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New York Christmas Lights Tour

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Holiday Lights

Mechanical window displays, synchronized light, and sound shows, not to mention Santa Claus and toy soldiers surely await you in this winter wonderland.
Schedule: Daily
Start Time: 7pm
Tour Language: English
Free Tours by FootExcellentFree Tours by Foot4.9 Based on 2335 reviews fromSee all reviews review us onSamira G.Samira G. ★★★★★ Recomiendo mucho este tour, que fue el de Soho, Little Italy y Chinatown. Fue una gran experiencia porque nuestro guía nos explicó mucho sobre cada uno de los lugares con un montón de detalles, enseñándonos edificios con mucha historia y datos curiosos. Además fue muy amable y habló con cada uno de las personas del tour interesado sobre donde veníamos y haciendolo mucho mas agradable.Muchas gracias a nuestro guía John Joseph Gallagher por los tips y por este grandioso tour.Eric B.Eric B. ★★★★★ We love free tours by foot! We had John for the Grand Central tour, and Kathleen for the Lower East side food tour. Both of them were excellent guides and great people. Warm, funny, interesting storytellers filled with rich info about NYC.Krishna B.Krishna B. ★★★★★ Great tour. John Gallagher was so informative and full of little tidbits on the neighborhoods and his experiences through the years. Highly recommended.Olyvia H.Olyvia H. ★★★★★ We had the absolutely lovely John Gallagher as our guide today, warm, friendly & most importantly full of information & knowledge. He even had us sing happy birthday to my daughter who just turned 18. ❤️ Thank you & thank you for today. Had a really nice timeAlexandra Y.Alexandra Y. ★★★★★ East Village Food Tour with Jon was an incredible experience, 100% would recommend to any other tourists on the fence. Delicious, authentic food from places we never would've found on our own, and incredible storytelling about the neighborhood's history!Marisol S.Marisol S. ★★★★★ A fun and eye-opening tour of Soho, Little Italy and Chinatown. Our guide, John Gallagher, was very informative, full of stories, and truly a great guide. We had a chance to stop and grab a bite to eat in both Little Italy and Chinatown. Great timing as well with the Chinese New Year and having a chance to experience the festivities. Will definitely recommend and look forward to checking out more tours in the near future!Kelen M.Kelen M. ★★★★★ I love the service provided by Free Tours by Foot worldwide and New York is no different. I often take these tours when friends and family are visiting and do not disappoint. The latest one was the GRAND CENTRAL TOUR introduced by John Joseph Gallagher. It was a 2-hour tour around 5 blocks that goes in-depth into the local history of this majestic building and it surroundings. Highly recommend!Benoit D.Benoit D. ★★★★★ Really nice tour, friendly guide, good tips, tricks and stories about NYC.Lucila M.Lucila M. ★★★★★ John our guide was excellent!!! We had a very good time!Greetings from Argentina!Leesa B.Leesa B. ★★★★★ My husband and I went on the Soho, Little Italy and Chinatown this morning! Jon was a FANTASTIC tour guide! Will definitely be recommending this tour as well as Jon to friends.In the afternoon we took the Greenwich food tour Rusty was also led by Jon. Again! FANTASTIC TOUR!! Thank you Jon for an amazing day!Robert W.Robert W. ★★★★★ Did 3 tours with John and Onel. All very different- each had their own style but the common theme was that we’re very informative and fun. Be warned…despite moving the groups along, they all overran slightly in time….so event better value for money 🙂Joanna C.Joanna C. ★★★★★ Great tour of the financial district, Soho, Chinatown and Little Italy! John Gallagher was a brilliant NYC guide and as we were a small group, he went out of his way to add in some extra sights as we had a bit more time. Thanks John!Visnja V.Visnja V. ★★★★★ Great tour, very informative and interesting. Higly suggest!Charlotte A.Charlotte A. ★★★★★ Wonderful, well informed historical tour in Soho with a really friendly guide, John. Would highly recommendJakub G.Jakub G. ★★★★★ I have been touring with this company across many cities but especially here in NYC. All the guides are so insightful, local, extremely kind and funny people that make you see the city in a completely different way.Scott R.Scott R. ★★★★★ Had a great tour this week of Greenwich village! Thanks Renee, she was so knowledgeable and made it lighthearted and interesting, would definitely recommend!Lesley & EmmaRobert W.Robert W. ★★★★★ Have done many fantastic tours of NYC with this crew. They are always incredibly well run and enjoyable. Most recently did the East Village Food Tour with Jon and he was knowledgeable and entertaining host.Levi M.Levi M. ★★★★★ One off the best we had ( grand central)Valentina L.Valentina L. ★★★★★ Ramon N.Ramon N. ★★★★☆ Amazing tour of Harlem with Altovise! She rocks! She provided a well balanced range of information from food to culture, history and music, jumping from the past to the present with a very professional sense of the tour structure. Standing ovation. five stars for her :)Unfortunately we can’t say the same about the Soho-Little Italy tour run by another guide. Not sure she even introduced herself before kicking off. This tour didn’t seem to have a real logic: guide showed us random buildings and telling random stories but we did not really understand much about the district culture nor the history or the people. She was a nice person and her knowledge was wide but she should work more on engaging with guests, making stories more intriguing and designing an itinerary that follows a logic.Thomas D.Thomas D. ★★★★★ GREAT experience. John Gallagher is knowledgeable, very considerate, and very funny.Nancy D.Nancy D. ★★★★★ John was informative and delightful.nelly T.nelly T. ★★★★★ I recommend the Grand central tour with John Gallagher. It was very interesting and Joan was excellentSuzanne H.Suzanne H. ★★★★★ Highly recommend walking tour with John. He was very informative and knowledgeable about the area. Our teens even enjoyed it.Ellora G.Ellora G. ★★★★★ It was an amazing experience doing a food walk during a snowstorm. Jon