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We’ve all been there: you arrive at a destination only to find that it’s not as cool as people made it out to be. You were sick of hearing about how great that city is, so you booked a flight, and when you finally got there, you found yourself wondering why everyone was so excited about it in the first place. It’s like you’ve stumbled upon an alternate reality where everyone sees something you cannot see. It’s a tough feeling because you’ve just realized that you spent your hard-earned money on some disappointing travel destination just because everyone made you believe it was worth it.

There’s also this phenomenon that goes by the name of “Paris syndrome,” which is basically a strong sense of mortification some individuals, especially Japanese tourists, experience when visiting Paris for the first time and finding out the city has been overly romanticized. If you were wondering, yes, Paris is on the list. Désolé, Parisiens. 

While you may not experience this syndrome’s symptoms — like hallucinations, delusional states, and tachycardia — the sense of dismay can still be a sharp and painful blow to the ego. It’s not just Paris, though. Social media over-glamorizes certain travel destinations by setting unrealistic expectations about some places in the world.

If it makes you feel better, you’re not the only one. Reddit has a whole thread dedicated to the topic, and some travel bloggers have been brutally honest about their experiences. We did our homework and found that some specific places are commonly considered authentic catfish tourist traps better off being skipped. If you’re also curious about the topic, we created a list ranking the most overrated cities according to a viral Reddit thread that, honestly said, blew our minds. Expect the ranking to change as you and other fellow Panda globetrotters upvote and downvote the submissions.

Keep in mind these are just popular opinions: the experience of travel is just too personal to cross off certain destinations from your bucket list just because of someone else’s point of view — we’re personally smitten with some of the cities we included here!

#1

Dubai, UAE

Dubai, UAE

"It's the clickbait of the world. 'We have the biggest/tallest/most expensive...' and 'YOU WON'T BELIEVE when you see THIS...' It's hot as fuck, everything's a man-made tourist trap, labor exploitation and racism are rampant, and they try so hard to prove to the world how modern and Westernized they are. Really, it's just government propaganda."

commons.wikimedia.org Report

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jameskramer avatar
James016
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's a soulless place, everything is so chintzy. I will say that the hotel we stayed in was really nice.

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    #2

    Las Vegas, USA

    Las Vegas, USA

    "I once ordered 4 drinks and my tab was $117. Then there’s the heat. And the noise. And the creepy men lingering, well, everywhere."

    BubotheGunganEwok , commons.wikimedia.org Report

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    jabonner avatar
    Frando Bone
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    You do understand that Las Vegas has suburbs right? The whole city is not "The Strip"

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    #3

    Portland, USA

    Portland, USA

    "I live in Oregon. People are always going on about how Portland is the best city in the world. Y’all…please visit some others. Portland is fine, but good god, it is not the coolest city in the world."

    commons.wikimedia.org , lesbyeen Report

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    genevieved09 avatar
    genevieve.delangie
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    what does portland have in it that makes it cool? like i’m not trying to be rude i just wanna know what is there!

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    #4

    Nashville, USA

    Nashville, USA

    "Tennessee’s capital city has been cited among other overrated US cities. “Not even locals like being here anymore,” says a Redditor. “I literally despised every minute of the trip, just felt like an amusement park for drunk adults,” adds another user. People seem to complain about a lack of the authenticity Nashville once had, to the point where the city has earned the nickname “Nashvegas.”"

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    daniellegibbs_2 avatar
    DippityDooDerp
    Community Member
    10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    I drove past a whole a*s dead bull on the side of the interstate in Nashville. I was driving up to Ohio and it was just dead on the side of the interstate. Only interesting thing I've ever seen there.

    #5

    Delhi, India

    Delhi, India

    "There are FAR better places to visit in India. Most Indians who are from other parts of the country already know this but it baffles me that tourists almost always go there in my experience."

    commons.wikimedia.org , samurai489 Report

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    jabonner avatar
    Frando Bone
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Agree. Went to Delhi once for a wedding...it was fine for a one-time visit (10 days). But the best time I had in India was on and off the train from Delhi through Rajasthan and Kashmir for 21 days.

