Best Tours and Excursions in New York

10Best Insider Sails, Walks and Safaris Through NYC's Cultural Cityscape

Book the boroughs outside Manhattan, too: explore the natural landscapes of Staten Island’s Sailors Snug Harbor’s tranquil Chinese Scholar Garden or its Music Hall, the second oldest existing concert hall in the City; head to the Bronx for the perennial excitement of a New York Yankees Stadium game and tour, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden or combine with a walk with Feast on History. Walk across Brooklyn Bridge, gateway to more ‘hoods for a panorama of the City on the way to New York City Urban Adventure/Urban Oyster Tours’ cultural conversations from oysters to micro breweries to Broadway and back; step inside Little India with travel photographer and food stylist Subrato Bhattacharya who knows his way around the enchanting New York Skyline on a photo safari. Led by Wall Street financial industry insiders, Wall Street Walks celebrates the history of one of the most dynamic financial centers in the world, with a focus on the scoundrels, the women and the ghosts, crashes and panics as well as the Ground Zero Memorial, the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the nearly completed World Trade Center and the Freedom Tower.


Subways have been through a grand evolution and in some older stations, there were even electric chandeliers (as in Moscow now). Located in downtown Brooklyn, the museum is an homage to the Iron horse or the NYC subway system and the people who built it. Situated in a historic subway station since 1936, a visit to the Transit Museum is literally an immersion experience. The well-marked exhibitions take visitors on a continual descent into the station, and include historical documents, such as news reports and controversy surrounding the original construction of the subway, as well as interactive exhibitions and film screenings chronicling New York City's world-renowned public transportation system. The Transit Museum also has a collection of antique train cars that show the evolution of the equipment and on board experience;

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Visit the Transit Museum, and you'll never ride the subway in quite the same way again. The tour guides are fascinating tellers of tales.

Maria's expert tip: Come with lunch bag in hand and dine down under for the real deal of life underground. Wednesdays are free.

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You've seen them all: The Empire State Building. Central Park. The Statue of Liberty. Ellis Island. Now head north of the city to Yankee Stadium that bastion of American culture to the "House that Ruth Built," even if it is brand new. Nevertheless, Yankee Stadium has been the stage for some of the game's greatest performers and singular events: Lou Gehrig's famous retirement speech and the on-field exploits starring the Babe, Joe DiMaggio and M & M Boys. Guided tours include New York Yankees Museum, Monument Park, Press Box and the Warning Track/Legends Outdoor Seating. Gold Yankee Stadium Pregame while the more exclusive Platinum Pregame Tour visits the Suite Level with a maximum of 10 participants. Off-season tours also throw in the Press Box and the MasterCard Batter's Eye Café.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Watching a game here is a must for any sports fan, as is taking a stroll through the hallowed Monument Park.

Maria's expert tip: Check out HANDS ON HISTORY, where guests are allowed to hold Babe Ruth's bat, Derek Jeter's jersey, and ask about bilingual Spanish/English tours.

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See, taste, feel and smell New York City through travel photographer and food stylist Subrato Bhattacharya's lens and perspectives in Little India, Queens and from Brooklyn and Manhattan's bridges. His Indian Culinary Tour of Queens leads participants to an enclave lined with exotic food markets that amaze the eye and palate, shops that sell glistening gold jewelry and multihued saris, and the myriad restaurants that offer authentic tastes of India. Photo/Safari Workshops take place after dark when the city and its skyline take on an air of magic realism. exotic food markets that amaze the eye and palate, shops that sell glistening gold jewelry and multihued saris, and the myriad restaurants that offer authentic tastes of India. All proceeds for the New York Walks go two charities close to Bhattacharya's heart: the White-clad Widows and the Eunuchs of India.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Bhattacharya is a generous and knowing guide who will assist participants to see the world around them from a different lens.

Maria's expert tip: Do well by doing good; proceeds go to Untouchables in India.

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Getting to The Staten Island Museum is half the fun as you board the ferry across New York harbor from Manhattan. This once modest institution is now blooming and is currently operating out of three locations: The original building, the Staten Island Museum in St. George (1918) is conveniently located just two blocks from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Less than 2 miles down the road on the historic ground of Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden is the Staten Island Museum History Center & Archives (Building H, 2009), and directly adjacent is our flagship location, the Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor (Building A, 2015). Snug Harbor is 83-acre campus situated on parkland that is home to several cultural agencies in a unique cluster of 19th century Greek Revival buildings. The 1879 dormitory for retired sailors has been transformed into into a state-of-the-art museum with engaging exhibitions.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: The Museum is the cornerstone of the cultural renaissance taking place in Staten Island; and a great excursion to a parkland with riveting views.

Maria's expert tip: Make this a day trip to enjoy tranquil Chinese Scholar Garden or the Music Hall, the second oldest existing concert hall in the City.

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Financial District

Prior to starting Wall Street Walks in 2007, South African native, Annaline Dinkelmann worked at Morgan Stanley where she worked with the Investment Banking Division. Wall Street Walks celebrate the history of one of the most dynamic financial centers in the world, with a focus on the scoundrels, the women and the ghosts, crashes and panics as well as the Ground Zero Memorial, the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the nearly completed World Trade Center and the Freedom Tower. Led by Wall Street financial industry insiders, the 90-minute tours incorporate the area's Dutch heritage with intriguing anecdotes. The $35-excursions are led by Wall Street financial industry insiders.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: You don't have to know a thing about finance to be thoroughly engrossed in the riveting tales behind Wall St.

