New York City has tours that appeal to everyone, and there are even some that are virtual if you’re not in a position to take an in-person tour right now.
Top NYC Tours to Take Right Now
Join in person or with your friendly on-screen guide and get a well-deserved dose of New York City.
On Location Tours
On Location Tours now offers private small-group tour versions of all of their popular TV and movie-themed bus and walking tours including Sex and the City Hotspots, NYC TV & Movies, Gossip Girl Sites, and Central Park TV & Movie Sites. A virtual F.R.I.E.N.D.S tour has just been announced as well.
A refresher course for the upcoming fourth season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” the Mrs. Maisel's Marvelous Tour of NYC, has been reconfigured to give a private experience in a 1957 Studebaker, the car seen in all three seasons of the popular TV show. Led by a “marvelous” 50s-attired guide, the tour explains how show locations were disguised to make modern-day New York City appear as the 1950s. Among the mostly unchanged sites visited are Washington Square Park where Midge joined in a protest, Old Town Bar where Joel and Archie knocked down a few, Caffe Reggio where Abe Weissman met with his lawyer, and the Music Inn where Midge picks up “dirty” comedy albums. You’ll also pass landmarks like the former B. Altman’s where Midge worked and the comedy club where she tried out her first stand-up.
Broadway Up Close
Created and researched by Broadway savant Tim Dolan, Broadway Up Close has returned to in -person tours of The Theater District. Led by the Green Team, all working actors and stage managers who know quite a lot about the “secrets” and stories of Broadway, these walking tours are designed for locals and visitors who are interested in everything about what was once dubbed “The Great White Way.” Did you know that that moniker refers to the fact that the area was lit up with white light bulbs? You will certainly leave more aware of the details of the various buildings that dot the streets between 41st and 54th with an appreciation for the architect who designed quite a number of them, Herbert J. Krapp. You’ll learn fun facts like how the Tonys got their start thanks to some very determined women and why some theaters are better suited to certain types of shows. An added plus: Dolan has a vast assemblage of rare photos. Current tours include Broadway’s Beginnings, Hamiltour, and Hippies, Discos & Dogs.
An Aerial View
For a private birdseye view, a helicopter tour offers a way to see as much of New York in the shortest amount of time. Comfortable and designed for your private group, Wings Air helicopters will take your “bubble” to the sky. With just you and your narrator-pilot in the completely sanitized chopper, you’ll soar over the drama of the city from uptown to downtown, through the center of the island as far north as Yankee Stadium and as far south as the Statue of Liberty. Two lengths of tours are offered, 30 or 45 minutes, with the longer one including the downtown section.
ToursByLocals has continued operating through the pandemic with in-person, walking and driving excursions with masks and social distancing. Tours are available to cover pretty much any area of interest and geographical area that might intrigue you. You could plan an entire visit just booking one tour after another, and you’ll get insights that truly come from those who live here. A popular sojourn is to Upper Harlem which explores the most important landmarks of the city’s vibrant Black history like the Apollo Theater. A sightseeing walk across the Brooklyn Bridge finishes with a tour of the city’s epicenter for street art, Bushwick.
Sherpa Tours has put a novel spin on the in-person walking tour, creating a GPS-directed-tour with an AR component. You’ll walk by a series of landmarks and point your camera to activate the AR avatar guide, who shares the tour information. All tours are created by longtime guides and experts. Among the tours offered are LGBTQ+ West Village which visits The Stonewall Inn, a site of major importance in gay rights; The Upper West Side where John Lennon was shot; Little Italy and Chinatown and New York’s 42nd Street.
New York Adventure Club
The New York Adventure Club creates experiences geared for locals and curious visitors, built around the interesting people and places in the NYC area. With their mind-boggling array of in-person tours starting this spring, you’ll have a tough time deciding which to book. The people leading these tours are some of the most knowledgeable that I’ve seen anywhere. Consider, for example, the "Steinway Piano Factory" tour, an exceptional exploration of the world’s most famous piano, which has its historic factory in Astoria, Queens. Or the "History of NYC Jazz" series, a combination of blues and jazz history which definitively points to New York’s importance in the development and popularity of this music form. If you’ve ever wondered about "Grand Central Terminal" and its many secrets, the tour of Manhattan’s busy train and subway hub is for you.