Historic Lower Manhattan: Forging a 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.

Prepayment Optional
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.

To preregister and pay for your tour, click the “Book Now” button. You will receive an e-mail confirmation and receipt once your order has been processed.

We regard a senior as 65+ years and a student anyone enrolled in full-time study. Please bring ID indicating senior status (i.e. age) and/or full-time active enrollment.

Refund Policy: Tour refunds (minus a $1 processing charge per person) 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. If Big Onion cancels a walk for any reason a full refund will be provided (please see our rain/inclement weather policy on the FAQ page for more information about tour cancellations).

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 and Friday evenings & Saturday’s 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.

Related Tours:

Revolutionary New York
The Financial District

Tour Highlights:



August 1, 10:00 am
August 3, 10:00 am
August 7, 10:00 am
August 9, 1:00 pm
More Schedule


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

Subway Trains:

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


Tours last approximately two hours. We generally present tours rain or shine.
Check the local weather forecast.
More FAQs


Adults: $20
Students/Seniors/BHS Members: $15

We do not require pre-payment for most public tours. Just show up and join us at the meeting site. Exceptions: Multi-Ethnic Eating Tour requires reservations; America’s Museum Tour requires reservations & advance payment.

Tours Today Saturday, July 30th

10:00 Central Park
11:00 America’s Museum: Art and History of the Metropolitan
12:00 DUMBO and Vinegar Hill
1:00 “Satan’s Seat”: 
New York During Prohibition
6:00 Upper East Side: A Clash of Titans
Tour Status: Saturday July 30, 2 p.m. Prospect Park tour canceled due to circumstances beyond our control. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.
Group Tours

All tours are available for private walks and group bookings.

Call (212) 439-1090 ext. 5 or Email us for more information.

As Featured In:

"For most of my life, I believed independent travel was the only route to the real unfiltered stuff. I eschewed group experiences like the plague, most of all, anything incorporating the word tour. My mistake. I’ve gained some of my best travel memories from being herded around with a bunch of strangers on a Big Onion Walking Tour."

Peter Jon Lindberg, Travel + Leisure's editor-at-large, January 2009.