Free New York City Tours

Free NYC Central Park ToursWhen visiting New York, you can tour diverse neighborhoods, historical landmarks, parks and gardens and you can do it on your own for free or with a guide for a fee. Or, you can choose one of the tours we’ve highlighted below which are both guided and free! For example, Central Park Conservancy offers a variety of tours throughout the Park, many of which are offered free of charge. How about a garden tour on a warm summer day, or a unique look at the history of sports at Central Park? In any weather, you’ll appreciate an indoor tour, such as the Federal Reserve Bank or Tweed Courthouse.

There are two selections below that deserve special note. The first is Big Apple Greeters. This is the most personalized and customizable option, with over 300 dedicated volunteers who love sharing their New York with you. When you submit your request online, you can identify a preferred neighborhood for your tour, what language you speak and what special interests you have.

The second unique option is the Staten Island Ferry. While the primary purpose of the ferry is to get commuters from lower Manhattan to Staten Island, it doubles as a sightseeing cruise passing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

With the exception of the Staten Island Ferry, all of the other tours listed are walking tours. Check out the selections below. With a price of FREE, you can try out several!

Tours are listed in order by type: Brewery, Historical Location, Neighborhoods, Parks & Gardens & Sightseeing Boat.

Brooklyn Brewery Tour
Type: Brewery Tours
Duration:  under 1 hour
 
Location:
79 N. 111th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249

 
Phone:
 
(718) 486-7422

Tour Description:

Brooklyn Brewery crafts an award-winning roster of year-round, seasonal and specialty beers which have gained the Brewery notoriety as one of the top craft beer producers in the world. Informational brewery tours are offered Monday through Thursday, by reservation, for $8 per person, but on Saturdays from 1:00-5:00pm and on Sundays from 1:00-4:00pm, these tours are free and don't require a reservation. Tour times are on the hour.

Official Web Site

Chelsea Brewing Company
Type: Brewery Tours
Duration:  under 1 hour
 
Location:
59 Chelsea Piers Parkway, Pier 59
New York, NY 10011

 
Phone:
 
(212) 336-6440

Tour Description:

Chelsea Brewing Comapny is a 12,000 square foot restaurant & microbrewery featuring 24-foot ceilings, mahogany wood bars and a cigar lounge. The brew house specializes in serving up to 20 handcrafted premium beers, offers an extensive wine, single malt scotch and liquor list as well as a variety of gourmet pizzas, pastas, salads and gourmet pub cuisine. They offer free tours on Saturdays (on the hour between 2pm and 6pm). Call ahead to confirm the schedule or to inquire about a private tour.

Official Web Site

Federal Reserve Bank
Type: Historical Locations
Duration:  45 min.
 
Location:
33 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10045

 
Phone:
 
(212) 720-6130

Tour Description:

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is one of the 12 regional Reserve Banks in the Federal Reserve System. Visitors will be able to explore the Fed's roles and responsibilities through a free guided tour and interactive exhibits in the Bank's museum. The guided tours are available Monday through Friday (except for bank holidays). The tour includes an overview of the Federal Reserve System, admission to the Bank's museum featuring FedWorks and the History of Money exhibits, and a visit to the gold vault. Space is limited, so make reservations (online) several weeks to months in advance. Additionally, self-guided tours are offered, but do not include the gold vault.

Official Web Site

NYC City Hall Tours
Type: Historical Locations
Duration:  1 hour
 
Location:
250 Broadway
New York, NY 10007

 
Phone:
 
(212) 788-3000

Tour Description:

Completed in 1812, New York’s City Hall is one of the oldest continuously used city halls in the nation and one of the finest architectural achievements of its period. It was designed in the Federal style with French influences. See the vast collection of portraits, as well as the historic furnishings, in the Governor's Room. Free tours are offered for groups (10-20 people) on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays at 10:30am and for individuals on Thursdays at 10:00am. For reservations, submit the online form available at their website.

Official Web Site

NYC Public Library Tours
Type: Bulding Tours
Duration:  appx. 1 hour
 
Location:
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street
New York, NY, 10018

Phone: (917) 275-6975

 

Tour Description:

All group tours must be scheduled in advance. Unauthorized tours are not permitted. Please contact tours@nypl.org  for more information.

Docent-led tours are an excellent way to see highlights of The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The Library offers tours of the building as well as exhibitions. Free docent-guided tours for walk-in visitors are available. All group tours must be scheduled in advance. Unauthorized tours are not permitted.

Official Website

Tweed Courthouse
Type: Historical Locations
Duration:  appx. 1 hour
 
Location:
52 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007

 
Phone:
 
(212) 788-2656

Tour Description:

Tweed Courthouse is architecturally one of New York's greatest civic monuments. It was completed in 1881 and is a designated New York City landmark and sections of the interior are designated interior landmarks as well. The courthouse has retained its original spatial arrangement, encompassing 30 monumental courtrooms and a central rotunda. While no longer a courthouse, today Tweed is home to the Department of Education and the first floor is occupied by a New York City public school. Free tours are offered for groups (10-20 people) on Tuesdays at 10:00am and for individuals on select Fridays at 12:00pm. For reservations, submit the online form available at their website.

Official Web Site

Big Apple Greeters
Type: Neighborhoods
Duration:  2 - 4 hours
 
Location:
1 Centre Street #2312
New York, NY 10007

 
Phone:
 
(212) 669-2896

Tour Description:

Big Apple Greeters offers visitors two to four hours tours for up to six people, seeing one or more NYC neighborhoods through the eyes of a New Yorker. Your Greeter will help acclimate you to the city, explain the public transit system, recommend personal favorites - often off the beaten track, and highlight New York's rich culture and diversity. Big Apple Greeters are volunteers and offer their time for free, with no tipping allowed! (Donations are accepted.)

