In Defense of Tourism
Little Italy, NYC
Description: Concentrated on Manhattan’s Mulberry Street between Broome and Canal, this authentic Italian neighborhood-turned-tourist strip is packed with Italian restaurants, souvenir shops, and street vendors.
Why We Love It: More tuxedoes per square foot than any other place in the city; September’s 11-day San Gennaro Festival; Frank Sinatra’s favorite restaurant, Grotta Azzurra.Tourist Traps Worth a Visit
La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles
Description: The pits, located in Hancock Park, are full of asphalt that’s trapped unsuspecting animals for thousands of years. The result?An impressive fossil collection with some pieces dating from the last ice age.
Why We Love Them: George C. Page Museum’s ever-increasing collection; Pit 91’s annual summer excavation; saber-toothed cat fossil replicas make the perfect gifts.Tourist Traps Worth a Visit
Faneuil Hall, Boston
Description: A high-traffic stop on the Freedom Trail as the site of secession speeches by Samuel Adams and James Otis, the historic building is home to an open-air marketplace full of kitschy kiosks and carts.
French Quarter, New Orleans
Description: The oldest part of New Orleans, the picturesque French Quarter was founded in 1718 and is a historic landmark in its entirety. Infamous Bourbon Street is its main party artery, and the place to people-watch.
Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas
Description: The hotel-casino’s famous choreographed fountain show is timed to music and light displays. The performing plumbing goes off every 30 minutes from late afternoon into evening, then every 15 minutes from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Why We Love It: The fountain’s repertoire includes Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon; dancing water shows never get old; its sheer ridiculousness is oh so Vegas.Tourist Traps Worth a Visit
Space Needle, Seattle
Description: Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the 605-foot-tall structure offers 360-degree views of the Seattle skyline and Mt. Rainier, the Cascades, and the Olympic Mountain range in the distance.
Why We Love It: The 43-second elevator ride; the rotating skyCity restaurant; the high-tech SkySchool for the kids (and, of course, the jaw-dropping views).Tourist Traps Worth a Visit
Bay cruise by Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Description: One of the longest spans of suspension bridge in the world, the Golden Gate is as much as symbol of Americana as the Statue of Liberty.
Why We Love It: The bridge’s color has a name: “International Orange”; packing a snack at the Ferry Building before boarding the cruise; views of the bridge at sunset set the sky ablaze.Tourist Traps Worth a Visit
Description: Elvis Presley’s gaudy 13-acre estate was the King’s Memphis, Tennessee home from 1957–1977. (He died of a heart attack in the bathroom of the white-columned mansion on Aug. 16, 1977.)
Why We Love It: Crazy amounts of Elvis memorabilia, including his famous jumpsuits; it’s America’s most garish National Historic Landmark; even the pillows have mirrors.Tourist Traps Worth a Visit