New York is an ideal city to walk around, enjoying its corners, but many times we do not have enough time or we want a local guide to show us the main points, that’s why they invented the tours or excursions in New York and here we are going to put the ones that, for us, are the best in New York..
It is the most famous tour in New York, and where you can see some spots away from the center of Manhattan that you might not go on your trip otherwise.
The tour covers 4 of the 5 boroughs of New York: Manhattan, from where we start, Bronx, Queens and ends in Brooklyn, only Staten Island is not visited, for that we suggest you to use the Staten Island ferry.
On the tour we will stop in some curious areas: Harlem, the Joker stairs or the graffiti in the Bronx or Queens, the Jewish neighborhood of Williamsburg and we will finish at the Brooklyn Bridge or Chinatown, depending on the tour you choose.
The Contrasts tour takes place several times a week and is guided in English or Spanish.
In any case, a quick tour, which will take about 5 hours, a full morning of your stay in the city, and that will allow you to discover the farthest neighborhoods of Manhattan and some curiosities of the city.
Is this an excursion you can do on your own? Yes, certainly, but it will take you much more than a morning.
At the end, it is certainly the time to visit Brooklyn, DUMBO and cross the Brooklyn Bridge, if we are not too tired, to go back to Manhattan.
Tour of Upper and Lower Manhattan
The tour of Upper and Lower Manhattan is ideal for the first day of your stay in New York, in one morning, the tour lasts 4 hours, you will see all the main and most famous sites of Manhattan, and you choose the places you want to know more in depth. The tour starts by showing us Central Park and the Morningside Heights neighborhood, and then, after passing by Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Center, we will go to discover SoHo, Chinatown and Little Italy.
Is this a tour you can do on your own? Yes, if you have time, I recommend three of our routes that will show you all these corners, although it will take you between one and a half and two days to do these three routes.
Central Park tour
If you are short on time, you may be interested in a Central Park bike tour, 2 hours long, in which you will be shown the main sites of the park, where some of the movies were filmed and you will be told the history and facts of the park..
Free tours in New York City
Before we begin to talk about them, I want to tell you how these tours work so that you don’t have any problems. These tours are walking tours and are free, that is, when you book your place you are not charged, but you are required to tip the guide who accompanies you during your visit. How much do they expect you to tip? Well, it depends on whether or not you liked the tour very much, but the minimum is that you give $5-10 per person, and if you liked it very much you give $20 or more per person. Keep in mind that the guide does not have a salary, so he only earns what the members of the group give him, so if you have questions ask him and he will be happy to answer you, and if he is good be generous with him.
Can these tours be done on your own? Certainly, you have available in our guidebook a few routes that are similar to these tours in some parts, but going with a guide who speaks your language, who knows the area, tells stories and curiosities and shows you the main points of interest is something that I particularly like to do the first days of my trip to focus on the city, and that I usually do in all destinations where I travel and they offer me this possibility.
And once that’s said, let’s see which are my favorite free tours in English in New York City.:
Free walking tour of New York
This tour is ideal for discovering the Financial District: Wall Street, the 9/11 Memorial, the World Trade Center or the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park are some of the things you will visit on this tour.
Private tour of New York
If what you want is a private tour of New York, exclusively for your group, you can also hire it and choose between the different options offered, which mainly match the options we have recommended above. The price of these private tours depends on the number of people in your group and the duration in hours of your tour, mainly, and if you have the energy you also have the option to do it by bike.
These are, definitely, another type of excursions, more spectacular, but much more expensive. Taking a helicopter tour seeing the city from the air is something you will never forget, but it is not suitable for all budgets, and you can also take this tour by night.
Helicopter tours usually depart from the heliport located right in front of the Statue of Liberty, near Battery Park and the Staten Island Ferry station, and depending on the price you pay you will spend more or less time in the air and your tour will be more or less extensive around the city, but generally all these tours at least go from the Statue of Liberty to Central Park.
However, you have to keep in mind one thing: generally you will not be able to choose your location inside the helicopter, it is established by your weight so that the helicopter is compensated, so you can be very lucky and go sitting next to the pilot, or behind in the middle between two people, you will not know until you are just going to get on it.
Other excursions outside New York
Three one or two-day excursions outside the city are also very popular: Visit to Washington DC, the nation’s capital, Visit to Boston and Visit to Niagara, and its famous falls by plane, the most comfortable and recommended, or by bus, much more exhausting as it is about 8-9 hours each way..
In these tours, you will be picked up very early in the morning and by bus in about 4-5 hours you will be at your destination (8-9 hours for Niagara, if you go by bus, a couple of hours if you go by plane), there you will be shown the main sites of the destination quickly, but you can not recreate in those sites that you consider best, because it is a fully guided tour and with a tight schedule.
If you’ve been to New York a few times already, you may be interested in a trip to the Hamptons, coastal towns near the city, where you can see some of the mansions where celebrities spend their summers and enjoy a walk along the Atlantic coast.
Is this an tour you can do on your own? Yes, certainly, but you must have enough time in your trip to visit these cities. I recommend that if you go on your own, you should at least sleep one day in the destination, so you can also see the place at night and not get a great stress.