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New York Public Library

New York Public Library: Our most recommended tours and activities

NYC: Guided Bus and Walking Tour with Staten Island Ferry

1. NYC: Guided Bus and Walking Tour with Staten Island Ferry

See the best of New York City on sightseeing tours by bus and boat. Enjoy guided walks through Midtown Manhattan, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue, 9/11 Memorial, and the Financial District. A live tour guide will enhance your experience with commentary on this 6-hour program. The Staten Island ferry ensures breathtaking views of the New York City and New Jersey skylines, including Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, Governors Island, and more.

NYC: Sightseeing Night Tour by Open-Top Bus with Live Guide

2. NYC: Sightseeing Night Tour by Open-Top Bus with Live Guide

Experience a completely new perspective of "The City That Never Sleeps" as the sun sets over the beautiful skyline of New York City. This 2-hour panoramic night tour takes you past Times Square's famous lights before heading downtown to view the illuminated Empire State Building and the iconic Flatiron Building, with its art deco facade. Cross the Manhattan Bridge for eye-popping views of the stunning skyline, great for photo ops! Listen to an entertaining live guide as they take you to the past and present with fascinating stories and hidden gems waiting to be revealed. The tour finishes with a view up the Avenue of the Americas, where you can see Macy's Department Store and Radio City Music Hall, which hosts live performances and stage shows like the Rockettes. You haven't truly seen the Big Apple until you've seen it at night!

New York City: The Ride Interactive Bus Tour

3. New York City: The Ride Interactive Bus Tour

When New York entrepreneurs and creative types join forces, ultramodern entertainment in the form of a 45-foot long bus with stadium seats, surround sound, and street performances ensues. Take this interactive 65-75 minute bus ride and see New York from an entirely unique perspective. It turns the streets of New York into a stage, bringing entertainment and tourism together to create a city experience that everyone, from tourists to native New Yorkers, can enjoy. The RIDE drives through New York and features performances in front of sights, such as Grand Central, 42nd Street, Bryant Park, and more. It’s Broadway without the limitations of a stationary theater, and a bus tour with a theatrical twist. Each of the mobile theaters hold 3 rows of stadium seats, plus the most modern audio and visual technology, including speakers that bring inside sounds out onto the street, enabling RIDErs to go “On Air” and interact with the city.

NYC: Downtown Tour & Optional One World Observatory Ticket

4. NYC: Downtown Tour & Optional One World Observatory Ticket

Welcome to New York, the city that never sleeps! Get a real feel for the city as you take to its streets and subways with a local guide and experience what Manhattan has to offer. Your full-day tour begins when you meet your guide in Times Square, at the statue of renowned lyricist and composer George M. Cohan. Hear about the history of Times Square and learn how a horse trading market became the most famous intersection in the world. Head out along New York’s Theater District, which for a hundred years has been the center of the world for actors, playwrights, and artists from around the globe. Visit 30 Rockefeller Center and continue east to Fifth Avenue, the world's most expensive street, lined with elegant storefronts such as Saks and Bergdorf Goodman. Stop to admire Patrick’s Cathedral, the New York Public Library, and the Chrysler Building before stepping beneath the arching dome of Grand Central, where there’s a stop to buy lunch with choices for most dietary restrictions.  After lunch you’ll hop on the subway like a true New Yorker and head downtown to Wall Street, where you can rub the nose of the Wall Street Bull for good luck! Walk through the financial capital of the world and head to Battery Park, where the ferry awaits to show you the Statue of Liberty. The Staten Island ferry will not stop on Liberty Island, but will sail past it for a view of Lady Liberty and the Manhattan Skyline. Upon returning, your guide will take you to visit the 9/11 Memorial. At the conclusion of your tour you will be admitted to The Observatory at the One World Trade Center Tower (also know as "Freedom Tower"). This panoramic observation deck is a marvel of engineering and architecture. The program begins in the lobby of the Freedom Tower with "Voices" - a film dedicated to the men and women of the World Trade Towers and the new One World Trade Center. You will then take the "Sky Pod" elevator, which rises 1,250 feet in the air in 60 seconds. The Observation Deck begins on the 102nd floor with the See Forever Theater and moves down to the 100th floor, where the main observation deck is situated. Immersive LED displays, interactive touch screen video, and dining options mean there's plenty to do, but the true draw is the view - hundreds of feet above even the impressive New York Skyline stretching across all of Manhattan. The Itinerary Times Square Broadway Theater District Rockefeller Center St. Patrick’s Cathedral Fifth Ave Shops New York Public Library Chrysler Building Grand Central Terminal New York City Subway Charging Bull Alexander Hamilton Customs House Canyon of Heroes/Ticker Tape Parade Route Brooklyn Bridge Statue of Liberty and NYC Skyline via Staten Island Ferry Trinity Church National 9/11 Memorial Wall Street New York Stock Exchange Federal Hall One World Observatory (ticket included)

