Weehawken, free walk tour nyc

15 Best Walking Tours in New York City

Taking a walking tour of New York City is one of the best ways to experience the unique neighborhoods, attractions, and landmarks in the Big Apple. It can be something fun to do with friends or as a couple, or even on your own if you want to meet new people while exploring the city.

As one of the top things to do in New York City, you can bet that there are all kinds of walking tours of NYC. There are themed walks in NYC for art lovers, music aficionados, foodies, history buffs, and movie fans, and that’s just the beginning! So, no matter what you’re into, I’m sure you can find a walking tour that interests you. Plus, it’ll be a fun way to get some exercise and perhaps see a different side of the city.

To sum up, these are the 15 best walking tours in New York City:

  1. Free walking tour in New York
  2. 9/11 Memorial & Ground Zero Walking Tour
  3. SoHo, Little Italy & Chinatown Walking Tour
  4. Wall Street Insider Tour
  5. Central Park Walking Tour
  6. Brooklyn Bridge & DUMBO Walking Tour
  7. High Line & Chelsea Walking Tour
  8. Brooklyn Street Art Tour
  9. Grand Central Terminal Walking Tour
  10. NYC Superheroes Walking Tour
  11. Christmas Tour Through Manhattan
  12. Harlem Gospel Tour
  13. Greenwich Village Walking Tour
  14. Slavery & Underground Railroad Walking Tour
  15. St. Patrick’s Cathedral Catacombs Tour

While this guide focuses on NYC walking tours, we have another article on the best tours in New York City, so it’s worth reading that, too.

1. Free walking tour in New York city

If it’s your first time in the city and you want a general overview of the highlights, this free walking tour is a good place to start.

While it’s more of a general summary of the most popular attractions, this tour does a nice job of introducing you to some interesting city sites. So, if you want to do some sightseeing and discover a distinct part of NYC you’d like to explore, this free Manhattan walking tour will do the trick.

Statue of Liberty, free Manhattan walking tour

1. Free walking tour in New York City

During the two and a half hours, you’ll walk past iconic landmarks like the World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. You’ll also walk through the Financial District, home to Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Charging Bull statue.

To finish up, your guide will take you to Battery Park, where you can get great views of the Statue of Liberty.

    • Price: $0
    • Duration: 2.5 hours
    • Number of participants: 6
    • Highlights: Wall Street, World Trade Center, Battery Park

We have another article with more options on free walking tours in NYC.

2. 9/11 Memorial & Ground Zero walking tour

Among all the walking tours in Manhattan, this half-day tour of Ground Zero and the 9/11 Memorial is one of the best. While the events of September 11, 2001, were devastating, that day is an important part of the history of New York, and the entire country.

To start your tour, you’ll meet at St. Paul’s Chapel, a church near Ground Zero that served as a rescue shelter after the 9/11 attacks. Your tour guide will be someone who was personally affected by that fateful day, so you’ll hear touching stories and gain insights from someone who witnessed the on-the-ground situation.

9/11 Memorial, NYC walking tour

2. 9/11 Memorial & Ground Zero walking tour

Next, you’ll visit the Firefighter’s 9/11 Memorial Wall and enter the poignant 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero, where you can see the reflecting pools and the Survivor’s Tree.

If you choose the upgraded option, you’ll get a skip-the-line ticket to the 9/11 Museum, one of the best museums in NYC with photographs, audio recordings, and artifacts from the 9/11 attacks and the 1993 bombing. You’ll also gain access to the One World Observatory, where you can see all of Manhattan from 1,250 feet above the city.

  • Price: $39+
  • Duration: 1.5 – 5 hours
  • Number of participants: 10
  • Highlights: St. Paul’s Chapel, Ground Zero, 9/11 Memorial, option to upgrade to 9/11 Museum and One World Observatory

3. SoHo, Little Italy & Chinatown walking tour

Another one of the best walking tours in New York City is this tour through three of NYC’s most distinct neighborhoods. Over the course of two hours, you’ll get to see the bohemian streets of SoHo, the delicious eateries of Little Italy, and the lively atmosphere of Chinatown.

