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The Freedom Trail

The 13 best Boston city tours

Get to know the Hub on these culinary and history walks, sightseeing jaunts, market treks and other city tours

Bostonians would sooner root for the Yankees than endure the indignities of a slow-moving city tour with a bunch of non-natives, but that doesn’t mean we still don’t love exploring the best Boston attractions with savvy visitors in tow. From the best free things to do in Boston to the best museums in Boston , the Hub offers plenty of cultural options and activities. While it’s easy to hit the pavement and enjoy “America’s walking city” at your own pace, if you really want to dig deeper and learn all about the area’s rich, unique history and culture, make your plans now to check out these cool Boston city tours.

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Best Boston city tours

Fenway Park Tour

1.  Fenway Park Tour

  • Things to do
  • Sport events
  • Fenway/Kenmore

This is the one you haul all the out-of-towners to—mostly because you can’t wait to go yourself. The hour-long tour includes player and ballpark history and visits to the press box and Pesky’s Pole; depending on the guide, you also might visit the bullpens and peek behind the anachronistic scoreboard. Game-day tours are available as well—hours, options and prices vary, check the website for special event info and restrictions.

Historic Sightseeing Cruise

2.  Historic Sightseeing Cruise

This narrated, 90-minute sightseeing tour takes you around some of the Harbor Islands while recounting the city’s history as a shipping port, as well as the role that the harbor played in the Revolutionary War. Just prepare yourself for the conditions (tours are offered daily, year-round), as well as the inevitable real estate envy when you sail past all the stunning waterfront condos. 

Samuel Adams Brewery Tour

3.  Samuel Adams Brewery Tour

  • price 1 of 4

For a city that’s often hamstrung by booze-related blue laws, Boston sure has a fine collection of breweries. The city’s most famous brewer is Samuel Adams, the Revolutionary and “maltster” after whom the brewery is named. Tours of the Jamaica Plain facility run daily (except for Sundays) and are free, although there is a suggested charitable donation of $2. You’ll taste the malts, smell the hops and enjoy multiple samples.

Boston Public Library Art and Architecture Tour

4.  Boston Public Library Art and Architecture Tour

  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations

You can spend years visiting the BPL and never have proper knowledge of the beauty contained within. These free, volunteer-led tours—no appointment needed—offer architectural insight into both the original Renaissance Revival McKim building and the modernist Philip Johnson wing (added in 1972). Even longtime patrons are impressed by the sheer volume of oils, tapestries and sculptures populating the halls, including the John Singer Sargent murals that took some 30 years to create. 

Freedom Trail Tour

5.  Freedom Trail Tour

The Freedom Trail  often gets a bad rap among locals, some of whom are tired of the gussied-up guides posing as historical figures as they shuffle tourists through the historical sites. If you don ’ t want to take a guided tour, it ’ s easy to enjoy the lovely self-guided stroll, two and a half miles that remind you of the city’s unparalleled Colonial and Revolutionary history. And if the trail has only whetted your appetite for historical discovery, consider taking a self-guided tour along the Black Heritage Trail or the Women’s Heritage Trail .

Arnold Arboretum Tour

6.  Arnold Arboretum Tour

  • Parks and gardens
  • Jamaica Plain

This Jamaica Plain respite is worth a visit, in part due to the oldest and largest collection of lilac bushes in the world, predating even the founding of the arboretum in 1872. Free weekend tours will help better acquaint you with the vast expanse of flora. Check ahead to confirm hours and weather cancellations, and look into special seasonal themed tours that focus on one species, like the greenhouse collection of potted bonsai plants.

Old State House Tour

7.  Old State House Tour

  • Historic buildings and sites

Designed by Bulfinch and completed in 1798, this magnificent structure replaced the old legislative building across Boston Common, which had been the headquarters of the British government. Included with admission, tours help visitors understand how the Old State House was the political center of Revolutionary Boston. Enthusiastic guides explain how the voices of John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and others rang out from the halls and changed American history forever.

North End Market Tour

8.  North End Market Tour

Even if you’ve eaten in the North End before,  Boston Food Tours ’  exploration of the neighborhood will take your knowledge to another level by teaching (and feeding) you along the way. On the tour you ’ ll learn how Italians ’ food traditions were adapted to America, while acquiring insider cooking tips and discovering where to buy the very best ingredients. At multiple stops, you ’ ll learn about the very best of the neighborhood, ensuring you ’ ll get more out of your future visits.

Ghosts & Gravestones Tour

9.  Ghosts & Gravestones Tour

Our city’s history is not all puppy dogs and rainbows—death, disease and crime make sizeable appearances as well. By taking a Ghosts & Gravestones tour (days/times vary by season), you will learn about murders and executions like the ones that took place on the Boston Common. Try not to be spooked by stories of paranormal activity at the Omni Parker House or the legend of the Boston Strangler.

Walks with the Local AMC Chapter

10.  Walks with the Local AMC Chapter

The Appalachian Mountain Club wants to show you parts of Greater Boston you’ve never explored before. Year-round hikes and nature walks, both accessible and challenging, take you all around the state (and sometimes New Hampshire, too), lasting anywhere from 3 to 20 miles. Dates and times vary, and walks cost just $1 if you’re not an AMC member.

Castle Island Park and Fort Independence

11.  Castle Island Park and Fort Independence

  • South Boston

Locals sometimes forget about the 1850 granite bastion known as Fort Independence, poised at the ocean end of South Boston on Castle Island. It’s a good spot for an all-day picnic, or to pretend you’re going on a medieval raid. Free tours of the fort are offered on summer weekends; check in advance for details.

Boston Lobster Tours

12.  Boston Lobster Tours

Trap-to-table is the only way to eat your favorite crustacean. Take a tour aboard a legit Downeast-style lobster boat with up to three other friends (bench seating is offered), and cruise around the Boston Harbor for 75 minutes, learning about the local industry and hauling up two traps of your own; whatever is of legal size is yours to keep and (presumably) eat.

City Wine Tours

13.  City Wine Tours

Two hours of wine drinking under the auspices of learning? Yes, we imagine a few Bostonians would partake. Choose between four neighborhoods—South End, Back Bay, North End or Assembly Row in Somerville—then join an intimate group led by a wine connoisseur. The guide leads you to top-notch hot spots where you’ll learn how to taste, pair and buy fine wines.

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Your Trip to Washington, D.C.: The Complete Guide

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One Day Tour Itinerary in Washington, DC

How to explore the nation's capital in one day

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It is impossible to see all of Washington DC in one day, but a day trip can be fun, rewarding, and even romantic . Here are our suggestions for how to get the most out of a first-time visit. This itinerary is designed to be a general interest tour. For a comprehensive exploration of the city, check out some of the city’s historic neighborhoods and its many world-class museums and other landmarks.

Note: Some attractions require advanced planning and tickets. ​Be sure to plan ahead, determine what you really want to see and set those sights as priorities. For example, you will need to book your tour of the Capitol Building and your tour of the Memorials in advance.

Arrive Early 

The most popular attractions in Washington DC are least crowded early in the morning. To get the most out of your day, get an early start and you will not have to waste time waiting in lines. Be aware that traffic in Washington DC is very congested and getting in to the city on a weekday or a busy weekend morning is challenging for residents and more difficult for tourists who do not know their way around. Take public transportation and you will avoid the hassle of finding a place to park. 

Begin Your One Day Tour on Capitol Hill

Arrive early at the Capitol Visitor Center (Hours are Monday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) and learn about the history of the U.S. government. The main entrance is located at the East Plaza between Constitution and Independence Avenues. Take a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building and see the Hall of Columns, the rotunda, and the old Supreme Court chambers. From the visitors’ gallery, you can watch bills being debated, votes being counted, and speeches being given. Tours of the Capitol are free; however, tour passes are required. Book your tour in advance . The Visitor Center has an exhibition gallery, two orientation theaters, an expansive cafeteria, two gift shops, and restrooms. Tours of the Capitol begin with a 13-minute orientation film and last approximately one hour.

Go to the Smithsonian

After your tour of the Capitol, head to the National Mall . The distance from one end of the Mall to the other is about two miles. It is walkable, however, you probably want to reserve your energy for the day, so riding the Metro is a good way to get around. From the Capitol, find the Capitol South Metro station and travel to the Smithsonian station. The Metro stop is located in the center of the Mall, so when you arrive take some time to enjoy the view. You will see the Capitol to the East and the Washington Monument to the West.

