TOURS FOR BUDDING GOTHAMITES
Central Park Conservancy
These informative tours of Central Park attract both out-of-towners and Manhattanites looking for the truth behind urban legends such as that unconfirmed story about Robert Moses banishing the sheep from Sheep Meadow after they made him late. Tours spotlight iconic landmarks like Bethesda Fountain as well as less-traveled areas via the Manhattan Adirondacks tour.
Schedule: Daily; check website for details.
Reservations: Not required for free tours, required for free tours.
Duration: 45 minutes –1.5 hours.
Cost: Free – $15.
Out-of-town fashionistas flip for these no-holds-barred sprees which take visitors directly to the day’s hard-to-find sample sales and chic, celeb-frequented boutiques. On the Garment Center tour, shoppers visit wholesale showrooms in the West Thirties and receive exclusive discounts on desirables like handbags and fragrances.
Schedule: Check website for details.
Duration: 2.5-3 hours.
Cost: $38–$64, plus $3 ticket charge.
New York Chocolate Tours
Grand Marnier truffles and violet-infused chocolate squares aren’t typical purchases for tourists, but these celebrations of the city’s finest chocolatiers let sweet tooths focus on classy shops in the Upper East Side or their edgier counterparts in Soho.
Schedule: Thurs.–Sun. Check website for details.
Duration: 2 hours.
Food Tours of New York
If your ideal souvenir is a bottle of cold-pressed olive oil rather than a foam Lady Liberty visor, sign up for one of Todd Lefkovic’s culinary jaunts through Greenwich Village, downtown Brooklyn, Chinatown, Soho, or Chelsea. Food-loving raconteurs steer clear of tourist traps like Magnolia Bakery and treat participants instead to arancini from 107-year-old Faicco's and Sicilian slices from Joe's Pizza.
Schedule: Daily, check website for details.
Duration: 3–4.5 hours.
Municipal Art Society of New York
Noted architects, designers, and scholars lead urban-planning buffs to some of the city’s best constructed landmarks. You’ll see Grand Central Station with new eyes after touring it with architectural historian Francis Morrone. Many tours have tie-ins with exhibitions, such as the "Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York" exhibit, which has a complementary component at the Municipal Art Society.
Schedule: Weekends, check website for details.
Reservations: Not required.
Duration: 75 mins.
Cost:$20; $15 for MAS members.