This post compares and reviews the various different tours of Lower Manhattan available to you, including our pay-what-you-like tours. You could chose from general Lower Manhattan history tours or focus on Wall Street and the Financial District. One company focuses on Revolutionary War history, including a tour focused on Alexander Hamilton. Many tours include or are focused on the World Trade Center and the National September 11th Memorial (a.k.a. the 9/11 Memorial). Lastly, Lower Manhattan is also where the ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island as well as all helicopter tours depart from.
We at Free Tours by Foot are very proud to offer several tours that include Lower Manhattan, including our anytime audio tour of the area. Below the tour calendar, we detail our Lower Manhattan Walking Tour, but we also offer tours of the World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
For our general history tours, we offer 3 options: a 2 hour tour that focuses on just Lower Manhattan (details below the calendar); a daily, 3 hour Downtown Manhattan Tour, which covers part of Lower Manhattan plus Chinatown, Little Italy and SoHo and a 6 hour NYC in One Day Tour, which combines the 3 hour Downtown Tour and adds to it Greenwich Village and the High Line. Be sure to read our TripAdvisor reviews.
Calendar of all Lower Manhattan Tours (including our pay-what-you-wish tours)
Lower Manhattan Walking Tour (Free Tours by Foot)
It is here, as much as anywhere, where American history started. It’s where the first US Congress assembled and produced the Bill of Rights and where President George Washington took his first oath of office. It’s here where the world’s most important stock exchange and one of the most famous bridges stand. And it is here where an unspeakable tragedy took place and where a rebirth is underway.
Join us as we stroll through the ancient streets of Manhattan’s Financial District and explain the rich history of New York City. From a Dutch trading post to a world financial capital, no stone is left unturned. This tour starts from the Battery Park, where you will see from a distance the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, then makes its way through Wall Street and the Financial District, ending up near City Hall and the World Trade Center area. At the end of the tour, you will be near the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. Why not take a walk over it?
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.
Revolutionary Era Tours of Lower Manhattan
For those interested in Revolutionary War history, we highly recommend that you take a tour with Patriot Tours. This highly-rated tour company uses a storytelling format and review of authentic documents, which will give you as close to a first-hand experience you can get of life as it was during Revolutionary Era New York. Their tours are not pay-what-you-wish, but group size is small – between 10 and 15 guests and your guides are personable. Patriot Tours has fantastic reviews on TripAdvisor. On their website you can read 5 star reviews from over 250 guests. Highly recommended! Check out these two tours:
Alexander Hamilton Tour
Take a trip back in time to NYC before, during and after the American Revolution and enter the world of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Visit the sites that were part of Hamilton’s everyday life including St. Paul’s Chapel, Federal Hall and Trinity Church Graveyard, some of the oldest remaining historic sites in New York City.
Tours are 2.5 hours and run on Wednesdays at 10am, Saturdays at 11am, and Tuesdays and Thursdays at Noon.
Follow your guide through what was once British-occupied precolonial New York. Learn about what daily life was like in New York in the 1770’s as well as learn about infamous spy rings, some of which met secretly at Fraunces Tavern, which you will visit. Learn more about the famous historical figures you already know such as George Washington and Alexander Hamilton as well as lesser known but just as important patriots like John Jay. This tour also takes you to historic, tree-lined Brooklyn Heights. This tour is perfect for fans of the TV show Turn.
Tours run 10 am Wednesdays, Fridays, 11 am Saturdays, 12 pm Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays.
There are no bus companies that exclusively cover Lower Manhattan and the Financial District on it’s own, but several do spend some considerable time. We have listed a quick summary of the companies that have stops in the area below, but do take a read of our post comparing the various NYC bus tours. Several of these companies offer combo and discount tickets, that include boat tours and could really add up in savings.
Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Tours
All the major hop-on, hop-off bus tour companies, including Big Bus, CitySights and Open-Loop offer stops in Lower Manhattan. There are 4 main stops (and the nearby attractions):
City Hall Park – Brooklyn Bridge, City Hall and the World Trade Center
Wall Street – New York Stock Exchange, Trinity Church and Federal Hall
Battery Park – Ferries to Statue of Liberty and Staten Island Ferry
South Street – South Street Seaport and boat and helicopter tours.
Other bus tours also visit Lower Manhattan. These companies usually make two stops, one at the World Trade Center and another on Wall Street. Some, like USA Guided Tours, also include a boat cruise past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Lower Manhattan has miles of waterfront bike lanes and is a great place to safely bike along, whether on your own or on a guided tour. There are several bike rental and tour outfits located in or near South Street Seaport.
Pick up bikes and tour at 110 South Street near the South Street Seaport (map). Open daily from 9 am – 7 pm.
This company offers a 2-hour bike tour that rides over the Brooklyn Bridge and then rides through Lower Manhattan. The prices are listed below, but this tour is included at no additional cost if you purchase the New York Pass, the Sightseeing Pass or the Explorer Pass (tourist attraction discount passes). If you use promo code FTFByou will get a 20% discount.
Lower Manhattan is the launching point for several boat tours and services, including several sightseeing cruises with stops in Lower Manhattan, including South Street Seaport and Battery Park. Be sure to read our post comparing all boat tour options that you have in NYC.