One Day in NYC Itinerary

Updated: 5 diciembre 2023

If you are visiting NYC for the first time or are still a relative newbie and you are short on time, then you've come to the right place.

This one-day itinerary takes you to many of the sites, historic landmarks, and attractions that make the Big Apple the exciting place that it is.

You will see historic buildings and beautiful parks all while getting amazing views of the New York skyline from different vantage points. 

We've included time for lunch, a snack, and dinner.

There is a section for night activities if you have enough energy to keep going! 

A big bonus: This itinerary is practically free. You only need to spend about $10 for transportation and the cost of food. 

In the video below, Katie, a tour guide with us, Free Tours by Foot - NYC, runs through this itinerary for you, but we've added more details in the content below.

As local tour guides, we compiled this list based on our own experiences, but also answering your questions.

We lead thousands of people each month through the streets of NYC and we know a thing or two about crafting an itinerary.

We also grabbed ideas from the roughly 200k members of our popular NYC Travel Tips Facebook group.

The group consists of locals, like our tour guides, veteran travelers, as well as newbies to NYC.

You don't need to join to read the posts, comments, and recommendations.

Check out the group once you are finished reading this post. A link to the group is at the end of this post.


MORNING

Central Park

Enter at 59th Street and Central Park South 

You've seen it in movies and pictures and now you can see for yourself that it is every bit as lovely as you expected.

Make your way to the Pond and Gapstow Bridge for a great photo op. Wander a bit around the southwest area.

If you are big on photography, head north for Bethesda Terrace and The Mall, both iconic locales in the park.

If you want to explore more of the park, it's best to have a map with you as it is quite large.

Use our self-guided tour and or our GPS-enabled audio tour to find your way around.

We also offer pay-what-you-wish guided Central Park tours.

Backtrack and exit the park the same way you entered, at 59th Street and Central Park South.

Walk south on 5th Avenue in the same direction as the cars are going.


Rockefeller Center

As you walk down 5th Avenue 51st Street, look out for famous shops, like Tiffany's and Saks Fifth Avenue.

You'll pass by Trump Tower on your way to Rockefeller Center. Explore this complex of 1920s buildings using our self-guided tour.

See the famous Channel Gardens and the Lower Level Concourse where, in the Christmas Season, you can ice-skate and see the iconic Rockefeller Christmas Tree.

The Prometheus Fountain in front of Rockefeller Center. Image source: Pixabay user Herve Borg.

Pose for a photo in front of Radio City Music Hall.

You may also want to look into visiting the Top of the Rock, one of the five observation decks in NYC.

Walk south on 5th Avenue until 42nd Street.

Cross 42nd Street and walk halfway down the block until you see the big beautiful building with two lion statues on either side of the grand set of stairs. 


New York Public Library 

On the corner of 42nd Street and 5th Avenue is the main branch of the New York Public Library built in 1913.

Walk inside to see the grand Beaux-Arts lobby and the cavernous Reading Room, where a scene from the 1984 film Ghostbusters was filmed.

 

Learn more about the daily tours and what to see inside this building.

From the library, walk back to 42nd Street and turn right onto 42nd Street. Walk two long blocks to Park Avenue.

Enter the station (officially named Grand Central Terminal) through the doors at the intersection of 42nd Street and Park Avenue.


Grand Central Station

It's actually a train terminal, the largest in the world, with 44 tracks of trains leading out of New York City. Several main subway lines pass through as well.

Grand Central is a special spot in New York. Even lifelong New Yorkers who pass through every day enjoy the beauty and design of this terminal.

The Main Concourse is dazzling, from the celestial ceiling to the chandeliers and the tiled archways and regal staircases, Grand Central is a beauty.

If you’d like to learn more about Grand Central’s history and its secrets, check out our self-guided tour or our GPS-enabled audio tour.

Be sure to visit the Whispering Gallery on the lower level just outside of the Oyster Bar.

Click here for a very short video demonstration of how to enjoy the Whispering Gallery.


AFTERNOON

Lunch in the Lower Level Dining Concourse

After visiting the Whispering Gallery, grab lunch from over 35 food stalls.

There are tables to sit at as well as public restrooms. (Click here to see the listings and hours).

