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New York Layover Tours

Updated: March 9, 2023

New York City is one of the most sought after vacation destinations in the world. However, because of its location and the many major airports in the surrounding area, it is also a popular place for travelers to have a layover. Thankfully as the city that never sleeps, New York offers visitors boundless activities, regardless of when or how long they will be in the city.

Tip: We think you can spend the day with us and the NYC subway, but you might want to also consider a one day bus pass and a one day tourist pass.

New York Layover Tours Best New York Layover Tours

A walking tour is a great way to get a sense of New York's unique history and culture, especially if you are pressed for time. For a full list times and descriptions of all of our tours, check out our calendar.  Each tour page on our site and in the calendar have Google map links set up with the meeting point.  Getting to the tour is as easy as putting in the airport or train station that you will be arriving to and enter the arrival time indicated on the tour page.

Check out our blog post on which New York City Subway MetroCard to buy as well as our guide to New York City on a budget.  You may also consider several of the hop-on, hop-off buses, which have circuits that take you around the whole city in just a few hours.

Here are a few suggestions:

All-in-One Downtown -- This tour is ideal for first time visitors to NYC who have a long layover. In 6 hours, guests will visit the Wall Street, SoHo, Chinatown, the High Line, and more!

Harlem -- This remains one of our most popular tours and is ideal perfect for visitors who are already familiar with Lower Manhattan, and hope to explore something a bit different.

Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights, and DUMBO -- At 3 hours, this is not quite as long as our All-in-One Brooklyn tour, but still offers an extensive look into one of the trendiest areas in the city.

Greenwich Village Food -- Save time by eating lunch and learning about the history of this iconic neighborhood all at the same time!

Dark Side of the High Line -- Have an evening layover in the city? This is a great tour to learn more about Manhattan's darker history.

Self-Guided Tours -- If our tour schedule doesn't fit with your own, then consider taking a self-guided tour. We have published a huge number, so just scroll to the bottom of this page to take your pick!

Transportation Between the Airport and Manhattan 

Getting into Manhattan from any of New York's major airports is very simple with public transportation. For general tips on getting to and from Manhattan, check out our Guide on New York Airport Transportation. If you already know which airport you are flying into, then we suggest following our step-by-step instructions for travel from each individual airport:

Planning Your Layover in NYC

With a little preparation, visitors can make the most of their layover in NYC -- even if it's only for a few hours!

NYC Weather Averages By Month -- Know what sort of weather to expect during your time in the city so you can wear the appropriate clothing on the plane, and then keep any additional necessities in your carry on!

Where to Store Luggage -- Don't go through the hassle of hauling your luggage around the city. Instead, store your stuff so you can enjoy your limited time in NYC!

Guide to NYC on a Budget -- We've compiled a list of every free (and almost free) activity in the city. Scan through to see if there are any special deals happening while you're in town!


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,, and more.
Updated: March 9th, 2023
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