The Smithsonian is comprised of 17 museums. Since you have limited time to tour the city, I would suggest that you pick just one museum to explore, either the National Museum of Natural History or the National Museum of American History . Both museums are located across the Mall (to the north of the Smithsonian Metro Station) There is so much to see and so little time—grab a museum map and spend an hour or two exploring the exhibits. At the Natural History Museum, take a look at the Hope Diamond and other gems and minerals, examine the massive fossil collection, visit the 23,000-square-foot Ocean Hall, see a life-size replica of a North Atlantic whale and a 1,500-gallon-tank display of coral reef. At the American History Museum view the original Star-Spangled Banner, Helen Keller's watch; and historic and cultural touchstones of American history with more than 100 objects, including the rarely displayed walking stick used by Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln’s gold pocket watch, Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves and a fragment of Plymouth Rock.

You could easily waste a lot of time and money on lunch. The museums have cafeterias, but they get busy and are pricey. You may want to bring a picnic lunch or buy a hot dog from a street vendor. However, your best bet is to get off the Mall. If you head north on 12 th Street towards Pennsylvania Avenue , you will find a variety of places to dine. There are multiple places to grab food in the Ronald Reagan International Trade Building. Central Michel Richard (1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) is a pricier option, but owned by one of Washington’s most renowned chefs. There are also affordable options nearby such as Subway and Quiznos.

Take a Peek at the White House

After lunch, walk west on Pennsylvania Avenue and you will come to President’s Park and the White House . Take some photos and enjoy a view of the White House grounds. The seven-acre public park across the street is a popular site for political protests and a good place to people watch.

Visit the National Memorials

The monuments and memorials are some of Washington DC’s greatest historic landmarks and are truly spectacular to visit. If you want to go up to the top of the Washington Monument , you will have to plan ahead and reserve a ticket in advance. The memorials are very spread out ( see a map ) and the best way to see them all is on a guided tour. Afternoon tours of the memorials are available by Pedicab, Bike or Segway. You should book a tour in advance. If you take your own walking tour of the memorials, note that the Lincoln Memorial , the Vietnam War Memorial , Korean War Memorial and the World War II Memorial are located within a reasonable walk of each other. Likewise, the Jefferson Memorial , the FDR Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Memorial are located near one another on the Tidal Basin .

Dinner in Georgetown

If you have time and energy to spend the evening in Georgetown, take the DC Circulator Bus from Dupont Circle or Union Station or take a taxi. Georgetown is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Washington, DC, and is a vibrant community with upscale shops, bars, and restaurants along its cobblestone streets. M Street and Wisconsin Avenue are the two main arteries with plenty of good places to enjoy happy hour and dinner. You may also take a walk to Washington Harbour to enjoy the Potomac Waterfront views and popular outdoor dining spots.

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Our sightseeing tours will take you to the best tourist attractions around the world, but we’ll also reveal the local secrets of each destination on our vacation that are packed with insider knowledge, to ensure you get the ultimate travel experience.

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The world’s most famous sights

There’s a whole world of incredible sights and we’ll take you to the best tourist destinations to find them. Walk the Great Wall of China , swim in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland , marvel at the Great Pyramids of Giza , explore the Acropolis of Athens , take a boat ride through the Niagara Falls , or see Christ the Redeemer towering over Brazil ….

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Expert sightseeing tours

See all the sights with our expert Local Specialist Guides and Travel Directors. They’ll help you discover each place on guided walking tours through historic centres from Tokyo to Rome , or see the major landmarks from Times Square in New York City to Buckingham Palace in London. They’ll even take you on scenic cruises, from the lakes of Chile to the canals of Amsterdam .

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Discover the local secrets

We’ll take you to the main tourist attractions, but we’ll always show you an insider look at each destination too. Explore the hidden canals and back alleys of Venice , unlock the Incan mysteries of Peru or hear thrilling tales of gladiators at the Colosseum .

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A sightseeing tour with Trafalgar takes you to the famous tourist places within your destination. You’ll join an expert Local Specialist or Travel Director who will take you by coach, train, boat or foot to see all the best landmarks. You’ll get an insider’s view of the sights, and skip the queue at monuments like Rome's Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum.

What is the best time to visit Europe?

The best time to visit Europe depends on what you’d like to experience and the seasons you enjoy. If you love warm weather, visit during the summer months from June to August. If you’re dreaming of a magical winter holiday, visit between December and February to experience Europe during the festive season. The months of spring and autumn are also perfect for mild weather and fewer crowds.

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The world’s top ten most visited cities in 2019 were Bangkok, Paris, London, Dubai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, New York, Istanbul, Tokyo and Antalya. From the Grand Palace in Bangkok and the Louvre Museum in Paris, to Big Ben in London and Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, these cities are home to some of the best tourist attractions in the world.

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Europe is an incredibly beautiful continent, packed with natural wonders and architectural treasures. Some of the most stunning places are the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, the Highlands of Scotland, the Swiss and French Alps, the Dolomites in Italy, Lapland in Finland, the Lofoten Islands of Norway, the Eastern Carpathians of Romania and the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia.

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The Top 27 Excursions and Tours in Boston

Taking a trip to Beantown? One of the best ways to explore is by taking advantage of the diverse range of exciting and informative tours in Boston.

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Located in the northeastern corner of the country, Boston is one of the most historic cities in the United States and has been the stage for some of the biggest events in American history. With so much history everywhere you turn and vibrant culture that is buoyed by some of the country’s most prestigious universities, one of the best ways to fully understand the city is by joining one of the many guided sightseeing tours that can give you an in-depth look at life in Boston.

Enjoy an amazing adventure in Boston !

Beantown is always bustling and it could be tough to get your bearings if you’re a tourist. Never fear! With the Let’s Roam app to guide you, you’re sure to find some fun! It will lead you to competitive and informative scavenger hunt tours in Boston , where you could embark on a pub crawl , check out the local street art , or get spooked on a ghost hunt ! If you prefer more traditional sightseeing, explore Historic Harvard , learn about U.S. history , or see the Back Bay and Beyond . There’s something for everyone!

27 Excursions and Tours in Boston

Below you’ll find some of the best tours and excursions that you can do during a visit to Boston based on TripAdvisor and Google Reviews as well as the experience of our own in-house travel experts! Most of these are available all year round but make sure to bundle up nice and warm as Boston winters can get very chilly!

Boston History and City Tours

Downtown Boston simply can’t be beat when it comes to history. From the historic sites of the Freedom Trail to the hallowed grounds of Harvard, there are a ton of things to see that may make you feel like you’re stepping back in time! With so much to do, it may seem challenging to fit everything in but luckily, there are a slew of city and history tours to choose from if you want to learn more about the city or experience Boston like a local.

1. The Revolutionary Story Tour

This is one tour that American history buffs won’t want to miss! Led by a local historian, this three-and-a-half-hour walking tour takes visitors back to the American Revolution through a series of stops at historic sites. During the lengthy 3.5 mile walk, you’ll learn more about some of the biggest names of the revolution including John Adams, Paul Revere, and Benjamin Franklin while passing by many of the sites of the Freedom Trail. The Revolutionary Story Tours are offered most days of the week and begin at City Hall Plaza at 9:15. Bookings are recommended as this tour does tend to sell out quickly.

2. Boston Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour

If you’re a fan of hop-on hop-off bus tours then you’re in luck! Operated by Old Town Trolley Tours , this bus tour is a great option for people who are short on time but want to get a small taste of the city. Running approximately every 15 minutes, the trolley makes 18 stops including Faneuil Hall, the Old State House, and Harvard University where you can get off and explore your leisure. Along the way, the informative guides will give all kinds of useful information and insider tips to help you get the most out of your visit. You can choose from one or two-day tickets and you can even add on a ghost tour if you want to experience Boston’s darker side.

3. The Story of America Scavenger Hunt

Created by Let’s Roam, the Story of America Scavenger Hunt will take you to some of the most famous sites in Downtown Boston such as the 17th century Granary Burial Ground which is full of historic gravestones, the Old State House, and Faneuil Hall. During the hunt, you’ll learn the answers to burning questions like “How did an apple orchard become a State House?” and “Who is the controversial namesake of Faneuil Hall?” (this could come in very handy one day!). This is an exciting way to learn more about the history of the city and we promise that you’ll have a great time doing it!

4. Rum, Riots, and Writers Tour 

This interesting tour organized by Free Tours by Foot , a pay-as-you-wish tour operator, gives visitors an in-depth look at the city’s literary history and how it has helped shaped not only Boston but also the entire country. During the tour, you’ll see where Boston’s first publishing house once stood, JFK’s secret Boston hideaway, and the Old Bookstore, a frequent meeting place for literary greats Thoreau and Emerson. This is a tour that bibliophiles certainly won’t want to miss! This two-hour tour operates five days a week, departing from Boston Common, and you must make reservations in advance.

