There are amazing things to see in this world if you just bother to look for them and don’t get caught up in the tourist attractions or the most famous sights in some of the largest cities in the world. That’s the problem when some people go on vacation, they don’t know where to start so they often get caught posing for the same photos, going to the same places and seeing the same things as millions of people before them. But if they put some research into a trip, they would find something unique and special that is less known to other tourists.
In this list, you’ll see some amazing places that people always go to, which are earning the overrated tag because of their crowd size, their cost and their limited adventure factor. And then you’ll get those lesser-known places, attractions, and sights that a true traveller couldn’t pass up if they just knew about them. Don’t get stuck doing the same old thing that everyone else does, and take a look at these lesser-known places that are much better than their overrated counterparts and plan to have a new experience this time.
30 Overrated: Empire State Building
One of the most iconic buildings in New York City is the Empire State Building. From the observation deck, you can get a great view of the New York City skyline. But you’ll have to get through the crowds of people, and then get your camera through the bars to get that dream shot. According to Skift, the Empire State Building gets around four million visitors a year, and tickets are around $20 to go and get a view of the city, which has helped generate over $80 million in revenue. But the iconic view can be seen on digital prints in nearly every art store, so skip this overrated view for another.
29 Lesser-Known: A Panorama of the City of New York
Do you want to see the entire view of New York from above, without having to pay top dollars for skyline views or helicopter rides? Head to the Queens Museum, where they have A Panorama of the City of New York, which is a 9,335-square-foot architectural model that includes every single building in New York City. According to the Queens Museum, the buildings are at a scale of 1 inch to 100 feet and has over 895,000 individual structures, which was built for the 1964 World’s Fair.
28 Overrated: The Louvre
The Louvre is one of the most famous museums in the world and houses some of the world’s finest art. Its centerpiece, many would argue, is the Mona Lisa, the most famous painting of Leonardo da Vinci. But don’t think you’re getting one on one time with the Mona Lisa, as the Louvre is one of the most popular museums and you have to rub shoulders with plenty of tourists to get a moment to look at a painting you have seen plenty of times already. According to The Guardian, six million people see the Mona Lisa each year, and you have about 15 seconds to see the painting before being moved.
27 Lesser-Known: Maison de Victor Hugo
For a lesser-known museum where you can enjoy the time to look at the art, visit the Maison de Victor Hugo while in Paris and learn about French writer Victor Hugo. The house is the former residence of Hugo and is broken up into three main stages of his life, all located on the second floor, while the first floor is temporary exhibits. The best part, according to Maison’s website, admission is free for the permanent collection, while temporary exhibits can go as high as $8, making it a much cheaper day for a lesser-known French museum.
26 Overrated: The Vatican
When visiting Rome, most people take a quick trip to another country, or The Vatican, which technically is its own country inside Rome. With St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Square being the main tourist attractions, the Vatican gets plenty of visitors. According to Reuters, however, over 20,000 people a day can visit The Vatican in the summertime, making for a very crowded trip, and on days when it is free to enter the museum, it can be a four-hour wait in line before you get in. It’s great to see, but overrated based on crowd size and wait times.
25 Lesser-Known: Pyramid of Cestius
For a lesser-known place to visit in Rome, check out the Pyramid of Cestius, which was built in 12 BC as a tomb for Gaius Cestius, a member of the Epulones religious corporation. Since it is built into the city fortification, it is one of the best-preserved buildings in all of Rome, and according to Oxford University, the pyramid was sealed until 2015, when renovations opened it up to visitors. It is open every second and fourth Saturday and you have to book ahead, but at least you know you’ll get to see it, as opposed to waiting in lines all day.
24 Overrated: The London Eye
The London Eye observation wheel will give you an amazing view of London, England if of course, you are willing to wait in line for it. According to Walking Tours in London, 30 minutes is the average wait time to get on the large Ferris wheel, but on weekends and holidays, that can move up to two to three hours as there is a rush of people looking to get on. City views are overrated, as you can see them easily in print photos, and from airplanes without having to wait the time and spend the money on a massive Ferris wheel.
23 Lesser-Known: Kensington Palace
If you’re going to see something special in London, see the palaces, especially Kensington Palace, which offers tours that take about two hours and get to see inside the home of royals. The staterooms are open to the public, as is the garden, and there are times throughout the day when you can enjoy a peaceful time and not have to wait for any lines, take selfies and photos and tickets range around $15 to go inside. There is more to see than just the London skyline, and you actually get to take the time to enjoy it.
22 Overrated: Vegas Strip
Flashing lights, loud noises, big casinos and plenty of money being thrown around is what you are going to find on the Las Vegas strip. It’s a tourist attraction in and of itself and will easily take your money if you’re not careful. If you’re heading to Vegas, this is generally where you end up, but as most people would say, you basically know exactly what you are getting when you go to Vegas, and it normally ends up costing you plenty of money. According to the Las Vegas Sun, 42.9 million people visited last year and spent $35.5 billion, spending on average $827 per tourist.
