New York City is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world. People from around the globe go there to get a sense of what the US is like and to see its many famous attractions. From Broadway shows to world-class museums to movie filming locations to unique eateries, NYC is home to tons of things you can't see, do, or eat anywhere else. It is pretty much a must-see for any traveler! However, New York gets way more love and praise than it deserves. While there are lots of things worth visiting in NYC, there are even more reasons to skip it.
It is already one of the most populous cities on the planet, but add in the millions of tourists it sees each year and you have an uncomfortably crowded, busy city. This means long lineups for everything, crazy traffic, and public transit and sidewalks that are packed beyond their limits with people.Prices for everything from hotels to food is also sky-high due to demand. Many visitors find that their New York vacation isn't all it's cracked up to be. Popular attractions often cause more stress and financial strain than fun. Keep reading to learn my top 25 reasons that New York City is vastly overrated!
25 Tons Of People
As I mentioned above, NYC is packed full of people. You can rarely find a sidewalk, subway car, elevator, or store that isn't beyond its capacity. Between locals and tourists, there are just way too many people for the amount of resources, which may stress you out. Constantly having other people touching you or walking close behind you can cause anxiety and put a negative twist on your entire trip. Even the parks, which should be wide open spaces where you can breathe easily, are stuffed with bodies, especially on nice, sunny days in the summer.
24 Bad Weather
It seems you really can't win in terms of weather in New York. In the summer, it's so hot and humid that you feel like you could melt. In the spring and fall, there is tons of rain and gloomy skies so you will definitely need to pack an umbrella! Winter brings bitter cold winds that whip through the buildings and often wet, heavy snow that is never cleared fast enough. There are only a few days each year that are actually pleasant to spend outside in NYC and literally everyone will be out and about on those days.
23 There's Too Much To See
This sounds like a first-world problem but hear me out. NYC is home to so many amazing things to see and do. No matter your interest, some of the biggest and best versions of things you like to do can be found there. So you could spend months there and still not get to experience everything on your to-do list. Between the sheer number of things to see, the long lines to get into popular attractions, and the commuting time required to get all around the city, you definitely can't do it all. Prepare to be disappointed.
22 It's Fast-Paced
One thing that turned me off when I visited New York was how fast-paced life is there. Everyone is in a hurry when they walk and drive. Even if you think you walk fast, a New Yorker will still be huffing and zooming around you on the sidewalk! It seems that no one in NYC takes the time to enjoy anything. They just want to get from point A to point B and they resent any visitors that try to look around and take it all in. If you're from a place with a slower pace of life, you're in for a surprise.
21 Too Many Tourists
NYC sees around 60 million tourists each year and that number keeps going up. When they all want to see the same 5 attractions, it makes certain parts of the city crazy crowded and lines super long. For some things, you have to book your tickets months in advance just to ensure you will get to do the attraction on a certain day! While it's important to see whatever NYC institutions you want, consider throwing in a few places off the beaten path to avoid crowds.
20 It's Enormous
The NYC metropolitan area is huge. That's just a fact. With 5 boroughs covering over 300 square miles, it is literally impossible to see it all on one trip. In fact, you might want to plan to just visit one or two boroughs on your vacation so that you don't spend all of your time commuting from one place to the next. Who wants to spend their vacation on ferries, trains, and buses? And forget about doing NYC on foot; even the core part of Manhattan where most tourists go is enormous.
19 Everything's Expensive
Everything being expensive is a truth that New Yorkers love to complain about. Real estate prices are astronomical, which explains why everything else follows suit. Be prepared to spend nearly double for hotel rooms, food, and attractions than you would in any other city. Even chain restaurants cost more than in other places! As if that weren't bad enough, New Yorkers love to be extra and make things even more pricey than they have to be. Cue the sundaes and bagels decorated with gold leaf!
18 Locals Are Rude
The rude New Yorker stereotype is unfortunately pretty true. People will push you, yell at you, spread their stuff out over multiple subway seats, you name it. And if you look like a typical tourist, they will act especially annoyed with you for some reason. I did come in contact with some friendly faces when I visited but be prepared for a city full of mostly grumpy people. The fast pace and competition for literally everything makes them mean. Grow a thick skin before your NYC trip!
17 Too Many Weirdos
It seems that you can see anything and everything in New York City. Think you have some eccentric people in your town? New York has tons of weirdos way stranger than them. New Yorkers learn not to be surprised by anything because they see so many different hairstyles, outfits, and odd actions every single day. Try your best not to stare and focus on having fun. New York locals would argue that the weird people are part of what gives the city its character!
