If you’ve never been to New York City before, you’re probably excited about planning your trip and hitting up all the iconic spots. There is so much to do in NYC that it can be hard to know where to start. No matter what kind of thing you're into whether it’s nightlife, food, museums, or parks, this city has you covered. However, there are a lot of touristy spots that aren’t really worth visiting. Some of the most talked about areas for tourists are actually pretty overrated.
We’ve put together a list of the ten tourist traps in New York City you should avoid as well as suggestions for what you can do instead.
10 10. MAGNOLIA BAKERY
Magnolia Bakery is a dessert shop that was talked about on Sex and the City and known for really starting the cupcake craze. However, while the banana pudding might be delicious, it’s not the only or best NYC bakery to check out. You can try places like Doughnut Plant instead or any other number of patisseries, cupcake shops, and specialty sweet shops all around the city. It’s not that Magnolia Bakery is bad, it’s just not the only option out there.
9 9. ROCKEFELLER CENTER ICE RINK
There are a lot of movies that take place in or feature the City that Never Sleeps. This means that if you’re not from the area you likely have an idealized image in your mind of certain locations.
Rockefeller Center Ice Rink is one of these places. While this rink might be iconic, it’s pretty small and often crowded. There are other better options such as the free rink at Bryant Park or the McCarren Rink in Brooklyn.
8 8. MUSEUM OF SEX
The name of this museum is obviously attention-grabbing, and while this museum might sound fascinating and unique, it’s pretty overrated. Overall, most people find the actual museum to be lacking and not have enough exhibits. It’s also pretty pricey to get in and can get crowded. You’d be better off checking out a different kind of museums like the Morgan Library. Or, if you’re looking for something a little sexier, there are many amazing burlesque shows in the city that you can research.
7 7. EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
This entry might cause a little protest at first, but there are reasons for it. Of course, you’ll want to get a view of the NYC skyline while you’re visiting and you’ll want to see the Empire State Building up close, but going up isn’t worth it. It’s expensive, and there are better options. You can get a great view of the skyline from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Also, if you want to go up to the top of a building, the One World Trade Center offers a better experience.
6 6. RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and Madame Tussaud's are two experienced that can be found in the heart of the Time’s Square area. These museums have nothing to do with NYC itself, and they aren’t places where locals ever go. It’s more worth your time to check out unique NYC things such as one of the many museums or parks. You can see these kinds of experiences in other places like Las Vegas, so it’s not worth spending your NYC time there.
5 5. LITTLE ITALY
Little Italy is definitely a very picturesque and beautiful area of the city, so it’s not necessarily a bad place to go.
However, if you’re looking for authentic Italian food, you don’t have to go here at all. This is definitely more of a tourist trap neighborhood. There are so many places to get amazing Italian food in NYC from Brooklyn to the Bronx. You definitely don’t need to pay the overpriced food in Little Italy.
4 4. STATUE OF LIBERTY BOAT TOURS
The Statue of Liberty is an iconic NYC thing to see. While you likely want to get a good five of the statues, there are ways to do so without paying for the boat tours. You can take the Staten Island Ferry for free from Battery Park. This ferry takes you super close to the Statue of Liberty which allows you to get great pictures. If you want to go up into the statue itself, you'll have to pay or it. But, if you just want a nice view, the free ferry is the way to go.
3 3. CARRIAGE RIDE IN CENTRAL PARK
This is another one of those activities that is portrayed so often on movies that it’s hard to think of Central Park without picturing a horse-drawn carriage. However, there are better ways to get around the park.
You can walk or rent a bike. The carriage rides don’t actually let you see much of the park as you can only take them along the main roads. Plus, they are expensive and aren't necessarily a great environment for the horses.
2 2. FIFTH AVENUE
When you think of NYC, you might think of shopping. Fifth Avenue is one of the main areas in the city that people associate with shopping, celebrities, and designer stores. While you might want to go here if you have the budget, many of the stores are ones you can find almost anywhere like H & M. You’d be better off checking out places like Beacon’s Closet to get a more unique experience and not have to break your bank.
1 1.TIMES SQUARE
This is definitely the tourist trap to avoid if there ever was one. While Times Square might be iconic, it’s not worth it overall. If you must see it, just plan to do it as quickly as possible or do so on your way to seeing a Broadway show to get it outta the way at once. This place is packed, and locals avoid it as much as possible. Also, you’ll want to avoid the costumed characters who try to get you to give them money when they take a picture with you.