1. Hollywood Walk of Fame (Hollywood, Calif.). Hollywood Boulevard itself is only marginally interesting, but if you’re planning your day around the 18-block section containing the names of famous people, prepare to be underwhelmed. Let’s just say it is what you thought it was – a sidewalk with stars’ names on it. Besides, how can you respect a monument that has a star for Pat Sajak but not for Clint Eastwood? (They say Clint refuses to take part in the ceremony. So what?)
2. Liberty Bell (Philadelphia, Pa.) It’s a bell. Enclosed in a huge building. And yes, it’s old. Hey, I’m not saying you shouldn’t check it out if you’re already walking around Old Philly. It is a free exhibit and doesn’t take much time out of your schedule. Just don’t expect to be overcome with Jeffersonian chills. The notion of “Liberty” didn’t come from a bell – it came from the minds of men working down the street.
3. Mount Rushmore (South Dakota). South Dakota has a lot to offer tourists – the Badlands, Deadwood, the Black Hills, hell even the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Which makes the four faces carved into a mountain one of the least memorable sights you will see there. Not to take anything away from the engineering feat it took to put them there, but as art it’s the presidential version of that ripoff of Hopper’s “Nighthawks” featuring Elvis, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean. You’ll snap a picture, check out the gift shop, hop in the car and drive to Montana.
4. Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink (New York, NY). Fans of ice skating, Prometheus, and movies like Splash go out of their way to take in this iconic New York City landmark. The most common reaction: “It’s so small.” Indeed, you’d have a better time skating in your bathtub than on this Lilliputian rink – and you won’t have to wait in line for an hour. Even snapping a picture is more trouble than it’s worth. The periphery is crowded with tourists and you’ll be jockeying just to get a decent angle.
5. Las Vegas. Yep, the whole city. I realize you can engage in all kinds of vices, take in plenty of enterainment, and get a tan. I also realize it’s an affordable vacation if you’re not planning on blowing your kids’ college funds at the blackjack tables. So go if you want to gamble, see Celine Dion, or enjoy a top notch strip club. But as a place to “see,” I think you’ll agree that the novelty of Vegas’ visual assault wears off very quickly, and what lies underneath is an enormous, outdoor shopping mall, just one chain store or restaurant after another. So in a way, it’s like 95% of the country.