Lower Manhattan: Forging the Historic Metropolis

Walk in the footsteps of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton & others on this broad-reaching tour of today's Financial District.

Come tread in the footsteps of American legends like Alexander Hamilton and George Washington! Winding our way through the twisted streets and remaining colonial past, this tour will explore just how New Amsterdam actually did become New York, and how New York lost Congress, but gained Wall Street. From the 1624 “purchase” of Manhattan through the American Revolution, Washington’s inauguration, the building of a new nation to the rise of skyscrapers, this tour brings the founding of our nation, and city, back to life. Stops could include: Trinity Church and churchyard, Federal Hall, Fraunces Tavern, the New-York Stock Exchange, and sites associated with 18th-century slave uprisings, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and Peter Stuyvesant.

Between mid-May and early September the Historic Lower Manhattan tour is one of a variety of walks offered as public “twilight” tours. Summer public “twilight” tours are lead Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings at 6 p.m. We rotate a variety of tours in these time slots. Please see our Schedule page for details for specific dates and times.

Tour Info

Cost: $25
$20 Seniors and $15 Full-Time Students

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Public Tour
Private Tour
Tour Schedule
Wednesday, November 21:00 pm
Sunday, November 62:00 pm
Tuesday, November 151:00 pm
Sunday, November 202:00 pm
Saturday, November 261:00 pm
Wednesday, November 301:00 pm
Tuesday, December 61:00 pm
Saturday, December 101:00 pm
Wednesday, December 141:00 pm
Monday, December 261:00 pm
Saturday, January 71:00 pm
Monday, January 301:00 pm
Friday, February 171:00 pm
Tuesday, February 281:00 pm
Tour Reservations

Big Onion happily accepts walk up participants. However, many Big Onion customers prefer to pay in advance. Prepayment also helps us determine group size and appropriate guide numbers.

NOTE: You will select your date in the next step.

Reserve Your Spot

Refund Policy

Have a group or special event?

Consider a private tour!

We’ve done tours for school example, group example and corporate example. Whether you are looking to integrate a tour into your academic curriculm or entertaining out-of-towners, a Big Onion walking tour is a great way to experience the city.

Private tours can be arranged for a weekday, weekend, day or evening. We can accommodate up to 500 walkers. We work closely with you to create an enjoyable experience for your group.

Please call us at (212) 439-1090 ext 5 or email us for more information or to arrange.

Meeting Location

Front steps of the U.S. Custom House, AKA the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, located at Bowling Green.

Finding Your Guides
All guides carry an 8×11 sign that says “Big Onion Walking Tours”.

Subway Trains
4/5 to Bowling Green, R to Whitehall Street, 1 to South Ferry.

Questions? We have answers

Time & Distance
All tours last approximately two hours. We start on time and walk between one and two miles at a moderate walking pace, stopping at various sites along the tour.

Rain/Inclement Weather
Big Onion generally presents tours rain or shine. In the event of inclement weather please check our home page for notifications or call our hotline [(888) 606-WALK (9255) ext. 1], to confirm our schedule.

The finest group of tour guides in the city. Most of us are full-time graduate students researching and writing doctoral dissertations in history passionate about the history, architecture and people of New York.
More about our guides.

Gratuities are always appreciated, but never expected.

Helpful Links
Local weather forecast
NYC Subway Map
Weekly Service Advisories
Subway Fares

Refund Policy
Tour refunds (minus $1 per person, $2 for Multi-Ethnic Eating Tour & America's Museum) are available by request up until 48 hours prior to the scheduled tour. Cancellations less than 48 hours prior to the tour or no shows will not be refunded.

Walks are held rain or shine, but may be cancelled for severe weather or if museum is closed. No shows are considered last-minute cancellations and are non-refundable. In the event of a Big Onion cancellation or museum closure, full refunds or rescheduled tickets will be offered.

America’s Museum is one of a variety of walks offered as public “twilight” tours. These tours are lead Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 6 p.m. We rotate a variety of tours in these time slots. Please see our Schedule page for details for specific dates and times.

More Questions? Check out How it Works for more details.