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The best New York City tours and walks

Get the most out of your visit with our guide to the best New York City tours, from sightseeing buses to popular walks

Photograph: Courtesy The High Line

Whether you’re visiting the Big Apple for a week or a weekend, New York City tours will help you make the most of your trip. There’s something for everyone, from guided tours of the top New York attractions to bike tours of NYC parks. Culture vultures can book tours of the best art museums in NYC, while history buffs might want to take a closer look at the city’s architecture. No matter the experience you’re looking for, our list of the best NYC tours has got you covered.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do outside in NYC

Best New York City tours and walks

1
Big Bus New York Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Big Bus New York Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Perfect for the directionally challenged traveler, Big Bus Tours double-decker bus will take you to 30 landmarks all over Manhattan. Your live tour guide will point out attractions and things to do along the route so you can hop off the bus whenever you see something interesting. Two easy-to-follow routes—one downtown, one uptown—allow you to customize your sightseeing itinerary however you’d like. It’s the easiest way to get from Wall Street’s Charging Bull statue to the green meadows of Central Park—without ever bothering to figure out the subway system. $55

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2
Small Group Central Park Bike Tour

Small Group Central Park Bike Tour

You’ll cover much more of Central Park’s 843 acres of meadows, woods and ponds on a bike than you ever could on foot. Meet up with the guide from Central Park Tours Inc. to pick out your wheels for the day, then set off from the south end of the park. You’ll spy iconic landmarks like Bethesda Terrace, Sheep Meadow and Belvedere Castle, plus a few lesser-known gems. And since the tour is always capped at just eight people, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask questions along the way. $53

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3
Circle Line: New York Landmarks Cruise

Circle Line: New York Landmarks Cruise

For a grand view of the New York skyline, you can’t beat the top deck of a Circle Line cruise. The boat sets sail down the Hudson River to get up close and personal with the Statue of Liberty before rounding Battery Park and heading for the Brooklyn Bridge. It goes without saying that you’ll want to bring your camera along for the ride. $35.99

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4
9/11 Memorial and Ground Zero Walking Tour

9/11 Memorial and Ground Zero Walking Tour

Head down to the Financial District to pay your respects to the victims of the 9/11 attacks at the site where the World Trade Center once stood. This guided tour from City Tales Sightseeing includes stops at the twin reflecting pools, Fireman’s Memorial, St. Paul’s Chapel and One World Observatory. $35

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5
Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour

Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour

With one of the most spectacular views in the city, the Brooklyn Bridge is catnip to snap-happy tourists. Instead of catching the view through your camera lens, really soak up the scenery on a bike ride across the bridge. This Bike and Roll tour will take about three hours at a leisurely pace, and there will still be plenty of time for photo opps. $55

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6
EmptyMet Tour

EmptyMet Tour

A record-setting 6.7 million people visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2016. Needless to say, calling the galleries “crowded” would be an understatement. Sign up for this exclusive tour to visit the museum with a small group before it opens for the day. You'll have the freedom to stand in silence in front of the spectacular Temple of Dendur, or take in El Greco’s masterful “View of Toledo” without having to jostle for a spot. Though this tour comes with a higher price tag, the behind-the-scenes look at the city’s most encyclopedic art museum is worth every penny. $175

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7
High Line and Chelsea Walking Tour

High Line and Chelsea Walking Tour

Once an elevated railway, the High Line now serves as a public park, rotating art gallery and perennial tourist attraction. Take a two-hour walking tour hosted by New York Tour 1 to explore the length of this green space and get a feel for Chelsea and the Meatpacking District. Save time to shop in Chelsea Market afterwards! $35

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8
New York City Lights Sail

New York City Lights Sail

The only thing that can top the city’s skyscrapers glimmering in the sun is the skyline lit up against the night sky. Board the Shearwater for a sail around the harbor after dark. The tranquil, 90-minute cruise provides awe-inspiring views of the city and a moment of tranquility out on the waves. $45

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9
Small Group Walking Tour of New York City Architecture

Small Group Walking Tour of New York City Architecture

Grand Central Terminal, Times Square, the Chrysler Building, the New York Public Library, Tudor City: All these architectural landmarks lie along 42nd Street. You’ll walk the storied thoroughfare with an expert on this three-hour tour of Midtown. Spot examples of Beaux Arts, Art Deco and International-Style architecture and learn how each style ties into the city’s history. $86

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10
Renegade Tour of the American Museum of Natural History

Renegade Tour of the American Museum of Natural History

With more than 1.6 million square feet of exhibition space, the American Museum of Natural History seems almost too huge to navigate on your own. That’s where this Museum Hack tour comes in. In just two hours, you’ll see all the highlights, get a crash course in biology and even learn some of the museum’s secrets. $59

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11
Alternative New York Street Art Tour

Alternative New York Street Art Tour

The paintings, sculptures and photographs you’ll find inside prestigious museums aren’t the only art New York City has to offer. Take an Inside Out Tour of either the Lower East Side or Bushwick and Williamsburg to discover some of the city's most vibrant street art. Trust us—you won’t find these graffiti artists and muralists in any gallery. $35

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12
Lower Manhattan Bike Tour

Lower Manhattan Bike Tour

Though it’s the epicenter of downtown cool, the area south of 14th Street doesn’t get nearly as much attention from tourists (besides Wall Street and Ground Zero, of course). Broaden your horizons with this seven-hour Bike the Big Apple tour. You’ll cycle through Union Square and Greenwich Village, ride along the Hudson River Greenway and finally cross the Brooklyn Bridge to explore Brooklyn Heights. After all the time you've spent sightseeing in Midtown, escaping the crowded sidewalks will be a huge relief. $99

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