There’s a lot that goes into planning a trip. Especially in a city as dense and entertaining as New York. No doubt, amidst your research you have probably encountered one or two walking tours. As a tour guide myself, I find that people often divide themselves between tour-goers and those who are more independent. The latter often feel that they would get more from an experience being able to pick and choose exactly what they see and do. There’s merit in that of course, but I believe that to take on an entire city on your own means you are actually missing out on a lot of what the city has to offer. To elaborate, here are 3 reasons you should consider taking a walking tour.
1. To Appreciate Where You Are and What You See
Walking around the streets of New York, you certainly get a great feel for the city and can see some pretty amazing things, but chances are you aren’t really catching everything. You might walk by a beautiful building in SoHo, but not realize that it used to be the Police Headquarters. You could explore the entirety of Chelsea Market without ever realizing that the building once belonged to Nabisco, where the Oreo cookie was made. Yes, these are things you could probably read in a guidebook, but who wants their head buried in a book while walking around New York City? This is the beauty of taking a tour. You get to explore somewhere new, admire the scenery and learn something along the way from someone who is actually excited about the history rather than just words on a page. A good guide isn’t just informative, but enthusiastic, sparking interest in their guests not only to listen, but to learn even more. It is so incredibly rewarding to hear a guest say that my tour has inspired them to do their own research. You might think just because you don’t like history that you wouldn’t like a tour. But this isn’t just history, it’s the character of the city, the spirit, the life! By taking the time to discover, you are allowing yourself to appreciate everything you see so much more.
2. To Get More Personal Information
By taking a tour, you not only have an opportunity to gain more knowledge of an area, but also knowledge that could extend further into helping you plan your trip. The tour guides you meet know A LOT about the city. They are probably native New Yorkers or been here for a long time. Dying to try some good NY pizza? Ask the guide their favorite place. Have an extra day and not sure what to do? Ask the guide for recommendations! You can really get so much more value for your money by taking the time to get to know your guide and pick their brain a little. Chances are they have some good ideas and opinions. And if you have a question about an area, it’s always nice to have a face to face discussion rather than just whipping out your phone and searching Google. Use the allotted time to your advantage. Of course, take the time to enjoy the tour that the guide has planned, but in the down time that you have, consider asking a question or inquiring about that bagel place you wanted to check out. There is no rule that says you can’t benefit from a tour in personal ways.
3. To Release the Reins for a Bit
Exploring New York can be extremely overwhelming. Especially if you’re a visitor. The “lost person” look is pretty standard in the city: a worried expression on the face, a map in the hand, not sure which way is up. Now you might be a navigation wizard, but chances are you’ve felt overwhelmed at least one time or another in a new place. By a new neighborhood perhaps, a confusing intersection, a train that wasn’t running properly. Whatever it is, there are many variables that can lead to stress. The great thing about a tour is that you can take many of those variables away, even if just for a few hours. No need to plan where you go next, the guide has it covered! Don’t know where you are? Well you don’t have to worry, just follow the guide. Hit with a desperate need to use the bathroom, but no toilets in sight? I’m sure the guide has a tip for that too. The pressure to plan every step is lifted off your shoulders. Now, you may be the type who likes that planning! I know I am. Which is why, in my opinion, the real beauty of a tour is afterwards, when you can go back to your favorite places, or go inside the restaurant the guide recommended and explore even further on your own. So no matter what type of person you may be, a chilled improviser or meticulous planner, either way you can gain a lot from allowing yourself to follow along.
Are you convinced yet? Well look no further! We here at New York Tour1 have many walking tours for you to choose from. Ranked #1 on TripAdvisor, with some of the best guides in the business, let us prove to you why everything you read is true.