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Steven Acres
Photograph: Courtesy Steven Acres

The best NYC ghost tours

These NYC ghost tours will show you real-life horrors that took place in our own backyard

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Halloween enthusiasts start prepping for the holiday even before the first leaves start to turn. There’s so much to plan, from picking a pumpkin to finding the perfect costume and decorations. To really get in the mood for Halloween, these NYC ghost tours should be on the checklist too. The city is full of legit spooky spots and haunted places, from cemeteries and haunted mansions to a crumbling hospital and tragedy-prone island. These ghost tours will take you through all the nooks and crannies where real-life horrors and paranormal sightings happened right in our own backyard. Be warned, however: you may never look the same way at certain neighborhoods ever again. After uncovering local frights on an NYC ghost tour, you can opt for a more interactive screamfest at a haunted house, or just stay safely indoors with some popcorn and one of the best horror movies.

Best NYC ghost tours

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours

During this two-hour stroll through New York’s busiest part of town, you’ll learn about Broadway and Vaudeville Stars from the great beyond, dance the Time Warp, sing songs from Phantom of the Opera and visit legendary haunted theaters.

  • Attractions
  • Historic buildings and sites
  • Washington Heights

Learn the basics of ghost hunting at Manhattan’s oldest house with a resident paranormal investigator. The three-hour investigation includes an overview of paranormal theory, a history of ghost hunting and a hands-on, house-wide investigation of period rooms made famous for their otherworldly inhabitants. Just don’t be alarmed if you wind up communicating with one of MJM’s notorious former residents.

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours

Astoria? More like disturbia! Actually, this is one of New York’s most delightful neighborhoods, but you may be surprised by its shadowy past and, er, poltergeists. Listen to cringe-worthy tales about the nabe’s twisted history, involving voodoo, grisly murders, deadly waters and more while exploring lesser-known sites and Victorian mansions of Old Astoria Village.

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • price 2 of 4

We are dying to go on this tour of the East and West Village. Discover where paranormal activity once took place, which buildings have had reported ghost sightings and visit murder scenes and burial grounds. This will make you question the very streets you walk on, where people were buried a century ago. You'll also learn what contemporary ghost hunters have to say about their creepy discoveries. All stories told during the tour are true

6. Behind-the-Scenes Hard Hat Tour of the Abandoned Ellis Island Hospital

Although it’s not officially a ghost tour, Untapped Cities’ abandoned Ellis Island Hospital expedition is sure to give you the creeps. Don your hard hat and go behind-the-scenes for an unparalleled exploration of the institution’s contagious disease wards, autopsy rooms and other usually “off-limits” places. Each ticket includes your ferry ride to and from Ellis Island.

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