If you're looking for a sightseeing tour with a twist in New York, look no further. We've rounded up the best alternative walking and sightseeing tours in the Big Apple, which will give you an insight into the culture, history and culinary specialities of the various neiughbourhoods that make up the melting pot of New York.
1. A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour
If you like to follow your stomach rather than a map when exploring new places, you’ll love the A Slice of Brooklyn Tour, which takes you to, you guessed it, the best pizzerias in Brooklyn! The tour starts with a slice of Grimaldi’s famous pizza pie, where you’ll sit elbow to elbow with native Brooklyners and even a celebrity or two if you’re lucky. J-Lo and Gordon Ramsay are just two famous people who couldn’t resist the taste of Grimaldi’s famous margarita pizza. There’s also a spot of film history to enjoy too; as you hop back on the tour bus and head for your next pizza stop your guide plays clips from movies which were shot in the area – including that iconic scene of John Travolta strutting his stuff in Bensonhurst! There’s plenty more pizza on the tour and you get to learn about the history and culture of Brooklyn while indulging in the nation’s favourite food – win win we think.
2. THE RIDE New York City
If you’re looking for a quirky tour of New York, you’d find it difficult to find a more unusual concept than THE RIDE. Luxury coaches have been completely redesigned to be fitted with sideways-facing seats which allow riders to look over the city from a completely new perspective. This isn’t any old ordinary bus tour though. As you make your way through the streets, all the sights are introduced by highly trained improv actors who work as your guides for the trip, injecting lots of energy and humour into your tour. Better yet, as you pass these famous monuments or, even as you’re stuck in traffic, street performers appear as if by magic to entertain the riders, who get panoramic views of the performance through the floor to ceiling glass. Fusing New York’s great attractions with the city’s love of Broadway makes for an unforgettable tour that you really have to see to believe.
3. Bronx's Little Italy Arthur Avenue Walking Tour
If you want to try some real authentic American-Italian food, it should be the Bronx you’re flocking to, not Manhattan’s Little Italy. Surprised? Many Italian families have been calling the Bronx home for generations, so it shouldn’t be a shock to find sumptuous bakeries, restaurants and cafés all serving up incredible Italian treats on the Bronx's Little Italy Tour. This is a great opportunity to explore an authentic New York neighbourhood while learning about the history and culture of the Bronx.
4. Heroes of Harlem Walking Tour
You’ve probably heard a lot about the neighbourhood of Harlem in the north of Manhattan, but have you heard its stories from the mouth of a local guide? Although not on the traditional walking trails, the history of this neighbourhood is one of the most fascinating of all of New York’s districts. Listen to the history of the neighbourhood’s evolution, from the original Dutch settlers, through the neighbourhood’s pivotal role in the Civil Rights movement to the present day as you wander round the sights of Harlem.
5. NYC Slavery and Underground Railroad Tour
If you’d like to learn more about the history of slavery in the United States and how some brave men and women helped escaped slaves find new lives in New York and further afield, then this tour is for you. Although slavery was abolished in the US in 1865, it was extremely difficult for African-Americans, who had previously been slaves but were now proclaimed free men and women, to escape their circumstances in the deep south of the US. In the Northern states, where slavery was less entrenched in the culture, it was easier for them to find freedom and hence began the “underground railroad” of volunteers who helped escaped and fleeing formers slaves to build new lives further north. Follow this 2-hour walking tour which covers the history of the railroad and culminates at the African Burial Ground on 290 Broadway.
It’s easy to break the mould with an alternative New York sightseeing tour! To find out more about these and other New York sightseeing tours, click here. Please note that some of these tours do not run during January and February due to the extreme temperatures outdoors!