This post reviews and compares the various Wall Street tours available to you, including our free, self-guided version. Wall Street is synonymous with the Financial District and the nature of business conducted in this area for about 225 years. But, the street is named for the wooden stockade constructed under then governor Peter Stuyvesant on the northern boundary of New Amsterdam. Wooden markers in the cobblestone street are reminiscent of the wall designed to protect the Dutch colony from British invasion. Our self guided tour of Wall Street walks you though all this history. Free Tours by Foot includes a Wall Street experience and the Financial District on our our Lower Manhattan Walking Tour as well as a few other of our pay-what-you-like New York tours.
If you are interested in taking a guided Wall Street tours catered specifically to those interested in finance, then you might want to consider a guided Wall Street tour, which are also included for free on several New York tourist discount passes. Read our post comparing the different tourist passes. Here are some of the best Wall Street tours in the city:
PREMIUM WALL STREET TOURS
Although it can be a lot of fun to take a self-guided tour around Wall Street, learning about the history of this location from an expert can be even more interesting. If you want to do more than just see the sights, there are a few very good tours that will provide a lot of information about this historic street. Discover how the New York Stock Exchange developed and learn all about the people who built empires within the buildings in this financial district.
Wall Street Walks
How did names like J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller become synonymous with money? What effect does the stock market actually have on our economy? Where did some of the most notable names in business broker some of the biggest deals in history? If you want to learn about all of these details while discovering the New York Stock Exchange for yourself, this company provides a Wall Street walking tour that will uncover the truth about some of the most notable businesses in the world. There are at least 9 notable stops on this trip through the financial district.
Over 600 guests have given this service a 5 our of 5 stars rating on TripAdvisor, indicating that Wall Street Walks is a very reliable tour company. Some reviews note that this tour touches on almost every important site in the financial district, while others appreciate the amount of historical facts provided. One comment even suggested that their tour guides have actual experience working on Wall Street, which would definitely come in handy when discussing the history of this location.
New York’s financial district is rich with history. As a matter of fact, there are so many details that any one Wall Street tour is likely to miss something. Thankfully, the Wall Street Experience provides a lot of information in their various walking tours. Unlike their competitors, they offer TWO different tours of Wall Street. Their 75-minute Wall Street Insider Tour covers the essentials of the development of Wall Street from the small Dutch colony founded 400 years before. You’ll see the important institutions and hear great stories. Their two-hour Financial Crisis Tour covers the history of Lower Manhattan, from the first Dutch settlers to the origin of a new nation. The tour then goes a step further by going into detail the complex events that caused the recent Great Recession of 2008. If you want to learn about more than just the formation of the stock exchange and the people who made a name for themselves on this busy street, this is an excellent option. Wall Street Experience is also known as New York Tours 1 and a full list of their tours can be found here.
The Wall Street Experience has been given positive reviews by the likes of the BBC, The New York Times and The Guardian. Their full 5 star rating on TripAdvisor suggests that these high profile reviews are very accurate. With over 1,000 positive comments, it’s clear that a lot of guests have enjoyed their experience while on this tour. Several reviewers have described their trip as both fascinating and informative, and you won’t find many comments that disagree with these sentiments. This is one of the most well respected tour companies in New York, and their excursions are definitely worth consideration.
Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10 am (Tour lasts approximately 2 hours)
$50 per person
Children under 15 tour for free with parent
HOW TO GET TO WALL STREET
Before you start the self-guided tour, you will need to get here. Wall Street is located in the heart of New York City’s Financial District in Lower Manhattan. The street stretches from Trinity Church in the west to the East River in the east. There are several subway stations that you could use to access Wall Street. Which one depends on where you are coming from. We recommend using this link for directions to Wall Street as well as our post on navigating the NYC subway and which subway pass to purchase.
If you are planning on a hop-on, hop-off bus to get around NYC, you will have two stops that service Wall Street and the Financial District. Read your post comparing the NYC bus companies.
A – Trinity Church – corner of Wall Street and Broadway
Before you start the tour, admire this beautiful Gothic inspired church. Its steeple measures 284 feet (87 meters) and was once the tallest building in all of New York City. It’s strange to see Trinity dwarfed by all of the larger modern buildings surrounding it. (of course, the tallest building in New York is One World Observatory). Take a quick look inside to admire its stain glassed windows and roam about its graveyard. The earliest burial dates back to the early 16oo’s when New York City was called New Amsterdam. Notable burials include American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (of $10 bill fame) as well as Robert Fulton, who invented the first viable steamboat.
B – Bank of New York – 1 Wall Street
The first building on the right as one enters Wall Street from Broadway is one of the best-designed buildings of Ralph Walker. In the Art Deco style, the building was constructed between 1929-32 for the Irving Trust Co. Through the tall windows, passersbys are gifted with a view of the flaming mosaic walls designed by Mildrett Meière. The Bank of New York, founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1789, was the first stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange in 1792.