5. Walk the Freedom Trail

Run by the team at the Boston Town Crier , this tour of Boston’s Freedom Trail takes visitors past 11 historic sites along a 2.5-mile walking trail. Led by “historic figures” in period costumes, the tour starts at Boston Common before finishing at Faneuil Hall and lasts roughly 90-minutes. 

Once the tour is finished, you have the opportunity to continue to the last five historic sites of the trail on your own self-guided adventure. Guided walking tours leave are available daily and private tours are available upon request. 

6. Boston Segway Tours 

If you’ve ever wanted to try zooming around the city streets of Boston on a segway, there is no time like the present! Thanks to its relatively small area and flat streets, Boston is the perfect city to explore by segway and allows you to experience more of the city than a standard bus tour. 

During the one-hour group tours, you’ll travel from Boston Common to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, stopping at some of Boston’s most famous landmarks on the way. If you opt for the two-hour tour, you also get a chance to see Cambridge. For safety reasons, all riders must be 14 and older and weigh at least 100 pounds. 

7. City View Bike Tour

Hosted by Urban AdvenTours , this 12-mile long bike tour gives visitors the chance to cover a lot of ground in just three hours. The tour visits six Boston neighborhoods and most of the major sites including the Boston University campus, North End, Fenway Park Kenmore Square, Boston Common, Long Wharf, and the South End.

Tours are currently listed for each day at 10 a.m., with additional times available on Saturday and Sunday afternoons during the summer. While it’s open to everyone aged 10 and above, it’s best suited for bikers who are confident riding in the city. If you’re traveling with young children or beginner riders, there is also a Tour de Boston ride which is suitable for riders of all ages with 75% of the route being on dedicated bike paths.

8. Fenway Park Tours

Few other baseball teams have as loyal a following as the Boston Red Sox and there is no better way to explore their home than a Fenway Park Tour . History lovers and baseball fanatics alike will be thrilled at this special glimpse into the oldest baseball ballpark in the United States. 

The hour-long tour visits all of the important sites in the stadium, including the 37-foot-high Green Monster. The guides will provide plenty of interesting Red Sox trivia and this tour is sure to be a home run for people of all ages! Tours run repeatedly throughout the day and there is even a condensed tour if you’re a bit short on time. Make sure to check the game schedule and keep in mind that the last tour leaves three hours before the game starts. 

9. Boston Duck Tours

Many of us have found ourselves watching in amazement as an amphibious landing vehicle rolls down the streets of a city. Boston Duck Tours gives visitors the chance to hop aboard one of these unique World War II-era vehicles as they make their way around Boston and along the Charles River. The amusing “conDUCKtors” give insightful descriptions about each of the neighborhoods with plenty of fun trivia that you’ll remember long after the tour is over. 

After you’ve finished touring downtown, it’s time to turn that bus into a boat as you experience Boston from a whole new perspective. The tour lasts around 80-minutes and runs multiple times a day from March until November. It departs from the Museum of Science, New England Aquarium, and the Prudential Center.

10. Freedom Trail Photography Tour 

Hosted by PhotoWalks , this 90-minute tour along Boston’s Freedom Trail gives both amateur and professional photographers the chance to hone their skills while checking out some of the city’s top landmarks including Boston Common, the Granary Burying Ground, Park Street Church, and the site of the Boston Massacre. Best of all, the tour guides will give expert tips on taking great photos which you can use again and again during your trip! 

Tours run throughout the week and if you loved the Freedom Trail Tour, you can also join one of their walking tours of the North End and Beacon Hill. 

11. Historic Harbor Cruise

Run by Boston City Cruises , the Historic Harbor Cruise takes guests on a one-hour sightseeing cruise of Boston Harbor where you’ll learn about the people and places behind the Revolutionary War. During the tour, you’ll also be able to enjoy great views of the Boston Harbor Islands, the Bunker Hill Monument, and the USS Constitution. 

There’s a cash bar onboard where you can pick up some light snacks and plenty of outdoor viewing decks. They also offer themed cruises throughout the year so if you’re traveling over a holiday, make sure to check their schedule to see if any unique sailings are coming up.

12. Evening Excursion to Harvard

Many of us wish that we could say that we went to Harvard and this evening excursion led by Boston City Walks lets you say this somewhat truthfully! During this two-hour tour, you’ll travel by America’s first subway from Boston Common to Harvard Square in Cambridge. From there, the tour will take you through Harvard Yar and along Brattle Street. 

You’ll see the Old Burial Place and Longfellow’s Mansion, and at the end of the tour, you have the option of returning to Boston with your guide or staying in Cambridge to check out some of the favorite spots of Harvard students. Tours tend to sell out early so make sure that you book in advance to avoid disappointment. 

13. Boston Parks Scavenger Hunt

The Let’s Roam Boston Parks Scavenger Hunt will take you into one of Boston’s most beautiful and beloved parks! As you make your way through Boston Common, you can stop and smell the flowers at the Public Garden, learn more about the surrounding theater district, and simply immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Downtown Boston. 

14. Boston Ghosts and Gravestones

This spine-tingling tour operated by Boston Ghost Tours takes visitors to some of Boston’s most haunted sites such as the Omni Park House which has been home to a plethora of odd guests and some of the city’s most chilling murder sites. The tour also gives exclusive nighttime access to two of Boston’s oldest burial grounds. You’ll listen to stories of the people who have been laid to rest in the city and learn about the biggest grave-robbing scandal in New England.

15. Tour the Boston Tea Party Ships

The Boston Tea Party kicked off a series of events that led to the Revolutionary War and it showed the British that the colonists were going to fight against taxation without representation. Today, you can tour a replica of the famous Boston Tea Party Ships led by costumed guides Not only do you get to see history come to life but you get to play a small part in it! 

Nature Tours 

While many people visit Boston to see its fantastic array of cultural and historic sites, the city is also blessed with incredible scenery and a rich array of outdoor activities. One of the easiest ways to take advantage of this spectacular setting is by doing a guided tour. Whether you want to see whales frolicking about on one of the boat tours or check out the city’s park system there are plenty of ways to get a closer view of Boston’s wild side!

16. Boston Whale Watching Cruise 

This exciting 3.5-hour whale watching excursion is operated by Boston Harbour Cruises. During the tour, visitors are whisked away to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary on board a high-speed catamaran. This special area teems with whales, dolphins, and sea birds and you may see humpback, minkes, pilot whales, finances, and endangered right whales. The staff naturalists offer fascinating insights into animal behavior. 

Tours depart throughout the day from mid-March to the end of November from Long Wharf, near the New England Aquarium and it’s possible to buy combination tickets that will help you save some money when visiting both attractions.

17. Emerald Necklace Bike Tour

Led by the team at Urban AdvenTours , the 15-mile Emerald Necklace Bike Tour takes riders through the lovely Emerald Necklace Park System. Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead of NYC Central Park fame, this park system incorporates many of Boston’s most popular green spaces and snakes its way through the heart of Boston. 

Along the way, you’ll see the Boston Common, Charles River Esplanade, the Museum of Fine Arts, and many more amazing places. If you would love to do the tour but aren’t sure about making it the full 15 miles, you can upgrade to an e-bike that will do a lot of the work for you!

18. Boston Harbor Sunset Cruise

Imagine yourself cruising along the Boston Harbor as the sky explodes into a sea of colors and the city lights come to life all around you. Boston harbor cruises are a great way to get a new perspective on the city and a Boston Harbor Sunset Cruise by the Classic Harbor Line Boston is one of the best ways to finish off a long day of sightseeing.

The journey begins with a voyage to Fort Independence before circling back to the inner harbor area to see the Leonard Zakim Bridge, Mystic Tobin Bridge, Customs House Tower, the steeple of the Old North Church, the USS Constitution, and the Bunker Hill Monument. Make sure to keep your eyes and ears out for the cannon that is fired on the USS Constitution every night to announce the sunset. If you prefer a slightly slower pace, they also offer a two-hour sunset sail on an 80-foot pilot schooner, passing by the Boston Seaport District, and the Inner Harbor Islands 

Food Tours and Pub Crawls

If your idea of a great vacation is eating and drinking your way through all the gastronomical treasures on offer, we know how you feel! Boston has a mouth-watering variety of food tours on offer which gives visitors the chance to try some of the best dishes in the city, regardless if you’re looking for a slice of pizza or a perfectly prepared lobster roll. There are also some great bar crawls that take you through some of the city’s historic pubs. To read more about Boston’s best watering holes, take a look at this list of the 25+ Best Bars in Boston . 

