Experience the best New York City tours

Experience New York in a unique way with a local guide. We offer award-winning NYC tours covering many parts of the city, including the Statue of Liberty, High Line, Chinatown, Greenwich Village, and Broadway.
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Top NYC attractions

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4.9 98 Reviews

Statue of Liberty Express Tour

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4.9 20,133 Reviews

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Guided Tour

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Guide leading a Broadway tour through Times Square
4.9 2,804 Reviews

Broadway and Times Square Insider Tour

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9/11 Memorial and Museum Insider Tour
4.9 12,259 Reviews

9/11 Memorial and Museum Insider Tour

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Private Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour

A private tour of New York’s two most iconic landmarks

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New York City sightseeing

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The Unofficial Succession Tour

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4.9 2,501 Reviews

New York City in a Day Walking Tour

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5.0 151 Reviews

Lower Manhattan Walking Tour: Wall Street and 9/11

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5.0 25 Reviews

NYC Bus Tour of Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens

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Must-See Highlights of Manhattan Bus Tour

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NYC neighborhood tours

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Lower East Side and Essex Market Food Tour

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Lower Manhattan Ghost Tour

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4.9 1,376 Reviews

High Line and Chelsea Walking Tour

from $39 from €37 from £31 from C$54 from A$59
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4.8 1,303 Reviews

Wall Street Insider Tour

from $39 from €37 from £31 from C$54 from A$59
Greenwich Village
4.9 1,074 Reviews

Greenwich Village Walking Tour

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4.9 12,259 Reviews

9/11 Memorial and Museum Insider Tour

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4.9 2,732 Reviews

SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown Walking Tour

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Financial Crisis Tour

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Upcoming tours of New York

Hudson Yards buildings in Manhattan
4.9 123 Reviews

Hudson Yards Tour With Optional Edge Upgrade

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The best way to see New York

New York City has been called “the greatest city in the world,” and we agree. From the magic of the Statue of Liberty to the dim sum of Chinatown, there’s nothing quite like exploring the city with a local who knows this place better than anyone.

Touring NYC with us

ExperienceFirst was born in New York over a decade ago, and we offer tours no one else does in quite the same way. Here are just a few examples:

New York City has been called “the greatest city in the world,” and we agree. From the magic of the Statue of Liberty to the dim sum of Chinatown, there’s nothing quite like exploring the city with a local who knows this place better than anyone.

Touring NYC with us

ExperienceFirst was born in New York over a decade ago, and we offer tours no one else does in quite the same way. Here are just a few examples:

Convenient and immersive

Our tours give you convenience along with an immersive, authentic NYC experience. That means we have skip-the-line options, insider tips, and firsthand stories that bring to life some of the city’s best neighborhoods.

Bring your walking shoes. You’re about to discover the real New York.

What people are saying about our NYC tours

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Chris Lee was a great guide, he knew so much history. I feel like we saw all the must-see sights in New York. Thought six hours would be too long, but time flew!
— Taylor
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It was an excellent guided tour! I am so glad we chose a guided tour compared to doing [it] on our own.
— Wesley
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Excellent tour with a great guide! It was such a great experience with loads of interesting stories and funny anecdotes from Jim.
— Simone
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We really enjoyed our tour. Ken was very knowledgeable so we were able to learn a lot more than if we were to just go visit by ourselves.
— Rachel
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Great tour guide. We loved it as a family. My 9 years can't stop sharing the knowledge they learned and will share their experiences with their class.
— Ernesto
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Daniel was awesome! Great tour guide, super knowledgeable and engaging. Made everyone feel included and welcomed. Thank you!
— Adam
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Great experience. I don’t usually write reviews but Ray was the best. Learnt some new things and the view… was to die for. I’ll definitely [be] going back very soon.
— Andreen
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Great guide and tour! Tim was an excellent and funny guide, full of energy and interesting stories. We learned a lot about the city and the area on this tour. Can highly recommend. :-)
— Charlotte
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Our tour guide Laura was fantastic! She was extremely knowledgeable and very funny. This tour is highly recommended!!
— Theresa
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Highly recommended! We had a great tour with Maki. He was super entertaining but very informative.
— Troy

Frequently asked questions about NYC

What are the must-see landmarks in New York City?