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    #6

    Myrtle Beach, USA

    Myrtle Beach, USA

    "I’m not even saying that it has a good reputation, I’m just saying that any shred of positive thinking about it makes it overrated."

    commons.wikimedia.org , ThereGoesJoe Report

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    rzsanyerges avatar
    EvilNob
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    TIL That Myrtle Beach is not just a clothing brand but also a real place.

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    #7

    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    "Amsterdam is too busy in the summer, the fact that most tourists come to smoke weed and have s*x with hookers doesn’t help either. In the winter it’s much more pleasant, also surrounding cities like Delft and Utrecht are just as pleasant if you’re into sight seeing."

    commons.wikimedia.org , GroundbreakingCow435 Report

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    natasjadejong_1 avatar
    Natasja de Jong
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    The good thing about Amsterdam is, that it is actually a big village and that everything is in walking distance. Another good thing is that you can hop on a train which will bring you in 30 till 60 minutes to other great (small) other cities with tons of history like: Haarlem, Hoorn, Enkhuizen, Alkmaar, Delft, Utrecht, Den Haag, Leiden and Rotterdam. If you like to sit for 2,5 hours you can visit Maastricht (most southern part of Holland) without changing trains! So enjoy Amsterdam in spring or autumn but there is so much more to see. Greetings from a Dutch woman :-)

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    #8

    Boulder, USA

    Boulder, USA

    "The people are stuck up and discriminatory. The food frankly sucks. The hiking and climbing are overcrowded by lots of people who don't know what the hell they are doing, rich kids do too many hard dr*gs and flip out on strangers, and the politics have completely overtaken everything that used to make it cool."

    commons.wikimedia.org , thats_up_top Report

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    geekymcdork avatar
    Aubrie Allen
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    I live in Denver, and yes, Boulder is over rated. Yes, it is beautiful, but it's so over priced! I mean, if you are a millionaire, than it's a nice little retreat. But if you're not, than good luck.

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    #9

    Atlantic City, USA

    Atlantic City, USA

    "Venture a few blocks off the boardwalk and it's incredibly depressing. Very clearly an area exploited by the big casinos while the locals have been driven to absolute poverty, while they still force a smile to work the shops that are required for the tourist traffic."

    commons.wikimedia.org , juanzy Report

    #10

    The USA Side Of The Niagara Falls

    The USA Side Of The Niagara Falls

    "The US side of Niagara Falls is crap. There are a ton of crappy-looking buildings and shitty tourist trap places it’s gross."

    commons.wikimedia.org , Zudop Report

    #11

    Los Angeles, USA

    Los Angeles, USA

    "It's dirty, crime-ridden, full of homeless, over crowded, ugly, and a pain to get around in."

    commons.wikimedia.org , Effective_James Report

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    amytaylor_1 avatar
    Amy Taylor
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    And now we're in my home... lol I've lived here all my life. If for any reason whatsoever you want to visit, TALK TO A LOCAL!!! lol we will steer you far, far away from Hollywood, and places like that. I think people underestimate just how large LA County is!!! I live in the San Fernando Valley and there's a lot of amazing things to do here that tour guides never talk about. Yes, a lot of the city is a mess, but we have some truly beautiful beaches and experiences here.

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    #12

    Dublin, Ireland

    Dublin, Ireland

    "I love Ireland, and places like Killarney are incredible, but Dublin is just an average, the mediocre city where everything is overpriced."

    commons.wikimedia.org , AnAwesomeWalrus Report

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    master_minds9_1 avatar
    DennyS (denzoren)
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    After I read Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawk (not Hawks lol) I always wanted to backpack across Ireland, it sounded like such a nice experience.

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    #13

    Palm Springs, USA

    Palm Springs, USA

    "There’s literally nothing to do except maybe hit up some 4 star restaurants and golf. The golfing isn’t even in Palm Springs. So many celebrities come here as if it’s some luxury town, but it’s really not. Just a bunch of old retired people sipping alcohol and voting against every interesting thing that gets proposed."

    flickr.com , Aroused_Sloth Report

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    amytaylor_1 avatar
    Amy Taylor
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    It how you do it... lol Every summer my cousins and I rent a groovy mid-century modern home with a pool (extremely inexpensive because it's hellishly hot in the summer) and have a great time!!

