Take advantage of New York City walking tours.
Walking is often the best way to experience any city, and New York – despite its formidable size – is no exception. There are so many unique neighborhoods through which you can meander for hours without losing interest. During these walks, you’ll invariably brush up against vibrant histories and cultural cornerstones, but you’ll often do so unknowingly. New York City walking tours, though less romantic than aimless wandering, can lead to an even more fulfilling experience. Invoke the knowledge of your local expert and you’ll walk away with a much greater appreciation of New York’s storied culture.
New York has no shortage of tour options, and some companies even offer them for free. Free Walking Tours By Foot is an international company that leads guided tours in destinations all over the world. Their New York office has a particularly diverse array of walking options: there are general walking tours around some of Manhattan’s best known neighborhoods, food tours that allow you to sample the city’s storied gastronomy, and myriad options in Brooklyn that nicely capture the borough’s ongoing evolution.
I signed up for a New York Graffiti and Street Art walking tour in the industrial Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick. A former street artist and now-street art documentarian led my group’s tour, drawing from years and years of directly applicable experience over the course of two hours. We learned about New York’s rich history in street art, Bushwick’s position as a foundation for the practice, the different factions of street artists, the subtle balance between private property and empty canvas… we covered a lot, and all while walking through a beautiful New York neighborhood that most travelers don’t ever see.
The relevance and depth of our guide’s resume is a testament to the kind of experts Free Walking Tours By Foot rely upon to share the history of New York. I left the experience with a newfound respect for street art and a new love for the idiosyncratic grunge of Bushwick, and other tours will undoubtedly provide a similar experience.
This is not to say you shouldn’t go get lost in the labyrinthine streets of New York; do that also, but take a guided tour or two and enrich your appreciation of the city. Delve deeper than the buildings’ veneers, because as pleasing as those timeworn stones and rusted green patinas are, they’re even better when you unpeel the stories within.
You can explore all the various tours offered by Free Walking Tours By Foot here. Some tours are offered in Spanish and some require reservations, so read the fine print before showing up for the walk. They do offer bike and bus tours as well, but the company’s flagship program is the walking tour – and don’t forget the best part: there’s no upfront price. As the company states: “Our guides work exclusively for your appreciation. You choose how much you thought the tour was worth.”
Go discover for yourself the worth of these free tours by foot, NYC edition. Pay your freelance guide accordingly and walk away satisfied, more appreciative, and hey, even a little more physically fit.
The article was written by MacEagon Voyce.