No matter how many trips you take to the Big Apple, there are certain landmarks you can’t leave without seeing. Luckily, some are so big that they’re hard to miss in the NYC skyline. But for your first visit, you’ll want to include these famous landmarks in your itinerary:

The Statue of Liberty

France gifted Lady Liberty to the US in 1886 to symbolize the friendship between the two nations. She’s stood on Liberty Island in New York Harbor ever since as a beacon of hope and freedom for all who pass her by sea or visit her up close.

Located across the way from Ellis Island where millions of immigrants passed through between 1892 and 1954, you can access both by ferry and get a sense of what it must have been like for new immigrants to see the Statue of Liberty for the first time when they sailed into the harbor.

Broadway and Times Square

Today, Times Square is one of the most visited parts of NYC. It’s famous for its larger-than-life billboards, neon lights, and honking taxi cabs, but it actually started as the city’s main horse-trading district in the late 19th century. The subway and New York Times changed all that, which is why we can now enjoy the Broadway Theatre District, countless nightclubs and restaurants, and mega stores like Disney and M&M’s in this top tourist attraction.

9/11 Museum and Memorial

An emotional and inspiring tribute to the lives lost on 9/11, the museum includes artifacts and first-person stories related to that tragic day in US history. We recommend spending a few hours in the museum to take in all the collections.

Central Park

At more than 800 acres, Central Park can be as hard to navigate as Manhattan itself for the average out-of-towner.

But this sprawling green oasis is worth the visit, and we promise you won’t get lost! Whether you want to row a boat, see a snow leopard and other exotic wildlife at the zoo, or watch a production of Shakespeare in the Park, Central Park has something for everyone to do at all times of the day.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Housing more than 2 million works of art spanning 5,000 years of human history, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Met for short, is one of the largest and most comprehensive art museums in the world.

You can spend a whole day (even your whole trip) exploring the collections — it has everything from ancient Egyptian and Greek art to European masterpieces — but don’t let that overwhelm you. We’ve published a guide to the Met and offer a tour to help you navigate this extraordinary museum.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Also known as “America’s Parish Church,” St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in the US. In NYC, it takes up an entire city block of Midtown Manhattan that includes 50th and 51st streets, plus Fifth and Madison avenues.

This beautiful historic landmark is renowned for its neo-Gothic architecture and welcomes more than 5 million visitors a year. Want to be one of them? St. Patrick’s is one of the stops on our walking tour.

New York Public Library

In New York City, even the public library is a popular attraction, and when you step inside the Stephen A. Schwarzman building on Fifth Avenue you’ll see why.

Not only does it house a collection of 53 million books and items, but it also boasts a cafe and shop. And if your jaw doesn’t drop when you see the main reading hall — one of the largest of its kind — we really don’t know what will impress you.

The Empire State Building

This is the landmark everyone quickly recognizes in NYC’s skyline. The 102-story building was completed in 1931 and held the title as the world’s tallest building — it even played an iconic part in the 1933 film “King Kong.”

Today, it doesn’t even make the list of the world’s top 50 tallest buildings, but the views from the observation deck on the 102nd floor give you incredible views of most of NYC’s landmarks, including the ones you’ll see on our highlights bus tour.

Grand Central Terminal

You don’t have to be catching a train to visit Grand Central Terminal, or Grand Central Station as it’s commonly known.

More than a train station, Grand Central is a beautiful historical building filled with restaurants, a hidden NYC bar, and shops that make it a place to hang out rather than a place to pass through.

Rockefeller Center

Guess what? Rockefeller Center isn’t just open for the holidays. Most people associate the plaza with the large ice skating rink and Christmas tree that appear in December, but it’s also an amazing space to view incredible murals and mosaics in the buildings’ lobbies, look out at the city from the Top of the Rock at 30 Rock, and do some luxury shopping.

