For National Walking Day, Free Walking Tours of NYC

by  Karen Gardiner | Mar 31, 2014
Taxis in NYC
Taxis in NYC / deberarr/iStock

Walks of New York, a small-group tour experience, is officially launching next week and, to celebrate, it is offering its tours free of charge. Timed to coincide with National Walking Day on Wednesday, April 2, the free tours will be available from April 1-7. (While tours are free, a $5 donation to the American Heart Association is mandatory.)

These new small-group tours are limited to 12 people and aims to offer a personalized experience with offerings for history and architecture buffs, as well as behind-the-scenes access to local culture, and “skip the line” access to venues and institutions.

After opening week, tour options will range from $35 to $59 per person and include the following tours:

Highlights of New York Tour: Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central; 2.5  hours, $35 for adults
This tour through the "very heart of it" includes Grand Central Terminal, the Chrysler Building, and the New York Public Library. Participants also tour the art deco treasures of Rockefeller Center, view soaring St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and finally delve into the Crossroads of the World: Times Square. The tour concludes with the opportunity to enjoy a drink or snack with a view of the bright lights of Broadway.

Meet the Met: Highlights of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; 3 hours, $49
Designed to help make the most of a visit here, expert guides transport the visitor across five thousand years of visual culture and examine pieces that exemplify the collection's diversity. The tour starts at the Egyptian Collection, and stops at an ancient Roman bedroom, the Met’s collection of pre-Columbian gold, and works by Picasso and Van Gogh. The tour includes a pre-arranged museum entrance ticket and lets you avoid the ticket lines.

Lower East Side Stories: Traditional New York Culture & Food; 3 hours, $43
This tour begins its walk through the neighborhood at the Forward Building, once home to the first Yiddish-language newspaper and still a beautiful example of art deco architecture, and includes a visit inside the landmark Eldridge Street Synagogue. You'll also get to sample the classic foods of the Lower East Side, including fresh pickles, bialys, knishes, and more.

B&H New York Photography Tour: High Line, Meatpacking, Chelsea Market; 2.5 hours, $59
In collaboration with local photography shop B&H Photo, this tour for photography lovers of all levels begins in the Meatpacking District. A professional photographer serves as a guide on how to make the best use of equipment from SLR cameras to cellphones. The tour moves on to the High Line and culminates with a special presentation at B&H photo, world-famous for its collection of photography equipment, advanced operating tools, and family-run appeal. 

Empire State Building Tour and Skyscraper Walk; 2.5 hours, $49
Starting at the Flatiron Building, participants learn about the clever engineering that went into constructing this 22-story triangular building before strolling along Fifth Avenue and Madison Square Park, stopping at number 230 for unbeatable views from the rooftop garden. Before heading to the Empire State Building, the guide provides a detailed history of its art deco architecture, construction, and colorful history, as well as that of other icons such as the Chrysler Building. Participants skip the majority of the long lines to enter the Empire State Building heading up to the 86th floor observation deck, which offers 360-degree views over the city.

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