Stick it: global attractions that have banned the selfie stick

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Nothing divides travellers quite as much as the ‘selfie stick’ debate. Considered the most popular gift to be given at Christmas 2014, the ‘narcissi-stick’ has protruded its way into social media feeds and cultural landmarks around the world. But it’s time as the tourist’s companion may be coming to an end, with a number of popular destinations banning their use.

No matter which side of the selfie stick you stand on, here are the spots where you’ll have to point-and-shoot the old-fashioned way.

The Palace Museum, Beijing

Also known as the Forbidden City, Beijing’s Palace Museum is a must-see for visitors. But this 600 year old imperial palace is pretty delicate. Given the nature of the antiquities and the sheer amount of crowds visiting the grounds every day, the museum director is enforcing a strict ban against selfie sticks to protect the palace and its interior integrity.

South Korea

South Korea has brought down the gavel on selfie sticks, banning them out of concern for user’s personal data. As the majority of selfie sticks are connected to your phone via Bluetooth, the government are concerned that knock-off sticks will have unregistered access to personal phone data. As a result, they have introduced a government agency to monitor telecom devices.

Lake Tahoe, California

Staff at Lake Tahoe, on the border of California and Navada are encouraging visitors not to take selfies with the local wildlife. And by wildlife, we mean bears. Big brown ones. A spokesperson for the park said there has been an increase in visitors taking selfies with bears in the background, which is a considerable safety issue (ya think?!). Keep your selfie stick in your bag and yourself at a distance.

Lollapalooza Festival, Chicago

Heading to Chicago’s Lollapalooza Festival and wondering how you’re going to get yourself and the entire Metallica band in one photo? Unless it involves getting backstage, you won’t be doing it with a selfie stick. Festival organisers have banned the use of the selfie stick (as well as GoPro attachments and monopods) as they believe it poses a safety hazard to festival-goers. #rockon

Museums and galleries

The USA’s most popular museum and art galleries have led the charge in banning the selfie stick. While some of these establishments already had strict rules around photos and photography equipment, the selfie stick is also being banned to protect the museum’s artworks and visitors. Amongst the museums giving the stick the boot is the Smithsonian Institute (Washington, DC), Museum of Modern Art (NYC), Getty Centre (Los Angeles) and the Art Institute of Chicago. And it’s not just the Americans cracking down. The National Gallery in London’s Trafalgar Square have banned selfie sticks out of concern they ruin the visitor experience.

European landmarks

The Colosseum has been having a tough run of it, after two American tourists were caught and fined for engraving their initials into the side of the 2000 year old building and then taking a photo with a selfie stick. As a result, the directors officially banned selfie sticks in February as a security measure. The Musee d’Orsay in France has not only banned selfie sicks, but any photography whatsoever.

Sports stadiums

From England to Brazil, selfie sticks have been banned from most major stadiums out of safety concerns. Football stadiums in Brazil banned the sticks out of fear the poles could be used as a potential weapon in fights between rival fans. Similarly, everywhere from Anfield to Wembely Stadium has banned the item.

UK performance spaces

What’s worse than having a giant head in your way when you’re watching a live performance? A selfie stick. As such, the majority of London’s performance spaces including the Royal Opera House, O2 Arena and The Roundhouse have banned selfie sticks. Now if they would only ban selfies, we could all watch Coldplay in peace.


Kristen Hyde is a freelance wordsmith from Sydney who now lives in London because she heard the weather was awesome. You can follow her adventures in ol’ Blighty at Where in the World is KH. For more instantaneous updates of her travels, what she eats, and what she sees on the Tube, you can follow her on Instagram.

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