19. North End Pizza Tour

Run by Boston Pizza Tours , the two-hour North End Pizza Tour takes you to some of Boston’s best pizza joints in Boston’s very own Little Italy, passing by five different Freedom Trail sites on the way. The guides not only give you insight into Boston’s culinary scene but they also can teach you about Boston’s long history throughout the tour. Make sure to come hungry as the tour price includes three full-size pizza slices and a delicious cannoli. For an extra fee, vegan and gluten-free options can be made available. 

20. North End Food Tour

The wonderfully named Off the Eaten Path Food Tours offers a three-hour food tour of the North End with stops at two legendary Boston eateries, Bricco Panetteria and Galleria Umberto. Throughout the tour, you’ll get a fascinating history and architecture lesson covering everything there is to know about the neighborhood from your expert guides as well as useful tips on how to choose the best balsamic vinegar and olive oil to take home with you! Currently, tours run every day except Sunday.

21. Sweet and Savoury Southend Tour

Organized by Bites of Boston , this cultural walk and food tour takes you through Boston’s Southend stopping at five to six local eateries for a delectable array of tastings including everything from a popular bakery to a restaurant serving up Venezuelan specialties. The tour lasts around three hours and covers about one mile of distance. 

If you’re interested in even more options, Bites of Boston also offer tours of Chinatown and Allston as well as a Classic Bites of Boston Tour which covers all of the dishes that Boston is famous for including lobster rolls, baked beans, and, of course, Boston Cream Pie!

22. Independence Pub Crawl

Part bar crawl, part Freedom Trail tour, this lively pub tour organized by Boston Crawling stops by some of Beantown’s most historic bars and taverns. During the two-hour tour, you’ll visit the former watering holes of some of the most notable people in American history, including some of the Founding Fathers. 

Tours include four draft beers or ciders, which gives you plenty of time to keep the party going after the tour is finished. All participants must be over 21 years old (for obvious reasons). This is the perfect activity for history buffs and beer lovers! If you’re traveling with a group, you can also organize private tours that work around your schedule.

23. Back Bay Beat Bar Crawl Scavenger Hunt

Another fantastic creation by Let’s Roam, the Back Bay Beat Bar Crawl is the perfect opportunity to let your hair down a bit with some of your nearest and dearest. The scavenger hunt will take you to historic Irish pubs to trendy dance clubs and everywhere in between as you crawl along Boylston Street. This is a wonderful opportunity to experience some of Boston’s best nightspots but you also have the chance to create new memories that you’ll never forget (if you can remember them!)

With miles upon miles of stunning coastline and interesting cities and towns to check out, no trip to Boston is complete without taking at least one day trip outside of the city. Below you can find a list of some of the best day trips to do just a short drive or boat ride from Boston. If you need some more information on the other great excursions on offer, make sure to check out this guide to the 16 Best Day Trips from Boston . 

24. Martha’s Vineyard Day Trip

The breathtaking island of Martha’s Vineyard has long been the stomping grounds of some of America’s rich and famous who have been attracted by its charming towns, picturesque houses, and pristine beaches. This fantastic day trip by New England Trips allows you to visit this beautiful island and make it back to Boston in time for dinner! The tour includes a bus transfer from Boston to Cape Cod where you’ll jump on a ferry to the island. During the trip, you’ll have panoramic views of Vineyard Sound. You can either explore the island independently or upgrade to a three-hour guided tour.

25. Provincetown Day Trip

Located on the far tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is surrounded by rolling sand dunes, the thundering ocean, and frolicking sea birds. As the oldest settlement on Cape Cod, the streets are lined with restaurants, shops, and bars where you can spend hours trying out delicious food or picking out some souvenirs to take home with you. Luckily, this charming area is easily accessed from Boston via the Provincetown Fast Ferry. Ferries leave from Long Wharf, just a few minutes away from the New England Aquarium. The ride should take just about 90 minutes and then you’re free to explore at your own leisure.

26. Lexington and Concord Day Trip

Operated by Grayline Tours , this Lexington and Concord Day Trip takes visitors to the spot where the first shots of the American Revolution were fired and follows in the footsteps of Paul Revere himself. Along the way, there is a brief stop in Cambridge to view Cambridge Common where George Washington took control of the Continental Army before reaching Lexington Common. It was here that the Minutemen fought bravely against the British army and set the stage for a battle that would change history forever. 

After visiting Lexington, the tour continues to Concord where literary greats Hawthorne, Alcott, and Emerson lived. The tour lasts around four hours and pick-up service is available from Boston hotels. It’s the perfect way to learn about the region’s Revolutionary War history and the bravery and heroism shown by the soldiers that fought against the British.

27. Salem Day Trip

Salem, Massachusetts is infamous for the witch trials that took place there hundreds of years ago, and today, you can visit many of the historic sites attached to this chilling era. There are a few different ways to experience this historic city from Boston. You can either make your way out there by car or public transport and then join one of the many guided tours or you can join a small group tour leaving from Boston. 

Naturally (or should we say supernaturally?), some of the most popular tours are the ghost tours that generally take visitors to the Witch House, Ropes Mansion, and the Burying Point, which are all supposed to be haunted. To learn more about the city, check out this list of the Best Things to Do in Salem, MA .

Alternatively, you can join Gray Line’s Salem and Marblehead Day Trip . The tour begins with a quick stop in Marblehead before continuing to Salem where guests will have the chance to explore the city on their own. As the birthplace of the American Navy, Marblehead is a great addition for anyone interested in military history and this combined tour is perfect for people who want to visit Salem without having to worry about driving or using public transportation. The tour lasts around seven hours and pick-up service is available from Boston hotels. 

Ready to roam?

We hope that this list has given you plenty of inspiration when planning your upcoming trip to Boston! If you still need more information, make sure to check out our guide to the Best Things to Do in Boston or purchase one of our exciting Boston Scavenger Hunts ! As always, we would love to hear your feedback and please let us know if there are any hidden gems that we may have missed!

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the best tours in Boston are the Freedom Trail walking tours and North End food tours. You can also explore the city with excellent app-guided adventures from Let’s Roam!

Just about everyone has heard of Duck Tours and the amphibious bus tours in Boston , but if you’d prefer to explore on foot or just like a little competition, try a Beantown scavenger hunt tour from Let’s Roam!

If you love to keep moving, even while sightseeing, the best active tours in Boston include bike tours from Urban AdvenTours or any of the super fun app-guided walking tours from Let’s Roam.

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USA Small Group Tours

Uncover new and exciting adventures in USA by taking part in our small group tours. Go sightseeing at your own pace surrounded by travellers like you. Provided by top tour operators & travel companies, our small group tours in USA will offer you the perfect balance between spending time on your own and group activities. View all small group tours .

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250+ usa small group tours with 2,695 reviews.

Alaska Kenai & Denali Adventure Tour

Alaska Kenai & Denali Adventure

Good itinerary overall

Hiking in Yosemite National Park Tour

Hiking in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is breathtaking. As I walked along the hikes that we went on, many times I did not know which direction to look since there was so much natural beauty.

7 day Southwest National Parks Grand Canyon Tour Tour

  • Mountain Hikes
  • Hiking & Trekking

7 day Southwest National Parks Grand Canyon Tour

This was a very well organised 7 day trip to see all the canyons and our guide Adriann was fantastic at accommodating to all our needs. We were a small group of 8 ranging from solo travellers to families such as ourselves and got along very well throughout the 7 days. Although I was not able to see the arches for personal reasons, our guide Adriann was very understanding and made sure the rest of our trip was still amazing. I particularly found Bryce Canyon and Antelope Canyon the most exciting places to visit and the Grand Canyon for my mother which had been number one on her bucket list places to visit. I would definitely recommend this tour and would be keen to go on it again or even on other excursions that they offer!
  • 5% deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

Hiking Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite Tour

Hiking Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite

Great way to travel and meet new people! Changes were made to the itinerary due to road/trail closures but it worked out in the best way. CEO adapted meals for vegetarian travelers in the group. I would book with them again!

Mighty 5 From Las Vegas Tour

  • Christmas & New Year

Mighty 5 From Las Vegas

Our tour guide,Vicky took care of us & exceeded my expectations for this tour!She was very punctual & showed us all that was described in the tour agenda plus a few other side trips!She shared interesting information on all the areas we visited & had some pretty humorous stories too!I would highly recommend this tour!

Utah Parks Circuit Tour

Utah Parks Circuit

We did this trip during the government strike in 2013 which meant all the National Parks were closed. Intrepid did a WONDERFUL job mitigating the situation and we still got to go camping and hiking at some select state parks. Luckily, the Grand Canyon was re-opened before our trip ended which was awesome. What a finale! Thank You Intrepid for giving us an awesome itinerary despite the challenges.

Vegas to San Fran Tour

  • In-depth Cultural

Vegas to San Fran

Hike Alaska: Valdez and Wrangell St Elias Tour

Hike Alaska: Valdez and Wrangell St Elias

It was a very fun and adventuresome trip. The tour guide was well organized and hard working. The only problem was one of the camp sites was pretty primitive compared with the "KOA-style" campgrounds advertised by the company.

Yellowstone / Grand Teton 4 Day / 3 Night Wildlife Adventure Tour

  • Photography
  • Walking Adventure

Yellowstone / Grand Teton 4 Day / 3 Night Wildlife Adventure

This trip was fantastic! The group totaled 4 plus the guide Cade. We were not disappointed in wildlife viewing. We saw Black wolves, elk, big horn sheep and bison were up close and personal. Cade is an excellent guide and the trip would not have been the same without him. Cade knows both Teton and Yellowstone National parks like the back of his hand. He answers all questions and is an easy person to be around. Did I mention black bears, moose, Old Faithful and more. Fantastic trip! For birders, the bald eagle feasting on carcass and several other raptors. But, communication from Brushbuck is only when necessary for them. Don't let it stop you though. Hotels were luxe and transportation too. Loved it!

Yellowstone & Rocky Mountain Explorer Tour

Yellowstone & Rocky Mountain Explorer

OUTSTANDING TOUR! Our tour guide Joseph Spaid was the best guide and i have taken many tours over the years. attentive to group needs, excellent meals choices and food organization. super knowledgeable on the area visited, personable professional d always willing to got the extra mile for us. he fitted in a lot of extras for our group including a surprise early morning visit the Lamar Valley for wildlife spotting - well worth it - wow! Thank you Joseph! Bindlestiff Tours was great at communicating with me pre tour. the shower sin Yellowstone were closed due to covid and they reached out to all guests prior to the tour to communicate this and had alternatives for showers lined up to fit in perfectly with out touring days. exceptional customer service ad extremely well organized. food was great, weather was perfect, guide was excellent. food prep was easy- mix of healthy strit frys, salads, BBQs and more. Loved every second for this tour and will be back for sure - thanks you Bindlestiff Tours!

Alaska Kenai Adventure 9 Days Tour

Alaska Kenai Adventure 9 Days

What a wonderful way to discover Alaska! A memorable trip thanks to the efforts of Natalie, Dave, and Carolina. Infinite Adventures provides a really unique travel experience. Their bus is creatively outfitted to be a traveling home for 16 tour participants. By the end of our journey, we felt like a traveling family because the trip provided opportunities to connect and bond with fellow travelers. The Kenai trip was well-planned. It offered the right mix of adventure and convenience. The company makes all the arrangements. Yet, there are opportunities for travelers to participate in setting up camp, preparing food, and cleaning up. Natalie, Dave, and Carolina were warm, friendly, and responsive to travelers' needs. Natalie and Dave's 3 year old son was an adorable addition to our trip. The whole experience felt much more personalized than traveling with a bigger company. Alaska is so much bigger and more exquisite than I had imagined. The highlight was the glacier visit - other-worldly! Throughout the trip, I appreciated the organization and planning that made our journey from one location to another smooth and interesting. Highly recommend this adventure with this company. ~ Mridula (California)
  • 10% deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

Hike Alaska: Glaciers and Denali Tour

Hike Alaska: Glaciers and Denali

Had a wonderful time in Alaska. A combination of the sights and sounds and what we saw as well as the CEO and other participants made it a great experience. A well balanced program with options to please all interests, it was a good time for all of us. Can't control the weather though, which would have made it a five star vacation. Would do it again in a heartbeat.

Discover American Canyonlands National Geographic Journeys Tour

Discover American Canyonlands National Geographic Journeys

Matthew (CEO) was great. As issues/challenges arose (which they inevitably do) Matthew addressed them, and provided options/alternatives, which he presented to the group and the group came to a consensus. A suggestion for Management/Tour Operator, The "meeting" with a Native American who was to talk about his/her Native American culture, should be given "guardrails" and stay within their "Lane". There are those who do not share the presenter's same political viewpoint as the presenter and the presenter should respect that his/her audience may have differing political viewpoint(s) and stay away from brining politics into their presentation. Again Matthew (CEO) was a great ambassador for the Tour Operator and we would definitely take another tour/trip with Matthew!

Best of Utah & Arizona National Parks Tour

Best of Utah & Arizona National Parks

Sehr guter Tourguide. Kompakte Woche und genau meinen Vorstellungen entsprechend. Würde ich jeder Zeit wider buche. Einziger Magel Punkt: Die Kominikation vor der Tour mit Gaventures war schwierig.

Alaska Adventure - 20 Days Tour

  • Overland Truck

Alaska Adventure - 20 Days

It was one of the best trips I ever did. Nathalie and Ellie were the coolest guides, gear, food, activities were fabulous and the bus is a legend! It is a great mixture of mountains and sea, wildlife, action and time to relax. My absolute favourites were the bear viewing in Lake Clark and Camping at Homer Spit!

Reviews of Small Group tours to USA

Everything was great organized, our CEO Megan was so kind and well prepared.
Yosemite tour was amazing. Choice of lodging needed to be different. Too far out of the way which caused a lot of extra driving. A hotel which was previously used would have been better. And virtually no response to questions thru the Tour Radar app. Had to take care of extra nights stays & transportation myself when the app stated that they would assist with it.
What a lifetime experience everyone needs Jun 2023 • Solo Within 7 days, we drove in 3 states, visited 5 national parks / 2 state parks, hiked 60 miles, made friends from 7 different states/nations, and eventually traveled through the iconic Route 66 back to Las Vegas. What a lifetime experience everyone needs Day 1 - Zion National Park Day 2 - Bryce Canyon National Park Day 3 - Canyonlands National Park Day 4 - Arches National Park Day 5 - Monument Valley Navajo Nation Day 6 - Grand Canyon National Park / Antelope State Day 7- Grand Canyon back to Las Vegas via Historic Route 66 AMAZING!
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The 21 Best California Tours

Make the most of your time in the Golden State with one of these top-rated tours.

The Best California Tours

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Explore California's cities, coasts and cultures on these tours.

With its beaches , lakes , mountains, vineyards and national parks , California is full of unforgettable experiences. But its sheer size can feel overwhelming, even for the seasoned traveler. Relying on the knowledge and expertise of a local can help you make the most of your visit. After consulting traveler opinion and expert input, U.S. News compiled the best California tours. Whether you want to savor a glass of wine in Napa Valley or marvel at Yosemite's peaks, there's a tour for you.

Note: Some tour providers on this list may be running more limited operations due to COVID-19 or may impose testing or vaccine requirements. Check with your tour operator about availability before you book.

San Francisco: Painted Ladies Tour Company – San Francisco City Tour

Cruise around San Francisco in a vintage Volkswagen bus with the Painted Ladies Tour Company. On the two-hour San Francisco City Tour, which welcomes up to seven participants, you'll see sights like Lombard Street , Union Square , Chinatown , the Golden Gate Bridge and more. Plus, you'll make three stops for photos. Tourgoers say this is a fun and unique way to sightsee around San Francisco and describe the guides as funny and well-versed in the city's history.

Ticket prices start at $85 for adults and $65 for kids ages 1 to 12. Discounts are available for seniors ages 65 and older. Tours are generally available multiple times a day from 8:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. They depart from Fisherman's Wharf or Union Square. The company also offers tours of Sonoma in its signature Volkswagen buses.

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Los Angeles: Six Taste – Downtown LA Food Tour

According to reviewers, the Downtown LA Food Tour from Six Taste is a great way to start off your Los Angeles visit. During the roughly four-hour tour, you'll enjoy more than seven tastings as you traverse 12 city blocks. In between bites, your guide will share information about the city's art deco architecture and its unique history. Plus, you'll pay a visit to the Grand Central Market – LA's largest and oldest public market. Tastings on the tour may include Cantonese barbecue pork, gelato, homemade pasta and French dip sandwiches, among other dishes. Note that the tour is not suitable for vegan or gluten-free diets.

Tickets cost approximately $75 per person. Tours are generally available on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. Craving more? Six Taste offers a variety of tours in other parts of the city, including the Arts District and Santa Monica .

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Napa: Platypus Wine Tours – Napa Valley Join-In Tour

You and up to 11 other participants will visit three wineries within Napa Valley on this popular shuttle tour. Wineries visited vary by the day, but you can expect to stop at small, intimate locations, such as Tedeschi Family Winery and Hans Fahden Vineyards. Travelers highly recommend the tour, citing the personable, informative guides as highlights. Reviewers are also pleased with the wineries visited. Tours are generally available daily, departing at 10:30 a.m. and returning at 5 p.m.

