The Best Summer Walks and Tours in NYC

By Alison Durkee

It’s summer in New York, and with the sunny skies and relaxed pace, it’s the perfect time to get out and explore the city. Experience more of all the history, culture, and architecture the city has to offer with our picks for the best walks and tours this summer.

Image: John Samuel/Flickr

Architectural Adventures: Explore the city’s Art Deco architecture by joining the Art Deco Society for a tour of Washington Heights (June 24), or head downtown and see what Lower Manhattan’s Art Deco buildings have to offer on June 25. If you’d rather head inside and see the interior of one of the city’s architectural immortals, join Untapped Cities for a special tour of the Woolworth Building (August 19), which will be hosted by the great-granddaughter of the building architect herself. Get a more residential look at the city’s architecture on a tour of Crown Heights, Brooklyn (July 1), or marvel at the buildings making up one of the country’s most elite institutions on a tour of Columbia University (July 22).

Image: Philip Bump/Flickr

The Blockhouse, Central Park: Philip Bump/Flickr

Patriotic Pasts: Mark Independence Day this year by learning about the city’s ties to the American Revolution on Big Onion Tours’ Revolutionary New York tour (various dates), or join the Fraunces Tavern Museum’s Independence Eve walking tour (June 30) for an evening stroll through the city’s Revolutionary past. For a look at Central Park’s role in both the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, check out the park’s Northern Forts tour, which will be offered on several dates throughout the summer. To dive deeper into the city’s military ties with the U.S. Navy, head over to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for a walking tour exploring the spot’s long naval history and sustainable future (June 24-25 and future dates). For a more sobering examination of one of the country’s more recent historical events, join Untapped Cities for their tour exploring the Untold Stories of 9/11 (June 25).

Image: Maciek Lulko/Flickr

Artistic Attractions: Some of the world’s greatest art is housed in New York City, and tours this summer will offer plenty of chances to see the city in its artistic glory. Tour one of the world’s most famed art museums by joining Big Onion Tours’ walkthrough of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (August 18), or find lesser-known works on art gallery tours of Chelsea (July 1), Bushwick (July 8), and the Lower East Side (June 24). Of course, there’s plenty of art to discover in New York without stepping foot in a gallery. See everything the city streets have to offer on a tour of lower Manhattan’s public art with the Municipal Art Society on August 5.

New York Stories: Though NYC’s history may be intertwined with our country’s broader tales, the city has plenty of stories to offer on its own. Travel back to the 1800’s to learn about the city’s Gilded Age past on a tour of the Upper East Side (July 29), or head downtown to wander through the old French Quarter that popped up in the 1870s and 1880s (July 8). Over in Brooklyn, enjoy a summertime trip to Coney Island’s famed shores for a look at its past and future (July 9), or head to Green-Wood Cemetery to discover the ghosts of New York’s past on a daytime walking tour (June 24) or twilight tour through this atmospheric spot (various dates). If you’d rather discover the hidden histories behind some of the city’s most iconic spots, join Big Onion Tours for their look at the history of Times Square (various dates), or join the Central Park Conservancy for one of their numerous tours.

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