The Best Fall Walks and Tours in NYC (Virtual and In Person)

By Ethan Wolff

Fall is a great time for exploring the city on walks and tours. Although a lot of programming remains virtual, there are some chances to get out and about in real life as well. We’re looking forward to learning more about NYC as a diverse array brings everything from the Underground Railroad to Tin Pan Alley.

Real Life Excursions. Tour Your Own City was recently launched by the Guides Association of New York City (GANYC) to get people back out and exploring in real life. (They’re being responsible about it, with restricted capacities and strict Tour Health & Safety Guidelines.) The centerpiece is, a portal website for public and private tours that shows off the city’s range. While most tours are walking tours, Tour Your Own City’s initial slate also includes bike tours and even Art Deco tours in a vintage 1920s automobile. Untapped New York is getting back out in the city we love, with a baker’s dozen of upcoming walks. (They’ve reduced capacity for safety, capping now at 10 participants per trip.) Among your options: Victorian Flatbush, Gowanus Canal Sunset Canoe, The Remnants of the World’s Fairs, and the Hidden Gems of Governors Island. For social distancing with a social mission, join up with Inside Out Tours, which show off the diversity of the city with outings like the NYC Slavery & Underground Railroad Walking Tour which makes its next run on Saturday, September 19th. American Institute of Architects boat tours are back, although for safety only 10 bookings are allowed per tour (they’re requiring a three-guest minimum to make most efficient use of separated tables). Among tantalizing upcoming topics are AIANY Around Manhattan: Bridges, Infrastructure, and the Evolving City (Saturday, September 19th) and AIANY Around Manhattan Architecture (weekends through at least the end of 2020).

The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum is getting back out into the real world, offering tours that look back at its neighborhood in  the 19th century, when it was primarily countryside. You can join along on Tuesday, September 15th or Saturday, September 26th.

Anne Marie Rowley/Flickr

New York Adventure Club. NYAC brings together a series of city experts to hopscotch across intriguing neighborhoods and histories. Join them for Grand Central Terminal and the Secrets Within on Monday, September 14th; Underground Manhattan, The History of the NYC Subway System on Tuesday, September 15th; NYC’s Tin Pan Alley: The Birthplace of America’s Music Industry and  The Flatiron District, From Gilded Age to Modern Day on Friday, September 18th; Temple Emanu-El, NYC’s Great Art Deco Synagogue on Monday, September 21st; a Virtual Exploration of Untermyer Gardens, “America’s Greatest Forgotten Garden” (above) and The Lost & Forgotten Gilded Age Mansions of Fifth Avenue on Thursday, September 24th.

The Municipal Art Society of New York. MAS is back out and about, at least virtually, exploring NYC. Upcoming interactions with city history include Brooklyn Heights Brownstones and the Nineteenth Amendment on Sunday, September 13th; Manhattanville: Old Heart of West Harlem on Saturday, September 19th; and Cast-Iron City on Thursday, September 24th.

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