There is something for everyone, from pizza, burgers, sushi, sandwiches, soups, and two classic New York desserts:

  • Junior's Cheesecake, the best cheesecake in NYC
  • Magnolia Bakery, where you can get the famous cupcakes from Sex and the City. (Find out about where the original Magnolia is from our post about SATC sites in NYC.)

When you are ready to move on to the next activity, it's time to take the subway.

Read below for all the information you need on how to use the subway.

You will be taking the DOWNTOWN 4/5/6 subway line. The line is represented by green circles. 

There are a few different ways from inside Grand Central to get to the subway platform. They all involve going down one level via stairs or escalators.

Your destination is the Brooklyn Bridge- City Hall station. You can take either the 4, 5, or 6 trains as long as they say DOWNTOWN. 

At the Brooklyn Bridge City Hall Station, there will be several different exits. No matter which exit you use, you will be able to see the pedestrian entrance to the bridge. 


Walk the Brooklyn Bridge and visit DUMBO 

Taking a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge is an absolute must-do on a trip to New York City.

For a more in-depth experience, be sure to download our GPS-enabled audio tour

This is an unforgettable walk with sweeping views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the harbor.

You can use our visitor's guide to walking the Brooklyn Bridge to help find the entrance to the walkway as well as how to find your way to DUMBO (District Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), an artsy, waterfront neighborhood with traces of the American Revolution.

There is also incredible ice cream at the Ample Hills Creamery. You can find out where with our post on things to do in DUMBO.

After spending some time in DUMBO, it's time to head back to Manhattan.

Walk to the East River Ferry landing at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park (Stop 17 on this map) to take the ferry to Wall Street. 


Take the East River Ferry back to Manhattan NEw-york-east-river-ferry-300x200

Buy your ticket from DUMBO to Wall Street and have your camera ready to go to get fantastic, unobstructed photos of the Manhattan skyline and the harbor.

For information read our post about the East River Ferry.

The ride costs $4 but the view is priceless. The ride is approximately 4 minutes. Be sure to check the schedule to plan your afternoon. 

Disembark from the ferry and leave the dock. You will be at the intersection of Gouverneur Lane and South Street.

Cross South Street and turn right and walk one block up South Street until you come to Wall Street. Make a left and begin walking along Wall Street.

At this point, you can take a look at our self-guided tour map.


Wall Street 

Our self-guided tour of Wall Street will take you to 13 of the most important sites along Wall Street with background information on each locale.

These are three buildings not to be missed:

Walk south on Broadway for approximately 5 minutes.


The Charging Bull 

This 7,000-pound bronze sculpture is one of the most photographed sculptures in New York City.

It was created by the Italian sculptor Arturo Di Modica in 1989, who gifted it to New York City as a symbol of encouragement for a strong stock market year, known as a "Bull Market".

Charging Bull Broadway Wall Street

Click here to read the fascinating history of the Charging Bull.

Keep walking south on Broadway and ahead of you, you will see a huge and beautiful white ornate building.


National Museum of the American Indian

This stunning Beaux-Arts building next to Battery Park was built in 1907 as the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House. (Photo 2 below)

It is now home to the National Museum of the American Indian Museum. It's one of NYC's free museums, so pop in and have a look.

The four monumental sculptures on the building's front side symbolize international commerce with each of the four female figures representing a continent: Asia, America, Europe, and Africa.

Read more about the Museum of the American Indian.

Continue south on Whitehall Street until you reach the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.


Staten Island Ferry

During the boat ride, you get a good view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and stunning views of the Lower Manhattan skyline.

The ride there and back is about 50 minutes and doesn’t require a ticket and it's free. The ferry runs frequently during the week and slightly less often on weekends.

Read our post on how to take the ferry(Photo 4 below)

From the ferry terminal, walk back up Whitehall St. until you reach Broadway (back by the Charging Bull).

Walk north on Broadway against the traffic. At Rector St. (about 2 long blocks past the Charging Bull) turn left.

Walk on Rector St. two blocks to Greenwich St. and make a right turn.

You will be walking north, against the traffic. Continue on Greenwich St. for about 4 minutes and you will arrive at the massive 9/11 Memorial Plaza.


National September 11th Memorial and Museum 

Plan your visit to the Memorial with our detailed guide, Visiting the 911 Memorial and Museum

The centerpiece of the memorial is the Reflecting Pools, two massive cascading fountains set in the exact location where the Twin Towers stood.

