Authenticity! Yes! This is what a travel experience is all about.
I myself have always been militantly anti-tourist trap, a result of being raised in Colorado Springs, which relies on the military and tourists as an industry. I’ve found my distaste for tourists sprang out of a frustration with them. The want the quick experience. They one they’ve read about or heard about from their friends. Due to time constraints, they don’t want to scratch any deeper than the surface.
Like you, I’d rather experience the authentic local fare. If you want manufactured tourism, go to Las Vegas.
In 2005, my son moved to San Francisco to attend college. San Francisco is awash in history. It boasts thousands of restaurants, lots of sights to see. Who would eat at a chain restaurant there? There are many acclaimed chi-chi restaurants, but I’ve found the best ones are little holes in the wall with minimal signage and a line out the door. One of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten was at a gas station in Napa Valley. A gas station!
Why go on a crammed boat to Alcatraz, when there are hundreds of tiny parks to explore in the downtown area? (My first trip to Alcatraz was after he’d been there three years. I couldn’t wait to get away.) The little neighborhoods are far more interesting than Union Square. I’d rather hang out at Ocean Beach than in the sea of humanity at Fisherman’s Wharf.
Not so say that the “tourists” shouldn’t have their venue. For me, I’d rather dig deeper.