gave a detailed narrative about the historical background of East Village along with guiding us taste diverse food samplings. Fun and informative.Tarek S.Tarek S. ★★★★★ One of the best walking tours we ever had. John Gallagher is a wonderful and extremely knowledgeable guide!Martina B.Martina B. ★★★★★ Jon was fantastic in our tour through SoHo, little Italy and Chinatown!Julie B.Julie B. ★★★★★ Brilliant tours, great knowledge from both our guides. We did both Subway Art and Christmas Lights. A great way to see the subway, New York and things we wouldn't have noticed.Cerri O.Cerri O. ★★★★★ We did 4 tours while in New York in December and all were excellent. My daughter did the second hand shopping tour which they loved. They were given lots of tips and a map of the best vintage shops which they went to while we were in New York and found some more good items.We did the Greenwich village food tour with Lori which was interesting seeing the area and finding outs facts about it and the food was amazing. I liked the fact you didn't have to have certain foods if you didn't want too and my daughter has a nut allergy and was still able to participate.We did the Christmas movie tour with wanda which was really good and informative and interesting really enjoyed it.We did the Brooklyn bridge tour which was great. The guide was very passionate about Brooklyn and gave an interesting tour and was very helpful with questions.I found booking the tours easy and the communication from all tour guides was excellent would 100% recommend.Eduarda B.Eduarda B. ★★★★★ I just had a wonderful food tour in East village. The guide Jon has profound knowledge and passion making the journey even more engaging. Highly recommend!!S SS S ★★★★★ We did the east village food walking tour - our tour guide Jon was fantastic and we had such a good time. Cannot recommend it enough! Lots of vegetarian and vegan options available!!paisley K.paisley K. ★★★★★ We had an incredible experience with Free Tours By Foot on their 3-hour walking tour of Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge. Our guide, Renee, was not only knowledgeable but also infused the tour with delightful humor, making the entire journey engaging and enjoyable. Five stars for an unforgettable exploration of Brooklyn's charm!ora Y.ora Y. ★★★★★ Excellent tour of NY city with Garrett! He provided lots of interesting informations with ingenuity and fun to keep us entertained. This was a great way to start my time in NY, I really recommend !Mary S.Mary S. ★★★★★ Excellent historical tour of lower Manhattan with Renee!MichelleMichelle ★★★★★ Fantastic and informative Grand Central Tour with John Gallagher… brilliant tour guide with life experience making the tour truly unique! Loved the amazing Grand Central NYC facts and info about the architecture, the people and their stories that built the station & surrounding city we see today! Highly recommended!Sandy M.Sandy M. ★★★★★ We had a terrific tour with Renee on a cold Saturday morning in Greenwich Village. She is not only very knowledgeable, but also personable and easy to understand. She also has a great sense of humor. I highly recommend taking this tour with Renee.Suja T.Suja T. ★★★★★ Excellent! Joey was superb! It was a really cold day but nice sunshine and he planned everything really well with a great sense of humour, really relaxed we got to stand in the sun to warm up in the -3 degrees. Had a great cheap lunch stop at Joe's Pizza, and the tour helped me get use to the subway as I was a bit nervous of it but it was fine and was able to navigate it well for the rest of my holiday. Definitely recommend!!Celestine T.Celestine T. ★★★★★ Great tour! Cheap, but not truly free though. The tour still had a $3 reservation fee, which gets donated to toys for tots. We also had to take the subway one way. (Holiday lights tour.) And then you should really give a good tip at the end. 10/10 would still go again for a fun, informative, and affordable walking tour.Jill T.Jill T. ★★★★★ Renee did a fantastic job on our Lower Manhattan tour today. She was so knowledge about the history of the city! Her witty sense of humor kept our teens engaged. She was a perfect tour guide!cristina N.cristina N. ★★★★★ John is an excellent guide and the tour of Soho was amazing!Yael P.Yael P. ★★★★★ We took the tour with the excellent guide Renee Rewiski. Weenjoyed it a lot and highly recommend itHaim Cohen M.Haim Cohen M. ★★★★★ Took the Greenwich Village tour with Renee Rewiski. She was just fantastic. Lots of stories about the neighborhood. Highly recommended!Lisa D.Lisa D. ★★★★★ I love Free Tours by Foot tours & their guides. I have completed many tours over the past 12 years mainly in New York but also other citiesThe easiest way to get to know a city is from a tour with a local guide.You meet people from all over the globe on your tour and get a very knowledgeable and talented guide.Siddhartha G.Siddhartha G. ★★★★★ Great walking tour of Harlem with Ron. Learnt some cool facts (did not know Wall St. used to be a literal wall) and he was so friendly, fatherly and sweet thru-out the tour. He said he's 70 but we weren't sure if it was one of his jokes, because if he really is this sprightly and fun at 70 then there's hope for all of us.Nami H.Nami H. ★★★★★ Nicola A.Nicola A. ★★★★★ Totally recommend John as a guide on our Brooklyn free walking tour .He is as incredibly informative, knowledgeable, with lots of extra tips to add to our NY trip enjoyment .😊Ellen T.Ellen T. ★★★★★ Very informative - even for this New Yorker! Good pace and guide (Jon) really took pains to answer questions and great with recommendations.Giovan P.Giovan P. ★★★★★ We did the Brooklyn tour with John Gallagher - what a treat! An amazing guide with great knowledge! Only suggestion i’d make, is to use a portable microphone, so people van hear you better. I had the impression i’ve missed out some good info.Anyhow, great guy and great tour!Freda U.Freda U. ★★★★★ My daughter, son, granddaughter and I did your holiday lights tour and Jon did an excellent job. He was very informative and was a great help with my kids.Tiffany B.Tiffany B. ★★★★★ Our Holiday Tour on 12/27 was great…even in the rain! Thanks Jon!js_loader

