New York’s Worst Tourist Traps

There are tons of fun things to do in New York City; however, there are also many tourist traps. This article will show you the tourist traps to avoid in New York City.

Times Square

Times Square is a massive tourist trap and the only good thing about this place is the Broadway shows. Everything here is overpriced and try as much as you can to avoid Ripley’s Believe it or Not and Madame Tussauds when you are in Times Square. That is one of the biggest tourist traps you should avoid in New York.

Avoid Expensive Souvenir Shops

If you want to buy any New York souvenir, don’t go to any of the souvenir shops you will find all over the Midtown area of New York. Instead, go to Chinatown, Walgreens, or Duane Reade to get them at a much cheaper price.

Avoid Empire State View

Avoid going to places like the Empire State Building or the Freedom Tower. Those places have really long lines and are very expensive. Instead, go to one of the amazing rooftop bars in New York. There are so many of such bars and they offer better views than what you get at the Empire State buildings. A few of my favorite spots are St. Cloud at the Knickerbocker Hotel in Times Square, Monarch Lounge, and Jimmy at The James. There is also an amazing rooftop bar overlooking Central Park.  These places have amazing views and there is usually no one there. It is just so much better than going to the Freedom Tower or the Empire State Building.

Don’t Shop on 5th Ave

Avoid shopping on 5th Ave because it is very expensive, and it is where you will find most tourists. Instead, go to where real New Yorkers shop such as Union Square or the West Village, Nolita. Any of these spots have tons of cute boutique stores that are better priced than all the items you will find on 5th Ave.

Do Local Tours not Bus Tours You will be offered a lot of pamphlets when you are walking on the streets of New York for big bus tours. This is a huge scam, so avoid it because they don’t offer a good tour of the city. They will just crowd you into a big bus full of other tourists, and dish out blanket information about New York City as the bus goes past all the city’s attractions and landmarks. You can instead go on a small group tour or a private tour. There are many of these companies all over New York and offer fun tours that are really personalized.

Eco-friendly travel

You feel your feet itching for adventure but your bad conscience nagging about the environmental impact of tourism?

Than you belong to the 67% of travellers who are looking for ways to make their trip more climate-friendly. About 2/3 of holidaymakers are worried about tourism destroying biological diversity and the environment.

The bad news is, around 5% of climate-damaging global emission is due to travelling.

The good news is, each and everyone of us can make a difference!

How? Here are some ideas:


75% of tourism related CO2 emission is caused by traffic. 40% thereof is air traffic, 32% is car traffic and merely 3% is caused by bus and train traffic.

The first trick is, you probably guessed it, avoid emission heavyweights like air planes and cruise ships. However, from time to time you may find yourself in a situation where you need to get a plane ticket, don´t lose heart just yet! There are options for voluntary contributions to non-profit organisations and airlines which invest in climate-protection and sustainable development projects. Keep an eye out for the “Gold Standard” certificate and organisations supporting projects which compensate the amount of emission you cause.


Generally, however, it is always better to prevent damage than to compensate for it. This short list helps you to choose eco-friendly options for your next trip:

  • Check-out the possibilities you have by using the bus and train for your trip. Most people can find some holiday-gems less than 800 kilometers from their homes!
  • Once you´ve reached your destination, get informed about public transport. Especially on city trips, this should not be too big a challenge.
  • Behave in an environmentally-conscious way. Use water economically especially in places where clean water is scarce. Try to avoid pools, golf courses and ski slopes with artificial snow as they use tremendous amounts of water.
  • Planning on a nice pick-nick? Don´t use disposable products. Buy local fruit and vegetable and avoid meat and animal products. And always clean up after yourself. (These tips can be used at home as well!)
  • Travel light! Less weight equals less emission.
  • Choose your souvenirs carefully. Many souvenirs contain ecologically harmful and sometimes even illegal materials.
  • Avoid mass tourism and wildlife in captivity like zoos and aquariums.
  • Look for accommodation with environmental certificates. Many hostels, hotels and bed and breakfasts receive them for their choice of organic foods, economic use of water and energy, waste management or commitment in species protection.
  • Consider the option of a house-swap or flat-share. Especially in metropolitan areas with housing shortages this can be an ideal way of using existing living space.

As often in life, there is a plethora of options and awareness is the first step in the right direction. Everyone can make a difference and if everyone does their best, many more people will have the opportunity to discover the marvelous wonders of this planet.