First, you’ll do a short walking tour of SoHo, an artistic neighborhood that’s known for its impressive cast-iron buildings. See the Cast Iron District, the E.V. Haughwout Building, and an old police station housed in a Beaux-Arts style structure from 1909. You’ll also walk past the Ravenite Club, the main setting in the story of the American gangster, John Gotti.

Chinatown, best walking tours in New York City

3. SoHo, Little Italy & Chinatown walking tour

Then, you’ll head to Little Italy, making your way down Mulberry Street and learning about some of the most popular eateries in the area. You’ll stop in front of Alleva Dairy, an over 100-year-old cheesemaker, Umbertos Clam House, and the Italian American Museum.

You’ll also see some landmarks you’ll only find in NYC, including the National Shrine Church of San Gennaro and the last known opium den in New York, at the edge of Chinatown.

As you continue your walking tour into Chinatown, NYC, you’ll pass by dim sum and noodle houses, fish markets, and fresh produce stalls. Enjoy the aromas, sights, and sounds of this cultural neighborhood, then end at Columbus Park.

  • Price: $39+
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Number of participants: 10
  • Highlights: SoHo’s Cast Iron District, Little Italy’s Mulberry Street, Chinatown

4. Wall Street Insider Tour, a walking tour through NYC’s financial district

If you want to learn more about NYC’s Financial District, then this walking tour of Wall Street is for you. You’ll get a closer look at this famous area of New York and learn the history of how it went from a Dutch trading post to an international financial mecca.

The tour goes to the bustling New York Stock Exchange and the historic Federal Reserve, which houses the world’s largest monetary gold reserve in its vaults. Get a picture with the Charging Bull statue, then head to Trinity Church, a historic Episcopal temple, and the final resting place for Alexander Hamilton.

Wall Street, walking tour through NYC

4. Wall Street Insider Tour, a walking tour through NYC’s financial district

As you continue this walking tour through NYC’s Financial District, you’ll pass Trump Tower and famed global banks like Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and Lehman Brothers. You’ll also visit the Morgan House, an imposing brownstone building with 45 rooms and 12 bathrooms. Built in the 1850s, the home is still a magnificent display of wealth in the city.

  • Price: $39+
  • Duration: 75 minutes – 1.5 hours
  • Number of participants: 6
  • Highlights: NYSE, Federal Reserve, Morgan House, Trump Tower, Trinity Church

5. Central Park, a guided walking tour in NYC’s most famous park

Central Park is one of the best parks in NYC, but it’s huge, so it can be a bit overwhelming for first-time visitors. If that’s you, consider this 2-hour walking tour, which will introduce you to the main highlights of the park.

Spend a couple of hours visiting some of the most popular attractions in Central Park, like Belvedere Castle, the Central Park Carousel, the Naumburg Bandshell, and Wollman Rink. You’ll also see the beautiful public art and sculptures throughout the park, such as Alice in Wonderland, Balto the sled dog, the Delacorte Clock, the Dancing Goat, and the Egyptian Obelisk.

Central Park, guided Central Park walking tour

5. Central Park, a guided walking tour in NYC’s most famous park

Walk over the Bow Bridge, which crosses The Lake, check out the Bethesda Fountain, and see locals and tourists lounging in the Sheep Meadow and Great Lawn.

During this guided Central Park walking tour, your guide will point out famous movie locations, like the Ghostbusters apartment building and other sites that have been featured in Home Alone, The Great Gatsby, and other films.

  • Price: $27
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Number of participants: 15
  • Highlights: Central Park landmarks, monuments, fountains

6. Brooklyn Bridge & DUMBO, a scenic New York City walking tour

Brooklyn is one of the best places to do a New York City walking tour, and the one I recommend is this one. You’ll get an up-close and personal look at one of NYC’s biggest attractions, the Brooklyn Bridge. See the views from the bridge and peer down at the East River and Brooklyn Bridge Park, a great waterfront park to visit with family.

Then, continue your tour by visiting DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), a neighborhood with an artsy vibe. Stroll down the cobblestone streets, taking in the historic architecture, galleries, and trendy boutiques.

