…so many FREE great NYC Tours
New York walking tours are offered free by almost every neighborhood organization in Manhattan. You don’t hear of them from far away or find them easily on the internet because, like all good things in NYC, they are not advertised and no one profits from them. They are usually run by volunteers, donations and non-profit organizations, that don’t spend their money on advertising.
Wouldn’t it be nice to see NYC with a volunteer New York Walking Tour Guide, who is so passionate about NYC, they offer to host FREE New York City Walking Tours?
Note: When I first published this page, in 2009, there were actually dozens of free walking tours around NYC. Now, many of them have moved to either a paid model or free downloadable self guided tours and apps. I’ve tried to cover all the tour options here as they’ve changed.
NYC by Foot – FREE Walking Tours of New York City
Free Tours by Foot offers tours through Central Park, Lower Manhattan, Greenwich Village, Midtown and most every other area and neighborhood in NYC. Their guides are all licensed in NYC, are passionate about NYC and work just for tips! With about 2-4 tours around the City daily, what’s not to love about NYC by Foot?
NYC Discount Passes and Walking Tours
Here is a side by side comparison of which New York walking tours are available with the NYC Discount Passes.
NY Explorer Pass
Choose Your Tours
- All Around Town Tour
- Gossip Girl Tour
- Hop on Hop off Bus Tour
- Liberty Helicopters Tour
- Multilingual City Tour
- NBC Studio Tour
- Night Bus Tour by City Sights
- NY TV Movie and Sites Tour
- Radio City Music Hall Tour
- Rockefeller Center Tour
- Sex and and the City Tour
- United Nations Tour
New York Pass
Includes over 20 NYC Tours
- Carnegie Hall Tour
- Food on Foot Tours
- Grand Central Terminal Audio Tour
- Greenwich Village Walking Tour
- Madison Square Garden Tour
- Musical Walking Tour
- NBC Studio Tour
- Central Park TV & Movie Sites Tour
- UPTOWN New York TV & Movie Sites
- Radio City Music Hall Tour
- Rockefeller Center Tour
- Lincoln Center Tour
- Lower Manhattan Walking Tour
Big Apple Greeter is a non-profit organization matching visitors with friendly and enthusiastic New Yorkers who are happy to share the city they love. A wonderful experience for families, friends and individuals traveling solo, Greeters help travelers feel welcome and get more from their stay in the Big Apple.
Big Apple Greeter’s services are FREE, and there is a NO TIPPING POLICY. Choose your New York Tours and have a local show you around NYC for Free!
Central Park – Free New York Walking Tours
You can print multiple self-guided tours or download audio tours and/or download their free Central Park app. Another option is to choose from over 10 different inexpensive tours all year round, such as Art of the Park, Belvedere’s Kingdom and Iconic Views of Central Park. More Info: www.centralparknyc.org/tours
For FREE guided walking tours of Central Park, you’ll want to check these FREE Central Park Tours.
Wall Street Free New York Walking Tours
Sponsored by the Downtown Alliance, the free self-guided (download audio and print map) walking tour weaves together history, events, architecture and people of Downtown – the birthplace of New York, the financial capital of the world, and the hottest new neighborhood in the city. Stops include City Hall, the Brooklyn Bridge, WTC Site, Woolworth Building, U.S. Custom House, Trinity Church, Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange and other architectural and cultural sites. See the Downtown Alliance for more information.
Also check out Wall Street Walks Walking Tour (paid tour)
While not guided, these New York walking tours are printable and Podcast downloadable walking tours of Downtown NYC (the Financial District), created by the The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting to highlight the history of film and television locations in New York City. The tours are narrated by some of the City’s most notable figures in entertainment and famous Hollywood Celebrities. Each tour is about an hour and they are designed to link together, so they can be enjoyed separately or in sequence.
Highlights include famous film spots for Ghostbusters, The Godfather, Saturday Night Live, Law & Order, Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie’s Choice, Annie Hall, Mo Better Blues, City Hall, Spin City, Wall Street, Desperately Seeking Susan, Working Girl, Men in Black and Twelve Angry Men. So wind your way around lower Manhattan and visit the Ghostbusters firehouse or stop for a Cosmopolitan at Odeon, inventors of the the cocktail made famous by the women of Sex and the City.
Even if you don’t download the Podcast, you can print their walking tours with detailed descriptions and numbered sights off their web site.
