Central Park with buildings in background
A bike tour is one of the best ways to take in as much of Central Park as you can.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

8 Tours That Will Let You Experience the Very Best of New York City

So Many Ways to Explore the Big Apple

Guided tours are a great way to experience a city like a local. You’ll be able to get an inside look, investigating places you probably would have missed otherwise. The tour guide will be able to tell you more about a city’s history, its people, and where they eat and play, than you’ll get out of any guide book or internet search.

New York City offers almost every kind of tour you can think of, just about guaranteeing something for every interest. So what’s on offer when it comes to New York City tours? Here’s what we’d recommend checking out for an incredible Big Apple experience.

Central Park Bike Tours

Central Park Bike Tours are one of the most popular options for exploring Manhattan’s most famous park. You’ll cover much more of its 843 acres of meandering pathways, meadows, woods, ponds and numerous attractions than you ever could on foot.

While there are many different options, a small group bike tour packs a punch in a two-hour excursion, offering the chance to pedal to highlights like Strawberry Fields, the Bethesda Fountain, the Jackie Kennedy Reservoir and Cleopatra’s Needle.

You’ll see historic architecture, filming sites from some of your favorite movies and television shows, gardens, hidden waterfalls, and much more, all while learning about the city’s most popular green space along the way.

For those looking to visit NYC on a budget, there are also free guided walking tours of Central Park covering various  themes that are a good alternative to bike tours.

New York PizzaNYC is home to some of the best pizza in the world. Take a tour that will have you sampling the best of the best!Photo Credit: Getty Images

Pizza Walking Tour of Manhattan

You can’t leave New York without having sampled its fantastic pizza, and true pizza connoisseurs really need to put a pizza walking tour on their must-experience list. This is your chance to get a taste of the city’s, and some say the entire nation’s, very best. Every local has a favorite spot, including your tour guide.

You’ll be able to choose from the Lower East Side, Little Italy or Greenwich Village, feasting on delicious slices fresh from the oven. Depending on which route you pick, expect to experience some of the most beloved, famous local institutions such as John’s of Bleecker Street, Patsy’s Pizzeria and Joe’s Pizza.

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Statue of Liberty and Ellis IslandTake the ferry out to Ellis Island for spectacular views of the Statue itself and take in the city skyline from the top.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour

No trip to the Big Apple is complete without visiting the iconic Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. For millions of immigrants, the towering statue was their very first glimpse of America. A four-and-a-half-hour tour starts with the ferry ride from Battery Park to the Statue of Liberty, providing a sense of wonder as you approach, before you climb to the observation deck where you can take in spectacular views of the skyline.

The adjacent Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration tells the story of the island and immigration from the colonial era through today via multiple galleries with artifacts, taped oral histories and photos. It’s as if you’re following in the footsteps of all those who came through, while learning about their journey to a new life.

You can also search the database that contains a repository of over 22 million passenger records for those who arrived into the Port of New York between 1892 and 1924 to see if your ancestor was one of them.

For an even more amazing view of the island and statue, splurge on a NYC helicopter tour — most include Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty as part of the itinerary.

The Metropolitan Museum of ArtThe Empty Met Tour will give to before-hours access to the museum so you can have the amazing displays all to yourself.Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Empty Met Tour

The Met, or Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the largest museum in the western hemisphere, boasting a collection of more than 2 million works which span the entire globe from antiquity to the present. As such, it also tends to draw millions of visitors every year.

For the opportunity to take in all its masterpieces in a more tranquil, uninterrupted atmosphere, take the Empty Met Tour, an exclusive excursion that give you access to the Fifth Avenue location before opening time. It’s a rare, behind-the-scenes look at some of the most impressive works in the world.

You’ll stand in silence and awe in front of the remarkable circa 23-10 BC Temple of Dendur in the Egyptian collection, and view pieces by greats like Rembrandt, Botticelli, Vemir, Rodin and more, without having to battle the crowds just to get a glimpse.

Wall Street, New York CityGet an in-depth look at the city's Financial District.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Wall Street Insider Tour

If you’re fascinated with Wall Street, you can get an in-depth look at the city’s renowned Financial District by taking the Wall Street Insider Tour. The 75-minute walking tour guided by former Wall Street professionals showcases four centuries of history that led to Wall Street’s creation, from a small Dutch trading post to the current market.

It passes Goldman Sachs, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Building, the Deutsche Bank and the New York Stock Exchange, while providing participants with interesting tidbits in an entertaining way.

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Learning about the city's architecture is a great way to learn more about the history of the area.Photo Credit: Getty Images

New York City Architecture Walking Tour

Architecture enthusiasts can take in some of the most iconic architectural landmarks on 42nd Street in Manhattan on this three-hour tour of Midtown. It features Grand Central Terminal, the Chrysler Building, Times Square and Tudor City.

You’ll get to stroll this storied route with a local expert who will point out some of the best examples of Beaux Arts, Art Deco and International-style architecture while learning how each one ties into New York City’s history.

New York street artTake a look at another side of art while you are in the city.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Alternative New York Street Art Tour

While The Met is a must for any art lover, there’s much more to this city than those world famous paintings, sculptures and other pieces exhibited there and in its other world-class museums. New York City is often said to have given birth to the street art craze, and is at the forefront of it today.

This tour will take you to see some of its most impressive murals and outdoor artworks with a Williamsburg, Bushwick or Lower East Side Tour.

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New York City Bus ToursHop on, hop off bus tours are a convenient ways to see the popular sights.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hop On, Hop Off NYC Bus Tour

New York City bus tours are another great way to see the sights. Big Bus Tours offers hop on, hop off tours which bring passengers to famous spots like the Empire State Building, Times Square and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Not only are buses a convenient way to get around, allowing you to hop off and on whenever you like, commentary is included so you can learn more about the history of the places that you’re seeing.

Choose from the Classic one-day ticket that explores the Uptown and Downtown loops, the Premium two-day ticket that adds the option to take the Brooklyn, Harlem or Discover NYC by Night tours, and the Deluxe two-day ticket that includes all of the above plus a one-hour harbor cruise.

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