Travel

8 of the most overrated tourist attractions in the world

What do Plymouth Rock, the Blarney Stone, and the Mona Lisa all have in common? And no, it has nothing to do with her expression being stone-faced. If you said "they're all overrated", then you'd be 100 percent correct. If you answered "they're all worth visiting", we hate to tell you this, but you're going to be terribly dispirited. Sorry.

Either way, we were inspired by them -- and this Reddit thread -- to round up a list of the most universally disappointing tourist attractions on Earth. Here are eight guaranteed to make you say, "WTF, that's it?"

The Four Corners
Sure, it's pretty neat to think that you could lay on the ground and be in four states simultaneously, but... is that really enough to warrant the drive to get there? Once the "excitement" wears off, you'll realize that you're in the middle of the desert surrounded by Navajo merchants selling turquoise medallions. Perhaps you could do some early holiday shopping, though.

Wax museums, in general
Redditor ben_chowd correctly described these wasteful institutions as "a 3D version of People magazine" -- and yet, somehow, they're even worse than that. Waxworks are as universally creepy as they are lifeless; they never really look like the people they're meant to portray, and they leave you -- like the time you hooked up with that waitress from Chili's -- with an empty feeling inside. It's like paying $5 to see the pig-man at the county fair, only to discover that it's just a slightly overweight carnie wearing a mask. 

Plymouth Rock
Here's the thing about Plymouth Rock, and it's something you might've overlooked when planning your vacation to the Massachusetts shore: it's just a rock. It's not even a BIG rock, either; it's like the size of an engine at this point, thanks to people chipping off pieces of it to take to Summer vacation show & tell. To top it off, it's almost a certainty that Plymouth Rock was NOT where the pilgrims first set foot after their journey. It's disappointing on just about every level.

This Scottish woman
Yes, she's a woman and not, in fact, a tourist attraction; but that didn't stop TripAdvisor from setting Mary Johnston up as one. For the brief moment in time that her mistaken profile was on the site, she rose to become the 87th best attraction in Glasgow -- outranking a 12,000-seat arena, according to Metro. Some of the reviews responsible for her rise in popularity can still be found on Twitter, like this one here.

The Blarney Stone
Again, with the rocks. Although the idea of a stone that gets kissed by legions of tourists should automatically induce your gag reflex, people still flock here in the vain hope that a bit of luck will rub off on them (along with the bacteria of a thousand mouths). To make matters worse, legend has it that the locals like to relieve themselves on the stone, sticking it to the tourists who so brazenly pour money into their economy.

The Mona Lisa
While it may be one of the most significant paintings in history, the fact remains that the Mona Lisa is really, really small -- a problem that's compounded by the fact that you never get within 10 feet of the thing. To top it all off, you'll probably be surrounded by throngs of fellow tourists barking at you for obstructing their awful photos. Skip it, and see the rest of the Louvre instead.

Roswell, New Mexico
Were you expecting to score a bunch of crappy, alien-themed tchotchkes when you packed up the Suburban and hit the road for Roswell? Because that's what you'll find when you arrive. The legacy of our alleged first contact with ETs has become as American as apple pie -- which is to say that we've merchandised the hell out of it. Unless you're really into alien wine for some reason, just queue up The X Files and save yourself the trip.

The Empire State Building
The ESB's been an iconic part of the NYC skyline since its completion in 1931, so the desire to check out the observation deck is understandable. And yet, once you've spent an ungodly sum of money, suffered the hour-long trek to the top, and muscled your way through the churning mass of tourists, your perfect view will be missing one key component: the Empire State Building! Instead, head to the Top of the Rock; not only is it cheaper, but you'll get the full skyline experience, too.

Gianni Jaccoma is an editorial assistant for Thrillist Travel, and he’s never visited any of these places before. Follow him to sites worth the hype on Twitter @gjaccoma.