Official Web Site

Grand Central Neighborhood
Type: Neighborhoods
Duration:  1½-2 hours
 
Location:
120 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017

 
Phone:
 
(212) 883-2420

Tour Description:

Grand Central Terminal, completed in 1913, is one of the nation's most historical landmarks and is the busiest train station in the country. The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco style skyscraper. It was once the world's tallest building, until 1931 when it was surpassed by the Empire State Building. The Grand Central Partnership offers a free, weekly, no-reservations-required, award-winning walking tour of the Grand Central neighborhood, including both Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler Building, plus Pershing Square. Tours meet every Friday at 12:30pm.

Official Web Site

Greenwich Village
Type: Neighborhoods
Duration:  1½ hours
 
Location:
St. Marks Place at Second Avenue
New York, NY 10003

 
Phone:
 
(212) 777-22173

Tour Description:

Greenwich Village is a largely residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan. Historically, in the late-19th to mid-20th centuries as an artists' haven, the bohemian capital, and the East Coast birthplace of the Beat movement. The Greenwich Village Alliance offers free walking tours every Saturday at 11:30am, approximately June through mid-October. The tour focuses on the history and social culture of Greenwich Village, including St. Marks Place, Astor Place, 8th Street and Washington Square Park. No reservations are necessary for groups of six or fewer people.

Official Web Site

High Line
Type: Neighborhoods
Duration:  appx. 1 hour
 
Location:
14th Street Passage
New York, NY 10011

 
Phone:
 
(212) 206-9922

Tour Description:

The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. During the warmer months of the year (approximately May through September), visitors are welcome to participate in a free, guided walking tour every Tuesday at 6:30pm. Walking tours are led by High Line Docents — volunteers with expertise on the High Line's history, design, horticulture, art, and more. Tours meet on the West side of the 14th Street Passage (arrive by 6:15pm and look for the High Line staff member with a clipboard to sign up).

Official Web Site

Union Square
Type: Neighborhoods
Duration:  90 min.
 
Location:
16th Street at Union Square West
New York, NY 10003

 
Phone:
 
(212) 517-1826

Tour Description:

Since 1839, Union Square Park has served as home base for countless community events and festivals-from the first Labor Day parade in 1882 to workers' rallies in the 1930s to the first Earth Day in 1970 to the current, wildly popular Greenmarket. This former burial ground has seamlessly transitioned from a town square to a bustling City park. Enjoy a free, 90-minute walking tour, offered Saturdays at 2:00pm. The tour departs from the Abraham Lincoln Statue located along the 16th Street transverse. With the help of your guide, you will explore the social and political history of the Union Square neighborhood through discussions of the people, history, architecture, and forces that have shaped this community. Reservations are not required for individuals (only for groups).

Official Web Site

Battery Park City Parks Conservancy
Type: Parks & Gardens
Duration:  1 hour
 
Location:
75 Battery Street
New York, NY 10280

 
Phone:
 
(212) 267-9700

Tour Description:

Battery Park City Parks Conservancy operates nearly 36 acres of open space on the southern tip of Manhattan, including parks and gardens, playing fields, playgrounds, plazas and walkways. On select dates throughout approximately May through October, you can enjoy a free guided garden tour or art tour. Tour the gardens of Wagner Park with Conservancy horticulturists and learn about the Park’s innovations in organic gardening on a public scale. Join a contemporary art historian for tours of Battery Park City’s public art collection. Check the website for dates.

Official Web Site

Central Park Conservancy
Type: Parks & Gardens
Duration:  1 - 2 hours
 
Location:
Central Park
New York, NY 10022

 
Phone:
 
(212) 310-6600

Tour Description:

Learn about Central Park's history, design and ecology on an Official Central Park Tour. The Conservancy's expert guides provide an insider's view and unique access to this masterpiece of landscape architecture and the world's greatest urban park. Choose from three different Park Highlights tours, five different History tours, a Garden Tour and a Woodland Tour. Space is limited, arrive early for check in. All tours take place rain or shine. Alternatively, you can choose one of several fee-based tours or you can even download a self-guided tour from their website. Be sure to check the website for tour content, fees where applicable and meeting location.

Official Web Site

Fort Totten Park
Type: Parks & Gardens
Duration:  1 - 2 hours
 
Location:
422 Weaver Road
Queens, NY 11359

 
Phone:
 
(718) 352-4793

Tour Description:

A pristine stretch surrounding a preserved Civil War fortress, Fort Totten Park provides not only recreation and relaxation but a fascinating glimpse into New York’s past. Urban Park Rangers lead regular tours of the fortress and the wildlife surrounding it for those who enjoy guided treks, and a visitors’ center inside the park provides helpful information on the park’s past for those prefer to scout alone. Check the website for upcoming special event tours.

Official Web Site

Staten Island Ferry
Type: Sightseeing Boats
Duration:  25 min. (each way)
 
Location:
4 South Street
New York, NY 10004

 
Phone:
 
(718) 815-BOAT

Tour Description:

The Staten Island Ferry provides 20 million people a year with ferry service between St. George on Staten Island and Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan. While the Ferry provides free transportation to and from Staten Island and Manhattan, the 5 mile ride also provides a majestic view of New York Harbor for free! From the deck of the ferry you will have a perfect view of The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You'll see the skyscrapers and bridges of Lower Manhattan receding as you pull away and coming into focus again as you return. Ferries run continuously throughout the day; check the website for a schedule.

Official Web Site



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