These walking tours will show you the best sides of New York City

With a bevy of diverse neighborhoods residing in its five bustling boroughs, New York is one of the finest walking cities in the world.

Wherever groups find themselves, be it Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx or Staten Island, the city’s sights and sounds are as intoxicating as any location on the planet. Here are some of New York’s more popular walking tour options that will best help you explore the Big Apple.

Big Onion Walking Tours

ig Onion Walking Tours Since its formation in 1991, Big Onion Walking Tours has led groups on tours through New York’s neighborhoods and historic districts. Big Onion offers more than 30 tours in 20 different NYC neighborhoods with some of its more beloved outings including a walking expedition across the Brooklyn Bridge, a look at the history and architecture of Harlem and a multi-ethnic eating tour that combines the history of the Lower East Side with food samplings from shops and markets. All tours, which last around two hours and cover between one and two miles, are guided.

Flushing Town Hall’s Jazz Trail

Queens calls itself the home of jazz thanks to the hundreds of top jazz performers who have lived there over the years. This monthly three-hour tour canvasses the neighborhoods, clubs and museums of Queens’ jazz legends, including a visit to the Louis Armstrong House.

Foods of New York Tours

For 20 years, this tour has taken groups across the city and kept them well-fed while doing so. Guests can choose from six different food adventures in New York’s most historic neighborhoods, including Greenwich Village, Chinatown and Chelsea. These tours generally run three hours, with the Best of Brooklyn outing topping out at 4.5 hours.

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Gargoyles of Gramercy Park Walking Tour

It’s no surprise a city so rich in history is flush with gargoyles looking down on its denizens. This one-hour tour makes nine stops in Manhattan and features detailed information about the gargoyles and the neighborhoods they reside in. While tour host Alfred Pommer recommends you bring binoculars, he supplements the walk with photographs of the distant gargoyles to ensure you get a close-up view of the garish creatures.

West Village in Manhattan is home to quaint streets which are perfect for walking.

Greenwich Village Literary Walking Tour and Pub Crawl

Literary sorts and liquor lovers will appreciate this tour that has been educating and entertaining guests since 1998. Local actors provide tourgoers with pints from venerable Greenwich Village establishments while regaling them with stories, poems and prose that make NYC the epicenter of American literature. These tours tend to run three hours, so pace yourself with the drinking, lest you wind up in a drunken stupor that would make more than a few authors proud. 

Harlem, Your Way!

Guests can learn about Harlem’s rich history through tours customized for both groups and individuals. Harlem, Your Way! outings take visitors to legendary sites like the Apollo Theater as well as to jazz and cabaret clubs, gothic cathedrals and uptown and downtown tours of New York City. On Sunday, the Gospel Tour invites guests to visit a musicfilled service at a neighborhood church.

Manhattan to Brooklyn NYC Walking Tour

Those seeking to soak in the majestic Manhattan skyline can embark on this tour that crosses the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn. This 45-minute outing enables guests to learn about the city’s history and cultural significance from a guide while taking in such views as the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island. When your group arrives in Brooklyn, you’ll visit art galleries and chocolate shops in Brooklyn’s famous DUMBO neighborhood.

Street Art Tour of Bushwick

Brooklyn has long been known as a street art haven and one of its most popular street art displays is the Bushwick Collective, located in the city’s Bushwick neighborhood. This collection of street art and graffiti stretches across several blocks of industrial buildings and attracts a variety of artists both locally, nationally and internationally. Free walking tours are offered where groups can learn about the history of the artists whose work graces walls in Bushwick and across Brooklyn.

By Jason Paha