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This post explains our pay-what-you-wish Manhattan Christmas Lights Tour.

Use your feet and the NYC subway to visit many memorable light and holiday displays.

It's time to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and the New Year as Midtown Manhattan lights up like no other place in the world. 

Mechanical window displays, synchronized light, and sound shows, not to mention Santa Claus and toy soldiers surely await you in this winter wonderland.

Check them all out on our New York Holiday Lights Tour, a 2-hour festive pay-what-you-like walking tour that you won't forget.  

If you prefer to stay warm, there’s also an On Location Tours Holiday Lights & Movie Sites bus tour. Get more information on the bus tour version here.

Note: We also run a pay-what-you-like tour of the Dyker Heights Lights in Brooklyn.

Join Free Tours by Foot as we experience the holidays in the city that only New York can offer. 

We will take advantage of the subway to beat the street traffic, keep warm, and catch some underground holiday music. 

Learn about the artists and backgrounds of these wonderful displays. 

You can't get that on a bus and you can't beat the price.

Lighting and window displays we visit on the New York Holiday Lights Tour:

Check out our Guide for Christmas in New York

If you prefer the Holiday Lights & Movie Sites bus tour, you can get an online discount by booking here.  

Note: We also run a pay-what-you-like tour of the Dyker Heights Lights in Brooklyn.

Tour information

This tour is NOT wheelchair accessible. We cannot accommodate wheelchairs or non-foldable strollers.

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

7 pm Holiday Lights Tour Meeting Point

Where: The tour meets on the stairs of the New York Public Library's Schwartzman Building (map).

When: @7pm Daily, @7:20pm Fridays & Saturdays. Additional time slots will be posted as needed (no tour on New Year's Eve).  View our full Calendar

Duration: Approximately 2 hours.

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.

*Please have a Subway Metro card with at least $2.75 for one subway ride.

And much, much more

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