Navigating the NYC Subway

How to Use the NYC Subway

This post provides 8 helpful tips on how to use the NYC subway system. 

Navigating the New York Subway system can be very daunting, so we’ve put together these helpful tips to help make the whole process easier. Read more »

High Line Tours

High Line Tours | Chelsea and the Meatpacking District

This post reviews and compares the various different tours of the High Line, the Meatpacking District, and Chelsea, including our pay-what-you-wish tour and a GPS-enabled-audio tour.  

 
High Line NYC Tour


FREE TOURS BY FOOT 

We offer several pay-what-you-wish tours plus a self-guided option.  

We have listed the main details of our High Line and Meatpacking District Tour just below, but we also cover the High Line on the following tours:


NOTE: We now have an audio tour of the High Line narrated by one of our professional guides where you can hear some of the same great stories and historical facts you would on our live tour.

Here’s a sample.

Listen to an audio sample


Join Free Tours by Foot on our High Line Tours and discover New York’s most exciting new park and learn about the history of the Meatpacking District as well as Chelsea and its wonderful market.

We’ll show you the unique architecture and cutting-edge art that is a part of and surrounds the High Line, but you really should come for the awesome views!

Sights and topics we cover on our High Line Tours:

  • High Line TourMeatpacking District
  • Gansevoort Market Historic District
  • Death Avenue and West Side Cowboys
  • Chelsea Hotel
  • Chelsea Piers
  • 100th Anniversary of Titanic Sinking
  • Chelsea Market
  • High Line Art Project
  • New Jersey!!
  • and much more…

Check out the companion self-guided tour with a downloadable map. We also have a post on things to do on the High Line.

Tour information

Reservations: Required. Click here to reserve. Groups of 6 or more should first visit our groups’ page.

Where: Jackson Square Park, W.13th Street, and 8th Avenue (map). Look for your guide with the Free Tours by Foot logo.  Tour ends near the intersection of the High Line and 23rd street (map).

Duration: Approximately 2 hours. Approximately 1 mile in length.

When: Currently as a small group private tour only (weekdays only), or visit the High Line on our 3 hour Greenwich Village, High Line, and Chelsea tour (or anytime with our audio tour app).

  • Runs as a part of our All-in-One Downtown Tour @10 am on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
  • Runs as half of our Greenwich Village and High Line Tour @2 pm on Thursdays.
  • We now have an audio tour of the High Line that you can take any time that you wish.

Cost: This tour is free to take, and you get to decide what, if anything, the tour was worth when it’s done. A name-your-own-price tour is a tour for anyone’s budget.

If you are considering the Big Bus hop-on-hop-off service, they have a stop at the High Line. Check out our guide to New York bus tour options.

 


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OTHER GUIDED TOURS

There are several options to take a guided tour of the High Line.  All of the options are well-reviewed.  

The official Friends of the High Line tour runs similar to our pay-what-you-like model, with their system based on donations for the organization.  

Other, for-fee companies offer daily tours that include the High Line as the focus or a part of the tour itinerary.  We have also listed each tour in the calendar below.

If you can’t take one of our High Line tours and you are considering purchasing a tourist pass, keep in mind that a daily tour of the High Line is included with both the Explorer Pass and New York Pass.  

Read our post on whether a tourist pass is for you.  

 

 


New York Tour 1

The High Line, Chelsea, and Meatpacking District Tour, offered by New York Tour 1, brings you into the heart of one of New York’s trendiest areas. During this 2-hour tour, you will hear stories of the Meatpacking District’s gory history, as well as Chelsea’s dramatic reinvention.

The tour begins at the Chelsea Marketplace and then ends 1 mile down the High Line. As with the other tours of this area, the views of the Hudson along the way are absolutely stunning.

This tour is included in both the New York Pass and the Sightseeing Pass, making it a very affordable option if you’re planning on visiting several sites and attractions with a tourist pass.  

Children under 12 go for free.  Be sure to check out this highly rated company’s other tours.

  • Daily @ 9:30 am
  • Meeting Point: The corner of 15th Street and 9th Avenue near the Chelsea Market entrance. The closest subway station is at 14th Street/8th Avenue (lines A, C, E, and L)
  • Cost: $35/person.  Free for children under 12.
  • More information and to book.