Maria's expert tip: Tours sell out quickly, so book well in advance as tickets are non-refundable and depart promptly from starting points.

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Eric Ferrara was curious about his own family's history since they arrived back in the 1890s. By 1991, he organized his research, connected with others from the area and turned his passion into the Lower East Side History Project, an an award-winning non-profit organization. Staffed by professional educators and researchers, movie & TV consultants and, multi-generational Lower East Siders. Everyone involved in LESHP are actually from the neighborhood and active in the community. The walking tours are often used as a vehicle to create school programs and TV/movie projects. Join the "Greatest Hits" for insight into Italian immigration, the Bowery, East Village or one of the most popular, the Mafia Walking tour.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Great insights for natives and visitors into iconic synagogues, settlement houses, the Black Hand, sweatshops, told by experts sans stereotypes. Reservations recommended.

Maria's expert tip: Food is not included in these very affordable jaunts, but legendary dining spots along the way include Katz, Yonah Schimmel's Knish and Little Italy.

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Spanning from the South Street Seaport to Brooklyn Heights, the famous Brooklyn Bridge has ushered New Yorkers across the East River since 1883. A must-see for any visitor to the Big Apple, the best way to experience the bridge is to take the 30-plus minute, 3,455-foot expedition and walk it. The view of Manhattan is incredible, suddenly making it easy to understand why decades of poets and painters have been fascinated by it. The great Walt Whitman even described the view from the bridge as the "most effective medicine my soul has yet partaken." For best results, we'd recommend going in the early morning during the summer months to miss the crowds.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: This jaunt takes you from Chinatown in Manhattan to downtown Brooklyn or vice versa if you feel you deserve dim sum at the end.

Maria's expert tip: It's a must, but think twice before going on a cold and rainy day. The whipping winds can ruin a good time.

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Themed exhibits include Wild Asia with free-roaming tigers; Jungle World, an indoor Asian tropical rainforest; The World of Darkness, a look into the nightlife of nocturnal creatures; Himalayan Highlands with endangered snow leopards and red pandas; Butterfly Zone, especially active in summer months; and the Congo Gorilla Forest, a 6.5-acre recreation of an African rain forest. The Children's Zoo offers a hands-on learning and petting zoo. It's easy to get around the park by shuttle bus, monorail or aerial tram. New arrivals include baby gorillas born in 2014 and 2015, and a new American porcupine is featured at the newly remodeled Children's Zoo.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: The largest urban zoo in the world, The Bronx Zoo is home to some 4,000 animals (600 species) in large, realistic reproductions of natural habitats.

Maria's expert tip: Combine their uptown trip with a visit to the New York Botanical Garden or a two-hour walking tour of Arthur Avenue's Little Italy with Feast on History Tours.

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Said to be "Manhattan's only remaining great gateway," Grand Central Terminal (not "station" as it is often mistakenly called) is a magnificent example of art meeting functionality. The Beaux Arts facade that stretches along 42nd Street features a beautiful clock and crowning statues of Minerva, Mercury and Hercules. Inside the terminal, a vast blue ceiling twinkles with fiber optic lighting depicting the zodiac constellations, while one level below, sixty railroad tracks transport over 500,000 commuters a day. Grand Central has entices visitors and locals alike, with quick bites and delicacies located in Grand Central Terminal, find fine cuisine on the Dining Concourse and the Christmas market in Vanderbilt Hall. Do not miss the annual Holiday Fair and free gift-wrapping in custom wrapping paper featuring the iconic Zodiac ceiling of the Main Concourse, New York Transit Museum Holiday Train Show.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Because no other place in New York City quite reflects the dynamic energy that defines this town: New York City's most grand terminal and Dining Concourse.

Maria's expert tip: Start your weekend with a free no-reservations-required award-winning Walking Tour on Friday 12:30 PM of the Grand Central Neighborhood highlighting the Terminal and its neighbors.

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Circle Line operates many cruises: from the Best of NYC, Harbor Lights, Landmark and Liberty, to Hello Brooklyn and Bear Mountain Cruises to the BEAST Speedboat that is more of a thrill ride aboard a 70-foot speedboat. Harbor cruises provide an overview of some of New York City's best-known sights comfortably and coolly in summer. This year The Circle Line Empire Class, three new sightseing boats have joined the fleet with upgraded sound systmes, digital screens for sights you may have missed from the deck and bigger winders and more outdoor deck space including a third deck. All tours are narrated; tickets can be reserved in advance online.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Nothing beats the panoramic views from the deck of any of Circle Line's sightseeing boats.

Maria's expert tip: Double your photo opps by opting for any of Circle Line's two-hour cruises. Ask about the new series of Circle Line Live Music sailings.

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Meet Maria Lisella

No matter how many countries Maria Lisella has visited (62), this native New Yorker finds the world at her doorstep in amazing Queens where its residents speak 138 languages.

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