Tickets start at $119 per person and include round-trip Napa hotel transportation, a picnic lunch and bottled water. Note that winery tasting fees are not included and generally cost $20 to $25 a person. The company also operates winery tours through Sonoma, in addition to private tours.

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San Diego: San Diego Seal Tour

According to reviewers, the San Diego Seal Tour is a great experience, whether you're traveling with your family or by yourself. During the approximately 90-minute excursion, you'll cruise through the streets of San Diego in an amphibious vehicle before splashing into the San Diego Bay. As you keep your eyes peeled for sea lions, seals and dolphins, your captain and first mate will offer an overview of San Diego history. Along the way, you'll pass by attractions like the USS Midway Museum , Point Loma and Shelter Island. Tours depart on the hour from downtown's Seaport Village from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the summer and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the winter.

Ticket prices start at $44 per adult, $25 for kids ages 4 to 12 and $10 for children 3 and younger. You can take advantage of a slight discount if you purchase your tickets online in advance. Tickets that combine a Seal tour with a tour on the Old Town Trolley are also available.

The Best California Tours

Los Angeles: Pedal... or Not – LA Electric Bike Tour

Cycle your way through sunny Santa Monica on this three-hour electric bike tour. Along the way, you'll see Santa Monica Pier , Venice Beach , Muscle Beach and the Venice Canals, among other sights. According to tourgoers, guides are knowledgeable and friendly, and the bikes are easy to use. Though the bike allows you to switch between pedaling and using the electric motor, the company still recommends that participants be comfortable riding a bike. The company provides helmets.

Tours are generally available daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets start at $79 per participant ages 13 and older. Children younger than 13 cannot participate in the tour. You can also book this as a private tour for between two and six riders. Tickets for the private tour option start at $99 per person.

San Diego: Flagship Cruises and Events – San Diego Full Bay Harbor Cruise

Enjoy views of the Coronado Bridge , military ships, waterfront landmarks and marine life on this two-hour cruise around San Diego Bay. Along with 360-degree views of the harbor, you'll also enjoy live narration from the crew, who share details about San Diego history and the military ships that dock in its harbor. Cruisers call this a must-do in San Diego, praising the views and interesting narration. Reviewers say this is a great thing to do on your first day in San Diego.

Tickets cost approximately $35 for adults, $32 for seniors and military members and $17.50 for children ages 4 to 12. Tours depart from 10 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. every day, though there may be fewer cruises in the winter months. If you're short on time, you can opt for the company's hourlong cruises, which sail around either the north or south harbor. Whale watching excursions and dining cruises are also available.

San Diego: San Diego Whale Watch – Whale Watching Tour

San Diego offers travelers the rare opportunity to observe whales migrating through its nutrient-rich waters year-round. For help spotting these magnificent sea creatures, hop aboard a tour with San Diego Whale Watch. The company's three-hour whale watching cruise features live narration from a certified marine biologist, along with indoor and outdoor seating, a snack bar and beverages. Reviewers report spotting plenty of whales and dolphins and praise the clean boat. Others say the crew is well-versed in the bay's marine life and describe the trip as educational.

Morning tours depart at 9 a.m.; afternoon tours depart at 12:30 p.m. Tickets start at $48 for adults and $44 for children 17 and younger and seniors 62 and older. Sunset cruises are also available.

Santa Barbara: Sustainable Wine Tours – Shared Wine Tour

If you're interested in visiting the private vineyards and estates in Santa Barbara 's wine country , consider this seven-hour tour. You and up to seven other travelers will stop at wineries that use small-production techniques and demonstrate a commitment to sustainable, organic and biodynamic agriculture. Travelers say this is a great tour if you want to visit small, family-owned wineries. Reviewers are complimentary of the accommodating, expert guides and say this tour is much more than a wine tasting since you have the chance to meet the producers and owners.

Tickets, which include tasting fees and lunch, start at $193 per person for tours offered Sunday to Friday and $218 per person for Saturday tours. Tours are generally available daily, with pickups beginning at 10 a.m. Private wine tours are also available.

The Best California Tours

Palm Springs: Big Wheel Tours – Joshua Tree National Park Jeep Tour

If you're visiting Palm Springs and looking for a rugged adventure, consider this Joshua Tree National Park Jeep tour. You'll ride through the Little San Bernardino Mountains on backcountry trails through the Colorado and Mojave deserts, reaching an elevation of 4,000 feet. Reviewers say the views are incredible and highly rate the guides, who they say provide an engaging commentary about the park's history and the animal and plant species that call it home. Set aside at least four hours for the entire experience.

Tickets cost approximately $180 per person. Tours depart twice daily at 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and include round-trip hotel transportation from select area hotels. If you're looking for an experience that still gets you out in nature, but isn't as adrenaline-fueled, consider the company's biking and hiking tours.

Carmel: Carmel Food Tours – Carmel-by-the-Sea Classic Food Tour

Taste your way through Carmel on this three-hour food tour. Stops along the way may include a farm-to-table restaurant, a bakery, a honey company and a tavern, for a total of up to seven tastings. As you digest between each location, your guide will share stories of Carmel's history and architecture, and offer recommendations for the remainder of your visit. Travelers are particularly impressed with the guides, who they describe as smart, funny and informative.

Tours are generally available Friday and Saturday at 11 a.m., though an additional Thursday morning tour is offered from May to October. Tickets cost approximately $110 per person. If you'd prefer to explore Carmel on two wheels rather than your own two feet, consider the company's Carmel Bikes, Bites & Bevs tour.

Monterey: Monterey Bay Whale Watch – Daily Trips

The Monterey Submarine Canyon offers a rich feeding ground for whales, which is why travelers can often spot these gentle giants year-round. Though you may be able to view whales from the shore, a boat tour like the ones offered by Monterey Bay Whale Watch is the best way to see them. Four-hour morning cruises and up to 3 1/2-hour afternoon cruises are offered all year long. January through March is the best time to see gray whales, dolphins and killer whales, while humpback, blue and killer whales can often be spotted April through December. Reviewers appreciate the onboard marine biologist and the cleanliness of the boat. Many call this the highlight of their trip to Monterey .

Ticket prices vary by season and by day of the week, but generally, tickets for adults start at $65 for a morning trip and $60 for afternoon tours. For children ages 4 to 12, prices start at $53 for a morning outing and $48 for an afternoon excursion. Children 3 and younger can join for $15. Winter cruises depart at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., with additional tours at 9 a.m. and noon on select Saturdays and Sundays. Spring, summer and fall tours depart at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Eight-hour and 12-hour trips are also available on select days.

Yosemite: Discover Yosemite – Yosemite Full Day Tour

According to reviewers, this tour is a great way to see the highlights of Yosemite in a short amount of time. During the daylong (up to nine-hour) bus tour, you'll see some of the park's top attractions , including Half Dome , Vernal Fall , El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall , among other sights. Tourgoers rave about the expert guides, who they describe as knowledgeable, accommodating and interactive. The tour offers round-trip transportation from communities surrounding Yosemite, including Bass Lake, Coarsegold, Oakhurst and Fish Camp.

Ticket prices vary by season. From Dec. 1 to March 31, tickets start at $180 for participants ages 16 and older and $90 for kids ages 3 to 15; from April 1 to Nov. 30 tickets start at $190 for travelers 16 and older and $95 for children. The cost includes the tour, water, lunch and park fees. Discover Yosemite also offers private tours of the park, among other options.

Los Angeles: A Day in LA Tours – LA City Tour

If you only have a limited amount of time in Los Angeles, consider this daylong bus tour. Over the course of the 7 1/2-hour excursion, you'll see some of the top attractions in Los Angeles, including the Santa Monica Pier, the Hollywood Walk of Fame , the Original Farmers Market and more. Along the way, your driver (who also doubles as your tour guide), will provide information about the history and current culture of Los Angeles. For many reviewers, their guide's insightful and entertaining commentary was the main reason they'd recommend A Day in LA Tours. Others praise the pacing and organization of the tour and say this is a great way to see a large portion of the city in a short amount of time.

Tours depart daily at 9:45 a.m. Tickets for adults start at $104 and $94 for kids ages 12 and younger; children 2 and younger can tag along for free. The tour price includes bottled water and round-trip transportation from your Los Angeles hotel. The company also offers a version of this tour that departs from Anaheim – perfect for if you need a day away from Disneyland .

