4 WA attractions on list for tourist traps, most overrated

Four Washington venues were ranked on USA Today’s list of top tourist traps, most overpriced and overrated attractions worldwide.

The rankings place Seattle’s Pike Place Market as No. 10 for top tourist traps. The Space Needle made the “overpriced” and “overrated” lists at No. 10 and No. 22, respectively.

Admission to the Space Needle varies based on the time of day, but an adult general admission ticket costs $35 to $39.

The original Starbucks — located in Pike Place Market — also featured on the “most overrated” attraction list at No. 39. It was No. 54 for tourist traps. Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle was ranked 43rd on the most overpriced list.

Washington makes top 10 list for ‘tourist traps’

Pike Place Market (No. 10) is a public farmer’s market near downtown Seattle that has operated since 1907. It’s “one of the oldest and largest continuously operating public markets in the United States,” according to its website.

The complete list of 100 tourist traps can be found on USA Today’s website, but here are the top 10:

  1. Four Corners Monument, Arizona

  2. Salem Witch Museum, Massachusetts

  3. Calico Ghost Town, California

  4. Crazy Horse Memorial, South Dakota

  5. International UFO Museum and Research Center, New Mexico

  6. Blue Lagoon, Grindavik, Iceland

  7. Voodoo Doughnut, Oregon

  8. Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver, Canada

  9. Penang Hill, Penang, Malaysia

  10. Pike Place Market, Washington

Most overpriced and overrated tourist attractions

The Space Needle (No. 10 “overpriced” and No. 22 “overrated) is arguably one of America’s most notable landmarks, offering unbeatable views of Puget Sound since its opening in 1962. But that’s all there really is to do at the monument — pay a good chunk of change to ride up the 605-foot tower and enjoy the views.

The No. 1 spot on the most overpriced list went to the Blue Lagoon in Grindavik, Iceland. The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal pool in a lava field in southwest Iceland, which has been turned into a spa and hotel. You can spend a day at the attraction, which includes a silica mud mask, a towel and a drink for $64, or pick one of the two overnight hotel options: one starting at $627 a night and the other at $1,535 per night.

The most overrated attraction, according to USA Today, sits just south of the Evergreen State in Portland, Oregon. Voodoo Doughnut operates in 19 states, but its first store in Portland remains a well-known tourist attraction. Upon visiting the doughnut store’s website, there are more advertisements for merchandise such as t-shirts and mugs than there are actual doughnuts.

How did USA Today decide on its global tourist trap list?

USA Today compiled the lists by analyzing over 23 million Google reviews of over 500 attractions spanning 65 countries worldwide. The analysis focused on keywords such as “tourist trap,” “expensive” and “overrated” in relation to each attraction.

The initial search began with 1,600 attractions, but many — such as sports venues and national parks — were taken out of consideration.

But even with a considerably narrowed list, American attractions dominated the ranking. Seven of the top 10 tourist traps are in the United States, including the International UFO Museum and Research Center in New Mexico and South Dakota’s Crazy Horse Memorial.

The Four Corners Monument — the point at which Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet — holds the top spot on the tourist trap list. It’s the only spot in the United States where four states touch, and a small visitor center is nearby for those wanting to learn more.

This story was originally published October 10, 2023, 4:00 AM.

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