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Harlem Walking Tour



Discover the streets where Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and other cutting-edge Harlem Renaissance players put American music on the world map.
Schedule: 6 Days a Week
Tour Language: English
Duration: 2 Hours
View Highlights

Harlem Highlights

Excellent4.9 Based on 2227 reviews from review us onDavid P.David P. ★★★★★ Great way to see the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights, the Manhattan skyline and DUMBO. John was a great guide who provided lots of interesting and useful information on both the are covered by the tour and also NYC in general. Highly recommended.Michael M.Michael M. ★★★★★ The Harlem walking tour was great. Ryan is a living and walking encyclopaedia of cultural knowledge and showed us parts of the city you'd otherwise ignore.Allan B.Allan B. ★★★★★ Jon was amazing. Very knowledgeable and informative. Good sense of humor! Picked appropriate spot to stop for a quick break!Raluca MRaluca M ★★★★★ I enjoyed a very nice guided tour of SoHo, Little Italy and ChinaTown with John. He is a great story teller with history facts, true stories and very attentive to the whole group. Thanks a lot!Helen C.Helen C. ★★★★★ Harlem walking tour was excellent.Lady Altoviese is a wonderful guide with so much history to share, learnt a lot!Toni R.Toni R. ★★★★★ I love these walking tours! I've been to 4 so far! Everyone is extremely nice and so much to learn! Thanks John G 🙂Gillian B.Gillian B. ★★★★★ What a fabulous find! Thank you John for a wonderful Brooklyn Bridge/DUMBO tour. Will definitely recommend!!Anand K.Anand K. ★★★★★ Did multiple tours across newyork and loved them all. The hosts are knowledgeable entertaining and give you the right start to your tripBrooklyn - John was an amazing guide with interesting stories narrated in the.most engaging manner.Harlem - Loved tge passion and energy of our host Alta....she mad stories from the past relevant, fun, real and easy to relate to.Alan B.Alan B. ★★★★★ Fantastic tour with Jon. His knowledge and dry sense of humour made the tour an absolute highlight of our New York trip. Will definitely search him out on our next visitKerry C.Kerry C. ★★★★★ I recently discovered Free Tours by Foot and I have taken 2 tours. I did a food tour of Greenwich Villlage with Mary and my whole family did a tour of Lower Manhattan with Renee. Both tours were very interesting. Mary did a great job incorporating the history with the food. Renee did a great job of basing her tour on the interest of the participants and engaged the kids. My 10 year old son said he loved the Lower Manhattan tour. I also loved the fact that neither tour guide begged for tips. We will definitely look for tours in Other cities we vsist!Markus H.Markus H. ★★★★★ Many thanks to Renee for an interesting and humorous morning.Tasmin D.Tasmin D. ★★★★★ Our Tour Guide John Gallagher was so informative and friendly. I learnt so much about New York City and the history of Brooklyn. The scenery at that time of day was spectacular. John gave great tips on more things to see in the city and good places to eat after the tour had finished. i will be booking another tour with Free Tours by Foot due to this great experience. It was great to have a tour with a local who really knows the city.John M.John M. ★★★★★ Great tour with John Gallagher around Grand Central. Added so much in explaining not just what was there, but why it was there as well as the building’s history. Well worth booking a tour. Also, his twilight Brooklyn tour is just as good!JamieJamie ★★★★☆ We did the Soho, Little Italy, Chinatown tour with John Gallagher. We enjoyed our tour & learned some interesting facts. John was witty & did his best to engage with everyone on the tour, even though it was large. Our only suggestion would be to eliminate one of the two food stops as we would have preferred to hear more instead of stop & take time out to eat when it wasn't even lunch time (tour is over by 12:15p). The first food stop was also a restroom stop so our suggestion would be to eliminate the second. Otherwise, a fun, enjoyable tour that we would recommend!Eliot M.Eliot M. ★★★★★ Great walking tour of Brooklyn Bridge and parts of Brooklyn, with nice suggestions for more things to do after.Subhasish B.Subhasish B. ★★★★★ We did the Greenwich Village food tour which was a fun medley of architectural/historical facts and food stops. I appreciated that I could partake in this experience as a vegetarian.Thais M.Thais M. ★★★★★ The tour was amazing. Renée was fun and informative.Nick R.Nick R. ★★★★★ Ron who did the Highline tour was terrific. Very kind and nice man who made a huge effortMichael W.Michael W. ★★★★★ Thanks to John we got a lot of interesting information about