NYC: Highlights of Manhattan Tour in a Classic Car

5. NYC: Highlights of Manhattan Tour in a Classic Car

Our incredible vintage car tour takes you on a unique journey through the iconic streets of Manhattan. Learn about the rich history of New York’s Roaring Twenties, the Prohibition Era as well as the rise of speakeasies in the city. This experience will unlock a stimulating and unprecedented journey through the original roots of Manhattan that you will never forget. As you ride in your vintage vehicle, you'll witness the recognizable landmarks and skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan, such as the Empire State Building, Times Square, Chrysler Building, and Rockefeller Center. Your personal tour chauffeur will regale you with stories and anecdotes about the city's colorful past.

NYC: Holiday Lights Night Tour by Open-top Bus

6. NYC: Holiday Lights Night Tour by Open-top Bus

Get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting holiday spirit of the Big Apple on a New York City Holiday Lights tour. As the city dazzles with festive decorations and twinkling lights, embark on a memorable journey that will leave you filled with joy and wonder. Hop aboard a comfortable and climate-controlled bus as you are taken on a captivating adventure through the iconic landmarks and neighborhoods of New York City. Your expert guides, with their extensive knowledge and passion for the city, will share fascinating stories and insider tips along the way. On this magical tour, you'll witness the world-famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, adorned with thousands of sparkling lights. Marvel at its grandeur and feel the warmth of the holiday season surround you. Capture picture-perfect moments with loved ones and create memories that will last a lifetime. Experience the festive charm of Times Square, as it comes alive with vibrant billboards and larger-than-life displays. Bask in the cheerful atmosphere as you stroll through the bustling streets, surrounded by the energy and excitement of the city that never sleeps. Venture through the charming neighborhoods and be captivated by the beautifully decorated storefronts and houses, each adorned with their own unique holiday flair. From the elegant Fifth Avenue department store windows to the cozy brownstones of Greenwich Village, every corner of the city tells a story of holiday magic. This New York City Holiday Lights tour is the perfect way to celebrate the season and create cherished memories with your loved ones. Don't miss out on this unforgettable experience that brings together the best of New York City and the holiday spirit. Book your tickets now and get ready to be transported into a winter wonderland of lights, joy, and holiday cheer.

New York: Midtown Manhattan City Exploration Game

7. New York: Midtown Manhattan City Exploration Game

Imagine you’re a young reporter who has just moved to New York City in hopes to make your “big break.” You’ve recently received a lead that suggests magic is here in Midtown! Your lead instructs you to meet him in Grand Central, where he’ll provide you with everything you need to discover a Secret Society of Magical Persons. As you solve challenges, the story unfolds and exact directions on your phone will guide you to the next location. Ready for an adventure? The city game starts at the Grand Central Station. It will take you around 1.5 hours to complete and you can also explore at your own pace: pause the game and resume anytime from the location where you paused it. You will finish at The Plaza Hotel. After your booking. you will receive an email on how to download the game to your phone. You can play on your own, in a large group or in several smaller groups that compete against each other and meet at the final stop of the game. For larger groups, one person can purchase access for the entire group by selecting the number of people in the group. All group members will be able to download and play the city game on their phones. Alternatively, each person can make their own purchase.

NYC: Midtown Manhattan Self-Guided Walking Tour

8. NYC: Midtown Manhattan Self-Guided Walking Tour

Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app, which will function as your personal tour guide, audio tour, and map. Note: This 3+ mile-long tour covers the essentials of Midtown Manhattan in 1 hour. Explore New York City’s Midtown Manhattan on a self-guided walking tour via an app that functions as a guide, narrator, and GPS map. See New York’s most iconic landmarks and learn their history, from the Empire State Building to Times Square. Enjoy animated videos to visualize parts of the tour. Begin your tour at Columbus Circle, then head to Carnegie Hall, where music legends have performed for over a century. Get the story behind the hall and its founder before moving on to the ornate Russian Tea Room, a Manhattan staple since 1927. Next, visit the city’s most famous hotels, the Ritz and the Plaza. These five-star digs aren’t just landmarks, they’re also packed with Manhattan history that you’ll get to uncover. After that, get a chance to see the famous Pulitzer Fountain. Snap a few photos to save the memory before heading down Fifth Avenue, where New Yorkers come to get their high-end apparel from stores like Saks, Bergdorf, and Louis Vuitton. Then, head to the Saint Regis hotel and learn of the fierce legal dueling between the Astors and the Vanderbilts surrounding this gorgeous landmark. The route continues to the iconic Rockefeller Center. From the ice rink to the NBC studios seen in “30 Rock,” this is a must-see New York landmark. Afterward, it’s time to say hello to Broadway and get a glimpse at the city’s thriving theater scene. A tour of New York City wouldn’t be complete without Times Square, so that’s up next. Explore this memorable square and learn about its transformation from a criminal haven to a tourism hub. If you’re ready to take a break from walking, enjoy a stop at Bryant Park, a perfect oasis that has also seen plenty of Hollywood magic over the years. When you’re ready, head to the city’s most astonishing architectural marvels: the Chrysler Building and Grand Central Terminal. Take in the stunning designs while learning about how they both came to be. Then it’s on to the vast New York Public Library, which houses a staggering 125 miles of shelving and is used to transport books from floor to floor using pneumatic tubes! Finish off your tour learning the full, fascinating history behind the Empire State Building as you walk to New York’s most iconic skyscraper.

