As readers of the UPROXX Fall Travel Hot List know, we strive to stay on travel’s cutting edge. Anything that is new, exciting, and sexy is right down our alley. Our “Hotels We Love” column is unapologetically tailored for the adventurous, the trendsetters, and the Instagram savvy. This series has a similar energy and in previous months we’ve tapped electronic producers and travel writers to share their favorite fall destinations, reveal their best travel hacks, name the best beaches across the world, and shout out their favorite American cities.
But not everything worth doing is “now” or “new” or “next.” There are plenty of well-known, time-worn experiences and excursions that are worth your time. And while a few of these might be deemed “cheesy” or too straightforward by certain travelers, the classics are classics for a reason. Whether you want to snap that cliché photo in front of the Eiffel Tower, go horseback riding in Mongolia, chase the perfect wave in Hawaii, or eat the best slice of pizza in New York, iconic tourist experiences will never lose their appeal.
Plus, there are some pretty epic Black Friday and Cyber Monday flight deals still going on — so now’s the time to head out to one of these great classic adventures to end your year on a high note.
EDITOR’S PICK: Steve Bramucci (@steve_bramucci): Be Amazed At The Magic Castle
The photo above is literally the only photo you get to take inside the Magic Castle. Just consider that for a moment here at the tail end of 2023. Everything is photographed. Travel destinations are made or destroyed on Instagram.
Has the Magic Castle bowed to that pressure? Not an inch.
Get caught with your phone out? You’re warned. Caught again? You’re on the curb.
I love the vigilance. I love the mystique. Most of all, I love the magic — not metaphorically but the literal magic I saw when I visited this very classic, very on-the-radar Hollywood tourist experience last month.
Seriously, the magic is so good! The standard is so high across the board! I know an awful lot about magic and have read entire volumes on the subject and the main performers of the night left me baffled. Sure, I knew a few tricks by the roaming magicians but their timing and movements were impeccable. The whole night was just a tremendous showcase for anyone who geeks out on being shocked and befuddled.
In a nice twist, I discovered that the food was very solid. The menu is very old Hollywood in a way that adds to the charm — I had the lobster cobb salad, which is huge and well prepared. The drinks are top-notch and delivered with panache by bartenders who understand that their craft is also a performance.
Seriously, if you have a friend who is a member and you’re visiting LA, I consider this a “must-visit.” It’s way more memorable than any studio tour.
Tara Brooks (@tarabrooksmusic): Chase The Perfect Wave In Hawaii
Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: San Francisco, CA (1/1); Guanacaste, Costa Rica (1/4)
I get it now, chasing waves. The feeling of cruising surf breaks in search of the perfect ride.
Hawaii’s warm, gorgeous crystal blue and green waters have an unmatched magical touch like no other. After falling in love with surfing during the pandemic at my local Los Angeles beaches, I dedicated myself to the craft and it’s become my greatest passion. Surfing gives me mental, physical, and emotional highs and heals my body and mind. It has pushed me to cater my career to have bookings in surf destinations. I’m happiest and at my best when playing music and surfing, so it’s a no-brainer to merge the two.
I recently played for my Hawaiian family at CENTERED Hawaii and Lit & Beyond and discovered a fantastic local surf spot: Kaisers in Waikiki. At my level, I need to be challenged in order to grow, meaning bigger waves, longer rides, and clean, fast-breaking energetic waves. After surfing, I usually get an açaí bowl from the local spot Tropical Tribe or some fresh poké. My love for surfing, Hawaii’s energy, and the amazing dance-music community warms my heart and has welcomed me. I am grateful for such beautiful connections and support.
These days, Hawaii feels like home. Mahalo.
Ravenscoon (@ravenscoon): Walk The Golden Gate Bridge
Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: Boston, MA (12/1); New Orleans, LA (12/2); New York, NY (12/8)
One of my favorite tourist spots would be the Golden Gate Bridge Overlook, directly over the bridge in Marin County. Officially titled “Golden Gate viewpoint,” you access it via a one-way road (Conzelman Road) that is just for tourists to get the best view of the bridge.
