A tourist trap is an attraction that brings in large crowds, tons of money and encourages the purchasing of souvenirs. However, just because something is a tourist trap does not mean it should taken off of your to-do list. Just be prepared to be shoulder to shoulder with other tourists who are stoked to buy a coffee mug. Here are Denver’s top 5 tourist traps.
The price of admission at the Downtown Aquarium is fairly high to begin with. Then, they charge extra for the 4-D experience, face-painting, coconut tree climb and stingray fish food – that’s your first red flag. The restaurant serves delicious, but expensive, food and they don’t let you leave without herding you into their souvenir shop. This place is great for kids, but plan on spending far above the ticket price.
Horse Drawn Carriage Rides on the 16th street mall
A Horse Drawn Carriage in Central Park is romantic. A Horse Drawn Carriage on the 16th street mall is unnecessary. The free MallRide takes a similar route and doesn’t cost a thing (read about it here). If you are set on a carriage ride, go after sunset beneath the city lights.
Denver Botanic Gardens
The Denver Botanic Gardens is gorgeous, I even featured photos from my visit here. However, in a state as beautiful as ours, a trip to the botanic gardens isn’t needed. Opt for wild flowers in the Rocky Mountains and use the Botanic Gardens as a back up plan.
Zoos are always tourist traps. Around every corner is another vendor selling snow cones, animal crackers, or toys. The Denver Zoo is no exception. But if you can get past the screeching monkey stuffed animals and the neon colored t-shirts, this zoo isn’t half bad.
Listen, I freakin’ love Casa Bonita (read about it here), but it is one of the biggest tourist traps in all of Colorado. The reason why it is at the bottom of my list is because Casa Bonita tastefully hides their souvenir shop in the restaurant, not forcing you to walk through it to enter/exit the establishment. I’ll proudly recommend this tourist trap until the day I die.
Once again, don’t rule these attractions out simply because they are tourist traps! Half the fun of visiting a new city is embracing the tourist mentality. Just say no to the, “My grandma went to Colorado and all I got was this stupid t-shirt” shirt.
Solving your traveling dilemmas,