Which well-known landmarks do you think are overrated?

In this thread some people talk about how Seattle’s Pike Place Market isn’t the best produce market in the world or even in the U.S. I’ve been there myself and it was an interesting visit, but I haven’t been to enough markets in its caliber/size to make a valid comparison for myself.

What this brought to mind was my question, which landmarks do you feel are overrated? Did you go to any particular landmark with high expectations and come away disappointed or underwhelmed? This could include buildings and other architecture, scenic sites, museum pieces, or even entire cities.

Niagara Falls. It’s just a bunch of falls in a semi-interesting shape. I happen to like smaller waterfalls, anyway. And the tour is really boring. And it’s fake. And every once in a wh ile someone throws themselves over in a barrel; this is stupidity, not stunts or coolness or bravado.

The Grand Canyon. And I’m sure I’m in a very small minority on this one. I’ve visited, briefly, on two occasions. Both times, my reaction was, “Wow…that is one huge hole!” And three or four minutes later, I was done. Didn’t have any real interest in exploring or seeing it from other angles or anything like that.

I won’t say it’s overrated, but when you walk into the Sistine Chapel, the first impression you get is how small it is. Somehow, literature & history give the impression of this cavernous space, but it’s nowhere as large as you might think. The frescoes are still stunning, though.

I apologize to British Dopers, but I was expecting Big Ben to be much bigger.

I was underwhelmed by Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Somehow I thought it would be more “up close” rather than way high up there on top of the mountain. Probably from all the photos I had seen prior to experiencing it in person. And it was weird to me that all the rock that had been blasted from the mountainside is still all piled up at the base. Plus the visitor center to me was very schlocky and souvenir driven.

I learned in visiting that it was a controversial project when first conceived and was primarily done to attract tourism to the region. In my mind that kind of diminished the value of the work to me…it wasn’t built by an “artist who had a dream” (such as the Crazy Horse Memorial nearby–very impressive!), it was more like “we need to get people to spend money in our state, let’s carve up a mountain”. Somehow that cheapened it.

The beauty of the Black Hills really speak for themselves without having mountains blown up arbitrarily. It is a gorgeous area!

Arizonan here - reminds me of the movie “Vacation”, where Chevy Chase walks up the the edge of the Grand Canyon, looks down and says “Yup”, and walks away…

Hah! Never saw the movie, but my wife can testify that that was almost exactly my reaction. I don’t regret seeing it, but I won’t lose any sleep if I don’t make it back there in my lifetime.

I agree on Mount Rushmore. Photographs of it always seem to be shot at such an angle as to make it look 1000 feet tall, so it’s pretty feeble in person.

Also, having lived in Utah for eight years, I agree that the Grand Canyon is pretty underwhelming - its across the border neighbors Bryce Canyon, Arches National Park and Zion Canyon all outshine it badly in terms of natural beauty IMHO.

To add something new to the list: Old Faithful. Lameness. :rolleyes: :stuck_out_tongue:

Ya know, the Statue of Liberty is pretty small. Much smaller than I imagined.

However, two things that did live up to the hype was the Vietnam Memorial and Altun Ha (Mayan Temple).

Landmarks that aren’t really landmarks. Like Piccadilly Circus - why are all these tourists taking pictures of a busy road intersection? There are much more photogenic sights within a few hundred yards in any given direction!

I expected Stonehenge to be somewhat more awe inspiring. In my mind, I guess I imagined the stones to be about 40 feet tall or something, even though I’m sure I read what their height was before then. Their actual height was a bit of a surprise. What are they, about 10 feet tall mostly?

Well, as I said before in the other thread, it’s enough of a landmark that I was able to recognize a photo of it at an arbitrary angle when the recent brouhaha occured. That said I guess I’d vote for it, too, in the overrated department.

18", as I recall :smiley:

The Alamo. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a HUGE history nerd, but I was so utterly underwhelmed. I suppose part of my disappointment came from the fact that this cool historical landmark is completely in the center of town, not 20 feet from 15 crappy souvenir shops, etc. Plus, it was just so small, I guess I expected it to be bigger.

I’ll also add in the Statue of Liberty. When I went, the Twin Towers were still up and with them looming in the distance, Lady Liberty looked absolutely tiny. The World Trade Center was much, much cooler to look at, imho.

I seem to be in a minority of not being underwhelmed by the size of Stonehenge. In fact if anything it was larger than I expected (perhaps because I expected to be underwhelmed!)

The tallest of the stones that still stands is 30ft long, of which 22ft is above ground, since you asked. Most of the tall standing stones are a little over half that. Quite impressive when you think how they got there!

I will agree that the location is less than impressive, though, set between two busy roads and surrounded by a shabby fence. Google Maps hybrid view.

I used to go past it all the time in the car on the way to my gran’s house, so when I finally stopped and saw it up close it was more impressive.

I third Mt. Rushmore. A total waste of time and effort to see.

FWIW, today’s “Alamo” is only the chapel & a few of the adjoining buildings, while the mission in 1836 was much larger.

See the picture about halfway down the page for a sketch of what the complex looked like in 1836.


SanteFe New Mexico.
I’ve always heard how it is a jewel in the desert and a beautiful artist mecca.
We were stuck in Albuquerque waiting for a flight and had a rental car so we checked it out.
Nothing but a little tourist trap town with overpriced antique shops and stores selling desert art. I could have bought the same stuff in Gallup.
Wasted drive.

Faneuil Hall in Boston. Okay, it’s a decent little marketplace but I don’t really get a historic feel from the outside or inside.

St. Louis Arch. Never been, but I’m not the only one who until recently thought it spanned the Mississippi.

I agree on Niagara Falls. Although getting to the base of the falls makes it much more dramatic (on the land side, that is. Maid of the Mist is overrated, too.)

Mammoth Caverns. Sure, it’s the longest cave system in the world, but most of the length is shut off, and at least on the tour I took, each tunnel/cave is not much bigger and much more lacking in features than the average cave. (Carlsbad Caverns, OTOH – whoa.)