This extremely popular tourist spot offers some of the best views of the bay and is also a perfect spot to catch a sunset, take photos with your partner, and soak in the best view of the bridge. This is one of my favorite tourist spots as it’s very popular yet just enough off the typical path that it feels special.
Jessica Kelly (@adventures.are.waiting): Taking A Dip In Blue Lagoon, Iceland
When I visited Iceland for the first time in the spring, some travelers and locals gave me their opinions about the touristy Blue Lagoon, explaining that they thought the iconic hot spring was really overrated, overcrowded, and overall, not the best experience. With this feedback, I almost skipped it altogether. I was in town to see the puffins nesting and spent time at the brand-new, luxurious Sky Lagoon. Although Sky Lagoon is absolutely beautiful with incredible views from the infinity hot springs, something felt incomplete about not experiencing the Blue Lagoon while in Iceland.
In a last-minute decision, I decided to go on the way to the airport, stashing my bags, and enjoying a dip for a few hours before flying home. To say I’m so glad I did it is an understatement. Not only do I completely disagree that it was overcrowded and overrated, but it was one of the best experiences of my trip. You sign up for a specific time slot and purchase your entry tickets online, which keeps the hot spring from getting overcrowded. I felt calm and relaxed while swimming around, taking a moment to meditate in the warm water and appreciate where I was.
There was plenty of space for everybody to roam freely with their silica mud masks (said to be great for cleansing and tightening your pores) and their complimentary drinks in hand. In my opinion, it’s something you definitely shouldn’t miss!
Sinego (@sinego): Set Out On A Cultural Immersion In Mexico City
Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: New York, NY (12/1); Geneva, Switzerland (12/9); Budapest, Hungary (12/16)
The whole of Mexico City in itself is a travel classic for me. The city where ancient traditions blend seamlessly with modern vibrancy. In CDMX you can go to the city’s growing underground electronic music scene in clubs like Antro Juan or FUNK, a testament to Mexico’s global influence in the genre. Nature and modern art lovers can find refuge in the lush greenery of Chapultepec Park or marvel at the panoramic views from the ancient Teotihuacan pyramids.
For a cultural escape, don’t miss the Espacio Escultórico near UNAM University—a captivating open-air sculpture space that unfolds the city’s rich history.
Jacqueline De La Cruz (@worldtravelinglatina): Trek Up To Base Camp Of Mount Everest
Mount Everest Base Camp trek. Two words — beauty & adventure. If those are two things you seek, this is the place for you. It requires a flight into Kathmandu and another domestic flight on a small plane from Kathmandu to Lukla. One of the scariest flights I have ever taken and it is only 30 minutes.
You will land in Lukla at over 9,000 feet to start your 11-day trek. Everest base camp sits at 17,600 feet. You can include an additional short trek up to Kalapatthar (at 18,500 feet) to get the best views of Mount Everest. For a small fee, you can take a horse up. For 11 days straight you will be immersed in Sherpa culture, and surrounded by the tallest peaks in the world. You will stand in awe of these giant mountains that will make you feel tiny.
I recommend hiring a porter to carry your items while you trek at this altitude. It is now required to hire a tour guide to Everest Base Camp. Upon completion of this trip, no other mountains will ever look the same to you again. Guaranteed.
Apashe (@apashe): Try Traditional Horseback Riding In Mongolia
Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: Montreal Canada (11/25); Seattle, WA (12/16); Austin, TX (12/29)
When you think of Mongolia, probably one of the first things that comes to mind is trekking on horseback. Horseback riding in the mountains of Mongolia was by far my best traditional experience traveling, and it’s an activity anyone can do. If you like nature, crazy landscapes, and animals, then horseback riding is sure to be a special experience. It’s not the same landscape you would see in different countries. They have barely any trees there, so there’s not a lot of enclosure.
When I visited in June, it was starting to get warmer in the daytime, then at night it was really cold. We landed in the capital Ulaanbaatar, but most of the riding was outside of the city. The further you go from the city the crazier the landscapes become. In my “Human” music video shot in Mongolia, you can see the rocks are reddish and there is nothing for kilometers and kilometers — you really feel like you’re on Mars.
