16 U.S. Cities That Are Always A Disapointment For Tourists

Stephanie Allen

Updated on:

Las Vegas

While planning a vacation, you may want to visit a specific attraction you’ve long dreamed of seeing. The anticipation of getting there is half the fun. When you reach your destination, it’s everything you hoped it would be and satisfying.

What happens when you arrive at your destination and it fails to live up to your expectations? That kind of disappointment can be a bitter pill, and it happens more often than you think. 

1. Hollywood, California

HOLLYWOOD CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 24: The world famous landmark Hollywood Sign on September 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
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Hollywood, California, comes to mind when you think of celebrities, glitz, and glamour. It’s where aspiring actors take their chances for a shot at fame, fortune, and the adulation of countless fans. 

What’s not seen is the other side of Hollywood, with sketchy neighborhoods and dirty streets. As a part of Los Angeles, you can expect a certain amount of crime, but its crime rate is 147% above the national average. 

2. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas
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Sin City is a legendary spot for adults to gamble, party, hang out with Elvis impersonators, and maybe even get married in a quickie ceremony. Las Vegas is synonymous with having fun around the clock.

It also has a seedy side that is not featured on television, online, or print ads. The Las Vegas Strip is full of unsavory characters, crowded with tourists, and has an unbelievably hot and dry climate. 

3. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans
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For a taste of French and Creole culture, no place embodies both like the Crescent City. Between the friendly people, food, and overall atmosphere, it’s impossible not to have a good time.

The things that make New Orleans a wonderful place to visit also mean dealing with crowds, publicly intoxicated out-of-towners, and the mountains of trash they leave behind for the residents to clean up. 

4. San Francisco, California 

San Francisco
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San Francisco is famous for several reasons: its steeply hilled streets, cable cars, Rice-A-Roni, and the classic television show The Streets of San Francisco. During the 1960s, the Haight-Ashbury section of the city was pivotal in the counterculture movement. 

Today, San Francisco is a hub for tech companies, attracting workers from around the world. In recent years, the city has become known for its expensive housing, rampant homelessness, dirty streets, and crime. How can visitors feel safe if residents don't? 

5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

The Liberty Bell
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Philadelphia is home to some of the greatest artifacts from the Colonial Era, including the Betsy Ross House and Independence Hall. Visitors worldwide come to the city to view these symbols of freedom. 

Just outside of Independence Hall is the most visible symbol of freedom, the Liberty Bell. Anyone who expects the bell to be huge will be let down when they see it’s only three feet tall.

6. Waikiki, Hawaii

Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, Honolulu, Oahu Island, Hawaii
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The island state of Hawaii is in a unique position: its residents heavily rely on tourism for their livelihood, but the sheer number of visitors per year disrupts the delicate ecosystems in the region. 

This is evident in Waikiki Beach, a wildly popular tourist spot. The packed beaches year-round amount to polluted environments, including the waters. There are better, more sustainable places to vacation in Hawaii. 

7. Margate, New Jersey

Lucy The Elephant
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Margate, New Jersey, is one of several beach towns in the state that attracts visitors, especially from the neighboring states of Pennsylvania and Delaware. Margate is best known as the home of Lucy the Elephant.

Lucy isn’t a living animal but a six-story-high building in the shape of an elephant, built in 1881. It was once a tavern. It’s an amazing sight both inside and outside, but the location, next to a parking lot, is more than a bit odd and detracts from any charm it might otherwise have.

8. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park
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America’s most famous national park is mostly located in Wyoming, with some of it stretching into Idaho and Montana. You would think that a park so large would be a place of peace and tranquility, but unfortunately, it’s not.

Thousands of visitors descend on the park each month, many to see Old Faithful. Not only does Yellowstone become filled with crowds, but it’s also becoming more polluted with the geyser-spewing trash people have thrown into it for decades. It’s a stain on an otherwise beautiful setting.

9. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, MA
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As the birthplace of the American Revolution, Boston played a significant role in founding the United States. Unsurprisingly, it’s a must-see destination, particularly for history buffs. There are several museums and numerous sites in the city that appeal to all types of visitors.