this beautiful place, Grand Central Terminal. The tour of this historic building was very impressive and we also received useful information about our stay in New Yorkmarillokmarillok ★★★★★ Robert W.Robert W. ★★★★★ John Gallagher took us to one of the best Brooklyn bridge sunset photo experiences!! Highly recommendHelene C.Helene C. ★★★★★ Jon was a great guide and all the food was great. I highly recommend this tour!dayle D.dayle D. ★★★★★ Our lower east side food tour with Jon yesterday was fantastic! Truly the best tour we have taken anywhere. He's informative, funny, the food stops were delicious and generous. I so appreciated that he used a microphone also. Could hear every word even on the noisy streets. Free tours by foot is a great company. Thank you.Caroline L.Caroline L. ★★★★★ Excellent Brooklyn tour with John Gallagher ! Full of informations, fun and beautiful surprises 🙂 thank you so much !Elisabeth W.Elisabeth W. ★★★★★ Becky I.Becky I. ★★★★★ My husband and I have completed many walking tours. The tour of Grand Central Station with John Gallagher was excellant and was one of our favorites. 5 stars from a couple from Philadelphia visitng NYC.Emmanuelle C.Emmanuelle C. ★★★★★ We had a great time and learnt a lot about the history of the city with Jon today, many thanks!karlakarla ★★★★★ We took the Brooklyn bridge twilight tour in April and it was excellent! Our guide Meredith really knew her stuff, told us a lot of interesting facts (especially about the tragic story surrounding the bridge, but also more) and was able to answer most of our questions. Would definitely recommend!We also took the Harlem walking tour with Ryan and I’ve rarely learned that much in such a short time - about the history, culture and architecture of Harlem, but also of NYC as a whole - he really managed to make it all come together. Extremely informative and enjoyable!Rubi S.Rubi S. ★★★★★ Hubby and I took a tour with John Gallagher through SOHO, Little Italy, and Chinatown. John is a fabulous tour guide and provided plenty of history and information about the area with colorful stories and plenty of personality. We love Free Tours by Foot and have taken many not only in NYC but San Francisco, and Boston. We highly recommend them to all our friends. Bring your walking shoes, $5 for delicious fried dumplings, and get ready to enjoy. Tip generously, these guys are worth it.Daniel T.Daniel T. ★★★★★ I always love doing a walking tour in a new city, our Tour of New York (little italy, Soho and china town) did not disappoint! Our tour guide John was super knowledge and funny. I felt that I got a really authentic and unique experience of New York. Would 100% recommendBob L.Bob L. ★★★★★ My wife and I did the tour of Soho, Chinatown and Little Italy on October 21st with John Gallagher as the tour guide, and enjoyed every minute of it.John was informative and entertaining and we couldn’t have asked for a better guide. I would highly recommend this tour!Tanya S.Tanya S. ★★★★★ A wonderful morning crossing the Brooklyn bridge, touring DUMBO and scaling the Brooklyn Heights! Tour was super informative and lead by the wonderful guide Renee! The information was interesting and relative! Tour flowed well and 3 1/2 hours went in a blink of an eye! One of the best tours we have taken, and not just in NYC! You won’t be disappointed!Rebecca O.Rebecca O. ★★★★★ LOVED John's Grand Central Station Tour, it was a highlight of my trip. He was informative, the tour clipped along, we saw some of the other surrounding buildings (which felt like a bonus). He is a true New Yorker and I am so glad we decided to join this tour last minute!Matthew S.Matthew S. ★★★★★ Really enjoyed the Lower East Side food tour with Jon Noto. Super knowledgeable, learnt loads. Highly recommend!Martin W.Martin W. ★★★★★ Jon does an awesome tour, perfectly mixing sights, history and tastes with a humorous twist. Great value for money. Would happily do it all over againximena A.ximena A. ★★★★★ Took a tour of grand central station with John and it was great! He was so knowledgeable about everything we were being shown and it was a fun way to see this New York City staple. Will definitely be taking more tours!Cathy S.Cathy S. ★★★★★ I would award more than 5* if I could. We were so happy to be on our 2nd tour with John Gallagher. He was very enjoyable, and while he was a walking encyclopedia of NY knowledge, he was also very entertaining with stories and advice as a New Yorker… and offered suggestions for more sight-seeing that we enjoyed later. We learned so much and look forward to our next tour! Thanks, John!! Spencer groupKIM D.KIM D. ★★★★★ What a wonderful way to spend a few hours in a part of Manhattan that holds so much history. Jon was our tour guide and was a very seasoned guide- working his