Call them tourist traps, but there are just some places you need to see and experience at least once. Whether it’s their history, architectural allure or claim to fame, these “one and done” travel experiences are worth it.

Times Square, New York City

It’s the heart of New York City. The bright lights of the billboards and busy streets of this famed intersection make it a major must-see. More than 350,000 people visit seven “short” blocks each day. Sure, it’s a traffic nightmare, but take in the energy and people-watching opportunities at least once in your life. Ride to the top of Rockefeller Center for a birds-eye view, see a Broadway show and grab a soft-dough pretzel from a street cart. 

Pike Place Market, Seattle

Seattle’s original farmer’s market draws a crowd on even the dreariest day. Between 20,000 and 40,000 visitors come daily to see fish fly and purchase butcher-paper covered bouquets. It’s an experience you really can only tolerate once. Explore the more than 240 small businesses, try a sample of chocolate pasta and crowd around the counter of Pike Place Fish Market to witness the more than 30-year-old tradition. (You must buy a fish to catch a fish.) Follow your nose to Piroshky Piroshky for a Russian pastry and stop next door at Le Panier for a French dessert.

Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood

The world-famous sidewalk is a public path, free of admission fees and tickets. The best way to visit is to take a stroll down both sides of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. The closest address is 6801 Hollywood Blvd. Star ceremonies are held throughout the year, and fans can admire from the public viewing area. Don’t be disappointed if the streets aren’t full of glitz and splendor – most of the tourist spots along the Tinsel Town walk are near shady businesses and cheap souvenir stands. But it’s worth the trip just to see Muhammad Ali’s star. The legendary athlete requested his star be installed in the wall of the Dolby Theatre because he didn’t want his name walked on by people who have no respect.

The Gateway Arch, St. Louis

The arch is an icon of the Midwest, representing the staging point for the westward expansion of the United States. Tiny “space” pods take you on a four-minute journey to the top of the arch, where you can look down over the Mississippi River and St. Louis skyline. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to climb the tallest national monument in the country. (Unless you’re afraid of heights, of course.) The only time it’s worth a second trip? To see the city at night, if your first visit was a daytime one.