Best Tours For A First Visit To New York City

Some experiences are best enjoyed when accompanied with a story like history of New York City tours. Sometimes walking can be a lot, and you may want to sit back and enjoy a bus tour of New York City. We’ve selected the best tours of New York City and made it easy for you to browse.

April 22, 2023

Best Tours For A First Visit To New York City

Your visit to New York City is going to be amazing! There’s a lot to do while you’re here. Theater, sports, restaurants, attractions, art, music, history and so much more. No matter what draws you here, there’s something for everyone in this city. Some experiences are best enjoyed when accompanied with a story like history of New York City tours. Sometimes walking can be a lot, and you may want to sit back and enjoy a bus tour of New York City. During the summer boat tours around New York City are very popular as the perfect way to stay cool and take in the NYC skyline. 

We’ve selected the best tours of New York City and made it easy for you to browse. We know finding the right tour for you will depend on your interest, the amount of time you have, the number of people you’re traveling with and what you’ve planned during your trip. To get a specific recommendation for your travel style, request a tailored plan. Our team builds tailored plans for travelers based on the activities they love most. Tell us your must-see attractions, favorite foods, and the number of days you’re in New York City, and our team will build a hand-crafted plan that matches your profile.

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Historic Manhattan Tour  by Urban Crawls

Urban Crawls has 10+ years of tour-giving experience in NYC. Their tours are great for visitors who want to see a variety of the city’s most hidden gems with an expert to guide them. Along with their more in-depth 5 hour tours, Urban Crawls now offers a shorter tour that will help you explore the Financial District in a 2 hour block. On this tour you’ll visit some of the most iconic places in the Financial District including the 9/11 Memorial, the Oculus, the NY Stock Exchange, Wall Street, the Charging Bull, Stone Street, and much more. The tour’s 2 hours run time makes it an easy and productive addition to your day during a visit to downtown Manhattan.

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

The popular hop-on hop-off option that condenses sightseeing in New York City, making it easy for travelers who find map-reading and subway-taking challenging. With thirty landmarks covered in one trip, the tour is aided by a live tour guide who provides commentary on famous points of interest. The tour offers routes in downtown, uptown, Harlem, and Brooklyn, providing easy access to Wall Street’s Charging Bull statue and Central Park. Travelers can hop off wherever they want, making it an ideal option for those who want to see as much or as little of the city in one day without worrying about maps or expensive Uber fares.

Highlights of Central Park Bike Tour

If you want to see more of Central Park in less time, try a leisurely bike tour. Unlimited Biking provides licensed tour guides who will take you on a 2-hour tour of the park, stopping at famous landmarks like the Bethesda Fountain, Sheep Meadow and John Lennon Memorial at Strawberry Fields, as well as lesser-known spots you might not even think to visit. You'll also get to see where some of the most famous scenes in movies and TV shows were shot in the park. Unlimited Biking provides all the necessary equipment, so all you have to do is show up and enjoy the ride.

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Luxury New York Sightseeing Dinner Cruise

Indulge in the ultimate luxury sightseeing experience with the New York Sightseeing Dinner Cruise. The Bateaux New York, a European-inspired, all-glass dining vessel, provides a private table and live entertainment by an onboard pianist while cruising through New York Harbor. Enjoy a 180-degree sightseeing experience with breathtaking views of the NYC skyline and famous landmarks such as the Freedom Tower, Empire State Building, Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges while sailing along the Hudson and East rivers. The boat boards from Chelsea Piers, making it a great way to end a day in West Midtown.

The Beast Speedboat Tour

If you're looking for an adrenaline-packed activity in New York City, the Beast should be at the top of your list. This powerboat is designed for speed and excitement, making it the perfect option for thrill-seekers. As you cruise through New York Harbor, you'll feel the wind in your hair (and the water on your face), as well as see the Statue of Liberty and the city's legendary skyline.

Circle Line Landmarks Cruise Boat Tour

Experience the Circle Line Landmarks Cruise Boat Tour and embark on a relaxing and informative journey around Manhattan Island, where you will be able to discover the city's secrets while enjoying the stunning views of New York Harbor. You will have the opportunity to pass through three rivers and seven major bridges, including the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, while also taking in more than 101 sights of New York's legendary skyline. Hop aboard this cruise and get ready to learn a whole lot about the city's history and culture in just under 3 hours.