16 The Statue Of Liberty Is Tiny
Every American (and other people around the world) sees the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of the USA. As a result, you imagine it to be some giant structure that looms on an island overlooking the city. However, Lady Liberty actually isn't as big as you would think. The statue itself only stands about 20 stories high, which in comparison to the amazing skyscrapers in the city looks tiny. If you don't get to go up inside it, the Statue of Liberty can be a bit boring and better enjoyed from afar.
15 The Subway Is Unreliable
Because NYC is such a huge city and the traffic is so bad, you have to get around it by public transit. Hoards of people rely on the MTA every day to get to work, school, and home. However, despite being the sole mode of transportation for so many, the subway system is one of the most unreliable on the planet. According to the New York Times, New York's transit system "has the worst on-time performance of any major rapid transit system in the world."
14 Long Lines For Everything
With a population density of 27,000 people per square mile, NYC is crazy crowded. Every resource is strained due to the sheer number of residents in the city. This means that you will face a long line almost everywhere you go. The bank, restaurants, stores, you name it. If you try to go somewhere that is popular with tourists and locals alike, you can expect to wait hours just to get in the door. This doesn't seem like a fun way to spend my valuable vacation time!
13 Central Park Is Overrated
In the movies, Central Park looks like an idyllic escape in the middle of an urban jungle. While this is sort of true, it's also home to its share of unsavory sights. Homeless people asleep on benches, giant rats skittering about, questionable street vendors that are mobile enough to escape health checks. And if you want to take a row boat out on the lake? Expect to wait all day and spend a small fortune. Don't believe everything you see on TV.
12 Broadway Shows Are A Rip-Off
No one can dispute that Broadway shows are amazing spectacles. With world-class singers, famous actors, and costumes and sets that look larger than life, these plays will delight you. Unfortunately, there are many downsides to a Broadway ticket. Even older, less popular shows that don't feature a celebrity cost an arm and a leg and need to be book months or even years in advance. You can always try to rush a show for ever-so-slightly cheaper tickets, but that means freezing or sweating to death for hours in line when you might not even get one.
11 People Obsess Over Food Trends
New Yorkers have a way of latching onto food trends and not letting go. Thanks to Instagram, people flock to certain eateries to try the latest craze, often waiting in lines that snake down the block. Whether it's the cronut, rainbow bagel, freakshake, or fish-shaped ice cream cone, local influencers and tourists alike make pilgrimages all over the city for the 'gram. If you do visit NYC, consider eating food that is actually good and doesn't just look cool in your photo feed.
10 Hollywood Tourism Ruined Some Locations
So many famous movies and TV shows have been filmed in New York City over the years. For this reason, certain restaurants and locations featured in these Hollywood productions have become overrun with tourists. Lines go out the door at Serendipity 3 (featured in many movies) and Magnolia Bakery (a favorite on Sex & The City). Visitors traipse around the city looking for filming locations from Sex & The City, Friends, and Seinfeld. These places were cool once but now are full of thousands of people snapping the same photos.
9 Gentrification Has Wiped Out Its Character
For decades, NYC has been trying to clean up its act and gentrification is one big part of that. Once vibrant neighborhoods like Chinatown, Little Italy, and Harlem are having their unique businesses wiped out in favor of chain restaurants and stores. While there are many benefits to gentrification, it makes it hard to find any uniquely New York places these days. Even in ethnic neighborhoods, many of the residents and much of the food is no longer authentic, which is so sad!
8 Tiny Grocery Stores
Because New York is so jam-packed with buildings, there are few places to put big stores. That means that most people rely on tiny bodegas for their grocery shopping. These places are full of character for sure but make it hard to find a wide range of grocery products. Aside from basic produce and some snacks, you can't get much else without going to the suburbs. Forget trying to find that cool new food product you saw in a TV commercial!
7 It's Dirty
While many big cities are kind of dirty, NYC is often considered one of the dirtiest in the USA. For one thing, there are so many people and cars that trash on the ground and soot on buildings builds up fast. The city is also huge, which makes it impossible for garbage men and street sweepers to keep up with cleaning it. If you don't like looking at piles of trash bags leaking their juice onto the street, skip a trip to New York.
6 Driving And Parking Are A Nightmare
Let's be honest. Traffic in New York is a nightmare! It's slow and backed-up at any time of day but rush hour is crazy. And trying to find parking is pretty much an impossible task. With tons of cars, bikes, buses, and pedestrians all trying to share the road, driving or even riding in a car in NYC is sure to stress you out. Skip those iconic yellow cabs and take the MTA . . . even with the delays you'll still get to your destination faster!