mic to accommodate the fluctuating noises of the city (trucks, ambulances, no- mic zones, etc). His knowledge was vast! The history, the stories, the jokes, … all very articulately delivered. Jon is a guy who is born to serve. It is evident that he enjoys his work and enjoys helping people.I would def recommend this tour. Having been to NYC many times, it’s a nice way of filling in some gaps- learning about the stories and history that makes up this great city.Enjoy!J M.J M. ★★★★★ We have done these tours in multiple cities and always find they are great.While in Manhattan our group did two tours with John Gallagher. Communication was timely with good instructions and John greets each person as they arrive. He is a NYC fact machine !! He does a fantastic job of giving historical and interesting stories about the locations. John also plans the stops shade, cover if it raining, restroom stops, snacks and gives suggestions for restaurants in the area.Laura GLaura G ★★★★★ To date, I have done two tours with Free Tours by Foot, and I recommend them wholeheartedly!First, I had a fantastic tour of Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo, with our guide Renée. She was extremely knowledgeable and took us on a very interesting journey. Thank you very much!Then, I did an awesome tour of SoHo, China Town and Little Italy with Jon. He was very nice, funny, and knowledgeable, bringing us on a tour definitely worth doing! He also gave us great recommendations of where to eat, which were much appreciated. Many thanks!!Mike Google L.Mike Google L. ★★★★★ Jon was our guide in the Lower East Side walking and food tour. He was knowledgeable, funny and patient with our large group. Jon showed us very interesting sites and shared facts that we never would have seen. The food was great and we all had fun and full tummies too.Radiana D.Radiana D. ★★★★★ Hi, I don’t have enough words to thank John Gallagher for the excellent tour on Sunday, October 22! Caring, intelligent, funny, entertaining! John, from now on, every time when I pass Grand central I will smile with great memories and knowledge!The best tour guide ever!Thank you!Claudia Baquero J.Claudia Baquero J. ★★★★★ I loved this tour, the guide knows a lot about the city, and likes to tell many details, and he was super friendly.Excellent for those who want to know more about the history of the city, from BrooklynWe were lucky to do it on a day with perfect weather!I highly recommend it.John Gallagher, was super cool and nice.Richard N.Richard N. ★★★★★ Superb twilight walk over The Brooklyn Bridge.John was a great guide and very interesting on the bridge and Brooklyn Heights.Many nationalities and John was interested in all - particularly The Irish- as his ancestors were from County Donegal.Superb sunset views from promenade.Would highly recommend this tour and particularly John.Ce B.Ce B. ★★★★★ I`ve just completed both Harlem and LES food tour, I cannot recommend these tours enough. Great guides (Ryan and Jon), great content, funny and entertained. Would give 10 stars if possible!Blair M.Blair M. ★★★★★ A wonderful experience with John Joseph Gallagher on the Brooklyn Bridge DUMBO walking tour. John has an incredible knowledge of the history of the founding of New York and stories of people who made history in New York. His stories of the struggles of the poor Brooklyn residents who built the Bridge under horrific circumstance were quite poignant! The stories of the Underground Railroad and the terrible circumstances of American Blacks trying to flee to Canada really made an emotional impact on me. Truman Capote's apartment astounded me! His knowledge of Brooklyn Heights " bohemian" residents and also celebrities who still live there was utterly fascinating. His knowledge of food was impressive! Highly recommended! We will do another tour Soho Greenwich Highline tomorrow. Blair, Guy and Susan from Canada.David F.David F. ★★★★★ Amazing way to see New York. The guides are knowledgeable, friendly and happy to answer questions. Enjoyed the Brooklyn Bridge & Dumbo tour the most - highly recommendedMatt J.Matt J. ★★★★★ Renee Rewiski was the best tour guide!! My 18 year old son and I booked the Brooklyn Bridge/ Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO tour and it was worth every minute with Renee. She was a wealth of information, very knowledgeable, outgoing, and answered all of our questions. We definitely recommend booking with free tours and especially with Renee. You will get a great New York experience!Thomas G.Thomas G. ★★★★★ ranboos cat E.ranboos cat E. ★★★★★ Last week we did a walking tour of the Brooklyn Bridge, DUMBO, & Brooklyn Heights with Renee. She was very knowledgeable about there area & very pleasant to talk to. I would definitely recommend this tour.js_loader

