When you’re visiting that place you dreamed all your life about, sometimes the experience turns out to be disappointing. Sometimes the endless crowds of other tourists ruin the experience, or perhaps the kitschy gift shops and surrounding restaurants disrupt the ambiance.
While some of these tourist traps might be fine as a pit stop, when treated as the destination, people found they were hardly worth the price of admission (or the parking, the 10-hour road trip, or the plane ticket).
I lived in the area and went to downtown Plymouth a few years ago with some friends. Parking in the summer is a nightmare, so I parked near this weird thing. I wondered what it was and went to check it out, and it was Plymouth Rock. It’s the saddest little rock, glued together and surrounded by trash and half in the tide.
The worst part is that there is no real “Plymouth Rock.” It was a legend; eventually, locals decided to pick a rock near the original Plymouth colony settlement to play the part. And that rock is the one they chose!
Hollywood Walk of Fame is full of scammers and random people trying to sell you their mixtapes and other random stuff in the streets. And these mixtape/CD people shove the CD in your face as you walk. It’s so annoying.
And it’s very crowded, so you’re getting yelled at for ruining other people’s pictures. And you can’t take your own photos without getting bumped around.
The Blarney Stone in Ireland is crowded. It’s a piece of stone at the top of a castle that you’re supposed to lay on your back, stretch backward, and then kiss it. My family went, but I wandered the grounds, ate at the cafe, read a book, and watched the crows steal food off tourists’ plates for two hours while said family stood in line.
And that line is on a tight, steep staircase that is a few hundred years old. I discovered the day before at another castle that steep, tight staircases trigger my latent claustrophobia, so I’m glad I skipped it.
I’m from New Orleans but don’t live there anymore. Bourbon Street was always the place not to go. On my last visit back, I went to the French Quarter with my dad.
On the walk back to the car, he took us on a shortcut through Bourbon Street, and the garbage smell was so bad it made me gag. We made it one block before I asked him if we could take Royal instead.
You can see it from the road, but you have to pay to park, get in, get closer, and pay more to get even closer. The museum is awful. All the “authentic” Native American artifacts look new.
When they finish it, I really hope they up their interaction with visitors. Overall, it’s not something I would recommend.
Now, The Louvre is amazing. However, seeing the Mona Lisa is disappointing. You go to a relatively narrow hallway, and there is a pane of glass 15 feet in front of the painting. I understand it needs to be protected and preserved, but you can’t see very well through that.
I always find it funny seeing people hurry past exceptional works down that long hall to stand in a crowd and stare at a small dark painting.
Taj Mahal has lovely architecture, but the surrounding area was so full of heartwrenching poverty that it completely destroyed any positive memory of the trip. Little kids hounding you for blocks to buy something while dragging their younger sibling around. It was emotionally brutal.
It was so dirty, the air looked like smoke the whole time, and there were just too many people. I wouldn’t recommend it.
Times Square has been Disneyfied to the extreme. Who goes to NYC to eat at a KFC and then go to the NFL store? There’s this saying that Times Square is the one part of Manhattan that actual New Yorkers never go to, and I understand why.
Times Square is like the worst part of NYC. There’s nothing to do there. There isn’t even good food there.
The Liberty Bell is surprisingly small, considering how they made it sound in elementary school. I waited in line for 45 mins to see an average bell with a small crack on it.
It was so disappointing. I couldn’t even take a picture. There were so many people standing in front of it. It felt like a waste to make the trip there.
Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakesh is not that great. Even having been warned about how pushy the shopkeepers were, I was taken aback. I wanted to look at everything, but if someone saw me looking at their wares, I had to be downright rude to shake them off, making me uncomfortable.
It was also much smaller than I imagined. I am glad I went, but it was not what I thought, and I don’t need to go a second time.
The Hope Diamond is another disappointing one. Lots of people were filming it, and I could hardly see it. Why were people videotaping a rock? And it’s in a small, dark room. It’s at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in DC.
People were elbowing each other out of the way to see it when I went. I’m a rock nerd to the 100th degree, but the Hope Diamond was underwhelming.
The family and I drove all the way from the Alabama coast to Mt. Rushmore, only to encounter zero visibility due to heavy fog. I could barely see my relatives in front of my face. It was incredibly underwhelming. You see all the great close-up pictures on the internet, but the reality is that you’re standing way back, way below it. And it looks pretty small.
Every picture you see makes it look larger than life, but in reality, it only takes up a small portion of the mountain. Not to mention the park to see it is super far away, so you need binoculars to see it well.
Pisa is the geographical equivalent of that person at school that knows they’re hot, so they don’t have to try hard or be nice. Pisa knows you’re coming to see the tower and has put no effort into anything else. It’s incredibly boring.
Also, the tower is way smaller than I imagined. Like you’re just walking through some normal streets, not even looking for it, yet it just appears from behind a building. I don’t know why I thought it would rival the Eiffel Tower in height. I was expecting more. I blame cartoons for that.
The Alamo is completely surrounded by shopping districts and tourist traps. When I passed the Alamo, I literally went, “Wait, was that it?” And after going back to check, I realized that it was.
It was a couple of cowboy-era cinder blocks forming like one corner of some old building and an archway or whatever. It was no more impressive than any other demolished building. The worst part is that they don’t even have a basement!