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14 tours to help you see NYC by land, by air and by sea

Experience New York City in three completely different ways on these tours: by land, by air and by sea

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/John St John

You’ll see New York City in a totally new way on one of these tours by land, by air and by sea. Get a bird’s eye view of iconic New York attractions like the Empire State Building, Central Park and the High Line on a helicopter tour, or zoom around the Statue of Liberty on a speedboat. If you choose to explore by foot, maybe you’d like to trek across the Brooklyn Bridge or stroll the city that never sleeps after dark. For the ultimate sightseeing experience, combine one of each—a tour by land, by air and by sea—to see Gotham from every possible vantage point.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best NYC tours and walks

By land

Manhattan to Brooklyn Walking Tour: Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO

Manhattan to Brooklyn Walking Tour: Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO

The view from the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most spectacular in the city. Take in all its glory on a walking tour from the Manhattan side into the heart of Brooklyn. You’ll learn the history of the bridge, explore DUMBO’s art scene and even stop by the Jacques Torres Chocolate Factory for hot cocoa. $29.75 per person

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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/William Doyle

New York High Line Walking Tour

On any sunny day, the city’s only elevated park is almost guaranteed to be packed with happy New Yorkers and tourists basking in the warm weather. In the 1800s, freight trains would have rattled along this elevated stretch of the Meatpacking District. You’ll learn more of its history and fun facts about the artsy surroundings on a two-hour walking tour of the green space. $30 per person

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NYC Walking Tour: Broadway History and Culture

NYC Walking Tour: Broadway History and Culture

Avid theatergoers and Broadway newbies alike will learn something new on this walking tour of NYC’s theater district. Find out how a neighborhood known for trading horses in the 1700s turned into a global mecca from the arts as you stroll down 42nd Street. If you’re lucky, your guide—an experienced actor in his or her own right—will even share some backstage gossip. $35 per person

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Central Park Bike Tour

There’s no way you can explore all 843 acres of Central Park on just one trip, but biking through NYC’s most iconic green space will help you see as much of it you possibly can in just two hours. You get to customize the itinerary for this guided seven-mile ride, so if you’re dying to see Strawberry Fields or Cleopatra’s Needle, you can make sure it happens. $48.99 per person

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New York City at Night Private Walking Tour

New York City at Night Private Walking Tour

You wouldn’t be getting a complete picture of New York City if you didn’t stay out late in the city that never sleeps. Spend a few hours exploring Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Times Square, the Financial District and more on this private walking tour of the city after dark. You’re practically guaranteed to snap some stunning photos of the city’s glittering lights. $133 per person

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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/KIDKUTSMEDIA

NYC in a Day Tour

NYC in a Day Tour

Trying to squeeze as much sightseeing as possible into a short time frame? Book this walking tour jam-packed with iconic NYC landmarks: the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty, Chelsea Market, the High Line and more. Just make sure to wear your most comfortable shoes—you’ll need them for this eight-hour trek around Lower Manhattan. $149 per person

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By air

New York City Sightseeing Airplane Tour

New York City Sightseeing Airplane Tour

If you’ve ever happened to snag the window seat on a flight into LaGuardia or JFK, you know how spectacular New York City looks from above. You’ll get even more stunning views—without having to go through security—on this 45-minute aerial tour of the city in a six-seat Piper airplane. $179 per person

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VIP Night Helicopter Flight and Statue of Liberty Cruise

VIP Night Helicopter Flight and Statue of Liberty Cruise

Take in all of the lights on a dazzling helicopter tour of Gotham after dark. From the glittering Chrysler Building to the illuminated Brooklyn Bridge, New York’s biggest attractions look their best at night. Once you’ve gotten your fill of the skyline, you’ll land at Pier 16 and board a water taxi for an evening cruise around the harbor—complete with Champagne, of course. $249 per person

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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Jakob Nilsson-Ehle

Private Helicopter Aerial Experience

Private Helicopter Aerial Experience

Hey big spender: You’ll want to book a private chopper for the ultimate, customized tour of the Big Apple by air. Before you take off, you’ll consult with the pilot to tailor your route to the landmarks you’d most like to see. Maybe you can’t miss the Empire State Building, but would rather skip the Statue of Liberty. Since the helicopter seats five, this is also the best option for families or groups. $1,950 per helicopter (up to five people)

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By sea

Circle Line: Complete Manhattan Island Cruise

Circle Line: Complete Manhattan Island Cruise

First-timers looking to see as much of the city as possible will want to book passage on this cruise all around Manhattan. From the Statue of Liberty to the south and George Washington Bridge to the north, you’ll see more than 25 iconic New York landmarks—in record time, no less. $41.99 per person

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The Beast Speedboat Ride

The Beast Speedboat Ride

In a hurry? Hop aboard The Beast, the fastest and most thrilling speedboat tour in New York Harbor. The half-hour ride is so intense, tour guides typically recommend wearing wet suits. Your heart will be racing and adrenaline will be pumping, but you’ll also get some spectacular views of Lower Manhattan while you’re at it. $24.99 per person

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Shearwater Daytime Statue Sail

Shearwater Daytime Statue Sail

Ahoy, sailor. Don your most nautical outfit for a sail aboard the Shearwater schooner. Your captain will chart a course around Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, Governors Island and the rest of the harbor, offering you plenty of kodak moments and opportunities to channel your inner pirate. $45 per person

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New York City Lights Dinner Cruise

New York City Lights Dinner Cruise

Prepare your future life as a yacht-owner on this swanky Hornblower cruise. The elegant surroundings and fancy dinner menu—think filet mignon and pan-seared salmon—are worth getting dressed up for. If you’re willing to shell out an extra $20, you’ll score prime window seating and a complimentary bottle of Champagne, too. $163.31 per person; $183.31 per person for upgraded seats

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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Thomas Bonte

Private New York City Sunset Boat Tour

Private New York City Sunset Boat Tour

For the ultimate romantic excursion, fill up a picnic basket with cheese, crackers, berries and other nibbles and board this private sunset cruise with that special someone. Watch the sun go down behind iconic landmarks like One World Trade Center and Brooklyn Bridge. A bottle of bubbly also comes with your ticket, and to really get the party started, we recommend popping the cork before you leave the dock. $500 for two people

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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Anthony Quintano

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