Reviews:

Though all of their tours are highly rated, their High Line, Chelsea, and Meatpacking District Tour receives particularly excellent reviews, averaging 5 out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor and Get Your Guide (read the reviews).

Several commentators also mention that they attended this tour with the New York Pass or Sightseeing Pass and that this proved a great way to save money without sacrificing quality.

Read more »

Central Park Ramble

The Central Park Ramble

This post covers the section of Central Park called The Ramble, including what it is, how to get there, what tours are available, and what other attractions are nearby.

 


WHAT IS THE RAMBLE? 

Ramble

In the mid-section of Central Park, located just north of the Lake and south of the Great Lawn, you can find the Ramble, a forest-like oasis of shade, with unique plant life and birds. 

This 38-acre area of the park was one of the first parts of the park to be created. Central Park is a purposefully planned park.

It was designed by two prominent men, agriculturalist Frederick Law Olmsted and British-born and trained architect Calvert Vaux.

They were sure to create a park with distinct unique areas, some with shady trees like the Ramble, others wide open, like the Great Lawn.

It is this variety of atmosphere that makes Central Park one of the greatest parks in the world.

Bethesda Terrace

The Ramble was deliberately placed near Bethesda Terrace, with its iconic fountain in the middle so that one can witness the juxtaposition of the formality of the terrace and the forest-like Ramble.

With winding, shaded pathways, man-made streams, and beautiful wildly landscaped flora and fauna, Olmstead called this his “wild garden.”

For more information about the flora & fauna distinct to the Rambles, see below.

TIP: There is much more to see in the mid-section in addition to the Ramble so check out our GPS-enabled audio tour of the middle section of Central Park.

Also, take a look at our post on things to do in Central Park when planning a visit to the Ramble. 

 


HOW TO GET HERE

The Ramble is located in the middle section of Central Park.  Use this Google Maps link to get exact directions from your point of departure. 

By Subway:

  • Take the A, B, or C train to the “72nd Street Station” at Central Park West (red circle)
  • Take the A, B, or C train to the “81 St – Museum Of Natural History” Station (red circle)
  • Take the 1, 2 or 3 train to “72nd Street Station” at Broadway
  • Take the 6 train to the “77th St Station” at Lexington Avenue.

TIP: If you are new to the New York Subway, our post on navigating the NYC subway may come in handy.

By Bus: M10, M101, M2

This map shows the two closest subway stations (red circles) as well as a number of nearby attractions, listed below the map.

Nearby Attractions (in black boxes on map)

TIP: Use our GPS-enabled audio tour of the middle section of Central Park to see all the sights in that area of the park.

 


FLORA AND FAUNA OF THE RAMBLE

Perhaps the most endearing and unique feature of the Ramble, every plant was a deliberate part of the landscape. 

The oldest plants to be found are no older than 1869 when the first trees were planted.

Some trees are native, like American sycamore, a variety of oaks (white, black, red, scarlet, and willow), and Hackberry. Others are non-native trees, like Kentucky coffee, Yellowwood, Black cherry, and Black locust.

Some of the more aggressive species have taken over in some parts of the park, and require continued upkeep.

The Ramble is also known for its exceptional bird watching as Central Park is on the Atlantic Flyway (spring/fall migration route).

Boasting over 230 species of birds, 40 of which are here year-long, this is an ideal place for professional bird watchers and novices alike.

Come with your cameras and binoculars to spot a few of the 20 species of warblers the Ramble has to offer.

 

What to Do in August in NYC

This post lists the many great things to do in NYC in August 2021, including free, family-friendly, as well as nighttime activities and events. 

For even more suggestions, see our comprehensive guide to Things to Do in NYC.  

 


TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN AUGUST

This is our list of the ten best events and things to do in NYC in August. 

Several of the items below are already included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass.

For tips on the most popular activities in NYC, check out the following posts:


(1) See a Sports Event! 

The season may almost be over, but there’s still plenty of baseball to enjoy in August.

Although seating is limited due to the pandemic, they have welcomed fans back to the ballpark in 2021!

