Don’t Believe the Hype: These Low-Rated Tourist Attractions Are Worth Visiting

US travelers flock to the country’s world-famous attractions and majestic natural wonders. The Magic Kingdom welcomes 20 million visitors annually, while Great Smokey Mountain National Park hosts over 12 million. These popular destinations consistently receive rave reviews, landing in the top ten ranking of the US’s 50 most visited attractions.

Smaller attractions, such as Chicago’s Navy Pier, California’s Venice Beach, and Washington DC’s Union Station, fell short in the rankings. All three iconic destinations placed in the bottom five, but don’t let the less-than-stellar reviews fool you into skipping an epic travel experience.

Low Rankings Don’t Tell the Full Story

Family Destination Guide’s research rated destinations based on the percentage of “Excellent” TripAdvisor reviews, which don’t always tell the whole story. A visitor may provide a lower ranking for numerous reasons, ranging from ridiculous expectations to encountering a lousy experience at the site.

These five destinations ranked at the bottom of Family Destination Guide’s study, but expert travelers believe you should try them at least once.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston, MA, hosts 18 million visitors per year. Less than half (47%) rated the attraction “excellent.”

Stephanie Gravalese, food writer and founder of Slow Living Kitchen, explains why the famous hall deserves a second look.

“Faneuil Hall, also affectionately known as Quincy market to locals, is full of good eats, especially if you’re looking to taste a little bit of everything,” Gravalese says.

“Lobster rolls, they got you—clam chowder: it’s there. I like to bring friends there who might be in Boston for a short time because of the concentration of restaurants, shopping, and historical significance,” Gravalese reveals. “You can learn quite a bit about the city without having to cover too much ground.”

She adds that Faneuil Hall Market Place is great for history buffs as it was home to the first town meeting ever in the developing country.

A final bonus of Faneuil Hall is its centralized location. It’s close to Boston’s iconic neighborhoods and significant attractions, including the New England Aquarium, the North End, and Haymarket.

 Union Station

Washington DC’s Union Station sees 40 million visitors per year, but only 41% gave it an “excellent” rating.

Mikkel Woodruff, a travel expert with Sometimes Home, disagrees with the low rating.

“Union Station in DC is a wonderful place,” says Woodruff. “The Beaux-Arts style building, built at the turn of the 20th century, is truly impressive and worth a visit, whether or not you are there for train transportation.”

Woodruff explains she enjoys traveling to DC via Union Station. “I love arriving from NYC’s Penn Station to DC via Amtrak and being welcomed to the nation’s capital in this beautiful structure,” she continues. “You’re only a 10-minute walk from Capitol Hill at the station. It’s a great place to grab a bite to eat, whether coffee and a pastry or a salad and drinks and do a bit of shopping if you’re nearby.”

Navy Pier

Chicago’s Navy Pier may appear on many lists highlighting the best of Chicago, but only 40% of reviewers marked this attraction “excellent.”

Despite the low ratings, Navy Pier deserves a visit. The 200-foot Centennial Wheel may not be the world’s tallest, but it pays homage to the city that invented the iconic ride and offers majestic views of the city and lakefront.

Those who don’t enjoy heights can explore the numerous shops and attractions inside the pier, including the stained-glass and children’s museums, or see a show at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater collocated on the pier. If you’re already planning a trip to Illinois’ most iconic city, you won’t want to miss Navy Pier.

South Street Seaport

South Street Seaport in New York can’t compete with big names like Times Square and the Empire State Building but is worth a look while visiting New York despite the lower rating.

The historic mall sees nearly 9 million visitors yearly, but only 39% of its Trip Advisor reviews are positive.

Timeshare and travel expert Monica Fish thinks the destination deserves a second look. “If you haven’t been to South Street Seaport in the past ten years, you actually may be pleasantly surprised by the post-Hurricane Sandy redevelopment,” Fish explains.

“What you’ll find now is a cool combination of modern offerings mixed with the New York City of Hamilton’s time. There’s still the South Street Seaport Museum, cobblestone streets, and historical ships on Pier 16, but don’t overlook its neighbor, the brand-new Pier 17.

“Where else can you attend a rooftop concert by world-famous artists overlooking the East River and Brooklyn Bridge and grab a Jean-Georges or Momofuku meal all in the same place?” she asks, expressing why tourists need to give this lesser-known attraction a chance.

Venice Beach

California’s iconic artsy beach destination ranked last in the Family Destination Guide’s study, with only 37% of visitors leaving an “excellent” review.

The Los Angeles area contains so many beautiful beaches that choosing which one to see creates a challenge. Travelers would be remiss to skip the lower-ranking Venice Beach.

Venice’s outdoor gym hosted the most famous bodybuilders of the 1980s, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Incredible Hulk actor Lou Ferrigno. Visitors can play volleyball, work out, or enjoy the massive skatepark built into the beachfront.

Venice Beach also features a weekend art market on the beach where local artists and artisans can showcase their wares and boutique shops offering everything from designer clothing to home décor along Abbot Kinney Boulevard. The beach is a must-see for everyone visiting California.

Online Reviews Are a Great Place To Start, But Don’t Rely on Them

Online reviews are essential to trip planning. They give you a general idea of what to expect and can be the deciding factor between two appealing restaurants, hotels, or niche attractions.

However, relying solely on reviews can cause you to miss out on some of the country’s best attractions. Use them as a guide, but think twice before skipping a popular attraction based on a few bad reviews.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self-educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming, and her cats