According to TripAdvisor, these are the top 25 landmarks in the United States. While each of the spots on the list has plenty of mainstream appeal, there’s no guarantee that everyone will give them all the same high grade. Unforeseeable factors such as weather, pre-existing notions, and user-cynicism can mangle the experience.
As the saying goes, one person’s national landmark is another person’s, “lame sculpture.”
In order to honor this duality, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to give you a look at the United States’ top 10 landmarks according to TripAdvisor, paired with an unhappy review from each destination.
Alcatraz, San Francisco (CA)
Alcatraz seems like a good time because it’s in a cool city, you get to go on a ferry ride with great views, there’s a lot of history, plus the place is supposed to be haunted so you might even see a ghost. But things go from cool to uncool as soon as people start being racist:
So we were there all right and it was real cold and I was like, “oh boy, there it goes” But it didn’t so we kept going and then we got there and it wasn’t even good. Also the guy was real racist. I didn’t like that.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco (CA)
The Golden Gate Bridge isn’t so much a tourist destination as a piece of vital infrastructure for a booming city, but the fact that it’s easy on the eyes earns this place loads of visitors. A bit of corrected misinformation — the bridge itself is not gold colored or made of gold. It’s painted and repainted “International Orange,” a color chosen to cut through fog and fit the bridge’s surroundings. Perhaps now you’ll be less disappointed when visiting? Or maybe not:
Its red and windy and cold and I think they should rename it the big rusty cold bridge in the city that has many homeless people that all asked me for quarters
Amazing San Francisco 💛 Photo by @heyengel #sanfranciscogiants #summer #fog #ocean #mlb #losangeles #fishermanswharf #unionsquare #tbt #415 #nofilter #city #westcoast #streetart #architecture #bay #outsidelands #niners #baseball #vsco #norcal #igerssf #oakland #ca #sfo #chinatown #alwayssf #thebay #vacation #art
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, Washington DC
To be fair, the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool was not created to compete with geological marvels. It was actually created so that a statue of our 16th and tallest president had a place to cool off during hot D.C. summers. Okay fine, that’s not true either. But it does deserve some credit for hosting a slew of iconic speeches, protests, and historical events. Or maybe not:
Yea, went to see the memorial and really not impressed. Would rather go to the country and see Gods mountains. Men have yet to come up with anything that comes close to that!!!
Empire State Building, New York (NY)
You can see A LOT from the top of the Empire State Building. Most people who make it to the top enjoy the costly views, engineering and architectural craftsmanship, and a history lesson. Others leave feeling the need for a shower:
Long lines and constant up sells. Would you like the VIP package? Would you like the express package? Would you like to go the top observation deck?
The views at Rockefeller Plaza are as good and you don’t feel like you need a shower afterwards.
Statue of Liberty, New York (NY)
Lady Liberty! A symbol of kindness and amity bestowed upon the United States over a century ago. Also an excellent DIY Halloween costume for young children and patriotic adults. For whatever reason, people enjoy climbing into her head and seeing the world. But word to the wide: the skull of a statue is not for those left easily feeling confined. This reviewer says you should only go if “you’re an enthusiastic American”:
In order to see the crown from the inside you have to book months in advance, wait in line to a security check twice, both times the security people were rude and pushy. Then you have to cram yourself through the narrowest stairwell – and after all that crouch and squint to see anything from the crown: a tiny space which will render any normative person claustrophobic.
Even one of the rangers said with an ironic enthusiasm “yep, folks. That’s what you booked months in advance”.
Cloud Gate, Chicago (IL)
Yes, for those of you who didn’t know, that huge, seamless, reflecty thing in Chicago is actually called Cloud Gate, not “The Bean.” The sculpture, created by British artist Anish Kapoor, is inspired by mercury, which come to think of it, is pretty remarkably accurate. Call us easy to please — while other folks seem to be less impressed. A Bean? Really:
This thing is basically a giant, shiny-mirrored bean. Kinda like a funhouse mirror. “Ooh! I just took a picture of my own reflection!” Like I can’t do that in my own bathroom.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone (SD)
Mount Rushmore, in South Dakota’s Black Hills National Forest, depicts the faces of Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt. They’re all looking different directions because, as we all know, politicians can’t agree on sh*t.
Two million people visit the attraction every year, 99% of whom are grandparents and still have reason to believe the legacies and impact these men left behind are worth commemorating. Others are less taken by these “tiny heads of long-dead white guys”:
This monument is not worth driving forty minutes for! Don’t waste your time. Such a lame sculpture and it’s commemorating presidents who are no longer relevant. It would have been SO much nicer if they had just left the absolutely gorgeous natural mountains untouched. Wish I could get my hands on old Borgie. Also, it costs a bloody $15 just to park your car! At least it’s not as ridiculous as “Crazy Horse.” The only way this is a monument, is if it is a memorial to all the beautiful places that have been destroyed to make way for markers signifying long dead rich white dudes.
Library of Congress, Washington DC
Libraries are amazing. People really seem to take it for granted that we have access to so much information for free. The Library of Congress is no exception, with more than 36 million catalogued books and other print materials, 69 million manuscripts, and the largest rare book collection in North America. The key is, you have to know how to find them. If you don’t, you might feel like you “literally saw more books in the giftshop”:
I was very excited to see what fountain of knowledge was behind the United States Congress to find nothing but a raindrop. there were more books in my hotel room then in this vast “library” or that were on view to the public at least. not very impressed.
Happy Thirsty Thursday from work! The only thing I'm thirsting for is more knowledge. 😘 🤓 #work #workhard #mainreadingroom #ReadStudyBeSmart #perspective #washingtondc #icon #libraryofcongress #goodmorning #buenosdias #bomdia #books #knowledge #architecture #morning #history #library #librarian #capitolhill #thirstyThursday #TT
The Alamo, San Antonio (TX)
The Alamo in San Antonio was the site of an 1836 standoff between independence seeking Texans and General Santa Anna’s Mexican army during the Texas Revolution. The Texans were vastly outnumbered but managed to ward off an attack for 13 days before succumbing to Mexican forces.
Also, Davy Crockett was there.
The Alamo is always on our guests lists of things to do in San Antonio…they often want to alot a day for the visit. We tell them an hour max and then on to the River Walk which is worth visiting. The reason they [give us]: “Do not forget The Alamo”.
Is it is so forgettable. Why a hundred or so crazies decide to hold out against over a thousand Mexican soldiers is the only mystery to the place. Since The Alamo does not look anything like it did when the attack took place, it is better to go visit the several missions in San Antonio especially the National Park one.
Gateway Arch, Saint Louis (MO)
St. Louis’ Gateway Arch was erected to memorialize the country’s westward expansion because much like weed is supposedly a gateway drug to bigger and better things, so too is the St. Louis Arch a gateway to bigger and better things. Did you know you can actually go inside the arch for $10? And there are small observatory windows near the top. To which some guests yell, “Overrated!”:
Seriously, every MacDonald’s in the world has two, and they are golden. This is a half-baked attempt to bring notoriety to a state that pronounces itself “misery.” Show me state, eh? Show me what, how to name one of your most important cities after the state next to you? If I were in charge, Missouri would be given to the highest bidder. I’d expect a package of cheese, a Mark McGuire bobble head doll, and stained underwear for it.