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10 Popular American Tourist Traps Locals Can’t Stand

Let’s talk about popular American tourist traps locals can’t stand!

It doesn’t matter how friendly and enthusiastic tourists are; sometimes they can get a bit annoying. We all understand how it is to come to a new place and be amazed by everything, because, let’s face it, we’re all tourists somewhere, but imagine you need to meet someone downtown and you can’t get past large groups of tourists. It can be annoying, but it’s also nice to see a bunch of people being happy and taking pictures.

Travel experts say there are lots of American tourist traps, and if you want to see a real slice of the US, you should avoid certain places. From lovely Seattle to Washington D.C., and everywhere else, America sometimes turns into a massive gift shop or Instagrammable corner. We’ve talked to experts about some of the most popular American tourist traps, and here’s what we found out:

Do you live in any of these places? Let us know in the comments!

American tourist trap
Photo by Sean Pavone from

1. Bourbon Street; New Orleans, Louisiana

Bourbon Street in New Orleans is one of the most beautiful and popular streets in the city’s French Quarter and is considered by many to be a classic American tourist trap. This gorgeous street is like a magnet for tourists who want to have a taste of the city’s flourishing nightlife, but some residents in this small district aren’t always in the mood for partying and carrying on until dawn.

Not to mention, since Bourbon Street is such a popular place, full of stunning cafes and shops, the prices tend to go up, and locals have to deal with them. Even though residents get used to long and fun nights, they’re sometimes fed up, and we get them.

2. Cloud Gate; Chicago, Illinois

The futuristic Cloud Gate in Chicago, or the Bean, as visitors popularly know it, is another American tourist trap that locals sometimes can’t stand. This interesting sculpture was brought to life by artist Sir Anish Kapoor to inspire awe in the power of architecture.

He managed to warp the surrounding city skyline, which brought it closer to everyone in the city. Unfortunately for people who live and work there, this popular tourist destination is situated right in the heart of the city, making the hordes of selfie-takers it draws practically unavoidable. If you live in Chicago and have to run errands downtown, you know how hard it can be to squeeze between these enthusiastic people. But isn’t tourists’ excitement also cute?

3. Waikiki Beach; Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu residents say that Waikiki Beach has become one of the most popular American tourist traps. Undoubtedly, Hawaii is a fabulous vacation destination, but nothing attracts more visitors than this stunning beach. Millions of tourists come every year to dip their toes in the turquoise water or take Instagrammable photos, at least.

The thing that made the locals furious was that many of them had to move out due to hotel construction. Moreover, some of them stated that the place doesn’t look like “real Hawaii” anymore since this beach is full of hotels and overpriced restaurants, cafes, and attractions.

4. Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota

You can live your entire life in this mall if we’re being honest. It has waterparks, rollercoasters, incredible views, fabulous shops, restaurants, cafes, and everything else you might need. This is one of the biggest American tourist traps and is located just outside Minneapolis. It is the 12th largest shopping mall in the world, and if you can’t imagine how massive it is, think of it this way: it’s big enough to fit no less than seven Yankee Stadiums inside it.

If you’re not sure what you want to get, no problem. This mall has over 500 shops, so you have all the time in the world to decide. Thanks to its multiple attractions, this mall is visited by roughly 40 million people each year, and the majority of them spend around three hours wandering the mall’s halls. Believe it or not, Minneapolis’ population is one-hundredth of that, so the mall is surely a popular and loved attraction.

tourist trap
Photo by Space Needle from

5. Space Needle; Seattle, Washington

We continue with these American tourist traps, and this time we’ll talk about the stunning Space Needle in Seattle. Considered by many a visual landmark of the city, it attracts no less than 40 million visitors each year, curious to discover Seattle’s secrets, surrounding islands, and gorgeous skyline.

While the view is out-of-this-world, the Space Needle gives many visitors chills down their spines due to the glass floors and walls, but don’t worry, everything is safe. If you plan a date with someone special, be prepared to see lots of tourists after sunset because everyone wants to take a picture above the world. Not to mention, it costs more than $30 just to ride to the top, so you’d better have cash on you.

6. Beale Street; Memphis, Tennessee

Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, also referred to as the “official home of the blues,” is one of the most popular American tourist traps. This stunning location is lined with restaurants, cafes, and a plethora of musical attractions. The streets are crammed with almost 11 million people annually, leaving little space for locals to enjoy their own culture.

Have you ever been to Memphis? Did you like it? Let us know in the comments below!

7. Garden of the Gods; Colorado Springs, Colorado

Since it first opened to the public in 1909, Garden of the Gods, which is an incredibly stunning collection of old red rocks located in the center of Colorado Springs, has drawn tourists from all over the world. The view is stunning, and it makes you feel like you’re in heaven, but many locals consider it a wonderful American tourist trap.

However, the national landmark’s location is in the heart of this busy Colorado Springs, which causes a lot of traffic for local commuters, who must often put up with the never-ending traffic.

tourist trap
Photo by Ronan ODonohoe from

8. The Magnificent Mile; Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is home to many American tourist traps, so we can understand why locals sometimes can’t stand the traffic, huge prices, and crowded areas. This fabulous shopping district is close to the city’s center and is loaded with tourist-friendly and luxury stores, but it makes locals avoid it.

Tourists will have the time of their lives visiting The Magnificent Mile, thanks to its plethora of entertainment options, but Chicago people will say pass, considering how big the prices are.

9. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

The next American tourist trap we’re going to talk about is Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. This town is loved by tourists who enjoy learning about the country’s history. They can visit lots of monuments dedicated to the Civil War and the abolitionist movement.

Harpers Ferry is also home to stunning landscapes, blowing tourists’ minds with charming and picturesque views. Moreover, since the breathtaking Appalachian Trail passes past it, the city attracts lots of nature enthusiasts every year.

But things sometimes get a bit complicated since less than 500 people can call Harpers Ferry their home. According to experts, residents are always outnumbered by tourists, which makes them require additional transit options to prepare the town for the influx of visitors that it receives each year.

10. The Grand Strand; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

We’re at the end of our list of American tourist traps that locals couldn’t stand at the time, but we can’t end today’s article without talking about the gorgeous Grand Strand in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Even if you’ve never visited this place, you’ve probably heard of the inflated prices and overcrowded beaches.

Experts say that more than 14 million tourists visit the city every year, which makes the resorts, beaches, and restaurants full in the warmer months. Some residents are so disappointed in how the city addresses tourism that they posted on social media complaints about tourists driving unlicensed scooters and causing traffic issues. Do you agree with these comments? Share your thoughts with us!

If you know of any other American tourist traps that we didn’t include in our list, let us know! If you plan on going on a trip anytime soon, don’t forget your carry-on! Here’s an amazing bag that will fit everything you need for a wonderful vacation!

Did you enjoy this article about American tourist traps? If you want to check out something else from Adventure in America, here’s a good post for you: 12 Small Towns in The West You Need to Visit This Year

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