Disappointing photos that show what 17 popular tourist attractions look like in real life

The Strip? More like strip mall.

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The Strip? More like strip mall.
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Shutterstock

All that glitters is not gold, and famous landmarks on your friends’ Instagram or in glossy magazines don’t usually look like that in real life.

So before you book a trip because you saw the destination in a beautiful magazine, or on a heavily curated Instagram feed, take a look at what 17 famous sites are actually like.


Visiting Mount Rushmore is like taking a page out of your history book.

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Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota.
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J. Pat Hodges/Shutterstock

Did you know there’s a secret room inside Mount Rushmore that stores important US documents?


Until you realize the picture in your history book was basically to scale.

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Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota.
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Flickr/Steve Bittinger

The profiles of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt may be 60 feet, but that’s actually not that huge.

Mount Rushmore is also falling apart and in need of constant maintenance.


The pyramids of Giza, shrouded in mystery, beckon with wide open desert.

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The pyramids of Giza.
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Shutterstock

In reality, the pyramids are literally in the middle of Cairo.

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The pyramids of Giza.
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Wikimedia

The Mona Lisa is just waiting for that perfect selfie with you.


It’ll be less selfie and more ussie. And one that’s like 10 feet from the surprisingly small painting at that.

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The Mona Lisa.
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Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock

The Empire State Building is a must-see when in New York City. It’s an architectural marvel, a romantic date spot, and an epic site for selfies.

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<a href=”http://www.businessinsider.com/life-of-jordan-spieth-on-and-off-course-2017-7″>Jordan Spieth</a> snaps a selfie on top of the Empire State Building in New York City.
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Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The 102-story Empire State Building was completed in 1931 and is still one of the tallest skyscrapers in the country (the fifth tallest actually). Including its antenna, it’s 1,454 feet tall.


The inside, however, looks like a crowded convention center or something.

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The line to get to the top of the Empire State Building in New York City, New York.
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Flickr/Joe Hall

Not only will you have to wait in an endless, crowded line, but it’ll cost you at least $57 to get to the top. And the best part? All of your photos will be missing a vital New York City landmark: the Empire State Building!

Click here to see the 15 other tourist traps in New York City, and where to go instead.


Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer is a sight to behold…

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Christ the Redeemer.
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dmitry_islentev / Shutterstock

Christ the Redeemer is 125 feet tall, including its pedestal.


…but you’re much better off beholding it from a distance. Like anywhere but its insanely packed viewing platform.

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Christ the Redeemer.
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Sophie-Claire Hoeller

Not only is the viewing platform packed, it’s so close to the statue you’ll have a hard time getting a good look – or a good picture.


The Great Wall of China snakes along for miles, beautifully devoid of anyone but you.

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The Great Wall of China.
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Hung Chung Chih/Shutterstock

In reality, there are humans everywhere.

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The Great Wall of China.
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Gett/VCG

Niagara Falls is magical.

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Niagara Falls.
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lastdjedai/Shutterstock

More of a poncho-clad hell.

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Niagara Falls.
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Shutterstock

The Sistine Chapel is just begging to be studied in awed silence.

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The Sistine Chapel.
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Eric Vandeville-Vatican Pool/Getty Images

It’s really a mosh pit with a beautiful ceiling.

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The Sistine Chapel.
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Flickr/Randy OHC

What’s a trip to Paris without a shot of the Eiffel Tower?

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The Eiffel Tower.
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Reuters/Charles Platiau

Maybe it’s best to just ogle it from afar


The lights, the gambling, the colorful characters. The Strip is a big part of what makes Vegas “Sin City.”

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The Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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lucky-photographer / iStock

It comes as no surprise that Las Vegas was voted the most fun city in the US.


But by day, it’s more strip mall than the Strip.

The Strip? More like strip mall.

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The Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, by day.
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Shutterstock

Manneken Pis is a must-see for anyone visiting Brussels.

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Manneken Pis.
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Shutterstock

But why? It’s a tiny statue on the corner of a busy pedestrian street.

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Manneken Pis.
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Flickr/Francisco Antunes

Versailles, a true fairytale.

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Versailles.
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Jose Ignacio Soto / Shutterstock

Sorry, make that nightmare.

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Versailles.
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Shutterstock

Disney World, the most magical place on Earth…

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Disney.
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Matt Stroshane/Getty

If you don’t suffer from claustrophobia, that is.

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Disney.
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Flickr/marc smith

Beijing’s Forbidden City looks gorgeous.

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The Forbidden City.
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Shutterstock.com

But we’ll pass.

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The Forbidden City.
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Miles Astray/iStock

People love watching Buckingham Palace’s guards change.

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Buckingham Palace.
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longtaildog / iStock

*A lot* of people love watching Buckingham Palace’s guards change.

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Buckingham Palace crowds.
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Flickr/Ana Rey

Yellowstone Park, a place for the quiet contemplation of nature’s beauty…

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Old Faithful.
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Shutterstock.com

If you can find some quiet.

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Crowds at Old Faithful.
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Flickr/yellowstone nps

People from all over the world flock to Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid statue.

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Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid statue.
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News Oresund/Flickr

“Flock” might be an understatement.

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Crowds at Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid statue.
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Shutterstock