911-Memorial

Inscribed around the bronze edges of the pools are the names of those who died on 9/11.

For details on the other sites within the Memorial, we have a short, self-guided tour and a GPS audio tour.


NIGHT

Oculus


Dinner Downtown 

Since you will be downtown already, check out the Food Hall at The Oculus next to the World Trade Center.

Not only are there plenty of food options like Eataly, Shakeshack, and Wasabi Sushi, but there are also fast food options and upscale restaurants.

The space-age-looking Oculus is a shopping center, transportation, and also an incredible example of architecture that honors the victims of 9/11.

Even if you plan to dine somewhere else, check out The Oculus -- and have your camera ready!

The Oculus is open Monday - Friday 10 am to 7 pm and Sunday 11 am to 6 pm.

If your night ends here, you can hop on one of the many subway lines you can enter from The Oculus including the 2/3/4/5/A/C/J/Z.


See a Broadway Show

No reason you can't fit a Broadway show into a whirlwind one-day itinerary.

If your budget allows, you can buy tickets in advance and head straight to your show.

Click here to see what's playing on StubHub when you are in town.


Staten Island Ferry Ride

Instead of taking this amazing free ride during the day, you can have a fabulous experience at night as well, and you won't feel so rushed trying to squeeze in everything before sunset.

See above for a description of the ferry.


Brooklyn-Bridge-at-night

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge at night 

Though it's included in the daytime activities above, a nighttime stroll is also a great way to enjoy the bridge.

If you walk the bridge at night, your daytime pace will be slowed down and you have more time to explore a bit more on your own. 

We offer a night tour of the Brooklyn Bridge and 9/11 Memorial several evenings each week as well as a GPS-enabled audio tour of the bridge.

You could also walk the bridge yourself. Either way, it's a lovely evening activity.


Take a pay-what-you-like night tour

We offer a Midtown Manhattan Night Tour, a Dark Side of the High Line tour, and several ghost tours, and in December for the holidays, we offer festive tours such as the New York Holiday Lights Tour.


For more ideas about how to spend your night after your one-day itinerary, see our post, Top 10 Things to Do in New York City at Night.

Traveling with kids? No problem!

This one-day itinerary is appropriate for kids and we think they will get quite a lot out of the day.

If you would like to check out some alternatives, we have an itinerary specifically for families.


SEE NEW YORK BY NEIGHBORHOOD

New York is known for its diverse neighborhoods. Just wandering around one or two neighborhoods could easily fill up one day.

For a more authentic New York experience choose a few neighborhoods to visit.

Use our self-guided tours and GPS-enabled audio tours that include maps, suggestions for things to do, itineraries, where to eat, and how to have fun just like the locals do. 

The list below is only 1/2 of the neighborhoods we cover! 

See our full list of NYC neighborhood overviews to see each neighborhood in relation to the others.


See our full list of NYC neighborhood overviews.


GUIDED TOURS IN ONE DAY

If you would rather have a real New Yorker show you around, or you would like to meet other fellow travelers, then consider an all-day tour.

We have several pay-what-you-wish tours to choose from including our 6-Hour Downtown Manhattan Tour (see details below). 

In reality, you could put together any of a number of our shorter neighborhood tours (see our tour calendar) as well as our GPS-audio tours.

We also have just over 40 free, self-guided tours

Below is the description of our tour and a daily calendar of other all-day tours offered by other companies.

Of course, many bus tour companies can guide you around for the day, and we rate and compare them all

