Visitors to New York City often enjoy including a guided tour in their itinerary, but it can be overwhelming to find the best ones with so many available. From visitors who have never been here to those who come every year, from outdoor enthusiasts to marathon shoppers, there is a great tour for everyone. Check out this list of my favorite New York City tours.
Circle Line's two hour cruise travels from 42nd Street on the West Side to 42nd Street on the East Side and back, offering great views of midtown and lower Manhattan and interesting information about New York City from the tour guide. I think this is a great tour to begin your trip to New York City -- it offers a great overview of New York City and is great for visitors of all ages. If you want to go all the way around Manhattan check out their 3-Hour Full Island Cruise
Circle Line Pictures
Some of the best things in New York City are
free -- including this informative walking tour of Grand Central and the surrounding neighborhood offered on Fridays. Justin Ferate is an engaging, enthusiastic tour guide who has tons of knowledge to share and reveals many secrets and nuances about Grand Central Terminal
and the neighborhood. (Just because this tour is free, don't be cheap -- remember to tip your guide!)
Want to explore New York City beyond the typical tourist attractions? Bike the Big Apple's bike tours make it easy to explore diverse New York City neighborhoods with knowledgeable guides, and get to know New York City from a local point of view. The tours are fairly rigorous, so you should be in good shape, bring some water, and be prepared for a chock-full day. They can accommodate children as well, so this is a great choice for families traveling together.
The Rockefeller Center Tour takes visitors on a one hour walking tour around the many buildings that make up Rockefeller Center. The Rockefeller Center Tour is geared toward adults interested particularly in the artistic and architectural history of Rockefeller Center.
For the serious shopper, Shop Gotham offers just the right New York City tour. Shop Gotham's knowledgeable guides will lead you through the Garment District to visit sample sales and wholesale vendors on a three hour walking tour. Leave the husbands (and non-shoppers) at home -- this tour is only for the committed marathon shopper.
For a look at New York City's many gourmet offerings, check out Savory Soujourns' series of tours. Addie Tomei's tours each focus on a separate New York neighborhood and reveal its hidden gems, in addition to friendly, warm tour guides, these tours feature delicious food and personalized experiences because of the small groups.
If you would prefer to avoid the groups, but still enjoy the experience of having someone tell you about a place, the Talking Streets tours may be just what you're after. With just your cell phone and a map, you can take their self-guided tours, each covering a different area, including the Lower East Side and Lower Manhattan.