1. Minneapolis, Minnesota-
THE GAP AND VICTORIA’S SECRET STORES AT THE MALL OF AMERICA ARE THE EXACT SAME AS THE ONES IN YOUR REGULAR MALL BACK HOME.
2. Don’t bother going to Liberty Island (statue of Liberty). all you’re going to end up doing is craning your neck upwards for a shitty view of the statue.
Instead, take the Staten Island Ferry out to SI. It’s FREE. 100% Free. read that again because it’s not common in NYC. IT IS FREE.
3. If you find yourself at Tunnel View in Yosemite, turn around 180 degrees, walk 100 yards into the tunnel and then turn right and take the hidden walking tunnel out to where they dumped all the debris from the digging. It is a fun quick side trip no one knows about. Spooky. Especially if you have kids with you.
4. I live in Amsterdam, just a few blocks from the Anne Frank House. If you see a red path while visiting our city, don’t walk on it. That is a cycle path, and you will get hit.
Similarly, the biggest thing people don’t realize is instinctively you tend to only look to cross a street when you hear a sound. Bikes don’t make a sound. So when visiting Amsterdam you should always look both ways before stepping into the street.
5. Hershey PA. 1. Chocolate World is free but everything else costs a fortune. 2. Go to the local grocery store-Giant- and purchase tickets for Hershey Park there. They usually have discounted tickets.
6. In Brussels, there is a famous statue called manneken pis. It’s just a 30cm high statue of a kid taking a pis, nothing more. Don’t visit it and act all disapointed because it’s so tiny, it was never advertised as something more than what it is.
7. Paris and its sights: If groups of teenage girls come up to you asking you to look at their petition/flyer/whatever, keep walking and hold your bag close. The Mona Lisa, as famous as it is, is far from the most interesting thing in the Louvre. Be sure to see some of the lesser-known sections like the phenomenal collection of Middle Eastern artifacts.
The Arc de Triomphe has a better view than the Eiffel Tower.
8. On the walk of fame in Hollywood, DO NOT SIT ON THE GROUND. Don’t touch the stars when you take pictures with them. Just no contact, please.
That ground is vile. Human feces. Piss. Vomit. Everything. I see it every day as it’s happening and cry inside when I see a tourist face down next to a star.
9. Golden Gate Bridge: If you show up in the summer months expecting to get beautiful views of the bridge and warm California temperatures, chances are you’ll get blown away, freeze your ass off and see nothing but fog.
10. New Orleans:
If it’s not Mardi Gras season (January thru February or early March, depending on the year), take off those mother fucking beads. You look ridiculous.
11. The best time to visit Walt Disney World is October. Fall break was a month ago, so no one’s there, they’re all back in school. There’s a Halloween party in Magic Kingdom, a food/wine event at EPCOT with drinks and cuisine from all the countries plus others that’s freaking awesome, and the weather isn’t hellish. It’s actually quite nice.
12. The U.S. Capitol building is not the White House.
13. Times Square is fun for about 5 minutes, locals avoid it like the plague. There is no good food there (try 9th ave at least) and you’ll get mobbed by adults who barely speak English in Elmo and Marvel costumes who can be a bit aggressive about tips.
Avoid pedi-cabs, big rip-offs. Generally anyone coming up to you on the street is doing so for a reason- they may or may not have a legitimate product…but it will never be anything worth purchasing.
14. Don’t go the Empire State Building. Instead, go to 30 Rock – the view is better, it’s cheaper, it’s bigger, and the wait times are 5 minutes instead of 5 hours.
15. Niagara Falls. As an American, I can confidently say skip the American side and go right to the Canadian side. Much cleaner, more to do and see. At the falls, Maid of the Must boat ride is very cool, as is cave of the winds. The rest of the excursions – not so much. A side trip while you’re there to Niagara on the Lake is also worth doing for some good restaurants and small town vibe.
16. If you want to see Redwoods or just Nature and you are in San Francisco, do not, I repeat, do not go to the Muir Woods. The traffic and congestion going over the Bridge to Marin County is horrible. The woods are packed with noisy people and there is no parking. Instead go hike amongst the trees at Henry Cowell State park instead. It’s in Santa Cruz and the drive is almost as lovely as the hike.
17. It’s cute that you think you can just “visit the Smithsonian” in one day. But in reality the Smithsonian consists of several very large museums and you can’t possibly see everything there is to see at all of them in one day. Narrow it down to one or two that interest you per day.