Hannah Boleyn (@hannahboleynmusic): Walk The Cobbled Streets of Covent Garden, London
Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: TBD
For me, nothing beats the cobbled streets of Covent Garden in my hometown of London. I love to grab a hot chocolate or mulled wine from one of the boutique stalls and get lost in one of the many street performances that it has become so famous for. It takes me back to visiting with my Mum when I was little and being mesmerized by the magic shows.
When it gets cold there is an endless choice of cozy restaurants or, even better, I head down to one of Covent Garden’s underground bars for an espresso martini or two.
Aryeh-Or (@aryehsadventures): Hiking To Griffith Observatory
Griffith Park is practically in my backyard, mere blocks away from my home, and I hike near or to the iconic Griffith Observatory a minimum of two to three times a month. From the climax of James Dean’s Rebel Without a Cause to James Cameron’s Terminator or Adele’s recent One Night Only broadcast special…The Griffith Observatory is classic/mainstream AF!
I take it for granted because I’ve been coming here since childhood and somehow I manage to tune out the droves of tourists posing in front of the impressive views of the Hollywood sign and the vast 200-degree + overlook of the LA basin. Yeah, this is a destination!
Candace & Geoff (@ajourneyinspired): Hit The Scenic Views At Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon National Park is more spectacular than one would expect just by looking at pictures of it on social media. Some might roll their eyes at the thought of this overrated place, but once we stepped foot in the park, it only took a second for our jaws to drop at the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The South Rim of the park is a great place to spend your winters — it’s not too cold, and the trails are still hikeable. One December, we laced up our boots to hike the South Kaibab Trail, which gives an epic tour through different views of the park including a spectacular spot called “Ooh-Aah Point.” This hike not only took away our breath with its majestic rock formations but also its switchbacks proved to be a great workout.
Needless to say, the Grand Canyon has stolen our hearts and we can’t wait to be back in the area for some backpacking. This is truly a destination that every person needs to visit at least once in their life — its beauty and grandeur are timeless!
Yellow Claw (@yellowclaw): Visit China’s Eiffel Tower
Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: Nagoya, Japan (12/8); Kyoto, Japan (12/9); Tokyo, Japan (12/10)
Our favorite touristy thing to do? Easy. Visiting the Eiffel Tower. In China.
I know you’re re-reading that sentence a couple of times. And you might even Googled it already. The fact is, whenever you’re in Hangzhou in China, take the car to Tianduncheng. This city is a fantastic replica of a typical French neighborhood. Eiffel Tower included.
There are fountains, a huge park in the middle of the housing estate, and a French bakery. So we bought a baguette to nibble on while taking in the views. It was a bit oily and garlicky for our taste, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. When we passed a little wine store, we bought some red wine too, not to play ourselves but to fully complete the French simulation.
Vicki Denig (@vickidenig): Picnic At The French Eiffel Tower
After living in France for five years, I can definitely confirm that a visit to the Eiffel Tower is a must—especially at night, as it sparkles for five minutes on the hour from dusk ’til midnight!
While I’d never condone frequenting the nearby tourist trap souvenir shops or restaurants, packing a picnic and posting up in the public park in front of the Tower (called the Champ de Mars) promises an indelible afternoon, or simply bring a bottle of wine at night and revel in its glory. Don’t forget the corkscrew and to-go cups!
Big Something (@bigsomethingofficial): Get Lost In The Redwoods, California
Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: Raleigh, NC (12/29-31); Los Angeles, CA (3/23); Chicago, IL (4/20)
We’ve been touring for over 10 years and have seen a lot of cool stuff all over the US, but I think everyone in the band would agree that our day off in The Redwoods in Northern California has been our favorite classic tourist experience so far. You really have to see it and be there in person to understand how awesome it is. There’s an ancient energy you can feel. The air is different.
It’s almost hard to believe how big the trees are. Pictures and video don’t really do it justice.
