New York Tour 1: See NYC Like a Local

As my recent trip to New York was my first time there, I wanted to do this iconic city justice in the short amount of time I had. There are so many attractions and sights to see and I didn’t want to miss a single one.

I researched some of the top rated tours and came across New York Tour 1, which sounded perfect for my style of travel.

In a small group, you are taken by an expert guide around some of the best attractions of New York all by local transport. You see it the way true New Yorkers do, by walking, taking the subway and ferry.

This appealed to me very much as I love exploring a new city this way and you get to avoid losing time by being stuck in traffic.

One Day New York City Tour

I booked the tour for my first full day there and the meeting point was in an easy to spot location, by the statue of George M. Cohan in the middle of Times Square.

Our tour guide for the day, Tom, began by telling us some super interesting history of Times Square and how the once humble horse-trading district became the Entertainment Capital of the World.

We passed by the Diamond District before heading underground towards the Rockefeller Centre. This was a super handy walkway that we learned about that I used a few times after the tour.

We had a quick restroom break (I grabbed a coffee) before passing by the famous ice skating rink where we learned more fascinating history.

Across the road was St. Patrick’s Cathedral – a stunning Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic church and the largest in New York. We got to go inside and marvel at the decor.

We continued walking on this lovely sunny day, up Fifth Avenue. Along the way, Tom would point things out and give us super handy tips like the entire 8th floor of Saks Fifth Avenue is dedicated to shoes (totally went there another day).

We saw the Empire State Building in the distance and stopped to look at the impressive New York Public Library before turning towards the Grand Central Terminal.

We also learnt a bit about the Chrysler Building we could see nearby before heading inside one of the most famous transportation hubs in the world.

I’ve seen Grand Central Terminal so many times onscreen and it was truly marvellous to be there and feel the energy. Tom told us some really interesting stories and took a group photo (find it at the end of this post).

We had another quick break before meeting back up to catch the subway to our next destination. Tom showed us newbies how easy it was and we caught the line downtown to Bowling Green near Battery Park.

We stopped at Stone Street where there was an abundance of great food choices to have for lunch. We were given a whole hour break, which I personally thought was a bit long but that’s probably because I was by myself. I’m a twenty-minute max kind of lunch-eater so after some sushi, I killed the rest of the time by drinking a very nice German beer in a pub. Win-win.

Next, it was time to catch the return ferry to Staten Island. I was most excited to see the New York City skyline and the Statue of Liberty.

Tom knew the best spot for us on the ferry and we had the best views all the way there and back. It was a 25-minute ride each way but with more stories and the stunning sights, the time went super quick.

Next up, we passed by the famous Charging Bull (which was so crowded it wasn’t worth taking a photo of). We walked up Broadway and stopped at Wall Street and learned about the area famous for the New York Stock Exchange.

Our final stop of the day was at the 9/11 Memorial and One World Trade Center. We visited the two memorial pools where the buildings once were and heard some very moving stories including about the Survivor Tree.

It is a very sombre and sad place but a beautiful tribute and important to remember and pay respects. We went inside the Oculus, a uniquely designed transportation centre and shopping mall in one.

It was here that we finished up our tour with Tom, I couldn’t believe six hours had passed by so quickly. We had the option to upgrade our tickets to include entrance to the One World Observatory, which I did.

Construction of the new building first began in 2006 and the Observatory was opened in 2015. It is now the tallest building in the Western world. The elevator to the top rises 1,250 feet in 60 seconds and the end reveal is a very impressive experience.

The panoramic observation deck on the 100th floor has incredible 360 views stretching all across Manhattan.

Seeing New York from above was one of my top highlights from my time there so I really recommend getting that extra upgrade. It was a fantastic way to finish off the tour and an already superb day.

I loved the tour and had such a great time seeing so many iconic sights and learning so much along the way.

The Details
Time: Tours run daily starting at 9:30 am and go for 6 hours
Price: $74 US per adult, $64 per child aged 4-12, free for under 4 years old
Reviews: 5/5 stars on Trip Advisor out of 12,767 reviews – the most highly rated tour
Our group at Grand Central Terminal
Final Thoughts
This tour is the perfect way for first-timers to be introduced to New York. From start to finish, the tour is extremely well thought-out and executed to maximise your time and enjoyment.
It’s a fantastic way to learn your way around and you get to see and feel the real energy of the city. 
Our guide Tom was very friendly and easygoing and had a wealth of knowledge to share. 
As well as history and local stories, he gave us plenty of recommendations for the best things to do and even top places to eat.
This tour is perfect for all types of visitors, from families with children to groups of friends or solo like me. Everyone that’s comfortable being on their feet for a few hours would thoroughly enjoy it. You see so many top attractions, learn a lot of history and get insiders tips.
They also offer a range of other tours including custom and private, Statue of Liberty tours, 9/11 Memorial and Wall Street tours and specific neighbourhood tours.
My first day in New York was one of my favourite days thanks to New York Tour 1 – I couldn’t recommend them highly enough!
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Happy Travels,

I'm a Nurul, a traveller blogger from Australia :) enjoy read my blogs

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