Yankees (click for ticket information)

TIP: The classic tour of Yankee Stadium is available with both the New York Pass and the Explorer Pass. For more information, check our post about New York tourist passes.

Mets (click for ticket information)


Football  (Games played at MetLife Stadium. For instructions on how to get there, click here.)


 Tennis


Soccer (Football)

For more fun with the family, check out the things to do with kids section below. 


(2) Attend a Concert 

August has some amazing performers arriving in NYC. Here are just a few to see.

If you didn’t already know, Madison Square Garden offers an All Access Tour where you can see behind the scenes. 


(3) See a Broadway Show

Seeing a performance on Broadway is a must-do activity when you’re in New York City! See what is playing when you are here.

Here are a few popular musicals running in August 2021:

See what else is playing when you are here.


(4) Take a Walking Tour 

August is an excellent month to take a walking tour pretty much anywhere in New York City.

Times Square Walking Tour Video

We offer pay-what-you-wish walking tours in several neighborhoods throughout the city, including:

For more ideas, check our schedule of pay-what-you-wish walking tours.


(5) Free Shakespeare in Central Park

In 2021, this annual festival starts in early July and continues through late August, with performances of Merry Wives.

Getting tickets will take advance planning and patience, but it truly is worth the effort.

NYC Travel Tips & Hacks Facebook Group

Check out our guide to Central Park which includes maps, activities, tours and more. 


(6) See a Live Comedy Show

This month will bring a few notable comedians to New York City. One of the more famous of them all is Gabriel Iglesias, who will be performing at the Radio City Music Hall on August 19th.

In addition to this performance, you can also see Ricky Gervais at Madison Square Garden on August 13th. 

If you feel like taking a trip to Atlantic City, you’ll also have an opportunity to see either Trevor Noah on the 13th or Tom Segura on the 28th.

TIP: Don’t forget that there are tours of both Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden, each of them included on at least one New York City Tourist Pass.


(7) Soar to the Top of a Skyscraper  

In summer, the city’s tallest observation decks stay open late.

The Empire State Building is open until 2 am, and the Top of the Rock and One World Trade Center Observatory are both open until midnight.

If you aren’t sure which view is best for you, read our post about the pros and cons of each of them.

There are also free options and you can find them in our post, where to get the best free skyline views of NYC.


(8) See an Outdoor Movie

New York City is full of magical views and lights. So where better than to relax in with a fun film than at Movies with a View?

Every Thursday in August you can see a free movie in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1’s. Movies start at sunset, but if you want a good spot on the lawn you should plan on arriving early.

NOTE: Due to Covid-19, this series has yet to be announced for 2021. 

Check out more free things to do, including more weekly outdoor movies, below! 


(9) See Great Street Art

New York City is undoubtedly one of the best cities in the world to see street art and murals. You can see masterpieces for free…if you know where to look. 

We can help you discover the latest, greatest pieces of street art around NYC if you join us on one of our pay-what-you-like Street Art Tours.

We have tours in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, including a tour of Bushwick and its highly-regarded Bushwick Collective Street Art Gallery.

If you can’t make it to one of our tours or prefer to move at your own pace, enjoy our Bushwick Collective self-guided tour to explore the area and find the best art.


(10) Utilize a City Pass

If you’re looking to see and do as much as possible, using a New York City tourist attraction discount pass can help you save money and time. 

New York City Passes

Attractions Available on Passes Include:

  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Empire State Building
  • Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour
  • Madame Tussauds
  • 9/11 Memorial and Guided Tour
  • The Met
  • Madison Square Garden All Access Tour

These passes save you money by bundling dozens of popular attractions and tours into one discounted ticket (up to 55% off).

They can also save you time by allowing you to skip the ticket lines and numerous locations. Read our post comparing your options.

 


FREE THINGS TO DO IN AUGUST

Below are just a few of the hundreds of free things you can do in NYC during August. And be sure to read the other sections of this post for more ideas.

For year-round free things to do see our comprehensive post about free things to do in NYC.


Hear Broadway Showtunes in Bryant Park

Every summer, Broadway in Bryant Park allows the public to hear some fabulous Broadway tunes for free. 

