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This post reviews the Woolworth Building tours and includes information on tickets, directions to the building and suggestions of other things to do nearby.
The Woolworth Building is one of the most iconic buildings in NYC. It is 792 feet (241 m) tall.
When it was completed in 1913, it was the tallest building in the world! It remained so until 1930.
Now dwarfed by the surrounding skyscrapers, this building is still in the top 30 tallest buildings in NYC.
It’s considered an architectural gem, both inside and out. Its exquisite neo-gothic characteristics resemble a cathedral, earning the building the nickname “The Cathedral of Commerce”.
See our post on 13 cool facts about the Woolworth Building to find out who coined this nickname.
It was a commercial building with offices from 1913 until 2002. Then a private developer purchased the building and converted the top 30 floors into private residences.
Since then the building is closed to the public so to see its famous lobby and more, you must take a tour.
See below for details on how to take a tour.
The Woolworth Building is located at 233 Broadway between Park Place and Barclay Street in Lower Manhattan.
You can easily get there by public transportation (see below the map for details).
You can use this link to Google Maps to get exact directions from anywhere.
Click the map to enlarge
If you are new to the NYC subway, then you may find the 2 articles below helpful.
M5, M9, M22, M103
Tours are offered in 3 time increments: 30-minutes, 60-minutes, and 90-minutes.
On the 30-minute tour, you visit the spectacular lobby made of marble with intricate mosaics, stained glass, and even gargoyles!
A knowledgeable guide will give an overview of the building’s history and allow you the opportunity to be mesmerized at this special space. You are allowed to take pictures.
The 60-minute tour includes an introduction to the building while looking at the facade of the building.
You will also get a more detailed narration of the lobby’s intricate architecture. You will also visit the lower-level and see the old bank vault and what is left of the former subway entrances.
The 90-minute tour includes an in-depth lecture of the spaces you visit: the facade, the lobby, the lower level and the stunning mezzanine reached by a grand marble staircase.
Good to Know
These tours receive rave reviews on TripAdvisor. They are rated 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
There are no negative comments about the building itself. You will see the words stunning, beautiful, spectacular, and amazing throughout the reviews.
The tours also are described with superlatives like fantastic, fascinating, incredible, beyond excellent and much more than expected.
Reviewers were impressed with the guides noting that they were extremely knowledgeable, approachable, and passionate.
Many reviewers who took the 30-minute tour state that they wish they had booked a longer tour. Some felt that 30 minutes was the appropriate length.
Out of 966 reviews, there were 4 “poor” reviews. One negative review stated, “nothing interesting to see or learn there other than the lobby which you can see in 20 seconds”.
Take a look at this video from the Travel Channel and you will most likely disregard the few negative reviews.
There are so many things to do in Lower Manhattan, many are just a few minutes walk from the Woolworth Building.
One of the best things to do nearby is to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. The entrance is located just 5 minutes from the Woolworth Building.
Use our guide to walking the Brooklyn Bridge filled with helpful information and facts.
We have a GPS-enabled audio tour that you can use any time of the day or night.
If you want to combine a visit to the Woolworth Building with other sights, we offer the below pay-what-you-wish tours:
For an in-depth look at nearby activities see our post on things to do in Lower Manhattan.
Before Woolworth opened his chain of stores, the merchandise was kept behind a store’s counter.
Customers gave the clerk a list of the items they wanted, and only after they had paid did they get to handle the items they had purchased.
F.W. Woolworth had the notion that items could be placed on shelves throughout the store, and that customers should be able to handle things that they were considering buying.
People evidently liked his idea, because he grew his company into the very successful international F.W. Woolworth Company.
The plot of land on which Woolworth built his headquarters skyscraper reportedly cost him over $7 million which he astonishingly paid in cash.
The total cost of the project was $13.5 million to build.
The architect of the building, Cass Gilbert, also designed the Alexander Hamilton Custom House which today houses the Museum of the American Indian.
This beautiful building is seen in many films and TV shows. The climactic scene of Enchanted is set on the top floor of the building.
It is also used as the office building of Nick Carraway in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, and as the headquarters of Meade Publications in Ugly Betty.