Nominations for Best Non-Theme Park Attraction or Destination

December 4, 2020, 2:50 PM

Thank you to everyone who has been submitting nominations in our year-end surveys. I'm throwing in a bit of wild -card category this year - Best Non-Theme Park Attractions and Destinations.

Please submit a list of your favorites, up to 10, in the comments. And if you would like to submit nominations without your username publicly attached, you can vote using the links in our email newsletter, where your nominations are submitted directly to me. Deadline in all categories will be next Wednesday.

Replies (17)

December 4, 2020, 5:22 PM

Georgetown Morgue Self-Guided Haunted House Tour in Seattle, WA

December 4, 2020, 5:34 PM

I liked Wings Over Washington and Bill Speidel's Underground Tour in Seattle. How would you compare the Georgetown Morgue tour to those?

Edited: December 4, 2020, 7:12 PM

I’m born and raised in New York. There’s so many places I can name... but I’m only going to list some of my non theme park attractions I’ve visited. Not in any particular order:
1.) Venice Beach
2.) Grand Canyon National Park
3.) The Tower of London
4.) The Blarney Caste (Ireland)
5.) Smithsonian National Museum of American History (DC)
6.) Golden Gate Bridge
7.) Pike Place Market
8.) Mendenhall Glacier National Park (Alaska)
9.) Acadia National Park
10.) Rocky Mountain National Park

December 4, 2020, 7:26 PM

Wings was a solid eh from me - I liked the preshow’s animatronics, but found the actual experience quite underwhelming compared to Soarin’.

The underground tour was enjoyable and interesting historically, but not particularly wow-worthy.

Mind you, I did these pre-covid. Meanwhile, Georgetown Morgue made a much more immersive and entertainment experience with top-notch special effect design while feeling very safe. Although it was quite pricey for such a short experience, it was one of the most memorable and fun things I’ve done in 2020.

December 6, 2020, 1:16 PM

1) Portsmouth Historic Dockyards in England. We spent the majority of three days there and still didn’t see everything. Walking thru the Victory and the Warrior was amazing, the remains of Henry VIII’s Mary Rose are beautifully displayed, and their interactive exhibit on the Battle of Jutland is haunting.
2) The World War II Museum in New Orleans — absolutely stunning and easily worth two days. My favorite parts include an enormous hanger with airplanes hung from the ceiling, and an interactive submarine experience.

Edited: December 6, 2020, 4:19 PM

Hmm...I’m a sucker for National Parks. Quite frankly, very few single theme parks, let alone museums or other attractions, can compete with (good) national parks in my mind. Even fantastic multi-day museums like the MET, Musée D’Orsay, or the Deutsches Museum pale compared to some the National Parks out there.

1. Glacier National Park
2. The Grand Teton National Park
3. Arches National Park
4. Grand Canyon National Park
5. Big Bend National Park
6. Plitvice Lakes National Park
7. Zion National Park
8. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
9. Yellowstone National Park
10. Guadalupe Mountains National Park

I think the only single theme park I’d toss in that top 10 if I were to compare would be Tokyo Disney Sea.

Edited: December 7, 2020, 10:28 AM

I like going to places where you can learn, a few of my favorites are
1) Royal Tyrell Museum - Drumheller, Alberta.
2) National War Museum - Ottawa, Ontario
3) National Museum for Human Rights - Winnipeg, Manitoba

Edited: December 8, 2020, 2:57 PM

I'll go with Melanie on this one .... the Mary Rose exhibition is truly magnificent, especially now it's all been opened-up. A visit to the homeland will always see me make time for a day to visit the Portsmouth dockyards.

The imperial war museum at Duxford, is also high on my list of places to visit.

But for me, the #1 place to visit, other than a theme park, has to be Kenilworth Castle. OK, I admit, I'm biased ... I lived in Kenilworth for 25 years before moving on, but the history surrounding the ruins still makes me marvel at how in the first place they ever managed to build it, and then, what it must have been like in the heyday of Elizabeth 1st.

December 8, 2020, 3:59 PM

Since I only included one place in my reply, I thought about it some more and came up with even better attractions. Robert, if you could add these to my vote, that’d be great:

Happy Elephant Home Sanctuary - we took care of the animals instead of abusing them like other elephant attractions do, which made for an ethically better but still unforgettable experience.

Siam Rice Thai Cookery School

The Snow Monkey Park in Nagano, Japan

Tsukiji Market

Any Starbucks in Japan (the Mango Frappuccinos!)

December 8, 2020, 10:27 PM

1. Bourbon Street
2. WW2 Museum New Orleans
3. Xplor Cancun

December 9, 2020, 2:58 AM

icelandic lava show (I mean, they flow molten lava into the room and you're less than 2 metres from it, kinda hard to ever beat this)

heineken tour amsterdam
marble arch caves ireland
Amsterdam Dungeon (merlin's one, not some random S&M dungeon, although :) )
neon boneyard in las vegas

December 16, 2020, 12:53 PM

1. Yosemite National Park
2. National WWII Museum (New Orleans, LA)
3. Temple Square (Salt Lake City, UT)

December 20, 2020, 10:35 AM

Without a doubt, the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio in San Francisco, with its fantastic exhibits about the life and work of Walt Disney and the model of the Disneyland of Walt Disney's imagination.

The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, with some first-rate astronomy exhibits but the observatory building really shines in its views of greater Los Angeles from up on the slopes of Mt. Hollywood, especially on clear nights as it feels the whole city is laid out at your feet.

Tunnel View, Glacier Point, and pretty much anywhere in Yosemite Valley in the springtime when the waterfalls are at their glorious height.

The Franciscan Spanish missions in California for their historic significance and architectural beauty. I am especially fond of Missions Carmel, San Luis Rey, and Santa Barbara.

January 15, 2021, 3:25 PM

I agree with the folks who mentioned the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. It's a hidden gem.

A couple more favorites: the Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC and the National Gallery of Art

Edited: February 1, 2021, 9:17 PM

I may be boring but Yellowstone National Park.. I just am a big fan of nature, seeing all the animals and trudging through some thick bush! -Alex, SFIW

February 3, 2021, 12:14 PM

Disney Springs!

It's not a theme park, but fun, in a boring outdoor mall kind of way.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive