This world-famous New York Contrasts Tour takes you to discover the five great boroughs of New York: Manhattan, Harlem, the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn.
By taking this Contrasts Tour, you will also avoid the number one mistake many people make when traveling to New York: not leaving Manhattan. Want to know what awaits you outside the jungle of skyscrapers beyond Central Park? Read on!
Discover the city's best-kept secrets with a local guide
New York is much more than Manhattan: the city is home to many different cultures, architectural styles and customs. Tour the highlights of the city by bus accompanied by a specialized guide.
The New York Contrasts Tour will take you, in its nearly 5 hours of duration, around New York in a minivan discovering every corner of its most iconic neighborhoods. What I would highlight about this Contrasts Tour over others is the professionalism of the local guides, which is what makes a tour an interesting experience compared to riding it on your own. In addition, it is somewhat cheaper than the average tour.
In fact, I recommend that you do this tour as early as possible in your visit to New York, as it will give you a varied taste of the Big Apple and you can return to the neighborhood or area that caught your attention to explore it in detail.
Why I like this tour: in one morning you can visit many different parts of New York that, if you visit on your own, would take a day or two.
Recommended if... you want to get a good understanding of the main districts of the city, understanding the different cultures and customs that live together in New York.
How to book a Contrasts Tour in New York City
The Contrasts Tour is a highly recommended experience to discover the cultural diversity of New York City. If you dare to do it, you can book it easily through the Hellotickets website. Note that when booking the Contrasts Tour you will have to indicate the details of each of the people who will make up the reservation.
The confirmation will be immediate and you will receive a confirmation email as soon as you make the purchase in which all the details of the reservation will be indicated.
In addition, if by any chance your plans change, you have the possibility to cancel your reservation free of charge. And if you have any special accessibility request, you can also indicate it so that the guide is aware of everything.
Prices for a New York Contrasts Tour
The price of the New York Contrasts Tour starts at 50 euros and includes the guided tour through the boroughs of Harlem, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. In addition, you will cross the popular Manhattan Bridge. And you will also see the Yankee and Mets Stadium.
An ideal way to experience the city's urban art in a tour that lasts about five hours. Don't hesitate!
Useful information about the tour
I recommend that on your trip to New York you do not miss a Walking Tour of Contrasts. Here are some practical tips:
- Getting around: The Contrasts Tour is done by minivan or air-conditioned bus so that, in the 5 hours of the tour, you can visit New York in a big way. The maximum group size for this tour is 50 people.
- Best day of the week to do it: If you want to avoid the big crowds, it is best to go on a weekday, perhaps a Tuesday or Thursday. Weekends tend to be the most popular days, but, paradoxically, Saturdays are the day of religious rest for Jews, so the visit to Williamsburg tends to be a little weaker, since you will not see any stores or so much activity on the street. Therefore, if you have to choose one of the two days of the weekend, I recommend that you go on Sunday.
- Pick up at your hotel: This tour has pick up at several different hotels in New York, so if you are lucky enough to be staying at one of them you will just have to go downstairs and wait to be picked up. Otherwise, you just need to go to one of the hotels indicated at the departure time to start your tour.
- Choose the end of the tour: Something important is that you can choose between the place in Brooklyn to end your Tour of Contrasts: under the Brooklyn Bridge, in the neighborhood of DUMBO, or in Chinatown. My recommendation is to finish in DUMBO instead of crossing the bridge back to Manhattan.
- The tour on your own: You will be walking quite a bit on this tour, but it is suitable for almost anyone, as part of the tour will be done by shuttle. Remember that you always have the option of going on your own to the sites and monuments, choosing one of the various New York City sightseeing passes that exist or going on the typical red bus that runs through the city.
Plan your trip to take the Contrasts Tour
The Contrasts Tours usually start early each morning (around 8am) to make the most of the day before lunchtime, so you will have to get up a little early, but it will be a perfect way to squeeze every last drop out of your trip to New York.
Between 4 and 5 hours will be the duration of your tour, so you can expect to spend about an hour in each district. Is this enough time to get to know in detail all the neighborhoods you are going to see? No, but as you know, it's all about nibbling a little bit of each dish to show you what awaits you in each area of New York.
Keep the neighborhood you like the most from this tour to come back and explore it in more detail after the tour.
The Harlem stop
On the New York Contrasts Tour you will stroll through the streets as your guide tells you the story about Harlem's typical brick apartments, and the illustrious people who have stayed there. You will also see the illustrious Apollo Theater and the Cotton Club, two New York jazz music institutions that were key to Harlem's cultural development in the 1920s.
Should you take a tour of Harlem on a Wednesday you will see the neighborhood in all its glory as religious congregations will be giving their gospel mass service and you can listen to them inside the churches as you stroll around. In fact, there is also a tour of Harlem exclusively that allows you entrance to a gospel mass. You can read more about that tour in my article from How to go to a Gospel Mass in Harlem, New York City.
