Harlem Walking Tours

This post is about guided tours of Harlem, including our free tours, our GPS-led audio tours, as well as other guided tour options.

Watch the 22-minute abridged version of our live tour.

Harlem Walking Tour Video


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


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 10thReservations: Required. Click here to reserve. Groups of 6 or more traveling together should visit our groups page.

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

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

Endpoint: Tour ends near the Apollo Theater.

When: Current schedule: @9:45 am Sat & Sun @2 pm Mon, Tues, Thurs & Fri.

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: Public tour is in English or Spanish only (see our Spanish tour page for 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.

*Future schedules to help guests plan ahead (scheduling subject to change):
Spring (mid-Mar through mid-Jun): @9:45am Sat & Sun, @2pm M, T, Th, F & Su
Summer (mid-Jun through Aug): @9:45am Sat & Sun, @2pm M, T, Th, F & Su
Fall (Sept-Nov): @9:45am Sat & Sun, @2pm M, T, Th, F & Su
Holiday Season (Dec): @9:45am Sat & Sun, @2pm M, T, Th, F & Su
Winter (Jan-Feb): @2pm T & Su


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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 $1.99. We also offer 9 other NYC audio tours.

Here is how it works:

  1. Download our free NYC walking tour app on (iTunes) or (Android).
  2. Download any audio tour(s).
  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.


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About the author

Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker fascinated with the city’s history, culture and cuisine. She loves exploring the world, as well as sharing her travel expertise with others.

She joined the Free Tours by Foot team in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She has a law degree, a teaching degree and a worn-out passport. Her motto is “Have backpack, will travel”.