There are a total of 25 events scheduled for 2021 which will run through September 20th and feature performances from New York City Opera, Carnegie Hall, and many other notable names.

They will be observing all local laws and regulations regarding Covid-19, so there is a chance that space will be limited and masks will be required.

If you miss these performances, find out how to get discount tickets for Broadway shows here.

Read about some of the other ways to get cheap Broadway show tickets.


Harlem Day 

August 15th, 2021

This day-long festival is the culmination of Harlem Week.

Head up to Harlem to see live music of all genres from Jazz, R&B Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, and Gospel. There will be arts & crafts, fashion shows, and local food.

You might find our post on things to do in Harlem or come along on our pay-what-you one of our Harlem Tours


Dragon Boat Festival 

August 7 – 8, 2021  

A great excuse to check out the borough of Queens! It’s a race of 170 dragon-boat teams on the very big Meadows Lake, in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens.

Besides boats, there will be traditional dance, martial arts, music, folk art, and Chinese food. More information can be found here.


Summer Streets 

Every Sunday in August from 7:00 am – 1:00 pm (13:00), NYC closes off main thoroughfares to vehicular traffic for Summer Streets – in other words, NO CARS!

Almost 7 miles (11 km) of open streets with 5 rest stops are free to roam on anything that will move except vehicles.

This event has yet to be scheduled for August 2021.


Kayak under the Brooklyn Bridge 

Head over to Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO and enjoy a free 20-minute kayak ride. It’s quite safe and unlike anything you have done before.

See the Brooklyn Bridge from underneath! Click here for more information.


This photo of The Brooklyn Bridge is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Find out about some other ways to get out on NYC’s waters for free or cheap, such as the Staten Island Ferry.


Good Morning America Concert Series

Great for early birds and lovers of top pop stars! The 2021 lineup is set!

To find out more about attending or possibly getting VIP tickets, see our post, Good Morning America Summer Concert Series VIP Tickets.

To see a taping of Good Morning America, see our post on how to attend a live TV show taping.


Fan Week at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament

During the first week of 2021’s Grand Slam tournament, (Tuesday, Aug. 24 – Friday, Aug. 27) you can see dozens of great tennis matches for free during the Qualifying Rounds.

While you won’t be seeing players in the top 50, you will be seeing professional tennis players fighting ferociously to qualify for a spot in the main tournament which begins on August 30, 2021.

There will be lots of other activities and fun to be had at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. See more here.

For year-round free things to do see our comprehensive post about free things to do in NYC.

 


THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT

Many of the activities included in our other sections can be enjoyed at night as well, but here are a few more ideas on how to spend a great night in August in NYC.

 
For even more ideas, see our post, Things to Do in New York City at Night.


Take a Night Bus Tour

A night tour on an open-top double-decker bus is a wonderful way to see more of the city while giving your feet a break from all that walking!

With so many tours out there, you may want to read our post comparing New York City bus tours as you might decide this is a good way to spend your night in New York. 

Many tourist passes include a night tour by bus, so you may want to look at our post comparing NYC Tourist Passes before buying tickets. 


Enjoy Free Admission to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

On August 16, you can visit this highly interactive and engaging museum for free between 5 pm (17:00) and 9 pm (21:00).

This museum is housed on an aircraft carrier whose exhibits include a Concorde, a submarine, a space shuttle, and much more.

This is a fun way to spend an evening in NYC. This is also a kid-friendly activity. Plan your visit and learn about additional discounts.

This opportunity may not be available in 2021 due to the pandemic.


Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge 

The Brooklyn Bridge can be walked over 24 hours a day. We definitely do not recommend you taking a 4 am stroll.

Virtual Brooklyn Bridge Walking Tour

But for those who want some guidance to enjoy the Bridge when the sun goes down, join us for our combined 911 Memorial and Brooklyn Bridge Night Tour.  

It runs Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 7:30 pm (19:30) from March through October.  


Free Outdoor Movie Screenings 

Practically every night of the summer months you can find a free, outdoor movie screening. Here are the best series:

  • Movies on the Waterfront — Many of the parks around NYC host nightly, outdoor screenings of famous films — all of which are free! 
  • Movies with a View – Every Thursday, you can see a free movie in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1’s. Movies start at sunset but arrive early as the open lawn fills up quickly.
  • Bryant Park Movie Night – Every Monday. Go early if you want a spot on the lawn and watch some great films surrounded by the city’s shimmering lights.

