The 10 Best Architecture Tours in New York City

Attention fans of architecture: In this article, I’ve compiled the best architecture tours in New York for you! I’ve done almost all of them myself, because I’m a big fan of them. On these tours you’ll learn many interesting facts as well as background information about the buildings that have significantly shaped the skyline of New York.

My tip: check out the 50 most important landmarks of New York here – and watch my video about the architecture boat tour around Manhattan here. Have fun!

My TOP 10 Architecture Tours in NYC

Each of the tours has its own focus and concentrates on one or two neighborhoods, but there is also one of my absolute favorite boat tours, which is accompanied by the organization AIA New York (Center for Architecture).

  1. 01

    Classic Harbor Line: Architecture Yacht Cruise

    Cruise in Chelsea
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    The architecture boat tour takes you around Manhattan in 2.5 hours. On a 30 meter long wooden ship in the style of the 1920s you can relax and learn a lot of interesting facts about the many small and large buildings of the city. The tour is super-relaxing and the price includes a drink (vino, soft drinks) and small snacks.

  2. 02

    Rockefeller Center Architecture and Art Walking Tour

    Walking Tour in Midtown Manhattan
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    Explore the famous Rockefeller Center with this tour! The guided tour includes your own headset through which you will be able to hear your guide tell you everything about the history the work and architecture of the building.

  3. 03

    Art Deco and Architecture Tour in New York City with Expert Guide

    Walking Tour in Flatbush
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    Midtown Manhattan is the location of numerous iconic New York landmarks. On this walking tour packed with masterpieces, you can expect to discover most of them in just a few hours. Witness the top attractions and uncover the stories behind these great sights that are everywhere- Manhattan’s grandeur ensures that you won’t be bored. The enormous buildings will impress you every time you see them, so don’t miss the chance to encounter them all.

  4. 04

    Fifth Avenue Gilded Age Mansions Walking Tour

    Walking Tour in Midtown Manhattan
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    I highly recommend this walking tour to architecture enthusiasts. On this tour, you’ll be able to see the footprint of the largest single residence ever built in Manhattan. Along the way, you’ll take in outrageous stories of Gilded Age wealth, architecture, and art on Fifth Avenue – the very Avenue where they happened. You’ll also learn some of the secrets of the famous Frick Collection as you stroll by, and discover a charming bookshop tucked into a Fifth Avenue mansion. Additionally, you’ll uncover one of the last single residence mansions on Fifth Avenue and visit the oldest building on Millionaire’s Row. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience all of this on one amazing tour!

  5. 05

    High Line, Chelsea & Meatpacking Tour

    Walking Tour in Chelsea
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    Go on a fun adventure in New York’s only park above street level- the Highline. Experience the Chelsea neighborhood from a whole new vantage point and find out more about the history of the famous Meatpacking District including how it developed into one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world.

  6. 06

    The Grand Central Terminal Official Guided Tour

    Walking Tour in Midtown Manhattan
    Walking Tour
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    There’s something to be said for a tour sponsored by the makers of Grand Central Terminal. Created in 2013 to celebrate the terminal’s 100th birthday, this 75-minute tour highlights its history, architecture and operations.

  7. 07

    Harlem Walking Tour: Mount Morris Park Historic District w/ Lunch

    Walking Tour in Harlem & Washington Heights
    Harlem Walking Tour
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    This insider walking tour will teach you all about Harlem’s diverse cultural and social history. It will take you to the Mount Morris Historic District, which will be introduced to you by a New York guide. You will be surprised how elegant the houses are here and how much history this part of New York City will tell you. Really exciting!

  8. 08

    Victorian Flatbush, Brooklyn Walking Tour

    Walking Tour in Flatiron District
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    The Flatbush neighborhood located in Brooklyn is a scenic area that is well-known for its beautiful Victorian mansions. By taking part in this walking tour, you will become familiar with the historic district, appreciate its impressive 19th-century architecture, and visit famous landmarks such as the Kings Theatre, Ditmas Park, and the Flatbush Reformed Church.

  9. 09

    Brooklyn Bridge & DUMBO Walking Tour

    Walking Tour in Civic Center
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    Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and learn about the exciting and dramatic history of this world-famous New York City neighborhood, all while enjoying breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. On the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge you will discover DUMBO, a newly popular and up and coming part of Brooklyn. 

    Meeting point is 52 Chambers Street in front of the Tweed Courthouse.

  10. 10

    Flatiron Food, Architecture, and History Tour

    Walking Tour in Flatiron District
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    The Flatiron Building is one of the most photographed buildings in the city. But there is much more to discover in the direct neighbourhood. Thanks to the organization “Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership” you will be guided through the district every Sunday by a free guide. Meeting point is the southwest corner of Madison Square Park.


Which architectural style dominates in New York City?

In New York City you will find many different styles. However, there is one architectural style that was particularly influential: Art Deco. Many important buildings were built during this era, including the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center. You can find the most beautiful of such buildings in my article about Art Déco in New York.

What are the most famous landmarks in New York?

The official landmarks of New York include the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and the New York Public Library. In total, there are over 100 of these so-called landmarks, which are selected by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

What style of architecture is in SoHo, Manhattan?

SoHo in Manhattan is known for its Cast Iron architecture, which had its golden age in the 19th century. To this day, you’ll find entire streets of these beautiful buildings in SoHo, especially along Spring Street, Mercer Street, Howard Street, and Broadway.

What style of architecture is NYC Grand Central?

Beaux-Arts architecture originated in France and became popular in the U.S. in the late 19th century. New York City is home to many Beaux-Arts buildings, including the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and the Woolworth Building on Wall Street. Beaux-Arts buildings are characterized by a magnificent and opulent design with richly decorated facades, columns, statues, and a distinct architectural detail. Large domes and a symmetrical structure of the buildings are also characteristic.

Profilbild Steffen Kneist
About the author

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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