New York: Sex and the City Private Limousine Tour

9. New York: Sex and the City Private Limousine Tour

Embark on a private limousine tour of Manhattan and discover some of the most famous landmarks that were featured in Sex and the City. Visit iconic locations such as Columbus Circle, the New York Public Library, Bryant Park, Carrie's apartment, and Magnolia Bakery. Start with pickup from your hotel in a luxury stretch limousine. Enjoy soft drinks inside the limousine as you travel around Manhattan in style. Your driver will then take you to see some of the famous locations from the series and movies throughout Midtown, Greenwich Village, and Downtown. Enjoy the tour with your girlfriends visiting these known spots, and feel like one of the characters from the show. Take a picture outside Carrie's stoop. Visit the New York Public Library where Carrie would have married Mr. Big. Stand where Carrie confronted Big after being left at the altar. Stop by the iconic Columbus Circle where Aidan asked Carrie to elope. And end the day, pay a visit to Magnolia Bakery. The driver will then take you back to your hotel or apartment.

Secrets of Bryant Park: A Self-Guided Audio Tour

10. Secrets of Bryant Park: A Self-Guided Audio Tour

A stroll through a park and around a library might seem a bit dull but Bryant Park is packed to the gills with riveting stories. It hasn’t been dubbed “the greatest public space on earth” for nothing. And, while other tourists wander aimlessly, you’ll walk through time – marveling at true tales, meeting colorful characters and learning hidden secrets. This walking tour starts on Fountain Terrace next to the Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain. There, you’ll be introduced to the small green space that’s less than the size of a single city block, yet attracts over twelve million visitors per year. As you make your way to the New York Public Library where our tour ends, I’ll show you the hidden escape hatch that leads from the library to the park. You’ll also see the Empire State building and hear about the night a B-25 Bomber crashed into it. Along the way, you’ll hear about the battle in which George Washington almost lost the Revolutionary War, and how Edgar Alan Poe used to walk around Reservoir Square before it became Bryant Park. In just over an hour, you’ll: • Gasp at Elijah Otis’ first demonstration of the ”elevator brake” at the historic Crystal Palace • Meet four generations of Astors: from the immigrant who rose out of poverty to the richest man to go down with the Titanic • Re-live the heart plummeting moment a woman fell 79-stories down an elevator shaft and survived! • Discover the most powerful force on earth at the ‘Fountain of Truth’ • Hear how NYC’s notorious ‘Needle Park’ became the most successful public space on the planet • Take in the Gertrude Stein statue as well as the William Cullen Bryant statue, and learn how they named the wrong park after him • Weep at the tragic tale of eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla, who fell madly in love with... a pigeon • Decode the hidden symbolism behind the library’s statues and ornaments • Learn how the library was born: a story of opium, cannabis and heartbreak • Greet the library's famous lions, and call them by their original names • Say “hullo” to the actual, original Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Kanga, Eeyore and Tigger • Stand in awe at the scale of the Rose Reading room, perhaps America’s most inspiring interior, where knowledge is free to all • See where Ripley’s Believe It Or Not found all its unbelievable facts • Sit in the gorgeous periodicals room, at whose tables a visitor created the most successful magazine in history By the end of this Bryant Park tour, you’ll have heard new secrets and stories, all brought vividly to life with masterful storytelling, actors, sound effects and music. NOTE: The Library is free and open 10-6 Mon-Sat; 1-5 Sun; but closed on all major holidays.

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What people are saying about New York Public Library

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 329 reviews

Our tour guide Louis was a confident, knowledgeable & personable guide. His enthusiasm for his home city of New York was infectious, he gave background history of various areas of the city & specifics about various buildings. I especially liked going on the Staten Island Ferry & seeing & learning about her history.

Great tour learned a lot about New York City our tour guide Rachel was great she made sure we got the best out of our trip even gave advice on saving money everywhere we went in New York

Louis was a fantastic tour guide. We learned a lot of information and hit all of the highlights during our short stay. This is definitely a stress free way to see the city.

Kevin was fantastic. Very knowledgeable and made a great effort to make the tour enjoyable

We had a great time. Everyone was helpful and Kevin was a great guide.