21 Lesser-Known: Red Rock Canyon
For a lesser-known stop when in Vegas, head to Red Rock Canyon, which according to Nature.org, two million people visit each year. That’s a large difference from the people who visit the Vegas strip and will give you some quietness away from all the buzzing sounds of the casino floor. This conservation area lies in Nevada’s Mojave Desert and is known for the towering red sandstone peaks Keystone Thrust Fault. It’s a beautiful place to get a great panoramic photo and not spend hundreds of dollars.
20 Overrated: Willis Tower
Willis Tower, perhaps better known to most as the Sears Tower, in Chicago, offers a good view of the Chicago skyline from their observation deck, however, it comes at a pretty steep price. According to theskydeck.com, the pricing to get to the observation deck is $25 per person and $17 for children. That’s a lot of money to see Chicago, and no offense, it’s not the New York skyline in this case, which is the more famous one. Money is better spent elsewhere in Chicago than on a view on buildings.
19 Lesser-Known: Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is a lesser-known place in Chicago that doesn’t get the same respect as many other museums in the world, despite housing some of America’s most famous works of art, including Grant Wood’s famous gothic farmer painting. According to the Art Newspaper, 1.5 million guests visit the museum annually to see the over 300,000 works of art on display. For the city the size of Chicago, that doesn’t strike as a massive number compared to other museums, so you’ll get plenty of time to enjoy the works, without getting pushed aside.
18 Overrated: CN Tower
Built in the 1970s, The CN tower was known to be the highest freestanding building in the world but was beaten by the Burj Kalifa in 2010. Although this iconic building is what put Toronto on the map, the CN Tower is also considered an overrated tourist attraction. According to the CN Tower’s website, the main ticketing price to just see the panoramic view will set you back $38.00. Should you want to go to the next level that will set you back an additional $15.00, in which you will get just the view of Lake Ontario.
17 Lesser-Known: Casa Loma
This unique mansion is located in the midtown part of Toronto, Ontario. This is just one of many historic houses and landmarks around the GTA. According to the Casa Loma’s website, the gothic rival style mansion was built in 1911 and it was home to financier Sir Hen Pellatt for four consecutive years. Throughout the years, Casa Loma has seen over 100,000 visitors each year and this past year the famous mansion has received a $1.5 million dollar upgrade to its exhibits.
16 Overrated: Blarney Stone
There is this fascination with kissing the Blarney Stone in Cork, Ireland that has people lining up. By kissing it, the person is supposed to get the gift of gab, and visitors come from all over the world to kiss it. According to the Daily Mail, 200,000 people kiss it every year, making it the trip to kiss what is basically a rock. It’s also been called the most unhygienic tourist attraction in the world because of the number of people.
15 Lesser-Known: Cork Butter Museum
For a lesser-known attraction near the Blarney Stone, visit the Cork Butter Museum, which as the name would say, tells the history of butter in Ireland. That may seem like a silly museum to visit until you realize the role butter played in the history of Ireland, as according to the Daily Mail, butter was a massive export in Ireland and helped drive their economy. It may be a niche museum, to say the least, but learning history will give you something to talk about more than kissing a rock ever will.
14 Overrated: Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa is the highest building in the world, coming in at a record 2,722 feet high. It’s an amazing view from the top, which allows you to look down across the entire United Arabi Emirates. The observation deck, known as At The Top, is located on the 124th floor, 1,483 feet up, which is actually only about halfway up the tower, and costs around $50 USD to go up. The issue is, it gets crowded really quickly and depending on the day, all you could see is clouds and the top of other skyscrapers. Plus, it is a let down to be told you are going to the top of the tallest building, to only find yourself in the middle.
13 Lesser-Known: Bastakia Quarter
Rather than seeing something modern in Dubai, how about something ancient. The Bastakia Quarter is a historic district in Dubai and one of its best heritage sites. It has been declared a conservation area and many of the buildings have been restored, including the Dubai Museum and Majils Gallary. According to USA News, it’s free to enter, and tours last around two hours. Sometimes the best things aren’t modern, but rather, are history, so for a lesser-known place in Dubai that isn’t made of mountains of steel, check out the Bastakia Quarter.
12 Leaning Tower Of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa brings people far and wide to the Italy city of Pisa to get that cliché photo of the tower that isn’t sitting right. It’s a selfie poster's dream spot, as everyone tries to find that creative way to take a Leaning Tower photo, or just settles with the cliché, holding it up or pushing it over for a photo. According to the BBC, one million people visit each year, but outside of the Leaning Tower, there isn’t much else around, so it can turn into a pretty wasted and overrated trip for a typical selfie.
