NEW YORK (WPIX) – It’s summer, and you’re thinking a vacation to New York City is in your cards.

In a city with seemingly endless possibilities, it can be hard to decide what’s worth including on your bucket list and what you can skip. Most importantly, you’ll want to avoid tourist traps – or at least know what locals think of them before going.

A tourist trap is a place that people often claim exploits visitors, typically draws large crowds, and sometimes charges high prices compared to the quality of the service or experience.

Nexstar’s WPIX asked New Yorkers their thoughts on what the biggest tourist traps are in New York City. Here’s what they had to say.

Times Square

Fireworks are set off at midnight during the Times Square New Year’s celebration, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in New York. (Photo by Ben Hider/Invision/AP)

“From the stores to the street vendors. Every single inch of it! Y’all get charged 10 times the price because they [chains] know y’all don’t know better,” wrote Rosie Marie Ortega on WPIX’s Facebook post.

Luz Rosado added: “Times Square is nothing but oversized advertisements, overpriced stores, restaurants, and no parking anywhere, only to be harassed by third-rate characters.”

Another New Yorker suggested tourists head to the outer boroughs for better food.

“The $8 kabobs in front of the train station by Times Square. Just… 🤦🏾‍♀️ no. Come to Brooklyn or Queens for nice kebab-style food,” they wrote on WPIX’s Instagram post.

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty (Credit: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The Statue of Liberty took second place in a WPIX Twitter poll. But why? 

“Going to the island is a complete waste of time and money. It’s better to just look at from a distance,” one New Yorker wrote on WPIX’s Facebook post.

New Yorkers mentioned that many boating companies tell tourists they will give them a private tour of the statue and then charge them a fee.

The NYC Department of Transportation operates the Staten Island Ferry, which provides free service between Staten Island and Lower Manhattan every day of the week, year-round. The ferry also passes right by the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

If you still want a private tour of Lady Liberty to learn the history of the monument, the National Parks Service provides several free passes. And if you do decide to pay, you can go inside the statue and get a private tour led by a park ranger.


The East River with the Williamsburg Bridge and the New York City skyline. (Credit: AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

One New Yorker on WPIX’s Facebook post called out Williamsburg.

Williamsburg was once described as the avocado toast of New York City by Condé Nast Traveler. Bedford Avenue has “morphed into a bit of a tourist trap in the past few years,” the article stated. The neighborhood is filled with trendy, pricey boutiques and an Apple store.

Instead of Williamsburg, one New Yorker suggested: “Go to Gravesend for an authentic Brooklyn neighborhood.”

Another WPIX follower on Instagram stated, “I personally think tourists should visit Brownsville, Brooklyn to get the most out of their NYC trip! It’s a wonderful experience and I think tourists would love it there, especially the night parties, which are held at around 2 a.m.”

The Empire State Building

Midtown in New York City with Empire State Building during sunset. (credit: Getty Images)

Yes, the scenery is gorgeous but according to New Yorkers and Trip Advisor reviews, you should appreciate the building from afar.

The lines are notoriously long and it costs almost $50 to get inside. The higher you want to go, the more expensive the price gets. One tourist who left a review on Trip Advisor wrote the following:

“It is easy enough to pay the entrance fee and get on the elevator but once in, you are shoved into a room with many people,” wrote a Sacramento native. “You are then forced to stand in a slow-moving line and get your picture taken in front of the skyline even if you don’t want one. Then they try to charge to get to the very top.”

Audra Koch, a social media influencer who runs a blog and works in fashion, wrote tourists should instead “take the subway down to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.”

“Start at the Remsen Street entrance and walk all the way up. You’ll get gorgeous views of the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade, the Empire State Building, and Brooklyn Bridge, and it’s free,” Koch wrote.