Although Movies on the Waterfront has been scheduled for 2021, both Movies with a View and Bryant Park Movie Night are still up in the air.

For even more choices see our New York City Summer Guide


Free Outdoor Concerts 

There are numerous free, outdoor concerts in NYC all summer. Click here for even more options

Summerstage in Central Park 

Every year, this annual festival in Central Park draws famous and talented performers. Some concerts are held in Harlem and some in Coney Island.

Most performances are free and the few concerts that require tickets are benefit shows to raise money to keep the festival free.

Celebrate Brooklyn! 

This annual festival of free concerts is held at the Bandshell in Prospect Park in Park Slope.

Opening night of 2021 season is July 31 and it runs through September 18. You can see the impressive line-up here.


Stargaze with an Astronomer 

Every Tuesday in August, head to the one-of-a-kind High Line Park to gaze at the stars, planets, and moon through high-powered telescopes.


This photo of High Line Park is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Experts are on hand to answer any astronomical questions. Arrive by dusk. There is no charge for this activity. Click here for more information. 

NOTE: As of May 2021, it is not clear whether or not this event will still be available in August. It is not currently listed on the High Line schedule.

They are, however, offering a High Line Tour for free!

Learn more about the High Line, with our guide to the High Line or our GPS audio tour

For even more ideas, see our post, Things to Do in New York City at Night.

 


THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS IN AUGUST

Many things in the other sections of this post are certainly family-friendly. Below are a few more things to do with kids in August in NYC.

Check out our posts Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in New York City or our 3-day itinerary for families


Summer Fun at Coney Island

Visit Coney Island and find out just how much there is to do at this legendary New York seaside spot.

You can go to Luna Park, one of the best amusement parks in the NYC area. Ride the Thunderbolt, a 115-foot-tall roller coaster that reaches up to 55 miles per hour.

Don’t worry there are plenty of rides for those weak of heart and toddlers like water rides and the classic Steeplechase.

Afterward, walk along the Boardwalk to the New York Aquarium, where you can see penguins, harbor seals, otters and more. 

TIP:  Luna Park is included with the NY Pass, while both Luna Park and the Aquarium are included in the Sightseeing Pass


Get out on the water! 

Cool off with cool views of New York City. It doesn’t cost much to get out into the beautiful NYC Harbor.  

check out the many New York Boat Tours and Excursions you can take, such as the Circle Line and other affordable, fun cruises.

 

 

Consider taking a ride on the East River Ferry which costs the same as a subway ride but with a much nicer view.


Hudson River Flicks Fridays

The movies are shown outdoors at Pier 46 in Greenwich Village. For information on the Pier and the movie series, click here.

While you are in the Village, take the time to stroll the gorgeous streets and historic sites using our guide, What to See and Do in Greenwich Village.

NOTE: This event has not been scheduled for 2021.


Restaurant Week With the Kids

Restaurant Week isn’t just for adults. Our kid-friendly recommendations are:

Massoni 

How do meatballs with garlic knots sound? Follow it up with pizzas or classic pasta and you will have a happy family. Room for dessert? Order the cannoli or assorted ice creams.

Sarabeth’s West  

Sarabeth’s is known for its homestyle cooking and family-friendly service.

It is on the Upper West Side and is within walking distance of the American Museum of Natural History and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

Tavern on the Green 

This iconic New York restaurant located in Central Park has an uncomplicated but tasty menu that should satisfy palettes of all ages. And you cannot beat the setting!

For more information and to see how to make reservations, see our Restaurant Week post for more information. 


Jazz Age Lawn Party 

You don’t need to dress in your finest flapper dress or seersucker suit to come out and enjoy fabulous music by the Dreamland Orchestra.

Taking place on June 12th, 2021, there will be a Charleston dance contest (along with lessons), food, 1920s cars, croquet, and fun for the kiddies.

Get the low-down on their website. This is a ticketed event and is held on Governors Island, a kid-friendly destination itself.

 

 


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