The Best California Tours

San Francisco: Cruisin' the Castro Walking Tours – LGBTQ Castro Tour

If you've ever wondered how San Francisco's Castro District became synonymous with gay culture, you'll want to add this tour to your itinerary. During the two-hour LGBTQ Castro Tour, you'll learn how the LGBTQ community dates back to the California gold rush, the history of the iconic rainbow flag and the AIDS epidemic. Among the sites you'll visit are Harvey Milk Plaza and the Rainbow Honor Walk. Tourgoers applaud the guides for their informative and engaging storytelling and say the tour is an important, and at times emotional, experience if you're interested in LGBTQ and San Francisco history.

Tours are available Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday at 10 a.m. Tickets start at $30 for participants ages 5 and older. The company notes that adult situations and sexual content are referenced during the tour, so parental discretion is advised. Tours meets at the corner of Castro and Market streets.

San Francisco: Best Bay Area Tours – Hidden Gems of Yosemite Day Trip

According to reviewers, the Hidden Gems of Yosemite Day Trip is a great addition to any San Francisco visit. The tour, which is limited to 15 participants, picks you up at your San Francisco hotel before taking you on a scenic drive to the national park. Once inside the park, you'll enjoy free time at famous sights like Yosemite Falls where you can either follow the company's hiking suggestions or simply enjoy a picnic. From March to November, you'll also enjoy a guided hike through the Tuolumne Grove . Tourgoers speak highly of the passionate guides, who they describe as experts in all things Yosemite. What's more, reviewers say guides are quick to share their favorite photo spots and even play photographer. In total, the entire excursion lasts about 14 hours.

Tickets, which include round-trip hotel transportation, cost approximately $200 per person ages 13 and older and $150 per child 12 and younger. Lunch is not provided, but the bus will make several stops for tourgoers to purchase water, snacks and lunch. Best Bay Area Tours also offers trips to Sonoma, Sausalito and the Russian River Valley, among other locales.

San Francisco: Red and White Fleet – California Twilight Cruise

Many travelers call the California Twilight Cruise the highlight of their trips to San Francisco. During the 90-minute cruise, you'll sail past Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate and Bay bridges as you admire views of the San Francisco skyline. Reviewers recommend dressing warmly and arriving early to board so that you can score a seat on the top deck of the boat for the best views.

Tickets cost approximately $50 for adults and $40 for children ages 5 to 17. During the summer months, cruises depart daily; during the fall and winter months, trips are only available Thursday through Sunday. Departure times vary by month. Prefer to admire the city during the day? Red and White Fleet also offers two daytime cruises ranging from one hour to 90 minutes.

Sonoma: Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley – Sonoma Wine Tours

Visit a total of three Sonoma wineries on this six-hour wine trolley tour. Each stop includes a semiprivate tasting with a winery representative who is on hand to answer any questions and give a background of the winery. Locations you may visit include Jacuzzi Family Vineyards , Mayo Family Winery and Valley of Moon Winery, among others. Reviewers say this is a great way to see the area and appreciate the knowledgeable, personable guides. Tours are generally available daily and depart from Sonoma Plaza at 10 a.m. You'll return to the plaza around 4:30 p.m.

Trolley tickets start at $115 per person. Note that while lunch and bottled water are included, tasting fees at the wineries are not; tasting fees range from $25 to $35 per person. If you do not pay the tasting fee, you won't be allowed in the winery. Tourgoers must be 21 years or older.

The Best California Tours

Los Angeles: Bikes and Hikes LA – Griffith Observatory Hike

Spending time in Griffith Park is one of the top things to do in Los Angeles. If you're intimidated by the park's more than 4,000 acres, consider signing up for the Griffith Observatory Hike from Bikes and Hikes LA. During the 2 1/2-hour, 3.5-mile hike, you'll trek to one of the highest peaks in the park, snap plenty of pictures of the iconic Hollywood Sign and enjoy skip-the-line access to Griffith Observatory. Reviewers rave about the knowledgeable, entertaining guides and say this hike is strenuous, but manageable. Along with the views, travelers appreciate the amount of history guides share during the tour, as well their recommendations for other things to see and do in LA. Tours are available twice daily at 10 a.m. and sunset. The sunset tour meeting time varies depending on the time of year, but generally it departs at 3 p.m. from November to mid-March and at 4:30 p.m. from mid-March to November.

Tickets start at $28 per person. Note that the tour is only recommended for participants ages 6 years and older (strollers are not permitted). If you're short on time, the company also offers abbreviated 90-minute hikes. Prefer to explore on two wheels? Bike tours are also available.

[View & Book Tickets Option 1 | Option 2 | Option 3 .]

San Francisco: Extranomical Tours – Redwoods and California Wine Country Tour

Visit Muir Woods National Monument , Napa Valley and Sonoma on this approximately 10-hour daytrip from San Francisco. The guided bus tour includes time to explore the giant redwoods in Muir Woods, wine tastings in both Napa and Sonoma and plenty of photo stops along the way. Tourgoers rave about the guides, who they describe as engaging, funny and informative. Reviewers also assure that the tour never feels rushed and that you're given plenty of time at each stop to explore. Tours depart daily at 7:30 a.m.

Tickets start at $159 for participants ages 12 and older and $122 for children ages 6 to 11. Note: While tasting fees at the wineries are included, entrance to Muir Woods and lunch are not. You have the option to buy lunch on your own or pay extra to add lunch to your booking. Extranomical Tours offers a variety of excursions to Yosemite, San Francisco and Monterey.

Palm Desert: Red Jeep Tours – San Andreas Fault "Bones of the Earth" Jeep Tour

This tour manages to appeal to history buffs, geology nerds and adrenaline junkies all at the same time. During the three-hour Jeep ride, your guide will maneuver through the geological cuts and canyons of the San Andreas Fault Zone. You'll also get out and hike between the canyons, and enjoy a guided tour through a recreated Cahuilla Indian village. Reviewers describe guides as informative and say this trip offers much more than scenery – expect to learn about the geology of the area, as well as the history of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, who once occupied this land. Tours are offered at 8 a.m. daily. An additional 1 p.m. tour is available from October to May.

Tickets start at $150 for adults ages 18 and older and $135 for children ages 3 to 17. The company also offers Jeep and hiking tours to Joshua Tree National Park and Painted Canyon, among other locations.

Los Angeles: Warner Brothers Studio Tour

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the Warner Bros. Studio on this approximately three-hour tour. You'll cruise around the lot on a custom tour cart to see backlot sets and additional production areas. You'll also have free time to explore the "Stage 48: Script to Screen" exhibit, which includes the Central Perk set from "Friends," as well as "The Big Bang Theory" sets, classic costumes and more. Your tour concludes at "Action and Magic Made Here," which showcases recreated sets, props and costumes from the DC Universe and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Reviewers give this tour high marks for its informative, entertaining guides. Tourgoers also praise the amount of sets, costumes and props on display.

Tours are available Thursday through Monday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tickets cost approximately $70 for participants ages 11 and older and $60 for children ages 5 to 10.

You may also be interested in:

  • The Best San Diego Tours
  • The Best Hollywood Tours
  • The Best Los Angeles Tours
  • The Best San Francisco Tours
  • The Best Resorts in California

Tags: Tours , Travel , Vacations , California , California Vacations , US Vacations , U.S. West Vacations

World's Best Places To Visit

  • # 1 South Island, New Zealand
  • # 4 Bora Bora

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Ines G

Plan, Ready, Go

1 Day in NYC: Must-do’s for First-timers + Interactive Map

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Only have one day in New York ? Maximize your visit with my itinerary created especially for NYC first-time visitors . I have visited New York City several times. During my last two trips, I was accompanied by people visiting for the first time.

I recommend spending at least four days in NYC . However, even one day can give you a taste of this top travel destination.

Key Things to Know: Top things to do in NYC for a day

  • Essential Stops: Don’t miss the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, or Central Park for a mix of history and iconic landmarks.
  • Transportation Tip: Maximize your time by using the subway for faster travel between Manhattan’s attractions.
  • Customization: This itinerary is completely customizable to your particular interests and the exact amount of time you have in New York City.

Statue of Liberty in front of the New York City skyline

This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  See disclaimer.

One day in New York itinerary 

9/11 memorial (and museum).

9/11 Memorial | Closest subway stops: WTC–Cortland St (1) and Cortland Street (R, W)  

Start your day by spending your morning in Lower Manhattan. 

In my opinion, your one-day in NYC itinerary should absolutely include the 9/11 Memorial. It’s one of my favorite free things to do in New York City .   

The terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, which destroyed the Twin Towers, forever changed the city and the United States. In fact, it’s one of the most moving and beautiful memorials that I have ever had the privilege of seeing.

The 9/11 Memorial typically is open to the public all day every day. 