Free Tours a pieExcelenteFree Tours a pie4.9 Basado en 2383 reseñas deVer todos los comentarios danos tu opinión enPasquale S.Pasquale S. ★★★★★ My guide was John Gallagher, who toured us in Little Italy, Soho, Chinatown. We had a beautiful experience, John was interesting and entertaining, and also managed to deal with politeness and savoir faire with an annoying lady who disturbed us while we were visiting Soho. The only thing I would change is that I would have liked to walk longer (the tour has many short stops so you don't walk that much), but I guess it's very subjective.Very Recommended!Gucci G.Gucci G. ★★★★★ Great tour with a lovely guide. We had so much fun exploring Brooklyn Bridge and Dumbo!Robert S.Robert S. ★★★★★ John was an amazing guide in our Soho, Little Italy, Chinatown tour.Remington B.Remington B. ★★★★★ Cannot state enough good things about Ryan and the Harlem walking tour. Signed up for this one hoping to see a bit of Harlem, and learn a bit about the area, but we were blown away by how much history Ryan shared. His passion for the Harlem area is evident and infectious. Tour was very educational and very enjoyable!Rita P.Rita P. ★★★★★ Wir hatten in drei Tagen drei Touren gebucht: die erste ging mit Garett durch SoHo, China Town und Little Italy. Gerettet war unglaublich unterhaltsam, hatte Spaß an dem was er tut und uns sehr viel Geschichte aber auch Kurioses berichten können.Die beiden anderen Touren gingen mit Renee nach Brooklyn, DUMBO und Brooklyn Heights und am nächsten Tag furchtbar Greenwich Village.Renee hat ein unfassbares Wissen über historische Ereignisse und weiß diese mit Humor zu kombinieren. Man kann ihr sehr gut zuhören und es bleibt eine Menge (nicht alles) an Informationen hängen.Beide Tourguides haben neben ihren geschichtlichen Kenntnissen viele Geschichten über die besuchten Orte parat, ob es sich um Filmkulissen handelt oder auch, wo man die besten Dumplings in China Town oder die beste Pizza, Schokolade und/oder Eis, Cupcakes in Greenwich bekommt.Wir haben uns nicht eine einzige Sekunde der jeweiligen Tour gelangweilt sondern alles Wissen und die Geschichten aufgesogen.Klar ist: bei unserem nächsten NY Besuch werden wir auf jeden Fall wieder free tours by foot machen😁VictorVictor ★★★★★ We had a fantastic time on John Gallagher's free tour, and it was a pleasant experience. He knows the area well and made exploring SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown a blast. From excellent shops in SoHo to tasty treats in Little Italy and the bustling vibe of Chinatown, John showed us all the best spots. Super friendly and full of fun facts, he made the tour feel like a walk with a friend who knows all the most incredible places. I recommend tagging along if you want to see NYC from a local's perspectiveGisele T.Gisele T. ★★★★★ John was our guide, April 13, 2024. I lived in New York and came with out of town friends. I learned so much during this visit on the town I thought I knew well! John is highly knowledgeable, a wealth of historical, architectural facts delivered with a plethora of anecdotes and good humor. Being on a budget this was an amazing option and John made that day one for my memories trunk!Holly N.Holly N. ★★★★★ I had an amazing Brooklyn Bridge tour with Lori! She was friendly and knowledgeable, the tour was a good pace and had a lot of information without being overwhelming. I will definitely be booking a different tour the next time I am in town and would throughly recommend to anyone. Hopefully I'll get Lori again!Cassie C.Cassie C. ★★★★★ Lori was an awesome guide!! The SOHO, Little Italy and Chinatown walking tour was fun and full of great information!!! I highly recommend this tour with Lori!!Susan O.Susan O. ★★★★★ This tour was great and Jon was a terrific guide. I highly recommended itAriela A.Ariela A. ★★★★★ The tour was informative educational clear and funny. Thanks to John Gallagher who made everything possible and giving us wonderful recommendations 👏👏👏Cathy S.Cathy S. ★★★★★ Went on the Lower East Side Food Tour with Jon. Very knowledgeable history buff. Enjoyed the tour, the food and the people on the tour were friendly!Anushree S.Anushree S. ★★★★★ The Brooklyn Bridge walking tour was so incredible! Learning the history behind how it was built, and New York’s architecture was so interesting to me. John was an incredible tour guide and he really made the whole experience engrossing. I would recommend the morning walking tour 🙂Julie W.Julie W. ★★★★★ We were on the Harlem and Grand Central Station tours. Both were excellent. Would highly recommend Free Tours by Foot.Nuno Tiago Pires dos Santos P.Nuno Tiago Pires dos Santos P. ★★★★★ Renée was a wonderful tour guide. Recommend the tour very muchU R.U R. ★★★★★ We had an absolutely fantastic morning with Lori walking from City Hall Park over Brooklyn Bridge into DUMBO and then Brooklyn Heights. Lori has so much historical knowledge and great storytelling ability so it was an absolutely lovely way to spend a few hours in New York. Highly recommend!Fergus D.Fergus D. ★★★★★ A very high quality tour with excellent levels of insight and an appropriate but entertaining delivery from the guide, who seemed to know every other person in the neighbourhood. One of the highlights of the ten busy tourist days I’ve spent in NYC.Jen B.Jen B. ★★★★★ We had a great walking tour of the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Hts, DUMBO and the area. John Gallagher was funny and engaging, and his anecdotes enhanced the experience. My teenagers even had fun. His recommendations for dinner were also great.Melissa W.Melissa W. ★★★★★ Had a Brooklyn Bridge tour today with Katie. She was brilliant. Utterly miserable weather, raining