How it Works

Have more questions about how a Big Onion Walking tour works?  Read on for information on pricing and reservations, what you need to know before the tour, while on the tour and even after the tour. And then there is the stuff our lawyers made us put here.


Social Distancing: On in-person tours, Big Onion will follow any NYC recommended outdoor social distancing protocols.

Masks: Big Onion Walking Tours adheres to all New York City and State mask and social distancing requirements. There are NO current masking requirements.

Contact Tracing: Big Onion will also securely retain client contact information for one month, for contact tracing purposes, if necessary.

Pricing & Reservations

Walking Tours



Students & Seniors


Active Military

Students means full-time between first grade and graduate school. Seniors means 65+ years. Military means any members of the active military. We reserve the right to ask for proof of full-time student, active military or 65+ years status. Reservations are required.
Virtual Tours



Students & Seniors


Single-Screen Household

Our Virtual Adventures are live, interactive, narrations of our walking tours. Using historic and contemporary images as well as documents and discussion, our educator-guides will lead you through the neighborhood as we would on one of our in-person walking tours. Reservations are required.
Special Tours
Prices vary for these special tours. Please see tour description pages for full details. Reservations are required for all tours.

Multi Ethnic Eating Tour


Advance reservations are required for all tours.  We try to give everyone the best possible experience. Prepayment helps us determine whether of not we might need an additional guide on walking tours.


We offer secure on-line payment via credit card.  Please use the secure “Reserve Your Spot” button on each tour description page to be taken to our e-commerce partner, FareHarbor.  Confirmation of booking and a receipt are sent via email.


With 24+ hours prior to a walking tour, Big Onion offers a full credit for the value of the booking. Credits will be given as Gift Cards in dollar amounts. Gift Cards are good for two years and can be used on any Big Onion outing. Cancellations with less than 24 hours prior to the tour or no shows cannot be credited.

Before The Tour

Our Guides

Big Onion has the finest group of tour guides in the city. We are not your traditional tour guides, most of us are full-time graduate students researching and writing doctoral dissertations in history. Big Onion guides have high school or college teaching experience and are quite often researching topics relevant to the tours they are leading. More about our guides.

Meeting and Ending Sites

Meeting sites and subway directions for tours can be found with the tour descriptions. All tours begin at or near subway stations. Most tours do not conclude where they began. Our guides will provide directions to subways, local sites, or back to the meeting point at the end of the tour. Check the MTA’s NYC Subway map, weekly service advisories and subway fares pages for more details.

Finding Your Guide

Finding your Big Onion guide is easy, all guides carry an 8×11 sign that says “Big Onion Walking Tours” and will be at the designated meeting location as specified in each tours description.

Time and Distance

All tours last approximately two hours and walk between one and two miles. We do start ON TIME. We maintain a moderate walking pace, stopping at various sites along the tour. Sorry, Big Onion Walking Tours cannot delay the start time of tours for late arrivals.


Big Onion generally presents tours rain or shine. In the event of inclement weather please visit our home page or call our hotline [(888) 606-WALK (9255) ext. 1], on the morning of the tour, after 9:30 a.m., to confirm our schedule. Big Onion reserves the right to cancel tours in the event of potentially dangerous weather. Check the local weather forecast for weather details.


Call (888) 606-WALK (9255) for questions or to reserve a private tour. Please note this is a voicemail system. Leave your name, number and message so we can get back to you – we will return your call!

While On The Tour


Children of all ages are welcome to join our tours. We do not charge for children younger than school-age on public tours. We do ask that if children get disruptive on a tour that a parent/guardian step away from the group with the child until settled down.

Some streets and sidewalks are narrow and may be difficult to navigate with a stroller.

Some tours, for example, “Satan’s Seat”, “Art, Sex, Rock & Roll”, and The “Official” Gangs of New York tours have some adult content.

Video/Audio Recording & Note Taking

When taking still photographs please be considerate of others in group as well as those on the street you may be photographing. Big Onion does not permit video or audio taping of any kind and we strongly discourage note taking. Hey, we’re trying to make a living here! But feel free to ask our guides questions about the history and sights that you’ll see.

Cell Phones

We ask folks to put cell phone ringers on vibrate/silent for the duration of the walking tours.


Most of our tours are wheelchair accessible, however Big Onion does not provide wheelchairs for tour-takers. Big Onion cannot guarantee that all curbs will have ADA compliant ramps. The Brooklyn Bridge & Heights tour has a flight of stairs. Central Park has stairs and a steep climb.


We love dogs! Well-behaved and leashed dogs are welcome on our outdoor walking tours. However, if another tour-taker objects to the dog on the tour, the dog owner will not be permitted to bring them along. Dogs are not allowed inside any food establishments on the Multi-Ethnic Eating Tour or on the High Line.


Although most of our tours are outdoors, we request that smokers step far enough away from our groups so no one in the group is affected by smoking. Smoking is now illegal in New York City Parks and on city owned property.


We do not stop for bathroom breaks during our tours, but most of our tours do begin near public bathrooms or restaurants in which there are bathrooms.

After The Tour


Gratuities are always appreciated, but never expected.

Let us know how we did!

We thrive on word of mouth. Share your tour experience in your favorite social media channel, or even better, gives us a rave review on TripAdvisor. We hope it was an enoyable experience and to see you again soon!

Pesky Disclaimers

“Tour Operator” and its affiliated entities and its employees, shareholders, officers, directors, successors, agents, and assigns, neither own nor operate any person or entity which is to, or does, provide goods or services for these trips or tours. Because “Tour Operator” does not maintain any control over the personnel, equipment, or operations of these suppliers, “Tour Operator” assumes no responsibility for and cannot be held liable for any personal injury, death, property damage, or other loss, accident, delay, inconvenience, or irregularity which may be occasioned by reason of (1) any wrongful, negligent, willful, or unauthorized acts or omissions on the part of any of the tour suppliers, or other employees or agents, (2) any defect in or failure of any vehicle, equipment, instrument owned, operated or otherwise by any of these suppliers, or (3) any wrongful, willful, or negligent act or omissions on any part of any other party not under the supervision or control of the Operator.