Optional: The 9/11 Memorial Museum is at the same location. Though I haven’t had the privilege of seeing it, I’ve heard great things. There is a charge for admission to the museum.

9/11 Memorial pool in New York City showing names engraved in bronze with buildings and trees in the background.

Statue of Liberty 

Ferry from Manhattan departs from Battery Park | Subway stops: South Ferry Station (1), Whitehall Street (R), Bowling Green (4, 5)  

Your one-day New York City itinerary must include the Statue of Liberty, my absolute favorite place in the city

Buy your tickets ahead of time onlin e, especially if you want to climb up to the crown. When available, those tickets can sell out weeks or even months in advance.    

Even if you don’t want to go up onto the pedestal or the crown of the Statue of Liberty, you can purchase a ticket to enjoy the cruise over to Liberty Island (with great views of both Lady Liberty and Lower Manhattan). You can visit the new museum and walk around the monument’s exterior.

 If you only have a day in New York I recommend skipping a visit to Ellis Island even though it’s included in your ticket. 

More things to do on a day trip to New York City

  • Explore NYC with a sightseeing helicopter tour over Manhattan .
  • Pay a visit to the top of One World Observatory with this skip-the-line ticket .
  • If you’re staying the night in New York, consider this sunset cruise in New York Harbor.

PRO TIP: If you have flexible travel dates you need to check out Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights). You get amazing flight deals sent straight to your inbox with instructions on how to book directly with the airlines. Check out Going here. Going is my favorite way to find great travel deals. 

Lunch options: where to eat 

By the time you finish your visit to the Statue of Liberty, you’ll likely be ready for a bite to eat. The Crown Café offers a wide variety of burgers, salads, and sandwiches. Their menu includes vegetarian options as well as several items that can be made gluten-free upon request. 

Battery Park (where you’ll disembark from your cruise to Liberty Island) is a great picnic spot. You can grab a cheap lunch from a food truck or assemble a picnic from a nearby market.

If a restaurant is more what you’re looking for, wander into the Financial District where you’ll find a variety of popular eateries for all budgets. 

Empire State Building 

20 West 34 Street | Subway stop: 34 St–Herald Square (B, D, F, M, N, Q, R, W), 33 St (M)  

Many believe that visiting the Empire State Building is a must on their trip to New York City.

I will admit right now that in all my NYC trips, I’ve only ever admired this iconic structure from the ground.  I do not like heights, nor do I generally pay money to stand atop them. But you who are not afraid of heights can go as high as the 102nd floor. The main observation deck is on the 86th floor.   

Time-saving tip: Upgrade your Empire State Building ticket to get skip-the-line access.

As an alternative, save the Empire State Building for after dinner, or even enjoy dinner at the State Grill and Bar.  

New York City skyline with the Empire State Building.

Times Square 

Subway stop: Times Square–42 Street (N, Q, R, S, W, 1, 2, 3, 7)   

You’ve seen it in movies and TV shows. Of all the places to visit in New York City, it’s hard to think of anything else that’s more New York than Times Square. Soak it in, take a few photos, and wander through so you can say you’ve been there (it’s great at night also). Maybe even buy a cheap souvenir T-shirt or stop in at M&M’s World.  

Times Square is just a 15-minute walk from the Empire State Building.  

tall building in New York City with a sculpture in front

Rockefeller Center 

Between 49th and 51st Streets between Fifth and Sixth Avenues | Subway stop: 47-50 Streets Rockefeller Center (B, D, F, M), 49 Street (N, R, W)  

A 10-minute walk from Times Square will take you to Rockefeller Center. It’s a New York City landmark that includes 30 Rockefeller Plaza (NBC Studios), Radio City Music Hall, and more.

In addition to some great shopping and dining, you can take a guided tour of Rockefeller Center, go to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck , skate at the Rink, and more.     

If you’re feeling snackish, I recommend stopping at Magnolia Bakery for something yummy.  

Grab your Top of the Rock ticket here.

Central Park 

From North 110th Street to Central Park South (59th Street), and from Central Park West (8th Avenue) to 5th Ave | Subway stops: There are several subway stops around the perimeter of the park including 5th Ave/59 Street (N, R, W), 59 Street/Columbus Circle (A, B, C, D, 1), Central Park North (2, 3), and 6 stops on the west side of the park.  

Central Park is so quintessentially New York that you absolutely need to make time in your itinerary to see it even if only spending one day in New York.

Now, keep in mind that this park is huge. I mean it. Central Park covers 1.3 square miles (840 acres) of Manhattan. You could easily spend an entire day just exploring this place.  

To start I’d suggest looking at a map of the park and choosing a few things there you want to see. This might be the Central Park Zoo, the Alice in Wonderland Statue, Belvedere Castle, or the Conservatory Water (where you can rent a model boat to sail on the pond).   

The southeast corner of Central Park is just a 15-minute walk from Rockefeller Center. If you want to walk all the way to the Conservatory Water and the Alice in Wonderland Statue, expect a walk of closer to 30 minutes.

Time-saving Tip: Instead of walking to Central Park from Rockefeller Center, jump in a NYC cab.

Interactive map for your one day in New York City itinerary

Click on the yellow pins on the map below to see more information about each stop on your itinerary.

To see this map in your Google account just tap on the little star next to the map name.

Ways to modify this itinerary

With only one day in NYC, there are an incredible number of ways you could spend your time. Here are a few ways you could modify this one-day itinerary to fit your particular interests. It’s important that you get to see the things you want.

  • Take the subway to Brooklyn then walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, enjoying your view of the Manhattan skyline.
  • Enjoy a tour of either or both of two of the premier art museums in the world, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and/or the Museum of Modern Art.
  • Explore Greenwich Village, Soho, and other iconic neighborhoods.
  • End your day with a Broadway show.

View of Washington Square arch from below.

Short half-day itinerary for NYC

Even if you don’t have a full day or 24 hours to spend in New York City, you can still see a few of the major highlights. Here are a few options:

  • Focus on one area such as Lower Manhattan, grabbing a view of Brooklyn Bridge, followed by the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.
  • Explore the Empire State Building, Times Square, and Rockefeller Center, and then stroll up to Central Park for some more exploring.
  • Get the best of New York’s top art museums at The Met, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Guggenheim.

New York 1-day tours

Want to see the best of New York in a day, but rather leave the planning to someone else? Leave the planning to an expert tour guide.

  • Pack the very best of NYC into one day with this highly rate expert guided tour . See New York’s major landmarks in only 6 hours.
  • Go beyond Manhattan’s major tourist sites with this tour of Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Harlem, and Coney Island .

Where to stay in New York City

If you’re thinking about spending more than a day in New York, you might be overwhelmed by the many hotel options.

Here are my recommendations for where to stay in New York City: 

  • Hyatt Place Midtown South (52 West 36th Street): We loved staying at this hotel. It’s just two blocks from the Empire State Building and just around the corner from the 34th Street – Herald Square subway stop. Book Now  
  • For a more boutique-style accommodation try Archer Hotel New York (45 West 38th Street). Book Now

How to get around New York City

I say this so often, but I will continue to say it over and over: use your feet and the subway.

I’m serious about the subway. You’ll get where you want to go cheaper than Uber or taxis and of course much faster than walking especially when traveling from one area of Manhattan to another.  You can find subway maps on the MTA website .

Taxis are a fine option for getting around New York City especially if you are in a time crunch or are going someplace that just doesn’t have an easy subway route or a nearby stop.

Final thoughts on one day in New York

There are so many amazing things to do in NYC in a day of course that you can’t possibly see as much as you would like, BUT you can see the best of the best if you have 24 hours in the Big Apple.

From historical monuments to stunning views from the best observatories in the world, you almost can’t go wrong with how you spend your day here.

What do you think everyone should put on their 1-day NYC itinerary?

More articles about New York

  • The essential overnight packing list
  • Free things to do in NYC
  • Must-do things in New York for first-timers
  • The top day trips from NYC
  • Scenic drives in New York state

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One day in New York itinerary

Darcy Vierow is a busy professional and travel planning expert with years of experience maximizing travel with limited time and on a less-than-average salary. Her tips have been published by Forbes,, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Finance, Aol, Newsbreak and GOBankingRates. Read more about Darcy Vierow .

Can’t wait great job

Great article, Darcy! You have prepared an amazing one-day itinerary for people vising NYC along with some great tips to commute within the city. Subways are indeed the best way to get around the whole city. However, if the time permits, why not go sailing as well? After seeing the city on foot all day, one can relax on a sailboat and enjoy the skyline. Several companies offer rental for 2-3 hours including sunset cruises overlooking Manhattan. Book beforehand to get the best deals.

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