Harlem is the center of African-American history and culture not only in New York City but in the entire United States. Our tour explores the history of Harlem, from its origins as a Dutch Village in the 17th century through its transformation into the “Capital of Black America” in the early 20th. We will place the evolution of Harlem into the context of American history by learning about how the Great Migration drove the neighborhood’s ethnic transformation through several incarnations before Harlem finally became the Black metropolis we think of today.
Our tour emphasizes the artistic, literary, and musical flowerings of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance. We will learn how this period laid the intellectual foundation for the early Civil Rights movement. Stops could include the Abyssinian Baptist Church, Striver’s Row, the Apollo Theater, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Hotel Theresa, and sites associated with W.E.B. DuBois, Madame C.J. Walker, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Carl van Vechten, and many others.
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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.
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.
Northwest corner of 135th Street & Lenox (Malcolm X) Avenue – in front of the Schomburg Center.
Finding Your Guides
All guides carry an 8×11 sign that says “Big Onion Walking Tours”.
2/3 to 135th Street.
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.
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.
Tour refunds (minus $1 per person, $2 for Multi-Ethnic Eating Tour, America's Museum and Brooklyn Distilled) 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.
A variety of are 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.