Brooklyn Bridge, brooklyn walking tour

6. Brooklyn Bridge & DUMBO, a scenic New York City walking tour

As you’ll learn on this Brooklyn walking tour, this neighborhood is known for its bookstores, shops, and cafes. Some sites to keep an eye out for include the Klompching and AIR galleries, as well as the DUMBO Archway, a famous landmark that has appeared in several films.

Stop for a snack at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria or Ample Hills Creamery before continuing the tour through the famous Brooklyn Flea market.

  • Price: $35+
  • Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Number of participants: 10
  • Highlights: Brooklyn Bridge, DUMBO neighborhood, Brooklyn Bridge Park

7. High Line & Chelsea Walking Tour, a fun NYC walking tour

The Meatpacking District is another hotspot for artists and bohemians, so if that resonates with you, then you’ll love this walking tour of Chelsea, NYC.

You’ll start with a guided walk along the High Line, an awesome attraction, and the only elevated park in the city. It stretches for over a mile and goes past landmarks like Chelsea Market and The Vessel, one of the coolest observation decks in NYC. Enjoy the High Line’s green spaces while taking in views of the Hudson River.

The High Line, High Line walking tour

7. High Line & Chelsea Walking Tour, a fun NYC walking tour

After your High Line walking tour, your group will continue exploring the Chelsea neighborhood. Listen as your guide tells you how the Meatpacking District evolved from a collection of slaughterhouses and warehouses to one of NYC’s trendiest neighborhoods. Among the Art Deco buildings, artists’ lofts, and galleries, you’ll also see Chelsea Market. This food hall and shopping mall is the perfect place to pick up a snack or some souvenirs, or to simply take in the sight of New Yorkers bustling through the stalls.

  • Price: $39+
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Number of participants: 15
  • Highlights: Chelsea Market, High Line, Meatpacking District

8. Brooklyn Street Art Tour, the most aesthetic walking tour in New York City

Another great art walk in NYC is this tour through Brooklyn’s most creative areas. Brooklyn is a haven for artists and those with a vibrant imagination, so if you want to delve deeper into NYC’s art scene, this is a great way to do it.

This Brooklyn walking tour begins at Meserole Street, a hub for international and local artists. Explore the vibrant city blocks filled with graffiti art, murals, galleries, and tattoo shops. Along the way, your guide will point out different art techniques and the history of public art in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn, Brooklyn walking tour

8. Brooklyn Street Art Tour, the most aesthetic walking tour in New York City

Then, make your way to the Bushwick Collective, an incredible showcase of contemporary street art. It’s like an open-air museum where you can admire the colorful graffiti art and murals that give Brooklyn such a lively personality. You may even meet an artist working on their latest piece!

  • Price: $20+
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Number of participants: 10
  • Highlights: Brooklyn street art, Bushwick Collective

9. Grand Central Terminal Walking Tour, an historic walking tour in NYC

If you’re looking for a historic walking tour in NYC, you’ll like this tour through Grand Central Terminal. As one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, Grand Central Terminal attracts millions of people each year, many of them commuting to and from work. This walking tour can give you a new perspective of this famous rail and subway station.

First, you’ll start this Manhattan walking tour with a New York-style bagel, which will make you feel just like a local. Then, follow your guide through the terminal and find some hidden gems that you might have otherwise missed.

Grand Central Terminal, historic walking tour in NYC

9. Grand Central Terminal Walking Tour, an historic walking tour in NYC

Your guide will point out the Zodiac Ceiling in the Main Concourse, which is painted like a beautiful celestial skyscape. Then, head to the Whispering Gallery on the lower floor, where you can stand under the acoustic arch and whisper secret stories to others on the opposite end.

Another hidden treasure at Grand Central Terminal is the Kissing Gallery, also known as the Biltmore Room. This room in the lower concourse was built under the Biltmore Hotel and was intended for long-distance commuters who would kiss their loved ones goodbye.

During the tour, you’ll also visit Grand Central Market and other Art Deco elements in the concourses. At the end of the tour, head outside and gaze up at the Terminal’s elaborate façade featuring an Art Deco clock, the Glory of Commerce sculpture, and two cast-iron eagles who keep watch over the city.

