New York City is truly one of the most amazing cities on the planet. It has so much to offer beyond the famous tourist traps to which everyone seems to flock. Check out this list and avoid these major tourist traps in NYC on your next visit!

1. Horse and Buggy Rides in Central Park

While these horse and buggy rides might bring back memories of Home Alone 2 or any romantic comedy set in New York ever, they are one of the most common tourist traps in NYC. They are overpriced and the rides are way too short. 15 minutes should never cost you 50$…or whatever they decide to charge that day.

horse drawn carriages, one of the tourist traps in NYC

2. NYC Tour Busses

New York is not a difficult city to navigate. It’s a grid and all the main sights are easy to find. Spending money to ride around on a double-decker bus to feel like you’re in London, to hear a corny narrator tell you about the Empire State Building and Rockerfeller Center is sure a rip off. You are better off taking the time to plan your own walking tour. Even taking a taxi from spot to spot would be cheaper.

3. Empire State Building

Speaking of the Empire State Building, it’s another one of the biggest tourist traps in NYC. It’s crowded, the wait is usually 2 hours minimum at any given time, and it’s expensive! Try the Top of the Rock instead. It is lesser known and super high so it will give you the views you are looking for, because NYC is definitely worth the views.

4. Little Italy 

Little Italy was a hot spot in Manhattan. Key word- was. Today it is a mess of tourists and cookie cutter over priced Italian food. If you want great Italian, go to Brooklyn or check out local blogs to find a hidden gem. Just don’t go to Little Italy or Olive Garden in Times Square.

Overpriced coffee, one of the tourist traps in NYC

5. Anything to eat or drink in Times Square

Times Square is a modern wonder, don’t get me wrong. I love it. There are few cities in the world that can boast such an amazing display of lights. So sit back on the red steps and enjoy the view, but please don’t buy anything (with the exception of theater tickets). The food is overpriced and mass-produced, the souvenirs are nothing special, and the cocktails are even worse.

6. Century 21 

Have you ever had a fever so bad that you’re vision starts to blur and you can no longer tell which way is up? It’s the same feeling at any given time at Century 21, the discount department store down in the Financial District. If you enjoy the adventure of literally fighting for your bargains, than this is the store for you. If not, go anywhere else. Except Macy’s in the Garment District- because that might be worse.

7. Macy’s in the Garment District 

Macy’s is one of the worst tourist traps in NYC, especially at Christmastime. Maybe it is bearable at any other time of year, but at Christmastime it looks like a capitalist North Pole, without the adorable elves and with the annoying sales people. The same spinning effect of Century 21 is there, but with the added sensorial confusion of the perfume department. As you enter the smell hits you like a wall, and the lights littered across the walls, ceiling, and any surface area don’t allow your eyes to settle anywhere. It is anything but a relaxing shopping experience.

8. South Street Seaport Mall 

New York is a city famous for shopping, but you have to know where you are going. South Street Seaport Mall is pretty much a bad suburban strip mall, plopped down in a beautiful part of the city. Go to Seaport, enjoy a hotdog on the dock, but don’t waste your time in the mall. Express for shopping and take out Chinese food are the highlights, and that’s really it.

9. Magnolia Cupcakes

Cupcakes have become a huge food fad in NYC, but there are plenty of delicious cupcakes to enjoy in the city without falling into one of the gastronomic tourist traps in NYC. Try Georgetown Cupcakes or even Crumbs, but Magnolia Cupcakes is a small bakery with a line that’s way to long. The cupcakes are expensive and I’ve never been impressed.

overpriced cupcake, one of the tourist traps in NYC

10. Skating in Rockerfeller 

People have dreams of a romantic night out in the city, ice skating or trying to with their significant other. This dream will never come true in Rockerfeller Center. The crowds make it more of a penguin march, and the prices make it hard to enjoy. Go to Bryant Park or even any of the rinks in Central Park. They will all be a much more pleasant experience than Rockerfeller.

Although New York is full of tourist traps, there are so many amazing things to do that fly under the radar. Have you ever been to New York? What do you love to do?


Cupcakes: shimelle