When Traveling Abroad, Should I Avoid Places That Serve A Lot of Tourists?

“Some of these buildings are over 20 years old!”

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I don’t know what was most brilliant.
" Sandy, your breasts feel weird. - Oh, that’s cause they’re real ."

Or the coffee ordering scene.
Or the commuting through the neighbors back yard.
Or skating through a museum as performance art.
Wait, did I make that last one up?


As I’m a nickel older than you, I’d look pretty funny splitting lanes on a scoot. Better I take the ferry.


We’ve never thought of Gray’s, Grand Central, or Russ Daughters as “tourist”. As out of towners, we still like 'em though. Katz’s is okay, but we prefer Second Avenue, now that Carnegie has expired.

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We did this in a few European cities when we had a bus or tram pass. It’s a great way to see a lot of a city basically for free (and rest your feet!).


Most of the places on this list are not really “tourist traps” but places that appeal to visitors because they have been in business so long. Some over 100 years.
Now if someone came to NYC and wanted to go to Bubba Gump or Olive Garden, then I’d say NO! Those are tourist traps.
Nathan’s, Katz’s or Russ and Daughters? Heck, my grandparents went to those places. And with the exception of rising prices, they haven’t changed all that much.

I’m rolling my eyes at this (the article, not you @Saregama)


Actually, there are tourists who find Olive Garden in Times Square extremely comforting vs having to find a place to eat that they don’t recognize. So not a trap, as such.

Now the M&M store on the other hand…

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It’s also a novelty to try some chains. My last 2 visits to TGIFriday’s, and my only visit to Houlihan’s were in Manhattan, back in 1998. I remember a French classmate going to Hooters that year. :roll_eyes:

Mrs H is a fan of Olive Garden when we’ve travelled round America. And my nephew is a big fan of Bubba Gump when he visits Florida (but then he’ll happily send a fortnight eating at chains because of the comparitively cheap pricing)


Agreed, with the exception of Magnolia. They are still riding the bump they got from Sex and the City over 20 years ago, and the cupcakes were NEVER good.


I don’t know why I found this funny. Maybe it’s because you and Mrs H have such sophisticated palates at home. Although what do I know?…I just admitted to some friends last weekend that I’ve never been to an Olive Garden - everyone was shocked and amused by that. Maybe I’m missing something good?!

I remember in my younger Onion days being excited about trying Wagamama and Yo! Sushi on trips to London before those restaurants branched out to the US. Those were fun (and tasty) meals!


Olive Garden for lunch but not for dinner.

I went there once for lunch as ‘novelty’ meal (I’d just moved to the US). It was pretty awful, and I just had soup & salad. The commercials are barf-worthy.

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You have a point, and I myself have eaten at chains outside NY that are unfamiliar to me because I wanted to try them. @Phoenikia @Harters
But when a chain is so overpriced and in a touristy area, that’s what I feel is the “trap” part.

I remember eating at the Wardour Street, Soho, branch of Pizza Express when they only had about 3 outlets. This had been their first opening. Hundreds of them now, including one within walking distance of home. It’s still an occasional place to go.

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I didn’t think much of the food either but I could get in/out for lunch.

Yah, there are simply better options available to me for lunch. I’d take a homemade grilled cheese over any OG dish.

I think I’d even go to BK over OG :scream:

My last OG meal was in Sonoma County maybe 14 years ago. My aunt based in Sonoma County insisted. She had seen the TV commercials and that’s where she wanted to go. Keep in mind, we are Greek North Americans, and my grandfather ran restaurants, so we are pretty good cooks and enjoy pretty good food, typically.

I had already had Italian meals in Stockton and San Jose that same week, but gave into my aunt’s wishes. The same night, my cousin wanted to take us to an upscale indie Italian restaurant in Sonoma County the same night, to which I replied, we already had Olive Garden with your mom today and we would prefer Thai tonight.

I’d found a Thai restaurant, in Santa Rosa, so we met my cousin, her husband and 2 teenage kids there- and the kids were brats and wouldn’t eat anything I ordered. Luckily, my cousin’s husband liked it.

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Sunday market in Ubud, Indonesia
Credit: Roozbeh Rokni, Flickr