and cold, but Katie was energetic, interesting and super informative.We went with a 9 and 13 year old and they didn’t complain at all (except about the rain, which Katie had no control over!)Highly recommend! Thanks so much Katie.Domenic S.Domenic S. ★★★★★ John was a fantastic tour guide - we had a great tour, learned so much and had a lot of fun. Thanks John, especially for making it so enjoyable for our kids too!Christian A.Christian A. ★★★★★ HiMy tour with Jon was exceptional.Jon is knowledgeable and picked fabulous eating establishments with a rich history and delicious tasting tidbits. The split pea soup at Cozis was to die for. I went back for dinner that night for a full bowl. The Ukrainian kitchen was quirky and fun and the Cabbage rolls were super delicious.The Brooklyn dumplings were delicious and the finale, a dessert cafe had the richest yummist Cannoli.Jons knowledge ie the history, culture and choice of venues in East Village was top notch.Jon was kind enough to share his mobile if we had and further queries (which I did) about places to see or eat and he answered my texts immediately.Jon was a sensational tour guide. 10/10.When I’m back in NY again from Australia I’ll be doing another of his tours!MarzenaMarzena ★★★★★ I had a tour (Chinatown, Little Italy etc.) with Jon - absolutely perfect! Jon's enthusiasm, fascinating stories and his sense of humour just made to me the NYC really "alive"! Hope to repeat a tour guided by Jon!Pa QPa Q ★★★★★ We’re native NY’ers who love being tourists in our own city; there’s so much to see and learn. We took the Meatpacking District tour and had the pleasure of having Ron as our tour guide. We walked through the Highline, visited Little Island, and learned fun historical facts about the neighborhood, including Ron’s own stories about celebrities that grew up in the area. So glad we took the tour. Be sure to tip generously for your tour guide. They work hard to make your tour fun and personalized.Thanks again, Ron. We will see you on the Harlem tour.Anna M.Anna M. ★★★★★ Had a great tour with Lori as a guide. She introduced us to some of Greenwhich village best food and dessert spots. Definitely would recommend!Ayla G.Ayla G. ★★★★★ I really enjoyed the tour. Garret told really interesting storys and kept us engaged for six hours which is pretty incredibleKathy F.Kathy F. ★★★★★ Tour of Brooklyn with John Gallagher was amazing! Very knowledgeable and friendly guide. Followed up with a group photo and tips on where to eat in NYC.Jessa F.Jessa F. ★★★★★ Jon, our tour guide for the walking food tour of Chinatown and Little Italy, did amazing! He was very descriptive and did great about explaining the food we were going to eat at the beginning of the tour. He also made sure everyone was present after we ate at each place. I would definitely go to him again!Victorious Word M.Victorious Word M. ★★★★★ We took New York Little Italy walking tour with Jon and Jon exceeded our expectations of an excellent tour guide. Jon is very knowledgeable about history, New York in general and this particular route. Jon delivered this tour featuring interesting facts, appropriate jokes and humor, and perfect verbal delivery (100% no repetitive words such as "like” or ”you know”, which is very important to fully enjoy the tour). At any given moment he knew where is each member of his group, he watched the speed of walking and was mindful of everyone's safety. Jon is very nice, polite, relatable and thoughtful. We are greatly impressed and enjoyed it so much! Thank you!Evghenia B.Evghenia B. ★★★★★ We had such an amazing experience with Meredith on the Brooklyn bridge tour. Thank you, Meredith, for sharing your knowledge about NY with us!Patricia Anne C.Patricia Anne C. ★★★★★ Entertaining and very informative tour. John was a fantastic guide. Highly recommend.Miriam L.Miriam L. ★★★★★ John was awesome during our Grand Central tour! His knowledge of the building and the area was exceptional.We will definitely take another tour with John in the future!Lyudmila A.Lyudmila A. ★★★★★ Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights & DUMBO. We had a wonderful time touring Brooklyn Bridge, Heights and Dumbo.. John, our guide, was excellent and knowledgeable. We learned so much from John the history of this area, architecture and had a lot of suggestions for great food and site seeing. If you want to discover more about Brooklyn i very recommended have this tour with John. Much thanks to John!Miguel de la OMiguel de la O ★★★★★ Took a tour of Grand Central Station with John and of lower Manhattan with Renee. Learned all about Grand Central, the surrounding area, and the history of NYC. Highly recommend these tours!Celeste F.Celeste F. ★★★★★ John has been a delightful tour guide of New York City.My husband and myself got an amazing time being taught about NYC history, architecture, urbane design, and curious facts. Mister Gallagher was both, a fantastic and engaging storyteller as well as a city savvy.Thanks for all the tips, and for showing around the city you’ve resided for some many years.Big pleasure!Celeste and GustavoTerra R.Terra R. ★★★★★ We have such an amazing tour guide-Garrett-which gave historical insight to the city of New York. I love his enthusiasm and energy. My family and I booked this tour with hopes of learning about particular sites such as the 911 Memorial, China Town and Little Italy, but learned so much more. Being an Army veteran, I was emotional when we went to the 911 memorial because I served in the Operation Iraqi Freedom. He embraced that and gave me a chance to share my story with the group. Garrett kept the tour interesting and loved the red umbrella idea which kept us all from getting