Hidden Gems Unveiled: 15 Tourist Stops Loved by Locals

Niagara Falls

One common thing in places where tourists flock is that you'll rarely find locals just hanging out. There are several reasons for this – they've seen it all before or are annoyed by the crowds. However, there are some things that even locals will return to again and again – after all, these places become tourist attractions for a reason.

People on a popular forum chimed in with places that they still love to visit despite the visitors. 

1. Niagara Falls' Maid of Mist

Niagara Falls
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Launched in 2020, this sightseeing boat tour starts on the American side of the falls. It crosses briefly into Canada so that guests can view the magnificence of the falls from a different perspective. I can't imagine you could live in the area without seeing Niagara Falls frequently. One local says riding the Maid of the Mist will never get old. Another person suggests that if you want to also walk around the park, do it first because you might end up with wet shoes and socks from the ride. 

2. Sydney's Opera House and Circular Quay

Sydney's Opera House
Image Credit: Sydney's Opera House.

As an Australian who grew up not far from Sydney, I still love visiting this area. It's the perfect spot to grab some ice cream and walk around, taking in the sights of the ferries entering the dock. The Sydney Harbor Bridge looms to your left as you follow the path towards the spectacular architecture of the Opera House – it's something worth revisiting for locals and tourists alike. 

3. Watching a Red Sox Game in Boston

Night baseball game at historic Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox, Boston, Ma., USA, May 20, 2010, Red Sox versus Minnesota Twins, attendance, 38,144, Red Sox win 6 to 2
Image Credit: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com.

Fenway Park is one of those places on every tourist's bucket list when coming to Boston. If they're lucky, they'll also be able to catch a game of baseball. It's the oldest baseball stadium in the world and dates back to 1912. It still holds its charm for some locals despite its designation as a tourist haven. 

4. Hanging Out in MT Banff, Calgary, Canada

Banff National Park
Image Credit: Damian Blunt.

Like many tourist attractions, you sometimes wonder whether it's worth the hype. According to a Calgarian, Mt. Banff is definitely a place that they love visiting regularly. The 2,500-square-mile park is perfect for exploring some natural wonders, including pristine lakes, snowy mountains, and native wildlife.

5. Chicago River Boat Cruise

Sightseeing cruise at Chicago river in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

There are various riverboat tours that people can take in Chicago. They usually have guides, and you can see the city's skyline in a way that can't be seen via other modes of transport. Several forum members still enjoy taking these cruises despite them being specifically for visitors.

6. Pike Place Market, Seattle

Seattle-WA,USA - August 19 2017 : Pike Place Market is the oldest farmers’ market on the West Coast. And More than 10 million people visit the market each year. Seattle-Washington State, USA
Image Credit: Nadia Yong/Shutterstock.com.

This is the longest continuously operational farmer's market in the country and serves as a small business hub. There are several hundred independently owned businesses within the community. Several locals suggested it was overpriced, but others say they still enjoy going there on occasion for the fresh fruits, vegetables, flower bouquets, and delicious doughnuts.

7. La Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain - July 21, 2015: Entrance to the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, a large public market in the Ciudad Vieja district of Barcelona.
Image Credit: Ale Argentieri / Shutterstock.com.

This market is a must-visit for tourists. La Boqueria is a historic market that's been in the area for hundreds of years. Its location near Las Ramblas in the Old City makes it a popular stop in Barcelona. Locals also like to visit it but prefer to do so when the tourist crowds are a bit thinner.

8. The Atlanta Aquarium

Whale shark in Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

This is one of the world's largest aquariums, where you can find a variety of marine life, including manta rays, sea lions, beluga whales, and bottlenose dolphins. One forum member says they still enjoy going, especially for adult-only parties and to see the puffins.

9. Mardi Gras, New Orleans

Group of happy people in carnival costumes dancing and having fun during Mardi Gras festival on the street.
Image Credit: Drazen Zigic/Shutterstock.

Some adults in New Orleans are all Mardi Gras'd out, but others will have their fold-up chairs ready on the parade routes hours before the event. The good thing is that plenty of parades exist in various locations, so it all depends on how much Mardi Gras frivolity the locals want to handle.

10. Alcatraz, San Francisco

Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, USA.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

This island prison draws thousands of tourists over from the mainland each day. It has an intriguing history not just of the architecture and inmates but of the prison employees who lived on the island. For history lovers residing in the area, there's something to be learned from each visit. 

11. Hot Springs, New Zealand

Maruia Hot Springs in New Zealand
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Rotorua, in New Zealand's North Island, is famous for its natural hot springs, bubbling mud baths, and other natural phenomena. For some locals, it's also a relaxing treat to go to some of these places. However, one forum member says that they prefer to find them in the bush, where they don't have to pay the exorbitant fees that tourists get charged. 

12. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

San Francisco California - August 12, 2018: Shakespeare Garden in the Golden Gate Park.
Image Credit: yhelfman/Shutterstock.

With over 1000 acres of sprawling urban parkland and over 24 million visitors a year, it's easy to understand why locals might avoid San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. However, not only does it contain some beautiful walking paths, but it also houses the San Francisco Botanical Garden, the de Young Museum, and the California Academy of Sciences.

Much of the park and its remaining features were part of the 1894 world's fair, including the very alluring Japanese Tea Garden. Despite its appeal to tourists, locals admit to loving it, too. 

13. San Diego Zoo

San Diego, CA, USA September 22 A topiary elephant greets visitors outside of the San Diego Zoo
Image Credit: James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com.

Chances are that no matter where you live in the world, you have probably heard of the San Diego Zoo. The award-winning 100-acre habitat is home to over 3700 endangered and rare animal species and works to conserve and protect animals through its conservation efforts. San Diego residents can take advantage of special membership rates, allowing them to enjoy the park multiple times per year.

14. Robert's Western World, Nashville

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOV 22, 2016: Roberts Western World and Jack's Bar-B-Que neon sign along Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee.
Image Credit: Atomazul / Shutterstock.com.

Located in the historic district of Nashville, this entertainment venue started life as a Western attire company in the early 90s. Then, owner Robert Wayne Moore started adding more and more attractions to the place until it became the venue that it is today. It's filled with live music, Western boots and clothing, and a grill that locals and tourists keep coming back for. 

15. Punting on The River Cam, UK

Cam River at Cambridge University
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The idyllic scene of people punting on The River Cam at Cambridge University may be the stuff of movies, but this is why it's a big tourist attraction. However, that doesn't stop locals from enjoying the leisurely riverboats and partaking in the 45-minute tour, which takes in the architecture of the historic town, King's College Chapel, and the Bridge of Sighs.

Source: (Reddit).

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Ree Winter is a versatile journalist hailing from Australia and now making New Orleans her home. Ree's passion for solo travel shines through as she expertly tracks down fantastic flight deals and accommodations, sharing her extensive travel experiences with readers. With a Master's degree in Journalism and a Bachelor's degree featuring double majors in history and literature, she brings a unique blend of skills to her work. Ree's historical expertise extends to the world of architectural history, where she has worked as a tour guide in historic house museums. But her journey doesn't stop there; she's even delved into the art of coffee as a barista, running a coffee van at events and markets, making her a genuine connoisseur of coffee preparation. Today, Ree channels her insights and expertise into sharing these topics with readers at Wealth of Geeks.