Two of Boston’s most iconic landmarks, Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, are two of the city’s oldest spots. Their historical significance can’t be denied, but they’ve since become a tourist trap with little resemblance to its past. 

10. Keystone, South Dakota

Mount Rushmore
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If Keystone, South Dakota doesn’t sound familiar, you’re not alone. You will probably know the location of its most famous monument, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The massive sculpture of four great U.S. presidents is a source of national pride. 

Unfortunately, it also requires frequent maintenance because of cracks in the granite caused by natural erosion and weathering. It’s a bit of a letdown watching a national monument slowly deteriorate. 

11. Orlando, Florida

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Home to some of the world’s most famous theme parks, such as Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, and LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Orlando is a terrific place for family fun and one of the most popular destinations in America.

Orlando’s popularity also makes it busy and crowded almost every day of the week, especially at the theme parks. Visitors to Orlando will find themselves frustrated waiting in line for hours to get to a single attraction. 

12. Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts

Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts
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From the earliest days of our education, we’re taught that the Pilgrims landed in North America at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. The physical Plymouth Rock commemorates their arrival. 

However, there’s debate about whether Pilgrims arrived at that location. To add insult to injury, the Plymouth Rock landmark isn’t the mammoth stone slab it used to be. Today, it’s only about one-half to one-third of its original size. 

13. Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls
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Niagara Falls is one of the natural wonders of the U.S. Made up of three separate waterfalls, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls, the landmark is breathtaking. 

More than 8 million visitors a year agree with that sentiment. In addition to the huge crowds, getting anywhere close to the falls means getting soaked to the bone.  

14. Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
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Viewing the Space Needle on television proves it’s an architectural marvel. It’s only natural to expect the same or an even greater feeling of awe when seeing it in person. If so, you’ll be underwhelmed. 

Tickets to visit the Space Needle aren’t cheap, and they’re only in 15-minute increments unless you buy one of their more expensive packages. Viewing and photographing it from a distance is more satisfying if you want to see it firsthand. 

15. New York City, New York 

Times Square
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Very few places in the world have as many storied attractions in one place as New York City. Who wouldn’t want to visit Times Square, Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Statue of Liberty, among other sites? 

The downsides to visiting NYC are the crowds from the city’s residents. The tourist traffic only adds to the congestion. Driving to NYC isn’t recommended because street parking is limited, and private parking is expensive, but so is the city generally. 

16. Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City, New Jersey
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What was once a major casino spot on the East Coast is now a sad shadow of its former self. Decades ago, the Atlantic City casino scene was an exciting, vibrant hub of activity. Celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Martha Raye, and Milton Berle started in A.C. 

Today, several casinos have closed, and those remaining open are struggling. They’re also surrounded by tacky souvenir shops on the Boardwalk and neighborhoods that are unsafe to walk through. 

Better Places to Visit in the U.S.

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As you can tell, there are many cities on this list that are probably not worth traveling to. There are plenty of places around the states that are worth it. For instance, you can take a look at all the wonderful national parks in Utah, or if you want a city, Chicago or Nashville are pretty cool cities to check out.

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South Beach, Miami
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Sometimes, the best memories come from experiences that push our budget boundaries just a bit.Imagine waking up next to the sound of waves gently crashing against the shore in a luxurious beachfront villa or sipping fine vintage wines.Yes, these experiences come with heftier price tags, but promise unparalleled enjoyment and lifelong memories.In this article, we've curated a list of 13 expensive U.S. vacations worth every penny you splurge.

13 Expensive U.S. Vacations That Are So Worth It

The 12 Most Beautiful Downtown Areas in the U.S. to Visit

Washington D.C.
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Being the third largest country by area, America has some of the most beautiful and liveliest places – both in cultural diversity and style. Any well-rounded traveler should visit the following downtown destinations to gain a broader perspective of life in the United States.

The 12 Most Beautiful Downtown Areas in the U.S. to Visit

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