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This post explains how to take a free tour of the Federal Reserve Building in NYC, including tips on hours, how to get here, as well as other tips to help you plan your visit. A tour of the vaults is listed among the top free things to do in NYC.
Guided tours of the Federal Reserve are offered every weekday (excluding bank holidays). Currently, this is the only way to get into the Federal Reserve and see the Vault and other exhibits.
Although they have provided a self-guided option in the past, this is no longer an option as of August 2018. That said, you should definitely check and see if this is still the case, because there’s always a chance that they will bring self-guided tours back.
The best part about the guided tour is that it is entirely free. All you have to do is sign up ahead of time in order to make sure you get a spot.
Each tour is limited to a max of 25 guests, so it will be important to make reservations as soon as possible.
Spots for these tours fill up so quickly that you will need to be ready when they are made available, which is 30 days in advance. So, if 30 days from today is any day from Monday-Friday, tickets will go live today.
Your best bet is to have the reservation calendar open before tickets go live at 9 am EST and be prepared to fill out the forms as quickly as possible.
With an average of 50 openings available per day, it won’t take more than 15 minutes for them to be taken. As you can see in the image above, taken at the end of August, there is almost no availability for September.
Printed tickets are required for entry and visitors over the age of 16 will need an ID such as a driver’s license or passport. The name on the ID must match the name printed on the ticket. For more details on requirements such as these, check the security details section.
Although most spots for this tour will fill up weeks in advance, there’s always a chance that you’ll be able to sign up on short notice.
TIP: Cancellations are quickly processed, so you might be able to take those spots when they show up. If you’re trying to get tickets on short notice, make sure to keep your eyes peeled on their reservation calendar.
This section will provide all the details you need in order to ensure that you don’t miss anything. We will include information such as tour hours, when to arrive, how long the tour will take and how to get to there.
This tour is offered twice a day during weekdays unless otherwise stated on their reservation calendar. Every now and then, they will offer up to 4 tours per day, but these are the typical tour hours you can expect.
Monday – Friday
Each tour lasts for approximately 1 hour. Federal Reserve tours are limited to 25 people per group. Due to limited availability, it will be important to sign up as far ahead of time as possible.
If you manage to get a ticket for this tour, try to arrive at least 30 minutes ahead of time to ensure that you can get through security before your tour begins. This tour starts promptly on the hour and they will not wait for you if you are late.
As a matter of fact, you may want to consider arriving early, because visitors will typically be given the opportunity to walk around the museum before the tour.
TIP: On Mondays and Fridays, our pay-what-you-wish Lower Manhattan tour actually ends near the Federal Reserve at approximately 12 pm.
If you manage to get tickets for a 1 pm tour on either of these days, this would put you in the right place at the right time to arrive a little early and get a good look around the museum beforehand.
As we mentioned in the reservations section, anyone over the age of 16 will need to provide a valid government issued ID w/ photo to get in. This can be a state ID, driver’s license or passport.
Visitors who are under the age of 16 will need to be accompanied by an adult with a valid ID.
Although you are not forbidden from bringing small bags and belongings with you, it is recommended to limit the number of items you bring to the Federal Reserve. This recommendation ensures that everyone can get through security quickly and efficiently.
It is important to note that there is no storage available for this tour. If you bring something that is either not allowed or too big, it cannot be held for you and you may be kept from entering the Federal Reserve.
Visitors who are looking for somewhere to store their belongings should check our post about where to find storage lockers in NYC.
In addition to these details, you should keep the following factors in mind before heading to the Federal Reserve:
Where is the New York Federal Reserve?
All visitors must enter the Federal Reserve at 44 Maiden Lane. You can reach this location in a number of different ways.
It’s best to use this Google map for directions to the Federal Reserve Building.
Car: The Liberty Plaza parking garage is right across the street from the Federal Reserve. If you want to drive, this will be one of the closest places to park.
Subway: The Fulton Street subway station is one block North of Maiden Lane, where you will find the Federal Reserve. You can reach this station riding the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, Z trains.
Bus: The closest bus stops are roughly one block West on Broadway.
Many hop-on-hop-off bus tours also provide a stop at this location.
Thanks to its location in Lower Manhattan, there are a lot of different things to see and do in the area either before or after your trip to the Federal Reserve. Here are a few nearby attractions you may want to see.
Walking Tours – We offer a couple different pay-what-you-wish walking tours near the Federal Reserve.
Visitors may want to consider either our Lower Manhattan Tour or GPS-enabled audio tour because they both end near the Federal Reserve on Mondays and Fridays at 12 pm, giving you more than enough time to arrive early for a 1 pm tour.
Wall Street – Located just a few blocks from the Federal Reserve, you will find Wall Street and its many famous sites. In addition to strolling down the historic street itself, you can also visit important locations nearby such as the Wall Street Bull and the New York Stock Exchange.
Brooklyn Bridge – Just 6 blocks North of the Federal Reserve, this world famous bridge should be pretty easy to visit.
9/11 Memorial – The memorial and museum which were erected at the former location of the Twin Towers are about 3 blocks from the Federal Reserve.
During the Museum & Gold Vault tour led by the Federal Reserve, you will see and learn about a lot of interesting subjects. Here are a few of the things you will experience while taking the tour.
The Vault – One of the most popular highlights of this tour is the Vault, where all the gold bars are kept. During your tour, you’ll see where all of this gold is kept and learn about the protective items worn while handling it.
Shredded Money –The Federal Reserve plays a big part in the circulation of legal tender around the United States, and part of that process is actually destroying old, defaced and/or devalued money. Not only will you have the opportunity to see some of this process for yourself, but they will also let you take some shredded money home with you!
The Museum – In addition to the Vault, there is also a museum at the Federal Reserve which provides a lot of historical information about the location. Not only will the tour guide walk you through this museum, but if you arrive early, you can take a good look at it for yourself beforehand.
Rare Coins – While on the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to see and learn about rare coins from throughout the history of the United States and other parts of the world. This exhibit includes coins from China, Greece, Rome and other notable locations.
While some visitors indicate that they appreciated the opportunity to walk around the museum on their own, many guests note that the tour guide will take you around to see the same exhibits during the tour. If you want to get as much out of your visit as possible, feel free to arrive early and enjoy the museum beforehand. Just keep in mind that you’ll see it all again on the actual tour.