  • Price: $40+
  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Number of participants: 10
  • Highlights: Grand Central Terminal’s historical architecture and lesser-known areas

10. NYC Superheroes Walking Tour, a NYC walking tour to do with kids

One of the most enjoyable NYC walking tours that you can do as a family is this Superheroes of New York tour. It’s led by an energetic tour guide who will take you to some famous places in the city’s superhero history. So, if you’re looking for things to do in NYC with kids, this is a great choice.

You’ll see the site where Christopher Reeve took his first flight as Superman, as well as landmarks that have appeared in The Avengers movies and comic books, like the United Nations Headquarters. Your guide will also point out filming locations that have appeared in popular TV shows like Gotham and Daredevil.

NYC Superheroes Tour, walk through Manhattan

10. NYC Superheroes Walking Tour, a NYC walking tour to do with kids

Diehard comic book fans will love hearing about the origins of Kryptonite and gaining new insights into the comic book industry and how it has changed over the years. You can even see the Green Goblin’s NY apartment and go into the Daily Planet news building featured in Superman.

Finally, your guide will take you to the bars and cafes where the most revered comic book artists and writers used to congregate, making this tour fun for both kids and adults.

  • Price: $35+
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Number of participants: 15
  • Highlights: NYC film and TV locations, Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal

11. Christmas Tour Through Manhattan, a magical NYC walking tour

If you’re visiting New York City at Christmastime, then you must do this holiday lights tour. It’s one of the best ways to see the magic atmosphere of NYC during the holidays and, along with all the beautiful light displays, you’ll visit some of the city’s most popular Christmas attractions.

This Manhattan walking tour begins with a stroll along Fifth Avenue to see the lovely storefronts and window displays. The luxury shops here have a tradition of decorating the windows with elaborate, themed displays, so there is always something new to see.

Rockefeller Center, walking tours in NYC

11. Christmas Tour Through Manhattan, a magical NYC walking tour

Then, make a stop at the Rockefeller Center, home to the city’s most magnificent Christmas tree. Watch couples and families skating at the ice rink, and admire the exterior of the nearby Radio City Music Hall, where the Rockettes perform their Christmas Spectacular.

Your holiday walk through Manhattan continues with a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is lavishly decorated for the season. Finally, your tour will end at Bryant Park, which hosts its annual Winter Village, complete with activities, concessions, and a Christmas market. Perhaps you’ll find a few gifts for your loved ones!

  • Price: $25+
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Number of participants: 15
  • Highlights: Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Fifth Avenue storefronts

12. Harlem Gospel Tour, a lively walking tour in New York City

This Harlem gospel tour is one of the most unique walking tours in NYC, and an incredible spiritual experience, if that’s something you’re looking for. During this one-of-a-kind tour, you’ll join a local church family and attend a Sunday gospel service at one of Harlem’s beautiful churches.

Attending Sunday service is a strong Harlem tradition, and there are dozens of houses of worship throughout the neighborhood. If you take this tour, you’ll learn more about Harlem’s history and strong Christian presence and see some important homes where significant figures in the Harlem Renaissance once resided.

Harlem, walking tours in nyc

12. Harlem Gospel Tour, a lively walking tour in New York City

During the one-hour worship service, you’ll share a cultural and spiritual experience with a local congregation, who will welcome you with warmth and open arms. You’ll also see Harlem residents dressed in their Sunday best, as the church fashion here is quite elaborate. For sure, it’s one NYC walking tour that you won’t find anywhere else.

  • Price: $25+
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Number of participants: 10
  • Highlights: One-hour worship service with gospel music, historic homes from the Harlem Renaissance

13. Greenwich Village Walking Tour, another top NYC walking tour

A walking tour in Greenwich Village is a wonderful way to experience the essence of the Big Apple. This neighborhood is a hub for alternative culture in NYC, and this two-hour tour grants you exclusive access to some of the most significant places that defined the Beat Generation of New York in the 1950s.