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    #14

    Niagara Falls, Canada

    Niagara Falls, Canada

    "I grew up there. Major pumps most of tax $ to casinos and tourism with flashy vegas-esque attractions."

    commons.wikimedia.org , PretendLibrarian0 Report

    #15

    Cairo, Egypt

    Cairo, Egypt

    "It's beautiful but at every corner awaits a new way to get scammed."

    commons.wikimedia.org , lordpanda Report

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    jameskramer avatar
    James016
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    So true, we got harassed at every turn. The pyramids and the Sphynx are astounding

    #16

    Miami, USA

    Miami, USA

    "I'm Latin American, and for most of the people in this neck of the continent, Miami and the US are synonymous with one another. If someone tells you that they're traveling outside the country, 99% of the time they are traveling to Miami. Say that you live abroad like I do, and people will say that they'd love to live in Miami "as well".  Latin Americans who travel to Miami do so for three reasons: to go to the beach, to go shopping for all the foreign products they can't get back home, and as a starting point for a trip to Disney World. Every year flocks of tourists from South America fly to Miami and all they do is go to the mall and to South Beach. And what's worse, they'll call the city paradise because it has all the "good things" about the United States without you needing to speak English.  But there's nothing there. Sure, there are a couple of interesting places to visit--Vizcaya is a genuinely interesting place--but if you want to do anything that isn't hanging out at the mall or getting sunburnt, Miami is a void that slowly sucks out your will to live. Miami is a hell that has somehow fooled an entire continent into thinking that it's heaven."

    commons.wikimedia.org , machu_pikacchu Report

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    deborah_4 avatar
    Deborah
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    It is a swamp. ...Hell. I love bayous. I like swamps. But, I couldn't bear all of that concrete.

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    #17

    Albuquerque, USA

    Albuquerque, USA

    "Albuquerque. It's like the bad east side of every city, but the ENTIRE city seems that way."

    commons.wikimedia.org , tshirtguy2000 Report

    #18

    San Francisco, USA

    San Francisco, USA

    "Golden Gate Bridge and the Pier are cool, but the rest of the city is kind of disgusting. Completely filthy and super expensive for even a shitty hotel."

    commons.wikimedia.org , awkjen Report

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    Frando Bone
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Yeah i used to like SF...now it's just a giant toilet...literally...people using sidewalks as the toilet.

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    #19

    Clearwater Beach, USA

    Clearwater Beach, USA

    "Been built up so much there's hardly any beach left. Traffic is AWFUL, so plan 2-4 hours of your beach time just sitting in that. Sucks for locals biiiiig time."

    commons.wikimedia.org , kurnadurn Report

    #20

    Pompeii, Italy

    Pompeii, Italy

    "The Atmosphere was toxic, the local fair was rather bland, nothing was showing at the local amphitheater, and it seems like everyone you visit is sleeping."

    commons.wikimedia.org , GluttonAsteroth Report

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    Westernro
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    I feel like the people downvoting this don’t understand the joke

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    #21

    Vancouver, Canada

    Vancouver, Canada

    "It's beautiful but unaffordable to live in. Also, it is quite dangerous especially in East Hastings in Vancouver. It's like a totally different world."

    commons.wikimedia.org , AmielJohn Report

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    heatherresatz avatar
    Heather Resatz
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    I grew up in Van .. it's beautiful but so busy now! Expensive to live and all the traffic!! Parks and lakes are so crowded now, but there are still mountains to climb!!

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    #23

    Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

    Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

    "There’s nothing beautiful about the city anymore. It’s just a warzone now, people kill and can be killed for nothing, nobody respects the laws, and the state doesn’t have enough power to fight the dr*g lords, so they basically do what they want."

    commons.wikimedia.org , ArthurNeedHelp Report

    #24

    Austin, USA

    Austin, USA

    "Austin, Texas. Lived there in the ‘90s and it was pretty great. Now it’s an overcrowded, overpriced douchey mess."

    commons.wikimedia.org , DontShootTheFood Report

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    markberry1968 avatar
    Sleestak
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Yup. It used to be neat and inexpensive 25+ years ago. It had the best independent restaurants and live music around every corner. Then the tech boom happened, Californians moved in with their California-adjusted incomes, the traffic became a nightmare, the restaurants turned to chains, and getting anywhere takes forever.

