There’s so much to see in New York City that it’s tough to pick what to see. Pick up a tourist brochure and it will be loaded. There are so many unique neighborhoods, hundreds of cultural attractions, bunches of historical sites, and a good mix of plain old-fashioned tourist traps. Here’s my short list of one day guided tours that will make the most of your time.
I call this the icon tour. You get to see the top three NYC icons and the heart of the city. Start the day by meeting your guide at St. Peter’s Church just a short walk to the site of the 9/11 Memorial. See the two reflecting pools at the base of the Twin Towers that make the Reflecting Absence Memorial. Take a few moments to pay your respects to the victims and heroes.
Then head over to Wall Street. Visit the Charging Bull statue, the mascot of Wall Street and the Fearless Girl staring him down. Your tour guide will be with you all the way, pointing out the highlights, history, and some amusing anecdotes along the way.
Next up is a short walk to pick up the New York Water Taxi. You’re walking through the heart of New York City so there’s plenty to learn and see along the way. The Water Taxi will swing by Lady Liberty, the famous Statue of Liberty. Get plenty of pictures, the view from the water is fantastic. Then on to a panoramic view of the Brooklyn Bridge. Ask your tour guide about the bridge being for sale, it’s a history story of one of the most famous cons of all time.
Follow your guide on a shuttle to Times Square for lunch. Everyone has seen the square on TV or in the movies. Here’s your chance to feel the vibrancy. You’ll understand why Times Square is called Crossroads of the World. Leaving Times Square, follow your guide to the Rockefeller Center, St Patrick’s Cathedral and the Grand Central Terminal, picking up their history along the way. Continue past Radio City Music Hall, take a couple more pictures, then on to the famous 5th Avenue and the Diamond District.
Your tour ends at the Empire State Building. Bypass the long lines with special reserved tickets. Spend as much time as you like taking in the magnificent 360° view from the observation floor.
Total time for this tour is 8 1/9 to 9 hours. It’s a full day of learning about and enjoying the best of New York Cities iconic attractions. Availability and pricing for this tour are available here.
Want an unusual look at the city? Here’s a great idea. Join a retired NYC Cop on a 3-hour walk of the NYC crime beat. New York City housed some of the most famous swindlers, cons, and gangsters in history. The neighborhoods are much nicer today than they were in the day, and it makes for an interesting walk. And expect your guide to add in a few personal tales of their experiences in the city.
Start on the Lower East Side where Irish immigrants had to live in subhuman conditions. And check out the “Five Points”, considered the center of the cities biggest slum. It was so notorious in its day that even Charles Dickens came to see it.
Walk on through Little Italy and Chinatown, both historical homes of gang wars and crimes. Learn about some of the cities most notorious criminals: Captain Kidd, Boss Tweed, John Gotti, and Leona Helmsley, along with the equally famous but fictional Soprano family. Want to learn more about the Sopranos? There’s a separate On Location Tours Featuring Sopranos Sites to the New Jersey neighborhoods where the show is based.
It’s a great 3-hour walk. Tours are available in small groups only so reserve early. Click here for more information.
Want to see the homes of your favorite TV shows and movies? Then this is the tour for you.
Start with a short walk around the neighborhood with your tour guide. You’ll see Radio City Music Hall, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, and more that you’ll recognize from Friends, Sex and the City, Seinfeld, and Wolf of Wall Street, and others.
Then go behind the scenes at NBC studios in Rockefeller Center. You’ll see a couple of their most famous studios. Depending on the time and taping schedule, they might include the Saturday Night Live, the Late Show, or the Tonight Show sets. After viewing the sets, it’s on to the video and audio control center. See how they monitor everything and how the techs put together a program.
Learn well at the control center, because you’re going to put on your own talk show. Everyone gets a part, be a cameraman, host, or interviewee. They’ll email a copy of your show to you afterward for a keepsake.
Total tour time is 3 1/2 hours. Book early as tours are limited to 12 or less. Click here for information.