You’ll also learn about Greenwich Village’s LGBTQ+ history and visit the Stonewall Inn, the infamous site of the 1969 Stonewall riots. Some other highlights of the tour include New York University, Washington Square Park, the Friends apartment, and the oldest off-Broadway theater in NYC, Cherry Lane Theater.

Greenwich Village, walking tour in Greenwich Village

13. Greenwich Village Walking Tour, another top NYC walking tour

As you walk through NYC’s most progressive neighborhood, you’ll visit the old meeting spots for some of rock music’s elite, including Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. Check out the parks and coffee shops where Edgar Allan Poe and Jackson Pollack used to hang out and experience the café scene that’s still going strong in Greenwich Village.

In fact, this part of New York is known for its amazing food scene, so if you’re into gastronomy, consider doing this cupcake bakeries tour. You’ll get to taste some of the most delicious treats, so it’s one of the best food tours in NYC.

  • Price: $35+
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Number of participants: 10
  • Highlights: NYU, Washington Square Park, Cherry Lane Theater, Friends apartment, Stonewall Inn

14. Slavery & Underground Railroad Walking Tour, a historical walking tour in NYC

Another historical walking tour in NYC that I recommend is this slavery and Underground Railroad tour. Over the course of 2.5 hours, you’ll dive into the world of the refugee slaves who helped to establish the Freedom Trail in New York.

You’ll also gain new insights into the history of NYC and how slaves built the city. As you walk through Lower Manhattan, your guide will point out significant places that played a key role in the development of the city and the Black community.

Slavery & Underground Railroad Tour, historical nyc walking tour

14. Slavery & Underground Railroad Walking Tour, a historical walking tour in NYC

Among the sites you’ll see and learn about are Wall Street, Trinity Church, and Fraunces Tavern, which was part of the New York Freedom Trail. Your guide will point out other locations from the Underground Railroad and answer any questions you may have about the lives of enslaved people and those who won their freedom.

One of the most emotional parts of the tour is visiting the African Burial Ground National Memorial and Museum. This is the final resting site for over 400 Africans, who were buried there during the late 1600s and early 1700s. At the time, it was the largest colonial-era cemetery for Africans, most of them enslaved.

  • Price: $35+
  • Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Number of participants: 15
  • Highlights: Fraunces Tavern, Trinity Church, African Burial Ground National Memorial & Museum

15. St. Patrick’s Cathedral Catacombs Tour, an eerie New York City walking tour

Finally, this catacombs tour at old St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the best Manhattan walking tours to do at night. This is your chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at the oldest cathedral in New York and see parts of the church that are usually closed to the public.

You’ll explore the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Catacombs and see the burial grounds and cemeteries where several famous figures were laid to rest. These labyrinthine vaults and tombs mostly house the remains of lawyers, politicians, bankers, and bishops, but there are a few Civil War-era generals here, too. The catacombs are also the final resting place for Bishop John Connolly, New York’s first resident bishop.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral Catacombs, historical walking tour in NYC

15. St. Patrick’s Cathedral Catacombs Tour, an eerie New York City walking tour

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is also a stunning building, so this is a great NYC architecture walking tour with a creepy vibe. Moreover, this church has the only publicly-accessible catacombs in New York City, so this is one of the best ghost tours to do in NYC if you’re into the macabre.

  • Price: $37+
  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Number of participants: 15
  • Highlights: St. Patrick’s Basilica catacombs and cemeteries

Now you have 15 awesome walking tours in New York City that you can check out! Of course, if you have any questions or you’d like to recommend an NYC walking tour, leave me a comment below. I’ll be delighted to respond back to you. Until then, have a great trip!


COFOUNDER & TRAVEL JUNKIE

Hi, I'm Ascen, a globetrotter based in Philadelphia, USA. I enjoy exploring new landscapes and creating in-depth travel guides for Capture the Atlas.

I have felt a special connection with nature and all the inhabitants of the planet since I was a kid. I am passionate about discovering new countries and especially their wildlife, but no matter how many places I visit, I will always belong to the remote beaches of Almería, in Southern Spain.

You can know a little more about me here.

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