10 Tourist Traps to Skip this Summer Slideshow

South of the Border — Hamer, South Carolina

We love Mexican kitsch — give us maracas and a bowl of guacamole and we will have a fiesta any day of the week. But if you’re planning a road trip down the Southeast, we’d suggest you skip South of the Border. It may seem like a cool, culinary adventure while you’re driving on the Interstate 95, but remember you’re in the land of barbecue and mint juleps, not burritos and margaritas. While their six on site restaurants may offer variety for the whole family, forgo the amusement park crowd at Pedroland Park, and plan a pit stop to sample some southern hospitality instead.

The Stinking Rose — Beverly Hills, California

Beverly Hills evokes images of the young, thin, and glamorous lounging poolside in tiny bikinis and carrying itsy-bitsy dogs in oversized purses. It is also the unexpected (and unfortunate) location of The Stinking Rose. Located on La Cienega Boulevard, this restaurant celebrates garlic with such fervor that it is the main focus of every last dish on the menu, from Forty Clove Garlic Chicken to garlic ice cream. While feasting in Dracula’s grotto may be a great story to tell your friends, you’ll only come out sounding — and smelling — like a tourist.

Serendipity 3 — New York, New York

Serendipity 3 is a staple for travelers looking to check off the infamous New York City dining spots on their wish list. And who can blame them? Their frozen hot chocolate is legendary. Unfortunately, so are the wait times to get a table at the original Midtown location. Instead of spending precious time clamoring for a table in the restaurant’s tiny vestibule, forget the colossal sized desserts and the Bermuda shorts-clad day-trippers who love them to find serendipity — and serenity —  in another eatery instead. 

Dick's Last Resort — Las Vegas, Nevada

Looking for restaurants with personality in Vegas is like looking for sand on the beach, which is why it should be very easy to skip Dick’s Last Resort. A chain restaurant with locations across the country, their schtick is to insult the diners every way they know how. In fact, Dick’s conducts in-house seminars for the wait staff on how to be ruder to customers. And if that theme hasn’t already turned you off completely, the sloppy food is likely to. Let other out-of-towners suffer under paper hats and bibs while you venture elsewhere on the Strip. 

Ray's Pizza — New York, New York

The myth of Ray’s Pizza eludes even the most knowledgeable New York foodie. What started as a neighborhood pizzeria turned into a way for hopeful pizza makers to cash in an unexplainable phenomenon. Today, more than a dozen pizzerias in Manhattan go by the name of Ray’s Pizza, all with similar menus, signs, and logos — but with very different owners and ovens. And while the first and original location still exists at 27 Prince Street in Little Italy, we suggest avoiding all the hoopla. Maybe drive the point home by checking out Not Ray’s Pizzeria (in Fort Greene) instead. 

Pink's Hot Dogs — Los Angeles, California

Family owned since 1939, Pink’s Hot Dogs is a Los Angeles institution that has kept the same location and original recipe since its inception. What started as a hot dog stand on a pushcart near the corner of Melrose and La Brea turned into a small restaurant that has been churning out chili dogs for 71 years. Despite its legendary Hollywood status, the epic lines are usually filled with more tourists than locals. Sure, they may cost only $3.30, but considering the battle to find parking and the lackluster taste of the dogs — $3.30 doesn’t seem like that great of a deal after all.  

Tao — Las Vegas, Nevada

Visitors to Vegas generally want to go all out and when you hear about a restaurant, nightclub, and lounge under one roof, it seems like the perfect trifecta. Tao’s pan-Asian food (and pan-Asian décor) has appealed to visitors since its doors opened, and we’re not sure why. (Unless it’s for the 16-foot Buddha.) The space is overwhelming, the music is too loud, and the food is not worth the long wait you’ll undoubtedly have if you’re not on “the list.” Skip it and head for glitz, glamour, and Asian cuisine elsewhere. 

Aura — Miami Beach, Florida

Lincoln Road is the ultimate destination for Miami beachcombers looking for some great people watching on their vacation. But there’s nothing worse than strolling down South Beach’s equivalent of Rodeo Drive or Fifth Avenue than to stop at a tourist-laden restaurant with less than stellar service (and food). Skip the overrated Aura and seek out Mediterranean fare somewhere where the main attraction is the provisions, not the pedestrians. 


Bull & Finch Pub — Boston, Massachusetts

Sometimes you really do want to go where everybody knows your name. Unfortunately, the Bull & Finch Pub — better known as Cheers — is not the same locals-only bar immortalized on TV. While it may seem great to meet other Sam and Diane fans when you make your stay in Beantown, head to Boston’s South End to catch a glimpse of where the real locals drink. 

Geno's Steaks — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Any visitor to Philadelphia knows that there’s one stop more important than a picture with the Liberty Bell — finding a cheese steak. While the eponymous sandwich is a must when you’re visiting the City of Brotherly Love, something isn’t right about waiting in line with a slew of other vacationers for your wiz-and-works when you could be chowing down at one of Philly locals’ favorite spots. Instead of slumming it with other tourists, say no thanks to Geno’s Steaks and follow the Phillies fans to one of Philadelphia’s many delicious cheese steak spots like Cosmi’s Deli or Campo’s.