Walking Tours of New York City
The "Big Apple" is one of the most exciting and interesting places on earth. There are so many mega-attractions that a visitor can easily spend a week or more and not run out of things to do. There are activities and fun-filled locations for people of all ages. However, the city can be very intimidating because of the huge throngs of people and the tremendous traffic. Enjoy your stay and realize that New Yorkers love to walk and that the city, although very large, can be accessed by foot.
Walking Tour 1 – Lower Manhattan
This walk begins at Battery Park, on the southern tip of Manhattan Island. Before beginning your walk, take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, necessary excursions for all tourists to the city. Get to the area early in the morning to avoid the long lines.
After your cruise, return to Battery Park and wander the area. Exit by heading north on Broadway. When you reach Trinity Church, make a short visit, then leave at the rear of the church on Trinity Place. Just to the northwest is Ground Zero, the area which used to be occupied by the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, destroyed in the horrific events of September 11, 2001. This is now hallowed ground and the future site of a new memorial structure being built to commemorate the almost 1,000 lives lost on that fateful day. There are reminders everywhere that make this a very solemn scene.
From here, head back to Broadway via Libery or Vesey Streets and turn left (north). On your right as you proceed is New York’s City Hall. This was where the Declaration of Independence was first read to New Yorkers while George Washington stood nearby.
Turn left on Chambers Street, then right on West Broadway through the Soho neighborhood and into another famous New York area, Greenwich Village and eventually to Washington Square. Check out the famous Washington Arch and relax for a bit, here, to do some people-watching, since this is a popular gathering place in the city.
Exit by turning left at the south end of the square on W. 4th Street. Then turn right on Lafayette, left on Houston, then right on Mott Street which heads into "Little Italy," the city’s Italian neighborhood. Mott Street continues into Chinatown. Keep walking down to Canal Street and take a left. There are numerous bargain opportunities here for shoppers. Then turn right onto The Bowery which becomes St James Place and then Pearl Street as it travels southward.
Take a left on Fulton Street, where the old fish market has become a string of shops. Walk onward to the East River and turn right in this South Street Seaport area which is also replete with shops and restaurants.
Continue southward then turn right onto Wall Street heading into the Financial District of the city. Check out Federal Hall National Memorial, which is on the site of our nation’s first Capitol Building.
From here, head south on Nassau Street to Broad Street, then right on Pearl Street to return to your starting point, Battery Park.
Walking Tour 2 – Midtown Manhattan
Note, before starting, that to reduce the duration of the walk and some of the distances, some subway rides have been inserted. Also note that attempting to accomplish all the activities included in this walk in one day is impossible! Travelers should perhaps use this walk as an orientation and then return to various venues that spark their interest later in their visit to the city.
This walk originates in Times Square, the heart of New York City and one of the most famous locations in the world. Keep in mind that what is known as Times Square is a fairly large area, encompassing the junction of 7th Avenue and Broadway between 42nd and 50th Streets. The activity level here is staggering as are the crowds at any time of the day or night. Kids will want to check out the Toys ‘R’ Us Store, but there are many other enticements as well. This is also the center of New York’s Theater District.
From 42nd Street, head into the subway and take either the Yellow Line (N,R,Q or W trains) or the Red Line (1,2,3, or 9 trains) Downtown to 34th Street. Walk east on 34th Street to the Empire State Building, at the corner of 34th and 5th Avenue. The views from the Observatories of this extremely famous skyscraper are easily worth the wait in line.
When finished here, continue east on 34th Street to Park Avenue and turn right one block to 33rd Street. Pick up a Green Line Subway (4,5, or 6 train) back Uptown to 42nd Street and Grand Central Terminal. Admire the architecture and especially the ceiling of this Beaux Arts masterpiece.
Leaving the terminal, walk eastward on 42nd Street to 1st Avenue. Turn left and walk north to the United Nations Building, at the junction of 46th Street. Visit this symbol of world cooperation (and sometimes world dissension).
Exit and walk north on 1st Avenue then left on 48th Street all the way to 5th Avenue. Turn right on 5th to see, on your left, Rockefeller Center, home of the Today Show and NBC Studios (take the tour if you’ve never seen the intricacies of a television studio) and the Skating Rink (occupied by restaurant seating in the summertime).
After your visit continue north on 5th Avenue. On your right is St Patrick’s Cathedral, a beautiful, Gothic-designed Roman Catholic church. Further north, at 52nd Street is the Museum of Television and Radio, a great place for the nostalgia-buff to relive the early days of these important media.
Another block or so north, at 11 W. 53rd Street, is the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), one of the world’s great art museums. When finished here, head back toward 5th Avenue and one block beyond to Madison Avenue. Take a left and, especially if you have children with you, check out the SONY Wonder Technology Lab, at 550 Madison (amazingly enough, it’s FREE!).
After your visit, head south to 53rd Street and east to Lexington Avenue where you can pick up a Green Line Subway (4,5,or 6 train) Uptown to 77th Street, then head west to 5th Avenue and right to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, another of the world’s greatest museums.
Seven blocks further north is the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, where the building itself is one of the star attractions.
From the Guggenheim, enter Central Park and walk generally south and west across this huge urban park, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead. Wander some of the paths and be sure to spend some time people-watching. Exit the park using Trans Road #2 (in the vicinity of 79th Street) westward, then take Central Park West south to the American Museum of Natural History, one of the world’s great science museums, which also includes the Rose Center for Earth and Space.
Leaving here, head a fews blocks north to 81st Street and take the Blue Line (A or C train) Downtown to either 50th Street or 42nd Street, whichever is nearest to your starting point in Times Square.