11 Lesser-Known: Guelph Tower
If you’re in Pisa and don’t want to wait for the Leaning Tower, try the Guelph Tower. According to the Guardian, the tower was turned into a center of arts and event space, and for just $2, you can climb to the tower and get a great view of Pisa, without waiting in long lines with other tourists to get inside the Leaning Tower. In fact, you can see the Leaning Tower from the Guelph Tower, so you can get it in your shot. Just leave out the selfie trickery in your photo.
10 Overrated: Christ The Redeemer
The most famous statue in all of South America is Chris the Redeemer, which is 98 feet high and has a hand span of 92 feet wide, making it nearly as long as it is tall. It sits on the peak of the Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park and overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro. As mentioned, this statue is massive and can be seen from anywhere in Rio, and the crowds to get up close are heavy, so it makes for an overrated view of the city below that sits on the coast, when you can go somewhere else quieter.
9 Lesser-Known: Pedra da Gávea
For a great view of Rio De Janeiro, visit Pedra da Gávea, which according to the Geological Survey of Brazil, is the tallest mountain in the world that ends directly in the ocean. With trails leading up to the peak, which is 2,769 feet high, it offers an amazing view of the Brazilian coastline and of Rio, without the people in the way. Plus, you can get the Christ the Redeemer statue in your photo, since it’s so large, offering a great perspective shot.
8 Overrated: Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Sydney, Australia, with great warm waters, perfect for surfing and an enjoyable day in the sand. But it’s that picture-perfect beach that brings over 2.6 million people per year to the beach, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. It can be very crowded and hard to find a place to lay down, especially considering that when Australia is having summer, it’s winter in the United States, so tourists going down are mixing with locals for beach time.
7 Lesser-Known: Avalon Beach
Looking for a quieter beach in Sydney, head to Avalon Beach, which according to Travel + Leisure, gets roughly one million visitors a year. You still get the great waters, the great surfing spot and the great time in the warm Australian sun during their summer and our winter, but with half the people there. With a great shoreline as well, including a nice cliff to view from, it’s more than just a sand spot to hang out for the day.
6 Overrated: The Sensō-ji Temple
Japan has a great history and one of the most historical places in the world is in Tokyo at the Sensō-ji Temple. According to Vancouver Sun, it is the most visited religious site in the world, in large part because of Tokyo’s massive population, so it is incredibly crowded with locals and tourists all trying to get a glimpse of the temple. It may be the oldest temple in Tokyo, but with so many visitors each year, it’s now a tourist trap for those who aren’t heavy into the religion.
5 Lesser-Known: The Miraikan and Edo-Tokyo Museums
Instead of an old temple, how about visiting a museum that is all about the new modern technology Japan is known to create. The Miraikan and Edo-Tokyo Museums opened in 2001 that has some amazing technological exhibits, including the Geo-Cosmos global that, according to the museum, displays near real-time weather events happening across the entire world. It consists of 10,362 OLED panels that are mini-screens that allow for the changes to happen, making it a lesser-known, but really cool thing to see.
4 Overrated: Parthenon
The Parthenon is one of the most famous world wonders in Greece, and is part of the Athenian Acropolis and is the temple. Built-in 447 BC, it’s pretty old, and according to the Guardian, over 7.2 million people visit it each year. That’s a lot of people to contend with, but also the fact that the temple is constantly under renovation and there is scaffolding build alongside different parts of it, taking away a little from the pure ancient history it is. It makes you wonder, if we didn’t renovate it, would it still be standing all these years later.
3 Lesser-Known: Little Metropolis Church
Instead of the typical experience when in Athens, how about checking out the Little Metropolis Church, which was built on top of the ruins of an ancient temple, with many saying it was built in the ninth century. According to AtlasObscura, the church is just 25 feet by 40 feet and is small enough that the much larger buildings around it actually put it in shade. It’s in the heart of the city, so it keeps you right in the action on Athens, and best of all, entrance is free.
2 Overrated: Alcatraz Island
The famous island prison known as Alcatraz has brought plenty of people to its shores to get a look inside one of America’s iconic jails. According to the National Parks Service, who controls the islands tours, over one million people a year visit the island. But it’s a prison, and while it has some history and plenty of escape stories, many online reviews consider it an overrated attraction in San Francisco. And the prison is crowded during the summer times, and cold during the winter.
1 Lesser-Known: 16th Avenue Tiled Steps
For something a little free with an amazing view of San Francisco, check out the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps, which was a neighbourhood project to create a sea of stars themed staircase that is, according to the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps website, 163 steps long. 163 mosaic tiles create a stunning work of art, so if you look at the staircase, it’s beautiful to look at. And if you turn around, you get a great view of the city. It’s all for free as well, just respect the rules and the locals and you’ll have a unique art experience in San Francisco.