Views From the Top
The Big Apple Tour
See the city streets from a vantage point even higher than the top of the Empire State Building. These twelve-to-fifteen-minute helicopter tours fly over it all.
Downtown Manhattan Heliport, 6 East River Piers; 212-967-6464; libertyhelicopters.com.
Adirondack Sunset Sail
Cruise on a schooner while taking in daytime, sunset, or evening views of the city.
Pier 62, W. 22nd St., nr. the West Side Hwy.; 212-627-1825; sail-nyc.com.
Central Park Bicycle Tour
Cruise through Central Park on a five-mile guided bike tour of Belvedere Castle, Strawberry Fields, the Shakespeare Garden, and much more. The $49 fee includes bike rental, helmet, and tour guide.
203 W. 58th St., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-541-8759; centralparkbiketour.com. Daily, 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m.
Tribute Center Walking Tour
The guides on this walking tour are all 9/11 survivors, recovery workers, area residents, or family members of victims. The tour covers the history of the World Trade Center, the attacks, and their aftermath.
120 Liberty St., nr. Greenwich St.; tributewtc.org/walkingtours
On the Edge
Circle Line Cruise
Looking to cram in as many landmarks as possible? Grab a seat on the deck of the Circle Line, the renowned New York cruise that travels around the perimeter of Manhattan. Full island tours, trips to the Statue of Liberty, and other itineraries are available.
Pier 83, W. 42nd St., nr. Twelfth Ave.; 212-563-3200; circleline42.com.
Run by professional photographers, Citifari takes small groups on photo tours around Manhattan. The guides show you captivating vantage points and offer tips for shooting some of the city’s most iconic landmarks on each two-and-a-half-hour excursion.
The Classic New York Tour
Hop on and off this big, red, double-decker tour bus. To really see the city, you’ll need to leave your seat. The complete guided tour of Manhattan (hundreds of thousands served) lasts three hours.
The Elegant Tightwad Tour
There’s more to city shopping than ritzy boutiques and luxury department stores. This tour sets out to explore classy yet not-so-expensive shopping destinations.
The Enthusiastic Gourmet
Eat dim sum and visit a local herb shop in Chinatown or scarf a bagel and lox on the Lower East Side. Where there is good food, the Enthusiastic Gourmet goes.
Plan B: Learn the history of New York’s neighborhoods while sampling the foods they have to offer. Noshwalks provides food-tasting tours of cuisines from around the world from the restaurants, bakeries, and food stores across New York.
646-209-4724; enthusiasticgourmet.com; 212-222-2243; noshwalks.com.
The Green Scene
The Federal Reserve Bank
The Fed’s free tour takes you five stories underground into their gold vaults, demystifies how the bank functions, and lets you test your new knowledge at Fedworks, an interactive, multimedia center. You’ll even pocket some (shredded) money at the tour’s end. Call to make a reservation at least a week in advance and don’t be late, as security procedures are lengthy.
44 Maiden Ln., nr. William St.; 212-720-6130; newyorkfed.org.
Treats and Trains
Grand Central Terminal Tour
Don’t just gawk at Grand Central’s celestial ceiling—learn about it. Take note of symbolic mythological figures, sculptures, and other architectural details lurking throughout the Beaux Arts landmark. The Municipal Art Society’s daily tour is light on gossip, heavy on design, urban planning, and historical preservation.
Grand Central Station, 42nd St. nr. Park Ave.; 212-935-3960; mas.org. Daily, 12:30 p.m.
Harlem Is Home Tour
See the architectural treasures and lesser-known wonders that Harlem has to offer. Each tour offers a historic and cultural overview of this vibrant neighborhood.
502 W. 142nd St., nr. Amsterdam Ave.; 212-939-9201;harlemonestop.com.
Into the Groove
Hip-Hop Look at New York
Hip-hop has come a long way from its underground NYC roots. This tour explores three decades of musical history.
292 Fifth Ave., nr. W. 31st St.; 212-209-3370; hushtours.com.
Holiday Lights Tour
The city streets may be cold in winter, but the city lights sure heat things up. Check out some of the brightest displays: Macy’s, Grand Central, Rockefeller Center, and Fifth Avenue (during the holiday season).
Gray Line Visitors Center, 777 Eighth Ave., nr. 47th St., 212-445-0848; newyorksightseeing.com.
John J. Harvey Fireboat
This historic fireboat has been helping to put out flames since 1931. Keep an eye out for the boat’s brass cannons that shoot out water at a rate of 18,000 gallons per minute.
Pier 63 Maritime, W. 26th St. at the Hudson River; 212-267-9700, fireboat.org.
As Seen on TV
New York TV and Movie Tour
New York is the stage for hundreds of blockbusters, indie films, and TV shows, but where exactly are all of these locations? The New York TV and Movie Tour reveals many of the spots made famous on the big screen. See the restaurant that was used in Spiderman or where Holly Golightly always dreamed of having her morning meal in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Broadway at W. 51st St.; 212-913-9780; onlocationtours.com. Daily, 11am.
New York Gallery Tours
Overwhelmed by the number of galleries in Chelsea? Let the New York Gallery tour point out some of the best galleries in the area. The selection of galleries frequently changes, so check the website for tour information. Private tours of other art-laden neighborhoods are also available.
Garment Center Tour
This insider shopping tour takes you on a behind-the-scenes shopping expedition to the epicenter of the fashion industry. You will be escorted to six appointment-only designer showrooms and have access to wholesale prices.
Good for Foodies
Manhattan Walking Tour
Explore the history and food in neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, Chinatown, and Hell’s Kitchen during Manhattan Walking Tour’s food excursions. The price of the tour includes all food and drinks.
Sights in the City
Sex and the City Hotspots
Jimmy Choo, the Rabbit, cupcakes, and a friar. What do these have in common? They’re all stops on the Sex and the City walking tour. You’ve seen them on TV; now’s your chance to see them in person.
Fifth Ave. and W. 58th St.; 212-209-3370; onlocationtours.com. Daily, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
An Unrefusable Offer
The Sopranos Tour
Tony Soprano may have to sneak in and out of his favorite haunts to hide from the FBI, but no such precautions are needed for law-abiding citizens who want to check out locations in New York and New Jersey that have been made famous by the hit mob show.
Seventh Ave. at W. 36th St.; 212-209-3370; onlocationtours.com. Sat., 10 a.m.
Sound Walk Tours
It’s a solo tour with a soundtrack. Purchase a Soundwalk Tours CD and you’ll have your very own guided tour to play, pause, fast-forward, and rewind at your own pace.
Signs of the Times
Times Square Tour
Times Square wasn’t always the overwhelming, Disney-laden spectacle it is today. This free tour looks back at the neighborhood’s colorful, gritty past.
Times Square Visitors Center, 1560 Broadway, nr. 46th St.; 212-997-5004; timessquarenyc.org.
Search and Enjoy
Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts
See the city and figure out how to get around on these exciting scavenger hunts that take participants through New York. How quickly can you make it back with everything on the list?
Learn All About It
NYC Discovery Tours
This sophisticated tour company offers numerous neighborhood tours along with thematic and seasonal ones, such as Historic Taverns at Christmas, Civil War New York, and Brooklyn Heights/Cobble Hill History and Tasting Tour.