C – Bankers Trust Company – 14 Wall Street
Located on the left side of the street. Built in 1912 by Trowbridge & Livingston, the stepped pyramid at the top is so iconic Bankers Trust adopted it as the company logo. One thing you might notice is that this particular building appears to rise completely vertically, rather than inward steps. This is because this building was built before New York City instituted its setback laws, which was a response to complaints that building like the Bankers Trust Building created a darkened Wall Street below. You can see the difference between this building and 40 Wall Street, which was built under the new rules.
D – New York Stock Exchange – corner of Wall Street and Broad Street
Originally formed under a buttonwood tree further down Wall Street, the Exchange moved into this Classical style building in 1903. Now part of ICE, the Intercontinental Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange is the largest exchange in the world, responsible for about $169 billion in trading daily. The sculpture in the Broad Street portico is “Integrity Protecting the Works of Man” by John Quincy Adams Ward.
Be sure to read our full post on the New York Stock Exchange, which includes a virtual tour and video of the trading floors.
George Washington (also designed by JQA Ward) is standing on what would have been the second-floor balcony of City Hall, which was located on this site until 1812. Here is where Congress met after the American Revolution and where George Washington took his oath of office April 30, 1789. Designed in the Classic style, with Greek and Roman details, the building is said to reflect the democratic ideals of ancient Greece and the power of the Roman Empire. Step inside to see the former vault in the basement or visit the changing exhibits that are on display in several of the building’s rooms. The National Park Service also operates a visitor center here. This is a great place to use the bathroom facilities.
F – Morgan Guaranty Trust – corner of Wall Street and Broad Street
The former Morgan Guaranty Trust Company at 23 Wall Street was the bank of J.P. Morgan, who said he did not have to build a skyscraper as a monument to his wealth since everyone knew how much he was worth. On the Wall Street side of the building gouges can still be seen under the last two windows from a bomb blast in 1920. A cart of TNT was exploded, killing 33 people and sending more than 300 to the hospital with injuries. No one was arrested, although anarchists were suspected. Click the image to the right to enlarge it to see the existing damage.
G – Trust Company of America
Beaux-Arts style building designed by Francis Kimball was the center of the Panic of 1907, which encouraged the Federal Reserve system to be developed. Today, Tiffany has a satellite store on the street level.
H – 40 Wall Street (The Trump Building)
The façade now boasts the name Trump, but the building was once the tallest building in the world. Constructed by H. Craig Severance and Yasuo Matsui for the Bank of Manhattan in 1929, it was designed to be the tallest building in the world. But William Van Alen was building the Chrysler Building on 42nd Street, and he surpassed the height of 40 Wall Street by raising a spire atop the Chrysler Building three days after 40 Wall Street opened. 40 Wall Street is one of our Top 10 Skyscrapers in New York City. Today, it’s owned by a quite famous New Yorker – Donald Trump.
I – Museum of American Finance – 48 Wall Street
The Museum of American Finance is now located in the grand hall of the former Bank of New York Building. The Museum, a non-profit Smithsonian affiliate, is the only independent museum dedicated to providing educational programs on “finance, the financial markets, money, banking and Alexander Hamilton,” according to their website www.financialhistory.org.
J – 55 Wall Street
Built after the fire of 1835 destroyed the original Merchants’ Exchange, the three-story Ionic temple-style building boasts 16 single block granite columns of Quincy granite and a commanding central hall that is now an events facility for Cipriani. The upper floors were added by McKim, Mead & White in 1907 after the custom house relocated from this building to Bowling Green.
Today, the upper floors are 106 exquisite apartments for Cipriani Club Residences.
K – Deutsche Bank – 60 Wall Street
This 50-story skyscraper is the tallest building on Wall Street. Built in 1985 for JP Morgan and Company, it was purchased by Deutsche Bank in 2001. Once the attacks of 911 damaged the company’s building on Liberty Street, the 5500 employees were relocated here. The design is a modern interpretation of a Greek temple. On the roof at 737 feet is a solar installation, which is the highest solar PV installation in the world. This building was said to be the real headquarters of the Occupy Wall Street movement, holding events for the group sleeping in Zuccotti Park, just up Broadway.
L – The Crest 63 Wall Street
The 1929 headquarters of Brown Brothers Harriman; converted to apartments in 2004. The front is decorated with Greek drachmas.
M – 68 Wall Street – Site of the Buttonwood Agreement
An event which instituted the New York Stock Exchange in 1792. Traders gathered outside the building to do their business before moving inside. The building burned during the fire of 1835, forcing the then non-profit association to move up Wall street to its present location.
This concludes our tour of Wall Street. If you found this tour useful, please share this friends and family.