Hollywood Walk of Fame, tourists

No. 3: Hollywood Walk of Fame

Leave it to Hollywood to glamorize and sensationalize something with little substance.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a street with people's names carved in it. That's it.

It's like when Steve and Judy carved their initials into the not-yet-dry cement when the city put a sidewalk on your street, the only difference being Steve and Judy stayed together for two months whereas nobody remembered the Hollywood "star" the following week.

For every Gene Autry and Michael Jackson there's 10 Spring Byingtons and Chad Everetts.

"But it's free," you say. "How can it be a tourist trap?" It's free only if you don't get mugged. In addition, you'll be bored after about 49 seconds and immediately look for something else to do, which will cost money, although the L. Ron Hubbard museum on Hollywood makes for a good time and is free.

Unfortunately, the next tourist trap isn't ...

Empire State Building, New York City

No. 2: The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building opens at 8 a.m. If you get in line right away and want to ride the elevator to the 102nd floor observatory, you may get in before dinner.

If you're lucky.

By the way, it costs $15 to ride the elevator, in addition to the $20 you'll pay to get in the building. That's $35 to look out a window.

It may be something everybody should do once in their life, but be prepared for an expensive bout of torture, especially with kids in tow, if you do go.

If you really want to go to the top but don't want to pony up the cash, try the following: (1) Join the military-free admission for soldiers in uniform; (2) disguise yourself as a toddler age 5 and under ride free; (3) scale the building, although the accompanying fine and prison time may prove to be a greater financial setback than the $35 you were trying to avoid.

Speaking of things to avoid in New York, start with the final destination on our list ...

Times Square, New York City

No. 1: Times Square

If you're looking for an authentic New York experience, then go to Coney Island, check out a Yankees game, take a ferry to Ellis Island, or jog in Central Park (with mace).If you can't get enough of corporations, fast food restaurants, sensory overload, or mobs of tourists, go to Times Square.

Sure, New York has cleaned up its act from what Times Square was in the past, but it still remains a tourist trap.