It’s one of the ironies of travel that while people will fly around the world to marvel at a site, folks living nearby never bother to visit. Jamie Wong, founder and CEO of, says there are reasons. “There’s a lack of scarcity, always a feeling you can visit tomorrow.” And there’s also a hip factor, wanting to avoid the places that attract tourists. Wong, whose app connects travelers with local guides around the world, shares sites that are worth visiting, even if locals don’t know it.

The Getty Center
Los Angeles

In a city focused on popular entertainment, classical art and culture are often overlooked. Perhaps that’s why many locals miss this gorgeous museum and garden complex tucked away above the 405 Freeway. Don’t make the same mistake, Wong says. “You got up there and you feel transported. You could be in Italy, but you’re in Los Angeles. The panoramic views are stunning. It’s a really interesting mix of old and new.”

Niagara Falls
New York and Canada

Niagara Falls has attracted tourists for centuries, but locals often don’t bother to make the trip. Bad call, Wong says. “Skip the bus tours. You don’t need to bring a selfie stick. It’s one of those destinations that’s magical.”,

Memphis, Tennessee

Even if you’re not an Elvis fan, there’s a reason to visit his home, Wong says. “It tells the story of American culture and celebrity. It would be a huge mistake to miss this part of our history.” Although locals understand Elvis’ importance, they rarely visit. “You can’t really separate Memphis from Graceland, but they also stay far, far away.”

Architecture river cruise

Chicago is where the skyscraper was invented and remains a showroom for the world’s top architects. But folks who live and work here tend to overlook the city’s legacy. “It’s so easy to get distracted and forget to look around and appreciate what’s around you,” says Wong. The scenery is best from a cruise on the Chicago River. “It’s pretty unreal, it’s unlike anything you can do anywhere else.”

Colonial Williamsburg

In an era of divisive, cutthroat politics, people have become jaded about our country’s early years, Wong says. But this restored colonial capital and its living-history programming makes our past both relevant and accessible. “There aren’t many places where you can really go and experience a historic moment in time.”

Pearl Harbor

While Hawaii evokes images of beaches, surfing and hula dancing, Wong suggests leaving time for World War II history. The bombing of Pearl Harbor propelled America into the global conflict, although it may be a faded memory for many residents. “It’s a fascinating piece of history that has so many different threads, and it’s just an afternoon trip, a respite from the beach and sun."

Lincoln Memorial
Washington, D.C.

For Washingtonians, the city’s memorials and statues are often just a backdrop in their daily lives. Visitors know better. Wong says the monuments humanize the larger-than-life leaders who created and guided the country. Her favorite site is the Lincoln Memorial. “Not only is it stunningly beautiful and iconic, but it makes the history real and Abraham Lincoln real."

Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco

Locals may use the Golden Gate every day, but they take it for granted, says Wong, who was raised in the area, and lives there now. “No one walks across it or appreciates it for its beauty and for its historic value.” But it’s a highlight for visitors, who explore the trails that lead up to the span and take in views from the walkway.

Freedom Trail

Boston almost has too much history for visitors, with connections to the Colonial era and Revolutionary War at every turn. Residents may not notice it, but luckily, the city makes it easy to track the stories with a marked 2.5-mile trail, visiting sites like Boston Common, Paul Revere’s home and the Bunker Hill Monument. “It’s like being in a time machine while letting you engage in the modern Boston of today,” says Wong.

Sleepy Hollow
New York

Although just 30 miles from Manhattan, few New Yorkers ever make it to this literary landmark. The village is most famous as the setting of Washington Irving's short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," with the legendary Headless Horseman. But it’s also rich in colonial history and Hudson River scenery. “In half the time it takes you to get seated for Sunday brunch in Manhattan, you can be savoring pancakes and eggs from the local diner and walking among trees and dirt roads,” Wong says.