You can easily add this New York City Tour to your free New York walking tour of Wall Street and cover Ground Zero, Century 21 shopping, see Lady Liberty (take the free Staten Island Ferry for up close view).
Lower East Side Free New York Walking Tour
The “LES” is one of the coolest neighborhoods in Manhattan – with a million little restaurants, shops with upcoming designers and a ton of interesting NYC history, going back to all of our grandparents and great-grandparents when they first settled here. Plus, it is bargain central!
Because the LES is downtown, the streets zig zag and it might be hard to navigate. But it is totally worth it! Take the free weekly 3 hour guided tour, sponsored by the Lower East Side Business Improvement District. If you can’t make one of the live New York Tours, download their FREE PodTour and guided walking map for and do it yourself! Sundays at 11 a.m. (April – December)
Greenwich Village Free New York Walking Tour
Discover Greenwich Village history and gossip that even New York’s cognoscenti don’t know with our FREE WALKING TOURS. All year round, you can choose from a number of self guided tours, like Foodie, Kids, As-Seen-on-TV, architectural and more. From June through September, they run free guided Greenwich Village walking tours on Saturdays at 11:30am (90 minutes).
Check out the Village Alliance Information Booth located at the Ruth Wittenberg Triangle on 6th Avenue, between West 9th St. & Greenwich Avenue or at www.villagealliance.org
Seasonal Guided Walking Tour: Meets at the NW corner of Second Avenue and St. Marks Place in front of Chase Bank. Coming by subway, take the N or the R to the 8th Street station or the #6 Train to Astor Place & walk one block east to Second Avenue.
Union Square: Crossroads of New York Tours
Union Square Partnership and Big Onion Walking Tours team together to bring you a free 90-minute walking tour. You’ll hear how Union Square got its name, see where the legendary Tiffany & Co. once stood, and learn how to read the clock (yes, it’s a clock!) on “The Metronome” sculpture and so much more! The tour explores the social and political history of the Union Square neighborhood through discussions of the people, history, architecture, and forces that have shaped this community.
Every Saturday at 2pm. Meet in front of the Lincoln Statue in Union Square Park’s South Plaza. Reservations are not required for individuals, but are required for groups. For more information about Union Square: Crossroads of New York walking tour, please call (212) 517-1826.
New York Public Library Free Tour
Docent-led tours are an excellent way to see highlights of The New York Public Library main building on Fifth Avenue at 42nd St . The Library offers tours of the building as well as exhibitions. Remember, when I told you on my fun facts page the Lions guarding the Library are named Patience and Fortitude? Find out why, along with tons of other interesting facts about New York…for free.
Grand Central Terminal and surrounding buildings
Join The Grand Tour and learn the secrets of the Whispering Gallery in Grand Central Terminal; gaze upon the hubcaps and the roadsters on the side of the Chrysler Building; discover the favorite Midtown Manhattan hangout of Mercury, Hercules, and Minerva; learn why Pershing Square isn’t really square; circle the globe in a matter of seconds, like Superman; or visit the original Lincoln Memorial by Daniel Chester French. Experience familiar landmarks like Grand Central Terminal (which I listed as a top attraction), the Chrysler Building, and the News Building.
The Grand Tour meets each and every Friday at 12:30 pm in the sculpture court at 120 Park Avenue, located at the southwest corner of East 42nd Street and Park Avenue directly across from Grand Central Terminal. No reservations are necessary.
NYC Insider Print Map and Guide to Manhattan
Download over 100 pages of NYC maps, information and recommendations in less than 5 minutes! Our NYC Insider Printable Map Guide Book includes organized, easy to follow, color coded guides to NYC, detailed maps of every neighborhood, weekly chart of Free Museum Days and Times and free weekly neighborhood tours, Best of NYC Categories and lists by ALL native New Yorkers and much more.
The New York City Travel Guide is your NYC PRE VACATION Guide, sort of like, “New York City 101.” This book is an overview of NYC to help you PLAN your trip so you make the absolute MOST of your time and money here. Think of this book as the guide to answer all the most commonly asked questions and avoid the most common NYC Vacation and Trip Planning mistakes.
The NYC Map Printable Bonus Guide is a 14 page downloadable Bonus Guide, compiled of the best free, downloadable local neighborhood maps with stores and shops block by block put together by our local NYC neighborhood associations; all formatted and ready for you to print.
Also check out tours of Times Square: http://timessquarenyc.org/visitor-tips/walking-tours/index.aspx