Chelsea Market

While Chelsea is a trendy Manhattan neighborhood now, it still has throwbacks to its old open-air meat market days. Well, Chelsea Market isn’t exactly reminiscent of a 20th-century meat market — it has vendors that sell everything from pasta and sushi to kitchen appliances and homewares. But it is a bustling indoor market, and just above it is the High Line, a park built atop an elevated railway.

Both the market and this mile-long trail fit the artsy charm of this popular neighborhood you should definitely check out on your trip.

What are the best attractions in NYC for families?

New York City offers lots of family-friendly things to see and do. Here’s an overview of the best museums, parks, tours, and other attractions that will please everyone in the family.

Museums
Is there any other city on earth that has as many amazing museums as NYC? The Met might be the most famous — and with a skip-the-line tour you can get in quickly, which should please the impatient members of your family — but art lovers will also enjoy the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Brooklyn Museum that both always have programming for kids.

The most fun museum for families is arguably the American Museum of Natural History. Everyone’s minds will be blown by the massive collection of dinosaur fossils, the Hall of the Ocean with its 100-foot-long blue whale model, and any of the 3-D or IMAX screenings at the Hayden Planetarium.

Parks
From a boathouse to a zoo to a castle, Central Park has everything to entertain your family on a sunny NYC afternoon, but it’s not the city’s only greenspace.

Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to get out of Manhattan, and you’ll find Brooklyn Bridge Park right along the waterfront. Apart from spectacular views of Manhattan, younger members of your family will love riding Jane’s Carousel (a restored merry-go-round from the 1920s), playing basketball on one of the many courts, or running around the open fields. Brooklyn also has its own Central Park, only it’s called Prospect Park. It was conceived of by the same designers who created Manhattan’s version and includes similar attractions like a lake (the only one in Brooklyn) and a zoo, but it has an 18th-century farmhouse and 19th-century Italianate manor instead of a castle.

Tours
Kids will be amazed by the bright lights of Time Square and adults will enjoy the fascinating show biz stories they’ll hear on our Broadway and Times Square Insider Tour. Spend the day learning about immigration history and why the French gave us the Statue of Liberty on this educational tour.

For thrills and chills in the late afternoon, our Lower Manhattan Ghost Tour won’t disappoint. And if your family can never decide on what or where to eat, you might need this Essex Market Multicultural Food Tour as a compromise.

What are the best tours in New York City?

The best tours in NYC are the ones that help you experience it like a local. Well, maybe you won’t experience it quite like a New Yorker, but local tour guides can give you all the insights and tips to seeing the city like an insider, rather than an outsider.

With our Broadway and Time Square Insider Tour, for example, you’ll get to know the bright lights of a more touristy part of NYC from guides who are also professional actors and directors. That’s a perspective you won’t get on many other tours.

Here are some other insider tours for your NYC trip:

 

Another great way to see NYC is on foot, so these walking tours are a must:

 

Every first trip to NYC should include a stop at two of its most iconic landmarks: the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Our global award-winning tour gives you an all-inclusive visit to both.

When is the best time to visit NYC?

There are things to see and do in NYC all year round, but the best and most romanticized (by films) season to visit is fall. The temperatures are warm but not hot in the afternoon, chilly in the morning and at night. The foliage becomes a festive decoration for Halloween and Thanksgiving. What everyone wears also changes: You’ll notice people dressed in blazers and cardigans.

To get a perfect New York City Day where the sun is out, the sky is blue, and you can spend the whole day walking around outside, September is your month — it gives the city a fading summer energy that’s busy yet relaxing.

Where should I stay in New York City?

When picking an area to stay in NYC, you need to remember that this massive city is divided into five major boroughs:

  • The Bronx
  • Manhattan
  • Brooklyn
  • Queens
  • Staten Island

 

And each borough is made up of different neighborhoods, so it can be a lot to navigate!

For your first trip, it’s best to stay in Manhattan or Brooklyn to get the famous New York experience. Of course your budget and the vibe you’re looking for will ultimately determine where you choose to stay.