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Brooklyn, Bushwick Street Art Walking Tour

Join a guided walking tour in Bushwick, Brooklyn, to explore the colorful and imaginative street art scene that has been taking the world by storm. See works by talented and globally recognized artists as you learn about the history and significance of street art in the area. Whether you're a passionate art enthusiast or simply looking for a unique and fascinating way to explore the city, this tour is the perfect opportunity to experience the best of New York's street art scene.

Manhattan Island Helicopter Tour

For an unforgettable first-time tour of New York City, consider taking a helicopter ride that will take you soaring over some of the most famous landmarks in the city. You'll start your journey at the Downtown Heliport and descend over lower Manhattan, providing a fantastic opportunity to see the city's bustling streets and skyline from above. As you glide over Battery Park, take a glimpse at Wall Street's intricate network of streets and then head over to the lush Governor's Island. Finally, you'll fly over Ellis Island and get a breathtaking, up close and personal view of Lady Liberty.

Private Central Park Horse Carriage Ride

Looking for a relaxed and scenic way to explore Central Park? Consider a horse-drawn carriage ride that offers an unforgettable experience. Perfect for a romantic date or a family outing, you'll enjoy a luxurious ride with plush seating and an experienced coachman. As you traverse through the park, you'll see the famous Angel of the Waters sculpture, the John Lennon Memorial at Strawberry Fields, the English lawn bowling court, and the iconic Tavern on the Green restaurant.

NYC Ground Zero 9/11 Memorial Tours

For a meaningful and educational experience in NYC, take a walking tour through the former site of the World Trade Center with knowledgeable guides who have personal connections to 9/11. Pay your respects at the 9/11 Memorial and take in the solemn atmosphere at St. Paul's Chapel, which served as a rescue center during the tragedy. This tour is a must-see for those who wish to learn about and honor the lives lost on one of the darkest days in modern history.

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Rockefeller Center Tour

Embark on a live, guided tour with an expert historian who will take you on a journey through Rockefeller Center's most iconic buildings, gardens, and spaces. Learn about the history and architecture of this historic landmark, and make sure to stop by the Associated Press Building, where the TODAY Show is filmed. As you stroll through the center, take in the stunning views and appreciate the unique blend of art, culture, and entertainment that Rockefeller Center has to offer.

Superheroes of NYC Guided Walking Tour

On this 2-hour guided walking tour, you'll get a unique and enlightening view into the comic book industry and the city and superheroes that make it extraordinary. You'll visit the site where Christopher Reeve first flew as Superman, learn where Batman was saved from being canceled, and see where The Avengers left a keepsake for the city of New York. Your tour begins in front of the Headquarters of the United Nations and takes you down 42nd Street, where you'll see the Green Goblin's apartment, go inside the Daily News building, and stop at a bar where some of the greatest comic book artists used to hang out.

3 Neighborhoods Tour: Soho, Chinatown & Little Italy

Embark on the 3 Neighborhoods Tour to explore three distinct and fascinating neighborhoods in Manhattan that may be difficult to cover in just one day. Begin in chic and trendy Soho and discover how it became one of the most expensive places to live in Manhattan. Take a leisurely stroll through the heart of Soho to see its upscale bakeries, boutiques, and restaurants, and admire the unique and stunning architecture along Greene Street, including the E. V. Haughwout Building and the Old Police Station. The tour also takes you through Chinatown and Little Italy, where you can explore the rich history and culture with an experienced guide to help you along the way.

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island First Tour of the Day

Experience the best of New York City's history and landmarks with an early morning tour of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Be the first of the day to board the ferry and enjoy exclusive access to the monuments and museums, including the Statue of Liberty Museum and Ellis Island. Take in stunning views of the city skyline and Lower Manhattan from Liberty Island, and avoid the crowds with an early morning departure to Ellis Island. This is a great (and rare) opportunity to discover the rich history and culture of two of the city's most iconic landmarks in a peaceful and serene atmosphere.

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After building hundreds of plans for visitors we know everyone wants something different. Our team builds tailored plans for travelers visiting New York City. We’ve built a wide range of plans for people around the world visiting for family trips, anniversaries, birthdays, solo and business travelers. Each plan is built following a 3-step process and customized based on your requests to be sure it matches your travel style. 

Step 1: Bucket your must-see attractions 

Step 2: Add in restaurants, rooftops & other hidden gems 

Step 3: Create a custom map and provide transportation tips, so you know the best way to navigate the city. 

Click here to have our team tailor your New York trip itinerary today or check out a few of our sample plans here.

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