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For our full tour calendar, click here.

Although world-famous, Harlem may just be New York's best-kept secret with some of the city's most interesting architecture, food, music, and people.

Harlem's history is also one of the city's most dramatic, having gone through many ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic changes over the past roughly 400 years.

This has resulted in a diverse array of places of worship, theaters, homes, and eating establishments.

Join Free Tours by Foot Uptown on this two-hour Harlem walking tour.

dizzie gillespie murals harlem

Discover the streets where Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and other cutting-edge Harlem Renaissance players put American music on the world map.

And where Fidel Castro slept after being kicked out of a midtown hotel for having chickens in his room.

Come hungry, if you want to treat yourself to some great soul food after the tour!  

We'll also show you some places where you could visit to experience a live gospel service.

Sites we cover on our Harlem Walking Tours:

NOTE: We do not enter these buildings on the tour.

We also have a GPS-led audio tour of Harlem that you can whenever it fits your schedule.

Tour information

Harlem Food Tour Sept 10th

Reservations: Required. Click here to reserve. Groups of 6 or more traveling together should visit our group's page.

Duration: Approximately 2 hours 15 min. The tour distance is approximately 1.5 miles (2.7 km).

Start point: The tour starts from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (map). 

Endpoint: The tour ends near the Apollo Theater.

When: @9:45am Tuesdays, Thursdays & Sundays and @2pm Mondays, Fridays & Saturdays (mid-March through Jan 3rd). Winter schedule @9:45am Thursdays & @2pm Sundays. Tours go out rain or shine. Dress appropriately for the weather. View Our Full Calendar.

*See the additional planning section below for future potential seasonal scheduling. 

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.

Language: The public tour is in English or Spanish only (see our Spanish tour page for the calendar). Private tours for individual groups are also available in both languages upon request.

Additional planning information: Tour will not enter buildings. You will need to coordinate a gospel experience and Apollo Theater tour on your own.

Read our Gospel Music in Harlem and the Rest of New York City blog and our Tour the Apollo Theater in Harlem blog to assist you in your planning.


We also offer a GPS-enabled audio tour as well as a self-guided tour.

The 1st option is our GPS-led audio tour.

This option is our full tour of Harlem and was researched and recorded by one of our tour guides from the neighborhood. Listen to a sample.

You'll need to download our free audio tour app. Downloads are only $2.99. We also offer 9 other NYC audio tours.

Here is how it works:

  1. Purchase an audio tour.
  2. Get a confirmation email with .mp3, .pdf, and embeddable Google Map.
  3. Enjoy the tour(s).

Even if you don't download any tours, you will still have access to valuable information on sightseeing, eating, and playing in the Big Apple.

Our second option is totally free (hence our name). You can take this tour by viewing or downloading this Google Map.

This version isn't as in-depth as the audio or public tours, but it will give you a good overview nonetheless.

Map of Harlem Attractions and Things to Do

Tip: To learn about the economic, political, and cultural changes in Harlem over time, check out Social Justice Tours

Tickets are just $16 and a portion of the proceeds goes to a worthy non-profit organization.

Lady Altoviese's Harlem Renaissance and Gospel Experience

We offer exceptional gospel tour experiences led by Harlem native, Lady Altoviese.

Unlike the church services listed below, there is no dress code for this tour and performance, and there is no waiting in line.

Cost: $25/person. Book this tour.

Note: This tour operates on Wednesdays at noon and pares with our 2-hour walking tour of Harlem.

Click here for more options to experience the gospel in NYC or to take a guided tour of Harlem churches.

We can show you where some of the churches we list below are located on our free New York tours.


And much, much more

Join our free FTBF travel community! As a thank you, you'll receive our city guide!
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