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The top 8 ghost tours in NYC

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

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Written by
Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Jennifer Picht

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 NYC 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.

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The best ghost tours in NYC for a spooky walk

  • Things to do

Once upon a time, people lived in building now called the Merchant’s House Museum in Noho. Then they died ... but their spirits may not have moved on. This 50-minute tour reveals the dark, haunted past of this old structure—as well as its spooky present.

Try the Candlelight Ghost Tour where doors slam, floorboards creak, and voices call into the dead of night. Has all that construction nearby has dredged the ghosts from their slumber?

During this tour, you may just find out. 

  • Attractions
  • Historic buildings and sites
  • Washington Heights

Learn the basics of ghost hunting with a resident paranormal investigator at Manhattan’s oldest house, located in Washington Heights. The two-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.

These sell out super quickly, so keep an eye on their website to book early.

These ghost tours aren’t the cheesy kind with jump scares; instead, they explore the true, oft-hidden history and spirits lurking around New York City. 

"Boroughs of the Dead: Macabre New York City Walking Tours" offers a bevy of tours this fall, including options in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Roosevelt Island. Plus, look for fan favorites "Edgar Allan Poe in Greenwich Village" and "Ghostly Women of Greenwich Village."

The tours promise a "dose of dark history, women’s history, hauntings, ghosts, the occult" and more.


Team up with NYC Ghosts to uncover Greenwich Village's most haunted historic places. Plus, you'll get to hear the true stories figures like Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, Aaron Burr, and spirits of the city’s notorious ghosts.

Stand on burial grounds with thousands of graves, see old speakeasies and learn about historic events like the The Triangle Factory Fire on this hourlong tour. If you're looking for even more creepy history, extend the fun with a 30-minute bonus trip after the tour ends. 

NYC Ghosts also offers a Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl, during which you can enjoy some liquid courage while hearing about the city's historic haunts and drinking hotspots.

Behind-the-scenes tour of the abandoned Ellis Island Hospital
Photograph: By Felix Lipov / Shutterstock

6. Behind-the-scenes 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.

Once the standard for the U.S. medical care, the hospital has sat abandoned since 1954.


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