So, what are the top neighborhoods to stay in?

In Brooklyn, try DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) or its surrounding Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn neighborhoods if you want to stay a close subway ride away from Manhattan. This area is also close to the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge Park, which are great for photoshoots and watching sunsets. Bushwick is another great Brooklyn neighborhood to stay in. It’s known for its artsy and eclectic culture, so you’ll be surrounded by beautiful street art, fun bars, vintage shops, and more.

Midtown Manhattan is the most obvious neighborhood to stay in, considering it’s close to Central Park and other NYC highlights. It can be pricey, but there are so many hotels in the area that it’s possible to find some great bargains. But if you’re looking for a more affordable spot (affordable by New York standards), check out the Lower East Side. This diverse neighborhood is a prime location for shopping, eating, drinking, and live music, so you’ll be staying right in the middle of all the fun.

What are the best annual events in New York City?

NYC hosts the world’s most famous and little-known annual events, so it’s impossible to list them all. The most popular are associated with holidays, so check these out if you’ll be in the city these times of year:

  • The Village Halloween Parade is held every Oct. 31 in Greenwich Village, and it is a must for anyone who considers Halloween to be their favorite holiday. The main draw of the parade is the costumes, which range from scary to funny and even risqué.
  • Since 1924, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a touchstone of this American holiday. While most New Yorkers watch it on TV, it is impressive to see the giant balloons up close. Tip: Wear a heavy winter coat!
  • Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting kicks off the NYC holiday season with a night of musical acts. If you can’t make it to the actual ceremony, you can see the tree lit up from the first week of December through the first week of January.
  • The Hanukkah Menorah lightings of the world’s largest menorahs set up in Manhattan and Brooklyn happen every evening of the Hanukkah and is truly a beautiful sight: The Menorahs are 32 feet high and weigh 4,000 pounds.
  • Considered the biggest New Year’s Eve party in the country, the Time Square Countdown is one of the events most out-of-towners associate with NYC. It looks fun on TV, but keep in mind that you have to get to the barricaded area hours in advance, will be crammed in with over 1 million people, and won’t have easy access to a bathroom.
  • The Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade happens in late January or early February to celebrate Chinese New Year. This mesmerizing event includes amazing acrobats, dragon dances, and a huge fireworks display.
  • Every year on March 17, NYC’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade attracts thousands of spectators to watch the bagpipers, marching bands, and step dancers walk (or dance) down Fifth Avenue. Based on the crowd size, you’d think everyone in the city was Irish.

Apart from the holidays, each season in New York City marks the return of many fun and unique events.

Spring and summer

  • The Mets and Yankees season openers are good reasons to take a trip to Queens and the Bronx.
  • The National Puerto Rican Day Parade welcomes around 1.5 million people each year and features musical performances, floats, and appearances from Puerto Rican celebrities.
  • Quirky Coney Island hosts its own version of Mardi Gras with the annual Mermaid Parade, a colorful celebration that ends with the crowning of King Neptune and Queen Mermaid.

Fall and winter

  • For one week in September, Broadway Week offers 2-for-1 ticket deals on new and long-running shows.
  • The Feast of Saint Gennaro in Little Italy celebrates the patron saint of Naples with a week of parades and even a cannoli-eating contest.
  • Geeks and enthusiasts gather for Comic Con at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, usually dressed in costume.
  • Visit the holiday markets around the city starting in late October to drink hot chocolate, support local merchants, and get in the holiday spirit.

What food is unique to New York City?

