Although we now know Times Square as “The Crossroads of the World,” this vibrant neighborhood has many layers of identity hidden beneath its shiny facade. On this walk, you’ll learn about the ups and downs of the heart of Manhattan, from its days as Longacre Square, the center of New York’s horse and carriage trade through the gritty, seedy mid-20th century, when 42nd Street was lined with go-go bars and peep shows and was described by the New York Times as “the worst block in town.” We will explore the history of legendary theaters, grand hotels, and lavish movie palaces and see how, even in the midst of massive redevelopment, traces of “old” Times Square remain hidden in plain sight. Stops may include: the former site of the American Horse Exchange, the Astor Hotel, the Paramount Building, the Lamb’s Club, the former Aeolian Hall, and sites associated with Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Flo Zeigfeld, Mary Pickford, and many others.
Health & Safety Guidelines
For our in-person walking tours, see our FAQs below for information regarding our Stay Well NYC Pledge.
Give a Big Onion Gift Certificate!
Give an experience they'll remember! All tours are available as gift certificates.
Purchase This Tour As A Gift Certificate
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.
For more information, or to arrange, please call (718) 499-3001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The southeast corner of 42nd Street & Sixth Avenue, at Bryant Park.
1/2/3/7/B/D/F/Q/N/R to 42nd Street/Times Square.
Health & Safety Guidelines
Due to Covid-19, Big Onion has proudly signed the Stay Well NYC Pledge and we ask that all of our customers follow these guidelines as well.
Masks Are Required
Wearing of masks is required on our in-person walking tours, unless it is medically unsafe to do so. Our guides wear, and we are offering for sale, reusable gray cloth masks with the Big Onion logo (distributed in individual factory-sealed bags) that come with a behind-head “ear saver” available for purchase for $12. They can be ordered, with your booking, in advance, or at the start of tours via contactless payment.
On in-person tours, Big Onion will follow the recommended outdoor social distancing protocols and will be using audio technology to aid with hearing. Details will be provided in your booking confirmation.
Big Onion will securely retain client contact information for one month, for contact tracing purposes, if necessary.
The finest group of tour guides anywhere. 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.
Finding Your Guides
All guides carry an 8×11 sign that says “Big Onion Walking Tours”.
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.
Gratuities are always appreciated, but never expected.
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.
Walks are held rain or shine, but may be cancelled for severe weather or if museum is closed. In the event of a Big Onion cancellation or museum closure, full refunds or rescheduled tickets will be offered.
More Questions? Check out How it Works for more details.