UT)
This kind of landmark is the one you visit when you have absolutely nothing better to do. Each state has its own beautiful, elevated landscapes and tourist attractions, but the quadripoint at which the four states intersect is one of the road map’s most pointless endeavors. It dates back as far as 1848 and the Mexican-American War, but now it’s really more one of those ‘oh-wow-would-you-look-at-that’ tourist spots where you stare at the ground, take a photo with a goofy pose and then hop back in the car after four minutes. It’s like a cemetery, only slightly more fun, but not really.
Although, rumor has it the landmark isn’t even on the correct location, missing by nearly a couple thousand feet. They had one job! You’d be better off going to Walter White’s old house in New Mexico and harassing the neighbors.
Fisherman’s Wharf (San Francisco, CA)
Every great city has that one spot where they drive all the token tourists, and Fisherman’s Wharf is San Francisco’s trap for the common traveler. Never mind the great parks, venues, galleries and restaurants when you can be smack dab in the middle of souvenir shops full of magnets and coffee mugs, a wax museum and a “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” museum with cable cars lining the street.
These aren’t the worst things for a tourist to come across, but when you consider all the other things you could be doing with your time in San Fran, it is indeed a trap of crap by relativity. The only reason you’d stay for more than an hour is to grab the ferry to Alcatraz, but we’re betting you don’t have the balls for that.
Gum Wall (Seattle, WA)
The only thing worse than being bored to death is being bored to death next to a wall of bacteria. Though most people would consider the Space Needle Seattle’s tourist trap, the delicious coffee-loving city of the Northwest totes its unsanitary 50-foot long wall of discarded colorful chew as one of its prized local landmarks with some germ gems more than 20 years old. What ever happened to sticking your gum underneath the table?
San Luis Obispo has its own gum wall, Bubblegum Alley, which is two walls colorfully covered in bubbly goodness for 70 feet, more than 60 years old, so technically if there were an award for longest, oldest gum display, they could win. I don’t know about you, but I could really go for a stick of gum about now.
Epcot Center (Bay Lake, FL)
When it comes to Walt Disney World, the Epcot Center is where dads go to find refuge from Magic Kingdom, the constant rides and cartoon characters for some good old fashioned learning just outside of Orlando. Who wants to learn when they can stuff their faces with deep fried funnel cakes and piss themselves seeing a Jack Sparrow impersonator? Epcot looks majestic from a distance, twice the size of Magic Kingdom, but up close it’s really just Florida’s largest golf ball. With two divisions, Future World for futuristic technology and World Showcase for people who are too lazy to travel to the actual destinations, Epcot Center is a tourist spot everyone is likely to visit, but if you go more than once, consider yourself trapped, and in Florida no less.
Times Square (New York City, NY)
Anyone who’s never been to New York City will likely have to see the glitz of the Big Apple in Times Square, but it’s probably going be a stressful visit. With plenty of noise, traffic and camera flashes, you’ll feel the pressure of the dirty city streets giving you flat tires on the backs of your shoes. Oh wait, that’s just people who don’t know how to walk taking pictures of the sky behind you. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of Cosmo Kramer up on the big screen or Tom Cruise running after that vanilla sky in his classic full-speed run. Chances are you won’t see any native New Yorkers in this area, if they can help it.
Mall of America (Minneapolis, MN)
Any guy who hates shopping, especially during the holidays, will find Mall of America to be his own personal hell, like a nightmare of endless floors that come and haunt his reality. Four hundred stores. Twelve thousand disgruntled employed. Forty million visitors. Does this sound like fun to anyone? I’m not sure which will happen first, your feet falling off or your semi-intentional leaning a little too far over the railing.
Navy Pier (Chicago, IL)
There’s a biased opinion here that Chicago is the best city in the country, but Navy Pier is just one of those places that doesn’t really do much except attract large crowds of tourists in hopes that the pier might break off from the land and drift into the lake. Built along Chicago’s shoreline in the early 1900s, Navy Pier holds some history from the days of World War I as a sort of refuge for injured soldiers, but now it’s all balloon animals and ferris wheels and musical carousels. There were plans to push the pier into more of a theme park setting, but luckily this tourist part of the Windy City is remaining modest, at least for now. Still, there’s hundreds of better things to do in Chicago.
Niagara Falls (Niagara Falls, NY)
Three beautiful colossal waterfalls running along the Canadian-American border make you think this is a place you’d like to go if it were your last day on Earth. That’s what makes this so difficult. The chance to get soaked under a 167-foot natural flow of water, the highest in the world, seems pretty spectacular, but the surrounding area of the falls takes away from the majesty of its Maid of the Mist. Casinos, low-rate hotels and cheesy gift shops, not to mention the 20-something million annual visitors and the fact you’re far from anything else of decency, makes this place more of a bucket list stop. Of course, the same could probably be said of the Hoover Dam. Yeah, we should’ve made the Hoover Dam our last pick, since Las Vegas is one giant crap tourist trap of a city.