lost. We had a great time.Joanna and Glen A.Joanna and Glen A. ★★★★★ We booked a full day NYC walking tour for March break, and were SO thrilled to have had Garrett show us around the city. He was amazing - we loved his personality and depth of insight about NY. He made the tour better than we could ever have imagined! Thank you!Ryan W.Ryan W. ★★★★★ Renee was a fanatic guide, highly recommend taking the Greenwich Village tour!Marla S.Marla S. ★★★★★ The Harlem tour with Ron was great. The tour was well paced and interesting. Ron has an obvious love for the neighborhood and shared his stories with enthusiasm. It was a great introduction to a part of the city that was unfamiliar to us.Anne R.Anne R. ★★★★★ Great tour with John in Brooklyn, thank you!shirley E.shirley E. ★★★★★ We came to NYC for my birthday and took the 6hr tour of NY with Garrett. We have taken walking tours all over Europe and I can say that Garrett was among the top tour guides we have had. He was full of wonderful information and stories and gave the tour a wonderful flavor of NYC. He made my birthday extra special. I am so glad that we took the tour with him,Julie C.Julie C. ★★★★★ We did the full day NYC tour with Garrett and he was amazing. The tour is loaded with information and Garrett did a great job of sharing information and adding personal insights. The pace was great and accommodating for the entire group. I highly recommend this tour, especially if you can get an amazing guide like Garrett!Emil A.Emil A. ★★★★★ great soho. little italy and china town tour with John.really funny and nice, and addon bonus we went for 2 good places to eat, one in little italy and the second in china townFiona W.Fiona W. ★★★★★ We had a lovely, almost private tour with only 4 people in the group. John was full of info, with some tasty side notes thrown into the mix too. Highly recommend doing this tour, it's a fun and informative 2 hours of your day.Anthony J.Anthony J. ★★★★★ John was an excellent guide. Very friendly and knowledgeable!Emelia C.Emelia C. ★★★★★ John was absolutely amazing on our Chinatown/ Little Italy/ Soho tour!! There were so many new things that I learned, John makes you appreciate New York City way more than I thought I ever could! My friends and I will 100% be returning and will do a John tour again.Teagan K.Teagan K. ★★★★★ I did a tour with John Gallagher a year and a half ago, and I knew I had to do another one when my friends came with this time! We did the Wall st, 9/11, Soho, Chinatown and Little Italy tour and it was amazing! He is so informative, kind and hilarious. We learned and laughed a lot got to experience the churches and he recommended the best restaurants! I will do a tour with him each time in New York because he makes such an amazing experience!Evan L.Evan L. ★★★★★ Took three tours with FTBF during my time in NYC: East Village food w/Jon, Little Italy/Chinatown food w/Kathleen, and NY in one day with Garrett. All were amazing experiences!Jon's East Village food tour really gives you the local flavor of the area, the portions are small but just enough for a taste of various things. You can also pay a little more for extra samples of things if you'd like. Also, food bought on the tour is a bit cheaper than just walking in off the street, so it's well worth it. Jon has a great way of sharing the history of the area which is engaging.Kathleen's food tour through Chinatown and Little Italy was filled with yummy food and lots of history. This was probably the most detailed tour, as Kathleen provides unique perspective on the area and the history behind each stop. The food was really good and she makes sure everyone is taken care of! What I appreciated about her is how she related the historical pieces to the city as a whole and described where the city is currently which was really interesting to learn about.Garrett's full day NYC tour is not to be missed. The tour has a bit of a feeling of Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka as Garrett brings such high energy, humor, and fun to the day. His great personality enhances the very fascinating history he covers at each stop. Most stops are brief but there is plenty of time to take in the scenery. Especially poignant is his first hand stories about 9/11 and the many stories of heroism and tragedy that day. He'll make you laugh, cry, and truly enjoy the big apple as you tour from Wall St. to Greenwich Village and the Meatpacking District. A wonderful tour.One final note, the guides are all really good about not being pushy about what to donate for each tour, but with the high quality of each one these experiences are priceless! Be sure to take care of your guides at the end!Jodie H.Jodie H. ★★★★★ A group of 4 of us did the china town and little italy food tour, it was fantastic. The guide was very knowledgeable and passionate. The food was cheap and delicious, you bought what you wanted from the places you were taken too. The recommendations were perfect, we tried dumplings and pizza, plus much more. Me and my husband and I go back this year, and we are booked on to the east village food tour and Greenwich village food tour.Laurel W.Laurel W. ★★★★★ Absolutely wonderful tour of Grand Central Station!John was extremely knowledgeable and a lot of fun. Thanks!Maja E.Maja E. ★★★★★ I’ve done three tours with this company since moving to New York: Lower East Side food tour with Kathleen, Brooklyn Bridge/Brooklyn Heights/Dumbo with Onel and Soho/Little Italy/Chinatown with John. All have been great experiences with knowledgeable and kind guides who truly love the city! My son (11) joined the food tour and my daughter (12) the two other ones and they loved it as well! Highly recommend!js_loader