In any case, Harlem is a district that is well worth an individual visit, so I'm sure it's going to be a place you'll want to return to explore in more depth at the end of the Contrasts Tour.
The stop at Yankee Stadium
On the New York Contrasts Tour you will visit the legendary Yankee Stadium, one of New York's baseball teams, where you will have the opportunity to have your photo taken. Although the tour does not include the entrance to the stadium so as not to stop too much, you will be able to compare the stadiums of New York's two rival baseball teams, the Yankees and the Mets.
Of course, if you are a die-hard fan of either team, I recommend that you return to your favorite team's stadium once you have finished the Contrasts Tour to go inside and explore the inside of the stadium. What's more, if you're a baseball fan, you're sure to already have your ticket for a game of either New York team!
Stop in the Bronx
Don't be afraid to go to the Bronx on a Contrasts Tour, as much of the tour will be done in your vehicle and the places you stop are perfectly safe. Although there are still troubled neighborhoods in this area, you will only see the touristy parts so you have nothing to worry about. That said, another added benefit of the Contrasts Tour is that you can visit the Bronx with peace of mind, as going on your own can be quite dangerous.
At this stop you will tour iconic Bronx landmarks, including film locations and some of New York's most famous street art. On your walk, you'll see hip hop on every corner, and you'll understand why the Bronx is as much a mecca for this culture as Harlem is a mecca for jazz.
In fact, you'll visit an entire outdoor art gallery, known as the Graffiti Universe. Street art is an indivisible part of hip hop culture along with music, rap and breakdancing, so this tour will place you squarely in the history of the Bronx and its art movement.
The Queens stop
On the New York Contrasts Tour you will visit New York's largest borough, known for its multiculturalism and for being the commercial and business hub of the city. You will see the Mets stadium, the Yankees' rival stadium, the stadium where the US Open tennis tournament is held, and the 'Men In Black' globe in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Among other points of interest, you will also explore the Little India neighborhood.
In addition, you will visit the Malba neighborhood, one of the wealthiest in New York. If you keep your eyes open, you will appreciate the vast difference between this neighborhood and the rest of Queens, which makes the district an amalgam of contrasts in itself. By the way, don't miss the Queens Museum and its giant model of New York! It won't take you too long to visit and is truly impressive.
The Brooklyn stop
Brooklyn is undoubtedly the borough with the most identity in New York, with its brick houses with trees on each side of the street and the very famous instagramers' hot spot overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge. To top it off, the food in Brooklyn is spectacular (especially if you love pizza) and every store and bar has a converted industrial warehouse vibe that is simply irresistible.
Now that I'm done making it clear that Brooklyn is my favorite borough in New York, I can continue to tell you about this stop on the Tour of Contrasts, where you can explore the Jewish neighborhood of Williamsburg where you will see many Jewish people wearing their typical attire which will probably surprise you. Be careful when taking pictures as they may feel uncomfortable if you get them in your picture. Also noteworthy is the industrial charm of DUMBO under the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as discovering the tastes and smells of Chinatown and Little Italy.
The Contrasts Tour does not include food, but luckily your itinerary ends in Brooklyn where you will find the best pizza in New York. If you weren't planning to leave the city without trying the classic New York slice, this is the place to sample all the goodness of the Big Apple's Italian heritage. To give you some references, here are some restaurants where you can enjoy a well-deserved meal after a morning of sightseeing.
Whatever they tell you, these are the top places in Brooklyn:
- Speedy Romeo - this car repair shop turned pizzeria named after a car from 'Grand Theft Auto' is a culinary homage to traditional Italian pizza, thin crust and cooked in a wood-fired oven. don't miss it!
- Vinnie's Pizzeria - here you will find the typical $1 New York slice in a place that doesn't want to impress anyone. The surprise is in the pizza and its taste, which you can enjoy to go, which is a good idea if you do the Contrasts Tour on the weekend so you don't have to find a table in a restaurant.
- Totonno's - a pizzeria famous throughout New York, whose signature dish is a simple but delicious margherita. Because it is so popular, you may have some difficulty finding a table, so I recommend this option if you do the Contrasts Tour during the week.
What to do after the Contrasts Tour?
Since the Contrasts Tour ends in Brooklyn, I suggest you spend the evening exploring some of its main neighborhoods. My recommendation would be to take a stroll through DUMBO and Chinatown to get to know these places in depth, and end the day as a local would: having a drink at the Brooklyn Barge in Greenpoint, or in case it's cold, tasting craft beers at Dekalb Market.
If you still feel like it, you can book another tour of the New York neighborhoods but this time in a comfortable bus.
And if you feel like completing your trip to New York with some of the organized tours that can be done in one day, I recommend you to check my practical guide on 5 Day Trips from New Yorkwhere you can see which are the most interesting ones.
I already tell you that Niagara Falls and the Washington DC excursion are among my favorites.