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    #25

    Cabot Cove, USA

    Cabot Cove, USA

    "Cabot Cove, the murder capital of the world. Sure, the murders are all solved, but would you really want to live in a city with that much, easily solved, crime?"

    flickr.com , Andvare Report

    #26

    Bali, Indonesia

    Bali, Indonesia

    "Bali changed so much last 10 years. It used to be so beautiful and amazing… now it is full of “digital nomad” douchebags and overpriced food and crap. I remember when it was just a cool surf spot with cheap eats."

    commons.wikimedia.org , HippoNo9775 Report

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    master_minds9_1 avatar
    DennyS (denzoren)
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    If I had a dollar every time I saw an article about a digital nomad who moved to Bali and living a dream I'd be able to afford to go to Bali and be annoyed by them there also.

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    #27

    Beijing, China

    Beijing, China

    "Beijing. I arrived at the end of a trans- Mongolian rail trip seeing so many incredible places and I think it was just a huge anti-climax. Was intimidated by the level of armed security everywhere, had to fight off so many scammers, didn't enjoy being touched and laughed at when on the subway (I'm a very white European with curly hair). Overall just found it really challenging despite some amazing sights."

    commons.wikimedia.org , Teapigs1984 Report

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    Rose the Cook
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Been here 12 years and I can honestly say that as a very fair skinned, blue eyed blonde with curly hair I have never once been deliberately touched or laughed at. Bumped into on crowded trains or stared at yes and pointed at by small children but never intentionally touched or laughed at.

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    #28

    Philadelphia, USA

    Philadelphia, USA

    "Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. No offense to the folks that live there but I felt like everybody was angry, the traffic and parking were worse than Manhattan, and it had none of the redeeming qualities of NYC."

    commons.wikimedia.org , YOLO_SWAG_SATAN Report

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    madelyny_1 avatar
    Madelyn Y
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Honestly I disgree. Philly always seemed to have much more of an authentic way about it than much especially if you go into towns like Manyuank

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    #29

    Manila, Philippines

    Manila, Philippines

    "Manila, traffic was horrible and it was so dirty, nice buildings but the entire experience was stressful."

    commons.wikimedia.org , Bigjay_37 Report

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    heatherresatz avatar
    Heather Resatz
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    I've done loads of travelling and I would never return to Manila! The taxi between airport terminals drove me past an endless stretch of bodies, people sleeping on the side of the road under plastic sheeting. So creepy! I had quite a layover and the airport security wouldn't let me leave to tour the area in a taxi .. they laughed and said 'it's not safe, you won't make it back alive'. Scary!!

    #31

    Bangkok, Thailand

    Bangkok, Thailand

    "Literally hell on earth."

    commons.wikimedia.org , vch01 Report

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    ola_n avatar
    Headless Roach
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    I would not go so far to call it hell, but the sight of old foreigners taking underage girls to their hotels is bloody disgusting. Well... maybe it is hell.

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    #32

    Marrakesh, Morocco

    Marrakesh, Morocco

    "I know everyone loves Marrakesh, but I hated it. It would have been amazing before about 2000, but now it just feels like a Disneyland version of their culture to cater to western tourists. Ali baba costumes pretending to be desert nomads. half of their ‘ handmade goods’ are just cheap shit from china. and u can't walk 20 feet without being approached by scammers. like, literally every block. The entire city just feels like a facade to attract dumb tourist money. I get why ppl love it, but that was my take.

    commons.wikimedia.org , legshampoo Report

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    #33

    Paris, France

    Paris, France

    "So much so, that there's a syndrome named for when tourists find out what it is really like and lose the plot."

    commons.wikimedia.org , Alvinmcnoodle1 Report

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    annikp avatar
    Pandalea
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Well it's a city. Not a dream or fairytale, but a living, breathing, busy capital. There's noise, pollution, distribution, roadworks (lots of them) and horrendous traffic, just like in any other big city. There are also many lovely views to take in, and hundreds of beautiful, interesting, history-filled places to visit, and good public transport to get there. Just dont be disappointed if it's not a Disney- like, perfect and immaculate place. People actually live and work there.

