Besides a myriad of attractions, Manhattan also offers its visitors a great variety of guided tours. Some are more general, great for first-time visitors to the city, and some more specific, focusing on a particular area, neighbourhood or topic (such as films, arts, food, etc). Some tours include physical activities such as bike riding or walking, while others are more passive and include bus, trolley or boat rides. Some tours are a full day, others half a day and others still are just two or three hours long.
There is such a huge selection of tours that picking the ones that are just right for you can be very difficult, especially if your time in the city is short.
On Board Tours
A tour particularly suitable for first-time visitors to the city who don’t have a lot of time there. The tour includes a tour bus ride to Manhattan’s most famous tourist destinations. Along the way your guide will tell you important facts and interesting details about the places you pass through. At certain destinations the bus will stop to let you off for a guided tour on foot (this tour won’t include going up any towers or entry to any tourist attractions, however). Unlike with many other tour companies, in this one your guide will get off the bus with you at every stop and show you around himself. He will show you the best spots for taking photos of the popular destinations and enrich your knowledge with colourful little anecdotes.
In South Street Seaport you will board a boat and go on an hour-long tour around Manhattan, passing under the famous bridges and coming close to the statue of liberty and Ellis Island. This boat rode allows for some excellent viewing and picture taking of Manhattan and the statue of liberty.
This part of the tour is also accompanied by interesting explanations about the city. This tour takes place twice a day and is five hours long. This company also offers other more specific tours, such as a shopping tour of New York or a night tour of the city.
Uncle Sam’s New York Tours
This company specialises in quality tours on foot which focus on interesting neighbourhoods or specific areas such as Broadway, the financial district and Greenwich Village. Their most fascinating and touching tour is one about the heroes of the World Trade Centre. This is a tour on foot in the Ground Zero area which tells the story of some of the people who acted with great bravery and saved lives during 9/11. It takes you around the site (where new buildings are currently being built), between the memorials and monuments, to a few viewpoints and to the visitors’ centre. The tour starts at the nearby St. Paul’s Chapel, which was one of the only buildings in the area to escape harm during the disaster and served as a shelter for survivors, a resting place for the rescuers and a memorial for those that didn’t make it. The tour is two hours long. The company also offers some good night tours of pubs and clubs of different areas of the city.