New York is bursting with eclectic tour options. You can download an audio tour, see television and movie locations, or learn about hip-hop New York.
Rent a cool GPS device that knows where you are anywhere in the city, shows you on a map, and provides entertaining stories, photos, and music. The subway and restroom finders are invaluable. Rental is $49.95 a day or $129.99 for three days.
Geocaching is a GPS phenomenon. It's a high-tech treasure hunt that can be a fun way to see some of New York's parks. You will need a GPS device and an account at the Geocaching Web site (
Download Racon Tours' audio tours at home onto your MP3 player, PDA, iPod, or Smartphone and you're ready to tour when you arrive in town with integrated audio, video, and interactive map. New devices are always added, so check online before you go. The cost is $14.95 per tour area.
Use your own cell phone to listen to a native celebrity (Sigourney Weaver, Paul Sorvino, Jerry Stiller) talking about the sight you're looking at. Choose a stop, call a special number, and you get a private tour when and where you want it. Total cost is $5.95, and it's activated for seven days.
Self-guided tours, such as cell-phone tours, are a convenient way to see the city at your own pace. The only problem for families is supplying everyone with a cell phone, but these tours are a great way to get an interesting introduction to the city.
Doorway to Design
Doorway to Design offers tours of the fashion and art world, architectural tours, shopping tours to New York's wholesale district and private discount shopping in Manhattan, and tours covering the culinary arts, hot neighborhoods, antiques, and private homes and gardens, among others. Call for fees.
Hush Tours provides walking and bus tours by pioneer rap artists. These artists will show you a hip-hop look at New York. You'll see celebrity homes, visit clubs, and listen to live music. Two-hour tours are $25; four-hour tours are $55.
Hush Tours was founded with the purpose of educating people about the roots of hip-hop. The company battles the negative stereotypes associated with the genre by focusing on hip-hop's contributions to art, entertainment, and culture.
Kramer's Reality Tour
This unique tour is an all-Seinfeld multimedia experience that covers the people, places, and yada, yada, yada behind the show. All tours are hosted by Kenny Kramer, the “real” Kramer. Tickets for the three-hour bus tour are $37.50 plus $2 service charge. This tour is extremely popular, so reserve early.
On Location Tours
This tour includes sites in New York that have been used in movies and television. Some of the tours are dedicated to one production, like
Many films and television shows take place in New York City, and some of them film on location. The Law & Order franchise films all over the city, bringing in $50 million in revenue for the city each year.
Urban Park Rangers
The rangers are a part of the New York City Department of Parks. They provide free tours of the many parks in New York City, with an emphasis on plant life, bird watching, wildlife, and geology. Call 311, the general New York information number in town, 212-NEW-YORK (639-9675) from outside the city, or log on to the Web site and search “tours” for more information or to request a schedule.
This is a self-guided, in-depth tour of Broadway, with the added attraction of using an audio unit that plays original soundtracks and displays photos of historic places, plays, and people. Rental is $12.
Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts
This company organizes teams for scavenger hunts of information in museums and other sites in town, including Central Park, the American Museum of Natural History, and Grand Central Terminal. Ask for rates on family hunts.