New York City walking tours offer distinct advantages over other kinds of city tours. You'll get a focus on a particular interest or city area, adding a new dimension to your knowledge of the big apple. You’ll learn in a relaxed atmosphere while following a fascinating walking path in the company of a seasoned, knowledgeable guide.
So get out and see New York City, meet visitors and residents alike, and get some exercise! With so many free New York City walking tours and discounted New York City walking tours, you really have no excuse!
Here are some ideas for great bus tours too! Don't leave anything out--check out all recommendations and discounts for all NYC sightseeing along with best tips and discounts.
Check out best food finds for before or after your walking tour!
Big Apple Greeters
A non-profit group that matches visitors with native New Yorkers who share their knowledge of the city they love! Visitors are matched with residents who have a particular expertise of a neighborhood or interest. New York City walking tours are available in 22 languages. No tipping allowed.
can take any and all of the following walking tours for FREE!
Central Park Walking Tours
Discover the park's history, ecology, and design on volunteer-led walking tours sponsored by the Central Park Conservancy. Choose from at least ten different walking tours, year round, that highlight several areas of Central Park. There is a tour for every taste and personality.
The Federal Reserve Bank
33 Liberty Street
This bank houses a portion of the world's largest GOLD reserves! Their vault holds more than $100 BILLION worth of gold ingots for more than 60 countries. Take the one hour tour which includes a walk through their gold vaults--very cool! Keep in mind that you must register well in advance.
Rena Tobey and her guides conducts FREE tours of Gracie Mansion , the residence of New York City’s mayors for 75 years. You'll get a fascinating glimpse into the personal and political lives of the mayoral families, as well as a fine example of Federal style architecture, furniture, and history. Tours are free but advanced registration is required.
Grand Central Terminal
42nd Street nd Vanderbilt Avenue
Wednesdays, 12:30 PM, Information Booth, Main Concourse
A must for every visitor and resident. Led by a Municipal Art Society member, you’ll learn all about this Beaux Arts landmark including its history and restorations and you will gain access to very interesting areas of the terminal. ONE OF MY FAVORITE TOURS!
Grand Central Station Area
Fridays at 12:30 PM, no reservations are necessary. The Grand Tour meets in the sculpture court at 120 Park Avenue,located at the southwest corner of East 42nd Street and Park Avenue directly across from Grand Central Terminal. During the 90 minutes tour, you’ll discover the architecture and social history of the Grand Central neighborhood with an urban explorer, historian, and storyteller.
Historic Lower East Side Tour
Every Sunday, April through November at 11 am, meet in front of Katz’s Delicatessen (corner of East Houston and Ludlow Street). Take a historical three-hour journey through the Lower East Side and explore some of the rich history tracing the arrival of immigrants to modern times.
New York Pass Holders
can participate in any and all of the following walking tours for FREE:
Union Square Walking Tour
'Union Square: Crossroads of New York' explores the social and political history of the Union Square neighborhood through discussions of the people, history, architecture, and forces that have shaped this community. You’ll hear how Union Square got its name, see where the legendary Tiffany & Co. once stood, and learn how to read the clock (yes, it’s a clock!) on “The Metronome” sculpture and more!
New York City By Foot
Offers free, tip-based walking tours of New York City including Lower Manhattan, Midtown (Times Square, Theater District, Grand Central, St Patrick's, etc), Historic Districts (Soho, Little Italy, Movie and TV locations), Greenwich Village and Central Park. Again, these tours are free, but guides accept tips.
Goldstar consistently offers a wide variety of half-priced walking tours. Click the link and enter in "Walking Tours" in the upper right hand search bar. Offerings change--high quality and super prices are always maintained. And I recommend going to "Browse Event," and click on "All Events" to ensure you are seeing all walking tours. Review all offerings. For whatever reason, it works best this way!
There are many other excellent New York City walking tours from which to choose. Although they include a small fee, they are well worth it! And...I've provided guidance on discounts. Here are my picks for the exceptional ones, along with discounts!
Big Onion Walking Tours
Tour leaders hold advanced degrees in American history or a related field from leading universities, including Columbia, CUNY, New York, Michigan, Rutger’s and Stanford. Tours vary from a Multi-Ethnic Eating Tour, to the Greenwood Cemetery, to Revolutionary New York. Two tours a day, rain or shine.
DISCOUNTS: Prepay for five Big Onion tours the sixth walk is free.
Joyce Gold’s History Tours of NYC
As an Assistant Professor of Manhattan History at New York University and The New School since 1980, as well as the author of numerous books on New York City including the Encyclopedia of the City of New York, you just can’t find a more knowledgeable tour guide! The New York Times Called Ms. Gold “The Doyenne of New York City Tour Guides.” A walking tour leader since 1976, join one of her many tours from The Hidden Charms of Chelsea, to Gangs of New York and the Bloody Five Pointso, to The Famboyant and the Bohemian-Greenwich Village and How it Became Famous. Each tour is filled with history, interesting facts, and fun.
DISCOUNTS:$2 discount per ticket when you mention NYC Visitor Discounts”
The 92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Avenue
This Y offers an amazing number of walking tours throughout all the boros. Tours vary in length. The tour of Jewish Williamsburgh is fascinating!
DISCOUNTS: Show Your AAA card and receive a 10% discount. 92 Street Y members receive a discount.
Walking Tours Manhattan
If you are a foodie, which I am, you'll enjoy Bruce's vast array of unique walking tours in Manhattan. Choose from the "Cupcake Crawl" where you'll visit 4 of the best bakeries, the "Greenwich Village Food Tour," the "Soho/Little Italy/Chinatown Food Tour" where you'll enjoy a full lunch from 5 unique food places, the "Chocolate Factory Tour," (does life get any better? I don't think so), and many, many more. The price is very, very reasonable: just $10.
DISCOUNTS: Mention NYC Visitor Discounts and save $2.00.
Need help in determining how to best route out your trip? Use this subway map or automatic trip planner!
For information on subway fares, metrocards and more click here!
If you'd like to use the bus to get to the walking tour meeting spot,Use this bus map to help!
Need parking deals? You'll be amazed at the deals I've found. Click here for the best ones around.
Use your handy street map and follow the easiest route to your walking tour's meeting spot.
When you take a tour, be sure to pack the essentials. This will help to enhance your day! Forgetting something as simple as a band-aid, can ensure that you'll develop a blister during your walk--and THAT can really put a damper on your outing! Be prepared by checking out my tips in the "what to place in your backpack" section of my packing list! You'll be glad you did!
If you are traveling with children, check out my best tips for keeping crankiness to a minimum! I guarantee that there is AT LEAST one tip that will help you during your holiday. Click here and scroll down to the very bottom of the page.
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