Whether you’re in New York for a week or just a weekend, this list of the top NYC tours will help you to create the most memorable time here. There’s something for everyone, from guided walks around the finest New York attractions to riding through the gorgeous parks. History buffs can tour the city’s architecture, while culture enthusiasts can visit the best art museums. A couple of these trips even include behind-the-scenes access to normally restricted areas, aka secret New York. Whatever you’re searching for, we’ve got you covered with our list of the top tours in NYC.

Best NYC tours and walks

Big Bus New York Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Hop-on hop-off tours are the ultimate city tour of all tours, and they score huge points for convenience, accessibility, and pricing. Is it difficult for you to read maps and navigate the subway? No worries – Big Bus Tours, which compresses a sightseeing extravaganza encompassing thirty monuments into one tour, can be enjoyed by even the most directionally impaired traveler. Keep an eye out for prominent points of interest as you travel with the help of a live tour guide (who knows just about everything about New York attractions). And if something piques your interest? Simply get off wherever you want – it’s that simple.

Choose from routes that run downtown, uptown, Harlem, and Brooklyn to easily get from Wall Street’s Charging Bull statue to Central Park’s verdant meadows. Essentially, it’s a simple way to explore as much or as little of the city as you want in a single day – without having to worry about maps or pricey Uber fares.

Central Park Small-Group Bike Tour

On a bike, you can cover considerably so much of Central Park’s 843 acres of meadows, woodlands, and ponds than you could on foot. Meet the guide from Central Park Tours Inc. to choose your wheels for the day, then depart from the park’s southern end. You’ll see well-known sights as well as a few lesser-known wonders.

And, because the trip is typically limited to just eight individuals, you’ll have more than enough opportunities to ask questions and possibly make a new friend or two along the way. Oh, and there aren’t many better methods to stay healthy while also saving the earth.

New York Landmarks Cruise on Circle Line

Manhattan’s skyline is difficult to beat in terms of beauty. The Statue of Liberty leads the way from Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge demonstrates its architectural magnificence, and the Empire State Building stands tall – all of which makes for a spectacular sight from the ocean.

Cruise around New York Harbor on the Circle Line tour, which sails up the Hudson and circles the Brooklyn Bay districts. You’ll also learn about the history and tales of the attractions, so make sure to soak up all of the information and don’t be afraid to ask a few questions.

Walking Tour of the 9/11 Memorial and Ground Zero

Visit the site where the World Trade Center once stood to remember the lives lost during the 9/11 tragedy. Your guide will share statistics, numbers, and real-life tales with you about the area now known as Ground Zero, making for an educational, enlightening, and touching experience. Starting with City Tales Sightseeing, the tour will take you to the Fireman’s Memorial, twin reflecting pools, One World Observatory, and St Paul’s Chapel.

Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour

The Brooklyn Bridge, which boasts some of the most breathtakingly beautiful views in the city, is a magnet for selfie-obsessed tourists. But don’t limit your appreciation of this magnificent edifice and its breathtaking views to the lens of your camera.

Put the devices away and go for a bike ride across the bridge to take in the beauty. This three-hour ‘Bike and Roll’ tour moves at a moderate pace with enough time for photo stops. Make the most of your guide’s knowledge of the bridge’s history and architectural intricacies.

Empty Met Tour

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s three locations saw a record-breaking 7 million visitors in 2017. Calling the galleries ‘packed’ would be an understatement. Sign up for this exclusive tour that allows you to see the museum’s Fifth Avenue site before opening time if you want to enjoy the museum’s world-class collection of masterpieces in a bit more peace and quiet. Stand in awe in front of the majestic “Temple of Dendur”, and see El Greco’s exquisite “View of Toledo” without having to struggle for space and feeling rushed to move on. This tour is pricey, but it provides a rare behind-the-scenes peek at the city’s most comprehensive art museum, which is well worth the money.