All-in-One Downtown Tour

Our tour utilizes your feet and the New York City Subway to transport you from the Financial District (the birthplace of New York) through Wall St and the World Trade Center and then on to Greenwich Village, SoHo, Chinatown, Little Italy, Chelsea Market, and the High Line Park.  

**We do not visit Midtown Manhattan or Central Park on this tour.**

There will be ample opportunities for memorable pictures. You'll also get to savor NY's best pizza, cannoli, and other treats. 

Free New York Tours

You may also have the chance to learn how to play NY handball, bargain with a shopkeeper in Chinatown, observe a game of street chess in Greenwich Village, or people-watch and window shop in SoHo.

Along the way, you'll master the subway and learn about New York's Finest!

View our tour calendar for the most up-to-date availability.

The All-in-One (AIO) Tour covers about 75% of the material covered in several of our separate walking tours, including Lower Manhattan, SoHo, Little Italy Chinatown, Greenwich Village, and the High Line.


Sites we cover on the New York City One-Day Tour:

  • New York in a DayWall Street
  • Financial District
  • New York Stock Exchange
  • Trinity Church
  • World Trade Center
  • 911 Memorial
  • Woolworth Building
  • Greenwich Village
  • Washington Square Park
  • SoHo's Cast Iron District
  • Little Italy
  • Chinatown
  • Chelsea Market
  • The High Line Park
  • and much more...

**We do not visit Midtown Manhattan or Central Park on this tour.**

*Guests will need to purchase an MTA MetroCard worth at least $8.25, though a card worth $12.50 would cover subway rides to and from the tour.

Be sure to read our post on which MetroCard to buy as well as tips for navigating the subway system.


Tour information

Reservations: REQUIRED. Click here to reserve. Groups of 10 or more should visit our group page.

