New York City is a perfect place for walking tours. The city is almost a dizzying place for first-time visitors, mainly, because it’s, well, big.
As a New York newbie visiting the city for the first time in 10 years, I was a bit intimidated by just how much there is to see and do in New York.
Now that I live here, I’ve started hopping on different walking tours to help me get to know the layout of the city a bit better. Walking tours are a great way to explore a new neighborhood or to learn a bit more about the history of a place.
So yes, you could get around by subway and taxi, and fill a trip to New York City with everything on the surface. OR, you could take a walking tour to more deeply experience different neighborhoods.
Here are some of our favorite walking tours in NYC.
Sex and the City Tour
Like millions of women, my friends and I LOVE Sex and the City. So, I just couldn’t turn down the opportunity to take On Location Tours famous Sex and the City Hotspots Tour. And it was great! The tour began right in front of the Plaza Hotel, the background of many SATC scenes (and the famous Friends fountain). Our stops included: The Pleasure Chest (where Charlotte gets her rabbit), the gorgeous restaurant that was the host to Big and Carrie’s rehearsal dinner, and Scout, the bar owned by Aiden and Steve.
I really liked how much ground we covered and how I felt like I really got to see more of the city, and I loved how the tour also played clips of the show to correlate with buildings we were passing by at the time. At the end, you also get a cupcake! We had a great time giggling with the other girls on the tour (there were some men too) and it was a fun way to spend the afternoon.
NY Movie Location Tour
The same company that offers Sex and the City tours also does a more general NYC movie tour. Since NYC has been the backdrop to hundreds of movies and TV shows, you’re likely to recognize the different neighborhoods you’ll end up in. But can you guess the movie from the streets? Sign up to find out!
NYC Photo Journeys
For photographers who want to combine exploring different areas of the city with perfecting their photo skills, blogger Jessie Festa has the solution with her company NYC Photo Journeys. Part tour, part photo shoot, her walking tours will introduce you to some of the best graffiti in the city, as well as some of NYC’s main attractions. On top of the knowledge you’ll gain from your licensed guide, you’re sure to walk away with some awesome images of your day! $125 for 3 hours.
Walk the High Line
One of NYC’s newest parks, and soon enough the world’s largest above-ground park, the High Line runs from the West Village to downtown, where the Javitz Convention Center is. Thanks to your recommendations, I decided to walk it from one end to the other one day, and it was gorgeous. It’s nice being above the traffic of the city, and the views are really spectacular. All in all, it took me about 45 mins to walk. Fun, pretty, and free!
Big Apple Greeter
If you’re not up for big crowds but you still want to get to know the city, Big Apple Greeter is your best bet. This volunteer-based walking company pairs you with a local who can help you explore a neighborhood a bit better. It’s a greeting service, specific to NYC! Pick an area to meet, let them know your specific interests, and your volunteer will take it from there. The service is free, but don’t forget to tip them for their time!
Big Onion Walking Tours
History buffs will love the tours on offer by Big Onion Walking Tours. From Central Park to Wall Street, Big Onion offers historical tours that touch upon the vast and deep history found in NYC. In the time of Coronavirus, they also have been offering virtual tours. $25 per person for in person walking tours. Check out their schedule to see what they offer each day.
Foods of NY Little Italy Food Tour
If you’re interested in learning a bit more about Little Italy and Chinatown, check out the Foods of NY Little Italy food tour. This fun tour winds you through Nolita, Chinatown, Bowery and Little Italy and treats you to culinary masterpieces found within. Expect to delight your tastebuds with everything from dumplings to cannolis and come hungry!
Free Walking Tours
Ahh, New York. The one thing I love most about the city is how easy it is to walk around. If you’re visiting the notoriously amazing SoHo shopping district, wear comfy shoes and hit the streets! Interested in a free walking tour? There are tons! This About.com article has more info on free walking tours through Grand Central, Central Park and Greenwich Village, to name a few.