High Line and Chelsea Walking Tour

What began as an ordinary elevated railway is now well-known around the world and one of the most photogenic monuments in the Big Apple.  The High Line is a public park, moving art gallery, and perpetual tourist attraction that stretches high above the bustling city streets below. Explore the entire length of this green oasis on a two-hour walking tour guided by New York Tour 1 and learn about Chelsea and the Meatpacking District’s culture and unique history. Find time to shop at Chelsea Market afterward, and don’t forget to take photos of the lovely landscaping.

Tip of Manhattan Bike Tour

With the exception of the National September 11 Memorial and Wall Street, the region south of 14th Street appears to be overlooked by tourists. Don’t skip this section of town, though, because it’s the heart of downtown chic. On this three-hour bike ride around Manhattan’s southern point, you’ll get to see Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side, and the Financial District. If you get tired of pedaling, there are lots of places to rest, including fashionable coffee shops and lush parks.

Tour of Lower East Side’s Food and Culture

This is a treat for foodies. The culinary scene on the Lower East Side is as dynamic as its culture. It’s impossible to separate the two: when diverse immigrant communities poured into the city over the decades, they each brought their own cuisines with them. Within a few blocks, you can get anything from knishes to stroopwafels to fresh mozzarella. This three-hour walking and eating tour of the neighborhood allows you to sample all of the local cuisines while learning about their history.

New York City Ghost Small-Group Tour of Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village has a dark background that you’d never guess from the appearance of Washington Square Park. The Hangman’s Elm, one of the city’s oldest trees and the scene of at least one public execution, can be found in the park’s northwest corner.

Edgar Allan Poe formerly lived in the area, and it’s said that artist John La Farge still haunts the Church of the Ascension nearby. On this two-hour ghost tour, delve into the neighborhood’s horrific past and uncover all of its unsettling tales. Just make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes!

New York City Architecture Small-Group Walking Tour

The world-famous architectural landmarks namely Times Square, the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, the New York Public Library, and Tudor City are all on 42nd Street in Manhattan. On this three-hour excursion of Midtown, you’ll walk the historic thoroughfare with a local guide. Explore the sights, recognize examples of Art Deco, Beaux-Arts, and International Style architecture, and learn how each style relates to the city’s rich past.

Renegade Tour of The Museum of Natural History

Getting around the American Museum of Natural History on your own might be a daunting job, with its over 1.6 million square feet of exhibition area. That’s where this high-octane, out-of-the-box tour comes in. You’ll be taken around the highlights in less than two hours, get an overview of biology, and even learn some of the museum’s mysteries. It’s all really exciting.

Tour of the Woolworth Building Lobby

The Woolworth Building, designed by Cass Gilbert and completed in 1913, was formerly the world’s tallest structure, famous for its Gothic Revival facade and magnificent lobby. The only issue? Visitors were forbidden from entering for years, and only renters were allowed to stroll on the beautiful marble flooring.

On guided tours, architectural and history buffs may now marvel at the Byzantine-inspired mosaic ceiling, Gothic-style metal tracery, and sculpted grotesques. Furthermore, if you’re a movie buff, you could recognize this spot from Singin’ in the Rain, The Great Gatsby, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, to name a few films.

Tour of Alternative New York Street Art

New York is home to much more than the paintings, photographs, and sculptures on display in its numerous prominent museums. Graffiti originated in New York City, and the city continues to be at the center of the street art world until now. On an Inside Out Tour of the Lower East Side or Bushwick and Williamsburg, you’ll see some of the city’s outstanding outdoor artworks and murals. These artists’ work isn’t on display at any gallery yet. 

The City Lights of New York Sail

Only one thing rivals the sight of New York’s skyscrapers gleaming in the sun: the city’s famed skyline, stunningly lighted against the night sky. After nightfall, hop on the Shearwater for a ride around the harbor. The 90-minute cruise is a fantastic way to gain breathtaking views of the city and a much-needed period of relaxation on the lake.

The Best New York City Entertainment Guide

Music, dancing, sports, cinema, art, cuisine, clubs, comedy, literature, theater, special events, and more are all covered in this weekly guide to what’s going on in New York City. Time Out New York has the most up-to-date arts and entertainment listings in the city, which are updated weekly.   

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