Where: The tour meets at the George Washington Statue at Federal Hall on the corner of Broad St. and Wall St. (map). Look for your guides with the Free Tour by Foot logo.

Duración: Approximately 6 hours. There will be a break for lunch and a short refreshment break in the afternoon.

When: @10am Tuesdays & Fridays. View our full calendar.

If you can't reserve on the above days of the week, consider our Lower Manhattan tour, the SoHo, Little Italy Chinatown tour, the Greenwich Village tour, and the High Line tour individually.

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.

  • Does this tour cover Midtown, Harlem, Upper West Side, or Central Park? No, this is a downtown-only tour.
  • Does this tour go into buildings? A few, but you will mostly hear about the history and stories from outside the buildings. If you would like to tour inside the buildings, like the One World Trade Center Observatory, 9/11 Memorial Museum, or the Woolworth Building, you will need to make separate plans. 
  • Is this tour suitable for children and strollers? This is a fast-paced tour, and not recommended for those with walking issues, small children or strollers.

View our tour calendar for the most up-to-date availability. 


OTHER TOURS + ITINERARIES

Here for multiple days? Check out our 3 days in NYC post. 

Here are a few of our favorite paid tours offered by partners:

New York City Full-Day Sightseeing Tour

  • Ticket Prices: $74 for Adults | $64 for Children
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Availability: Daily at 9:30 am

This tour is very well-reviewed (read the reviews) and includes:

  • Statue of Liberty Ferry Ride
  • 9/11 Memorial
  • Wall Street
  • 5th Avenue
  • Times Square
  • Rockefeller Center

New York City Day Tour with the One World Observatory

  • Ticket Prices: $109 for Adults | $99 for Children
  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Availability: Daily at 9:30 AM

This tour is very well-reviewed (read the reviews) and includes:

  • Everything from their 6-hour tour
  • Plus admission to One World Observatory

Statue of Liberty and 9/11 Memorial Tour

  • Ticket Prices: $59 for Adults | $49 for Children
  • Duration: 2 Hours guided; 3-5 hours self-guided
  • Availability: Daily at 9 am.

This tour is also well-reviewed (read the reviews) and includes:

  • Statue of Liberty Ferry Ride
  • Entrance to Liberty Island Museum
  • 9/11 Memorial
  • New York Stock Exchange

USA Guided Bus Tour

This 5 1/2-hour bus package includes a ride around the city where professional tour guides will provide commentary about each stop.

The tour is very well-reviewed (read the reviews) and tickets are reasonable considering it includes all this:

  • Ticket Prices: $89 for Adults | $79 for Children
  • Duration: 5 ½ hours
  • Availability: Daily at 10 am
  • Click Here to get your tickets

Foods of New York

Foodie? Then this tour is for you; You'll visit neighborhoods like West Village, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Dumbo as you discover NY-style pizza, juicy kielbasa, and more.

This trip is somewhat expensive, but it includes a lot of food tastings and they currently have a full 5 /5-star rating on TripAdvisor and Viator (read the reviews). 

  • Ticket Prices: $125 for Adults | $95 for Children
  • Duration: 4 ½ hours
  • Availability: Daily at 11 AM
  • Food tastings included
  • Click Here to get your tickets

Tourist Passes

If you are considering purchasing a tourist discount pass, which allows you to bundle tickets for attractions and tours into one discounted price, you may be interested in taking a look at their itineraries. 

We have the definitive post on tourist passes. We analyze each one and compare them for you. 

Each of these tourist pass companies offers sample itineraries to help you plan to get the most savings possible. 


USING THE SUBWAY TO GET AROUND

You will only be taking two subway rides if you follow our one-day itinerary.

The subway system is a very efficient way to get around the city. It's easy to use once you know how.

Read our post on everything you need to know about riding the subway.

In the past, you had to purchase a MetroCard to enter the subway, but now you can also use the OMNY contactless payment system at the turnstile.

Read more about NYC Subway MetroCards and OMNY.

If you have a smartphone, you can download a free subway app to make your day in NYC go more smoothly

TIP: Anytime you are on the subway, look out for great musicians, buskers, and performers.

Our post about Where to find New York City Street Performers and Subway Music will lead you right to them!

NYC Travel Tips & Hacks Facebook Group

About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: diciembre 5th, 2023
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