A city of immigrants, New York City’s most iconic foods originate from every corner of the globe. When you travel to NYC for the first time (or even the fifth time), there are some dishes you can’t leave without eating. Here are our top picks:

  1. Pizza slice
    This should be folded and eaten while walking. We recommend Joe’s Pizza in Greenwich Village for a slice. Want to split a pie? Head to Lombardi’s.
  2. Bagel with cream cheese and lox
    Polish Jews are believed to have brought the bagel to NYC in the 19th century, and today it’s a quintessential New York cuisine. Best enjoyed with cream cheese, lox, capers, tomato, and red onion, which is also known as the “bagel brunch.” Get yours at Murray’s Bagels in Greenwich Village, or Russ & Daughters in various locations.
  3. Pastrami
    This brined sliced beef should be served between two slices of rye bread with spicy brown mustard. The only place to eat this classic is at an NYC institution like Katz’s Delicatessen in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
  4. Dim sum
    Head to Chinatown to experience this Chinese meal of small plates that usually consists of seafood, meat, and vegetable dumplings paired with other small dishes and tea. Where to get it? Nom Wah Tea is NYC’s oldest dim sum parlor.
  5. Street food
    We’re not just talking about hot dogs and soft pretzels. NYC street food includes almost every cuisine imaginable like Belgian waffles, tacos, dosas, and the Salty Pimp ice cream cone from Big Gay Ice Cream.

What are some hidden gems in NYC?

In 2017, the Charging Bull statue on Wall Street had an unlikely challenger: a bronze statue of a fierce little girl. The Fearless Girl, created by Kristen Visbal, is a 4-foot, 250-pound statue that depicts a small girl staring straight ahead with her hands on her hips. She’s no longer in front of the bull, but you can now find her at the New York Stock Exchange. Don’t leave without getting a picture!

Some of NYC’s best bars are hidden in the most unusual places, like The Campbell in Grand Central Terminal.That’s not all you’ll find hidden in Grand Central:

  • There’s a whispering gallery with arches that give the walkways on the lower floor amazing acoustics that pick up even the smallest whisper.
  • The Grand Central Oyster Bar has been around since 1913 and offers a large menu of oysters and other seafood.

Use our insider’s guide to find all the hidden gems of Grand Central Station.

Want to find more gems hidden inside some of NYC’s popular attractions? We’ve got you covered:

What should I do on my first trip to NYC?

Our itinerary for a first-time visitor includes everything from city walking tours to iconic foods you must try:

How much time should I spend in New York City?

You could spend a day in NYC if all you want to see are the highlights, and you can see a lot in two days if you’re strategic and make an itinerary of everything you want to visit.

In general, you’ll need at least three days to get a taste of Manhattan, but we recommend 5-7 days if you want to venture to other boroughs and get off the beaten tourist track.

What are the best transportation options in NYC?

During your stay in New York City, you might want to use the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to take a trip to the Hamptons, see a concert at the UBS Arena, or spend a day at Jones Beach State Park. From buying tickets to understanding peak and off-peak times, our guide helps with learning the LIRR so you can navigate this busy commuter train line like a local.

To get around the city, MTA subways and buses take you almost anywhere with your contactless payment method of choice. You can also grab a taxi or use an app-based service like Uber or Lyft.

If you want to see more of the city while traveling around, NYC offers ferries, bicycles, pedicabs, and a tram for when you don’t feel like walking.

Where is the best shopping in New York City?

Is your wallet ready for this? New York City is expensive, so we can’t promise you’ll stay within your budget, but you will find the best of whatever you’re looking for in these shopping districts:

  • Head to SoHo to find Prada, Chanel, and Coach, as well as more affordable brands like H&M and Victoria’s Secret.
  • Want to have breakfast at Tiffany & Co.? You’ll find the flagship stores for all your favorite designers on Fifth Avenue, NYC’s most famous shopping street.
  • Check out the one-of-a-kind boutiques on Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side to find everything from glamorous evening wear to stylish jewelry.
  • Canal Street is a must for bargain hunters. The markets here sell designer knock-offs of handbags, scarves, coats, and more. Test out your haggling skills, then grab a bite in Chinatown when you get hungry.
  • Rockefeller Center is great for gift store shopping if you’re looking for NBC merchandise.
  • Who isn’t drawn to the huge stores like Disney and M&M’s in Time Square? And don’t forget to get yourself an “I Heart NY” t-shirt.

NYC travel guides