I spent so much time walking while looking up, I almost started to feel like a kid again. And the view at the right time of day with the beams of sunlight shining through the canopy from that high above is so beautiful. It felt like walking through a painting. I am very grateful I got to experience this once-in-a-lifetime journey under the sleeping giants with my best friends.
Mija (@hi_mija): Adventure Through The Neighborhoods Of Mexico City, Mexico
Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: Las Vegas, NV (12/9)
As a well-traveled DJ with a passion for savoring life’s pleasures, Mexico City has become my cherished haven over a decade of visits. The Condesa and Roma Norte neighborhoods, teeming with hidden treasures like bookshops, parks, and diverse eateries, beckon exploration. Just an hour’s drive away lies nature’s beauty and ancient marvels, including historic temples and pyramids.
Mexico City’s irresistible blend of culture, cuisine, and adventure continues to captivate my heart, making it one of my favorite places on earth.
SWAYLÓ (@swaylo): Take A Sunset Swim at Yokohama Bay, Oahu
Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: Salt Lake City, UT (12/1); San Diego, CA (1/1)
I traveled to Hawaii recently, it was an incredible experience overall. My favorite tourist experience from that was actually a simple sunset swim at Yokohama Bay on the West side of Oahu. Watching the sky fade from orange to purple, reflecting across the ocean, was indescribably beautiful and felt like a dream.
Connecting with nature is one of my all-time favorite ways to live my life. It’s a way for me to bridge the real world and the spirit world. This nation has so much natural beauty and so much variation it’s really incredible. I have always known that I would love Hawaii and finally experiencing it exceeded all of my expectations. I fell in love with the land.
Everything about the nature in Hawaii wowed and inspired me. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to experience Oahu and look forward to returning one day soon to share my music.
Kasbo (@kasbomusic): Get Lost At Times Square, New York
Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: TBD
Times Square is kind of a divide for a lot of people. Some hate it. Some love it. I belong to the latter group.
When I was a kid, my family traveled there, and it’s been etched in my mind ever since. A lot of people find the amount of people and craziness happening overwhelming. To me, I find that it has a similar effect to the classic “looking up at the stars and realizing how small you really are” thing. It’s like, in Times Square, in the midst of all these people and things going on, you realize the scale of life and your insignificance in it, which might sound dark, but to me, it’s a very relieving feeling.
New York, in general, gives me that feeling, but it all culminates in Times Square, which makes that city one of my favorites in the world.
Ali Wunderman (@aliwunderman): Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge
I know it was mentioned already but allow me to cosign!
Celebrated in songs and depicted in artwork, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge has been an icon of not just the West Coast, but the entire United States for nearly a century. Walking the International Orange-colored 1.7-mile span from San Francisco to neighboring Marin County is a classic tourism experience for visitors to the City by the Bay, a path so well-tread that it might scare off intrepid travelers, but it’s a bucket list travel activity for a reason: because it’s awesome.
The beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge up close is rivaled only by the spectacular view of San Francisco and the Bay – if the fog allows it, anyway. It’s exhilarating to be up so high, passing beneath the Art Deco tower while taking in the expanse of the entire Bay Area. It’s an elemental experience that necessitates a jacket in any weather and is breathtaking no matter what. Enjoy the view of the Bridge from the welcome center, and head north to see why walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is an unmissable classic travel moment.
Aazar (@aazar): Delighting in a Classic Pastry & Cappuccino on Canal Saint Martin, Paris
Paris is always a good idea but as a food and especially baguette and pastry lover, I would recommend you a very simple and classic thing to start your day. Go to “The French Bastard” Bakery. There are three bakeries in Paris, but the one I’m going to and also throwing my Bakery Session is the one in Oberkampf (61 rue Oberkampf). You can taste and try everything trust me, nothing will disappoint you! Go grab the classic one, pain au chocolat or croissant, a good cappuccino, and then go for a walk at the Canal Saint Martin which is an iconic Parisian place. Bakeries in Paris (and throughout Europe) are so classic that I decided to host a bakery rave “Bakery Session.” “The French Bastard” is the best bakery in Paris, and I also threw this party in Amsterdam, Los Angeles, and Hanoï.