New York City walking tours provide in-depth information about a few blocks of a neighborhood. Many focus on a specific topic or time period. You can take walking tours about Wall Street, the jazz history of Harlem, Brooklyn street art, and countless other topics. No matter what you’re interested in, there’s likely a walking tour that covers it—the sky’s the limit.

When the tour begins, you’ll meet your guide at a designated point. You’ll get to know your tour guide and other people attending the tour who share your interests. Then, your guide will lead your group to approximately ten notable spots within the neighborhood.

At each point, your guide will share important facts about the location’s context and history. Most of the time, your walking tour will end at a separate point from where it began, but occasionally the tour will circle back to its original starting location.

One of the big benefits of walking tours is that they’re usually given by experts. Walking tour guides are usually well-versed in the subject matter and passionate about the information they have to share.

An important thing to be aware of, however, are the potential downfalls of “free” walking tours. When a tour is described as free, you can be sure that someone, somewhere has paid for it. You’ll likely be expected to heavily tip your tour guide, as that’s often the only way guides of free tours receive payment for their time.

Paid walking tours provided by companies are a much better bet. In the majority of cases, paid tours are where you’ll find well-trained guides who specialize in the tour’s subject. That way, you can be sure the information you’re learning is accurate.

How To Make The Most Of A Walking Tour

  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. You’ll be on your feet for up to two hours.
  • Try to use the restroom before the tour begins, because there likely won’t be stops for this during the tour.
  • Be prepared for the weather and dress in layers.
  • Fill up on a meal before the tour begins, as most walking tours don’t stop for food. Pack a bottle of water and a snack in case you get hungry during the tour.