5 Overrated Activities in New York City to Avoid

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Stephanie is a cherished member of the Sampling America writing team, dedicated to crafting captivating narratives that transport readers to thrilling adventures across the country and beyond.

New York is a fantastic destination for anyone hoping to experience the best aspects of American culture. But much of what New York City offers can be a serious letdown or a waste of money.  

People usually visit the Big Apple for Broadway musicals, shopping, and the best restaurants in the world. From underwhelming experiences to outright scams, be sure to avoid the tacky tourist traps that are a massive waste of money and will leave you wishing you stayed home!

Times Square

Times Square New York City
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Times Square is usually on everyone’s list who visits New York City (NYC) for the first time. The lights and bustle of the city can be highly captivating, especially in the self-proclaimed center of the universe.

However, many people who visit or live in NYC claim that Times Square is overcrowded and full of scams like pickpockets and card game hustlers. We recommend saving your time by staying away from this colossal let-down! 

The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building
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While the Empire State Building is an iconic piece of New York architecture, many say visiting it can be an overrated experience. Experts say that the lines are incredibly long, the ticket is overpriced, and while the view is impressive, it’s mainly unrelated to the building.

Instead, you can take a tour of historic buildings with a knowledgeable tour guide who can inspire you with the city’s history. 

Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides

Horse Drawn Carriage Ride
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A horse-drawn carriage ride through the snow can be a magical experience, but weaving next to cars on thirsty and overworked horses can be a big letdown. This experience is hailed as one of the biggest tourist traps in NYC, and many recommend skipping it. Instead, stroll through Central Park to experience the city like a real New Yorker.

Chain Restaurants 

Chain Restaurant
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The first thing you should do in the culinary capital is to completely forget about chain restaurants. Red Lobster? Forget it! While these comforting favorites can be pleasing at home, in New York, even chain restaurants jack up the prices and offer underwhelming experiences.

Try eating like a local and pick up a Zagat guide to find some of the best eats in the city. The guide frequently ranks the top restaurants in New York and lists their price and style to find the best fit for you and your family. 

Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum

Madam Tussauds Wax Museum
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The wax museum is another giant tacky tourist trap in the city. Although learning more about your favorite celebrities can be interesting, many visitors claim that the wax figures often look strange and deformed. You’re better off paying for a musical on Broadway and seeing real stars on the stage! 

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Lake Tahoe
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Arches National Park
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