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    #34

    Trenton, USA

    Trenton, USA

    "I wasn't really visiting or expecting to go there, just passing through on an Amtrak ride. I awoke from a nap to the train just stopped in what looked like Raccoon City. Trash was everywhere, and most of the buildings looked abandoned. The sky was cloudy and literally green. Like, sickly yellow-green. And most eerily, I didn't see a single car driving on the street or anyone walking around outside on the barren sidewalks. All the stores and restaurants looked closed and empty. I was actually sort of gripped by fear for a second, in my post-nap haze. Just wanted the doors to shut and the train to pull out of there. Nobody was getting on the Amtrak in Trenton. I didn't even know if there was anybody in Trenton. As the train pulled away and we went through the center of the city, a rail bridge over the river caught my eye. A massive sign was plastered on the side that read "TRENTON MAKES, THE WORLD TAKES."

    flickr.com , tr0nvicious Report

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    somegirlwho
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Where are all these people that think Trenton is a cool place to be in the first place? I think you need at least a reputation as being a great city before you can be overrated.

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    #35

    Denver, USA

    Denver, USA

    "Denver. Just a big, hot, expensive city out on the plains. All the cool mountain activities that people move to CO for are 2 hours of driving away unless you can afford to live in the western suburbs so nobody does nearly as much recreation as they would do living somewhere else. Traffic is worse than in Chicago to boot."

    commons.wikimedia.org , r00kieNS Report

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    somegirlwho
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    This is part nonsense. Denver as a city itself is not the most exciting place, but people go to the mountains all the time. And you don't have to drive two hours to get to the mountains and parks therein. If you are driving to one of the ski resorts, yeah the closest ones are about two hours away, but it is absolutely routine for people to leave on a Friday after work to go into the mountains and come back Sunday. Happens every weekend in winter. And denver is not "in the plains" lol. I think you might be thinking of Kansas. Now that is the wide open, tumbleweed, farmland for days type place. Yes, Denver is not in the foothills like Boulder but Boulder is a 30 min drive and has an abundance of outdoors activities. To day people hear aren't that active anymore is silly.

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    #36

    Frankfurt, Germany

    Frankfurt, Germany

    "Just kinda seemed like a boring banking/politics city."

    commons.wikimedia.org , reddit.com Report

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    natasjadejong_1 avatar
    Natasja de Jong
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Frankfurt was heavily bombed in WWII so there is nothing original left. Köln too but that I still quite a cool city to visit. You better go to Berlin, Munich and Düsseldorf but keep in mind that all Major German cities has lost tremendously of their original cities centred due to WWII bombing. Inform yourself well before visiting.

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    #37

    Birmingham, U.K.

    Birmingham, U.K.

    "I don’t get how the only thing of interest in the second biggest city in the U.K., is a shopping center. It’s such a grim grey place that’s not interesting at all. Each other major UK city has its own unique qualities and landmarks that make it worth a visit. I’ve yet to see what that is in Birmingham."

    commons.wikimedia.org , Pumpkin-Bomb Report

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    Timmy Pillinger
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Uni campus, and Canon Hill Park. The CBSO, Jewellery Quarter, Aston Hall, Digbeth Market.

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    #38

    Winnipeg, Canada

    Winnipeg, Canada

    "I traveled to Winnipeg once. Said I was on vacation when asked if I was from here. The replies were mostly looking at me and asked "why would you vacation here."

    commons.wikimedia.org , JLR- Report

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    Jenna
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    We took a trip there for the weekend. We were living in the middle of nowhere in North Dakota. So a trip to Canada seemed exciting. We were wrong.

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    #39

    Athens, Greece

    Athens, Greece

    "I couldn’t wait to go because I’m Greek. It’s filthy with polluted air and all of the famous ruins are right near city buildings, which are poorly constructed. The place feels like the very third world.

    commons.wikimedia.org , imatiredwoman Report

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    Nea
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    My personal take- Athena is underrated. It was absolutely gorgeous and reasonably clean. To me, No other city has historical beauty in such abundance.