NYC Tourist Traps

NYC is an amazing place to visit, but some of its must-see attractions are tourist traps you should definitely skip, especially if you are allergic to masses of tourists and have limited time a budget.

About 50 million tourists visit NYC every year, add it to the 8.5 million people who live and work there and you get a crowded mess, especially on the main tourist attractions in Manhattan. But, crowdedness is one reason to avoid some of NYC tourist traps, continue reading to learn what not to do in NYC.

times square

credit: Mike Lodge ARPS/Flickr

Empire State Building

The iconic NYC landmark was seen in many movies – from King Kong to Sleepless in Seattle – and it offers a breathtaking view of the city skyline. However, getting to the observation point can take 2­–3 hours and it costs about $50! If you are short in time and patience, we recommend visiting it after 5 PM or skipping it altogether and visiting an alternative observation spots such as the amazing Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Center.

Times Square Restaurants

You don’t want to skip Times Square on your visit to NYC, but you mustn’t eat or drink anything there. Most of the restaurants in the area are expensive and the food is disappointing. It is also recommended to skip the souvenir shops and the small electronic stores, especially if they advertise a special going-out-of business sale.

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree

credit: Laura Bittner/Flickr

Rockefeller Center during Christmas

The huge decorated Christmas tree placed in Rockefeller Center every December attracts many camera-holding visitors and the place gets very crowded. About the same time, the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink gets busier than usual, so if you fantasized about a romantic skating in NYC, you might want to skate elsewhere, for example in Bryant Park, McCarren Park in Brooklyn or even in Central Park.

Central Park Carriage Rides

Watching romantic carriage riding scenes in movies and TV series such as Manhattan and Sex and the City you’d think riding a carriage in Central Park is a romantic date even cynical New Yorkers indulge occasionally. In reality, riding a carriage in Central Park is expensive and disappointing. If you want to enjoy the Central Park scenery with your significant other – simply take a walk.


NYC pedicabs are actually human driven cycle-rickshaws, and riding them could be a dubious, inconvenient experience, depending on the traffic and the driver’s temperament. Additionally, pedicab drivers are known for their low charging ethics and there plenty of safer, cheaper ways to get around in Manhattan, ranging from walking to renting a car.

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