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Thread: U.S.'s most over-rated tourist attractions

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Talking U.S.'s most over-rated tourist attractions

    U.S.'s Most Over-Rated Tourist Traps

    We all know the feeling: Bound by a lemming-like sense of obligation, we drag ourselves to an important tourist attraction, stand in its presence for a few moments, then (if all goes well) leave as quickly as possible. Sometimes we’re pleasantly surprised; we linger and learn something new. But lots of times, we don’t.

    Some of the places on my list are well-known tourist traps, but not all tourist traps are a waste of time (the Empire State Building, Mount Rushmore and Niagara Falls are all well worth a look).

    Regardless, the following spots have left me either underwhelmed or exhausted for no good reason. I’m sure you have a similar list.

    Fisherman's Wharf

    San Francisco

    It’s very easy to have an enjoyable, fulfilling stay in San Francisco without ever touching foot in this awful place, which has all the appeal of a rundown (and yet somehow very expensive) amusement park. If you are forced to visit, however, I recommend the Musee Mecanique, a wonderfully eerie collection of vintage penny arcade games located at Pier 45.

    Petrified Forest National Park

    Holbrook, Ariz.

    Petrified Forest National Park is located off of Interstate 40 between Holbrook and Navajo. From the north entrance of the park off of Interstate 40, a roughly 25-mile driving route meanders south among a spare expanse of rocks and sand, until you find yourself on Highway 180. Then you drive back up to Interstate 40 and continue on your way, an hour closer to the grave.

    Wall Street

    New York City

    Wall Street could easily be described as a dark, narrow alley full of traffic pylons, heavily armed police officers, harried office workers and lots of tourists taking pictures of a street sign. Federal Hall, where Washington gave his inaugural address, consists of a mostly empty rotunda with a few exhibits, and the New York Stock Exchange is strictly off-limits these days.

    Plymouth Rock

    Plymouth, Mass.

    Plymouth Rock sits inside a Greek Temple-like structure along a pleasant promenade in Plymouth Harbor, Mass. The rock is gray and worn, and roughly the size of a car engine, with the year 1620 stamped across its side. It marks the precise spot where William Bradford and the Mayflower pilgrims set foot in the New World, except for the fact that this actually happened in Provincetown.

    The Alamo

    San Antonio, Texas

    The Alamo, otherwise known as Mission San Antonio de Valero, sits on roughly four acres in downtown San Antonio, a short distance from the River Walk. Much of the original structure is no more, and what remains are a few small stone buildings and some neatly trimmed lawns. The audio tour concludes in an exceedingly well-provisioned gift shop.


    Los Angeles

    Enjoy a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, watch the sunset from the Griffith Observatory, or take a stroll in Runyon Canyon Park. But don’t go looking for “Hollywood,” because you’re liable to wind up on the Walk of Fame being harassed by a Charlie Chaplin impersonator.

    Bourbon Street

    New Orleans

    Everyone should make an effort to visit New Orleans, and the romance of the French Quarter is still alive and well in places such as Jackson Square and Decatur Street. But for the sake of your dignity, avoid Bourbon Street if you can. All the charming cast-iron balconies in the world can’t save this stretch of sadness.

    RMS Queen Mary

    Long Beach, Calif.

    What do you get when you cross a Ramada Inn with a rusty old ship? The RMS Queen Mary, the once-proud jewel of the Cunard Line, which now lies permanently docked in Long Beach as a hotel, convention center and floating haunted house (paranormal tours are available). They should have given poor old Mary an honorable burial at sea.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I thought Wall Street was neat, but yeah... it's a weird rat warren of buildings all at right angles of each other, steam vents sticking out of the street and machine guns everywhere
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    Elite Member Sylkyn's Avatar
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    Haha...I literally just read this article about 30 minutes ago on Yahoo. I agree wholeheartedly about Bourbon Street. I have had a better time and felt safer in the BrickYard ghettos in West End, not too terribly far from where I live. You take a gun just to drive through West End, if that tells you anything.

    I hated Bourbon Street, enjoyed just being on Wall Street (back before 9/11), and thus far haven't seen any of the others. But yeah, Bourbon Street is nothing but a rat-infested cesspool.
    Last edited by Sylkyn; August 15th, 2009 at 06:52 PM. Reason: Because I said "cellpool" instead of "cesspool", although either is accurate.

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    Elite Member Shinola's Avatar
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    Luckily, I haven't been to most of these places. I have to agree about Fisherman's Wharf--it's awful, and with so many incredible places to visit in the SF Bay Area, a bit tragic to waste one's time on it.

    I've driven past the Holbrook, Ariz. petrified forest ten or twelve times and always wondered if it was worth seeing. You can kind of make it out from the highway--it's barren, with a white petrified-tree rock here and there. I had assumed it must get better at some point.
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    Elite Member angelais's Avatar
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    Fisherman's Wharf is horrible and The Queen Mary isn't anything great either. Looks like an old ship. I'd rather be out on an Alaskan tour ship getting drunk and binging at the buffet.
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    Elite Member Beeyotch's Avatar
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    I have to defend Fisherman's Wharf, the sea lions are pretty awesome! Plus it's just nice to look out on the bay from there, and there's Alcatraz in the background. I never actually spend any money at these pier type places and I don't have any big expectations so I'm never disappointed.

    Fisherman's Wharf is touristy, yes, but it's not really that bad. It's a nice place to walk through, interesting to look at. It's nice to walk all along the boardwalk, then it ends at the Cannery/Ghirardelli Factory with the big cable car turnaround. You have ice cream and hop on the cable car. Of course I never went down there when we actually lived there, only when I was a tourist...

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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    we once stayed on the Queen Mary. the room was dinky, and my Pork Chop dinner was very good, but VERY overpriced. it was fun once. thats it, just once.
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    Elite Member Laurent's Avatar
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    What they never tell you about Bourbon Street is that it always smells like piss with a touch of vomit. Plenty of both coat the street and sides of the buildings.

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    They're right about Plymouth Rock. We didn't have time to go to Plymouth Plantation when we were there, but that's what we will visit instead if we take another trip up that way.

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    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    ^^Yea, Plymouth Rock SUCKED. I was 7 and was completely unimpressed.

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    I was a little kid when we visited the petrified forest. I was so disappointed. I expected an actual forest, not a bunch of rocks in the desert. I strongly advise skipping it.

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    Elite Member Lobelia's Avatar
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    Don't care, I love Bourbon Street. I want to go again next year.
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    OMG, Plymouth Rock is the worst. It is like getting naked with someone for the first time and then discovering he has a tiny...well, never mind. But it's just like that. Talk about unimpressive.

    Plimouth Plantation is really very nicely done. I went there as chaperone on a school trip (after seeing the very disappointing aforementioned rock).

    I was impressed by the level of knowledge and it did not hurt that it was a gorgeous September day and quite possible to imagine yourself back in time.

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