7 U.S. Cities You Should Never Visit If You're Older
Think twice before putting these U.S. locales on your bucket list, travel experts say.
For many people, travel is a lifelong passion—a way of connecting with the world and seeing it through new eyes. However, it's no secret that tourism can become more challenging with each passing year. As your health, mobility, and interests shift, it pays to choose your destinations more intentionally than you did in your youth. Yet many seniors may find that with a little extra planning and research, you can still enjoy a trip to the destination of your dreams. Read on to learn the worst U.S. cities to visit if you're older, so you can choose your next trip wisely.
Las Vegas can also be difficult for older adults to get around—which may be part of why so few seniors go. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, only 12 percent of tourists visiting Sin City in 2021 were over the age of 65.
Kyle Kroeger, founder of the travel website ViaTravelers, thinks he knows why. "The city is known for its bright lights, loud noises, and busy crowds, which can be overwhelming for seniors who may have sensory sensitivities," he tells Best Life. "The heat in Las Vegas can also make it challenging for older adults to spend extended periods outside, especially during the summer months."
He adds that the Strip, where many of the popular hotels and casinos are located, can also be challenging for seniors to navigate. "The large size of the buildings and the need to constantly walk or stand may be physically taxing for older adults. Many attractions in Las Vegas also require a lot of walking, which can make it hard for seniors to fully enjoy all that the city has to offer," he explains.
San Francisco's tourist appeal is no secret: The city boasts beautiful architecture, rich culture, a vibrant art scene, food to die for, and more. However, Kroeger says that between its unpredictable weather, challenging terrain, and inaccessible public transportation, this might be another city to skip if you're older or have mobility issues.
"The city is known for its steep hills and many stairs, which may be difficult for seniors with mobility issues," the travel expert tells Best Life. "The public transportation system in San Francisco is also not as accessible for older adults, with many buses and cable cars requiring passengers to climb steep steps to board. This can make it difficult or even impossible for seniors with mobility issues to use these modes of transportation."
New Orleans is a popular tourist destination with a rich history, stunning architecture, and a world-class food scene. However, experts say that some seniors may find the city's pace dizzying, especially during events that tend to draw large crowds.
"The lively atmosphere, especially during Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, may be overwhelming for some older travelers," says Kevin Mercier, founder of KevMRC Travel.
Additionally, he notes that the city's historic neighborhoods often have uneven sidewalks, and some older buildings lack modern accessibility features.
The fact that New York is one of the most bustling and energetic cities in the United States can be a blessing and a curse. But for older adults—especially those with mobility issues—it may pose more risk than reward.
"The city is known for its crowded streets, busy public transportation systems, and fast-paced lifestyle," says Kroeger. "You'll often see people, especially corporate workers, rushing to get from one place to the next, which can be overwhelming for seniors who may have mobility issues or slower walking speeds. The people around them may not be as patient or accommodating when it comes to slowing down or making space for seniors to get around comfortably."
Kroeger also points out that while there's a robust public transportation system in New York City, it can be challenging to get around by bus and subway. "The stairs and platforms in subway stations may be difficult to navigate for those with mobility issues, and buses can get crowded during peak times," he says.
With temperate weather, beautiful beaches, ample art museums, and Michelin star-decorated restaurants, Los Angeles can be a great place to visit if the glitz and glamour of Hollywood is calling your name. However, experts warn that transportation can pose a major problem for visitors—especially seniors.
"LA's sprawling nature and reliance on cars can be difficult for seniors who no longer drive," says Jason Gottschalk, founder of Vibrant Aging Insider. "Public transportation options are limited compared to some other major cities, making it harder to get around independently. Traffic congestion can lead to longer travel times and increased stress."
For most Americans, visiting Alaska would be the trip of a lifetime—but experts urge caution in planning a trip if you're an older adult.
"Anchorage is a gateway to the stunning Alaskan wilderness, but its remote location, challenging climate, and rugged terrain can be less accommodating for seniors," cautions Mercier. "Harsh winters and long nights might deter older adults from fully enjoying this unique destination."
While certain seasons may be more agreeable to older tourists, experts say that seniors should avoid Chicago in the frigid winters and punishing summers.
"Chicago's windy winters and icy sidewalks can make walking hazardous for seniors," explains Gottschalk. "While the city has an extensive public transportation system, it may be less accessible for those with mobility issues due to the age of some train stations and buses."
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