Whether or not you’re an American, there are certain places that are on almost everyone’s must-visit list. Some tourist traps, like the Grand Canyon or Disneyland, are worth joining the masses and ponying up the entrance fee (although I just checked the Magic Kingdom’s website, and Mickey and friends are bilking the parents of children under nine for $68 a pop).
Other much-lauded, highly anticipated hot-spots are simply not worth the time and expense. This is, of course, highly subjective: one man’s Las Vegas dream vacation is another’s Third Circle of Hell. It can also be fun to visit certain craptacular or iconic landmarks.
The below list is a compilation of my picks, as well as those of other Gadling contributors, in no particular order. You may be offended, but don’t say you weren’t warned.
Unless you love freaks, junkies, hookers, crappy chain restaurants and stores, and stepping over human feces on the star-inlaid sidewalks, give it a miss.
2. Las Vegas
I understand the appeal of a lost weekend in Sin City, really. And I will not dispute the utter coolness of the Rat Pack, Vegas of yore. But in the name of all that is sacred and holy, why does the current incarnation of glorified excess and wasted natural resources exist, especially as a so-called family destination?
4. South Beach, Miami
At what point does silicone become redundant?
5. Atlantic City, New Jersey
The poor man’s Vegas
Toll roads, herds of tourists, shrieking children, an abundance of nursing homes, and tacky corporate America, all in one tidy package.
7. Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco
It’s hard to hate on San Francisco, but the once-glorious Wharf is a shadow of its former self. Hooter’s, Pier 39, seafood stands hawking overpriced, previously-frozen Dungeness crab cocktail, aggressive panhandling, and vulgar souvenir shops kill the mood.
8. The Washington Monument
The nation’s preeminent phallic symbol is admittedly an impressive piece of architecture. It’s also possible to get a great view from the car en route to other, more interesting historic sites and tourist attractions.
There is so much more to Hawaii, including beaches that aren’t man-made.
10. Mt. Rushmore
Faces carved into rock. Moving on…