Have you ever been to the state capitol in your home state (or parliment in your country?) Since you finished school? Yet isn't that one of the places you tell tourists to visit?
You often see the travel advice that you should go where the locals go, and while that may be true for restaurants, it does not apply to tourist sights. Come to think of it, it probably does not apply to restaurants either, at least unless you appreciate drinking establishments. When it comes to restaurants, the advice should really be "do not go where the locals do not go".
The locals have high thresholds. After all, they are the ones who have to come back again and again if they like the place, they will tell their friends they also want to see in the restaurant. To most restaurants, a returning customer is much more valuable than a temporary visitor.
This usually works to ensure the survival of any reasonably good and reasonably priced restaurants. But even in countries with such high standards as Japan, you occasionally come across a restaurant that serves bad food. Even more rarely, bad and expensive food. Those places are probably set up for a well-established drinking clientele. Do not go there. You will feel out of place anyway. And those are not places where you want to take your kids. Just watch out for places with plenty of expensive bottles and expensive food. You are better off in places with less bottles and more customers interested in a great meal.
But that does not apply to sights. Yet there are very few New Yorkers who have actually been on top of the Empire State Building (although they do not make the mistake tourists do, and think that the Chrysler building is the Empire State building). Unless they were forced to go as part of a school trip, many years ago.
You will not find many Okinawans in the Shuri castle, even if it is located just outside the city of Naha, where most Okinawans actually live. Unless they work there. But it is an amazing place and somehow fuses Japanese and Chinese architecture in a way that creates a wholly new experience. It is absolutely worth seeing once you come to Okinawa. But if you live there, well, you have already seen it once. No reason to go there again. Unless you work there.
There are tourist attractions which also draw locals, like zoos and parks. And there are attractions which were conceived for the locals, and not as tourist attractions at all. Most of the skyscrapers in New York, in fact. The Empire State Building observation deck was built as a mooring station for airships. But over time, by being remarkable, they draw people who want to see them, and not just the locals who may be in the mood to tear them down and put up something more useful. This is especially true for things which lose utility over time. Like the Tokyo Tower, no longer a working broadcast facility but a thriving exhinition center, or most steam trains (nowadays run as tourist attractions, rather than for the benefit of the locals).
As a tourist, you want to experience something that is not possible at home. The locals are already home. So go where the locals do not go. Unless it comes to restaurants.
I am Wisterian Watertree, recently moved from Tokyo to Sendai, previously of Bangkong and Honolulu. I write about travel, especially with our three beautiful kids (two girls and one boy, soon turning seven - yes. they are triplets). Travel is education and fun rolled into one, and if you are like me, that is something you want to give to your kids. If you want more tips and want to find out when I will publish something, get it from my email list. If you want to be personal, drop me a note on email@example.com, or if you want general tips, follow me on Twitter @wisterianw.