How to Tour the Federal Reserve in NYC

This post explains how to take a tour of the Federal Reserve Building in New York.  If someone told you that you could visit subterranean vaults filled with gold that are buried underneath New York City would you want to go? Probably. Good news: You can! The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, located on Liberty Street in the Financial District, offers guided tours of their massive, block-long facility. Although there are twelve Reserve Banks in the United States, the location in New York is the largest. The New York Federal Reserve Bank opened on November 16, 1914, and moved to its present day location in 1924. It serves the Second Federal Reserve District of the United States. Even though the Second District is a geographically small area, it is the largest Reserve Bank in terms of volume of activity and value of assets.

 

 

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Free Tours of the Federal Reserve New York

Guided tours of the building are offered every weekday (excluding bank holidays). If you are unable to make the guided tour (or if they are all booked), you can sign up to do a self-guided tour of the building. You are required to sign up in advance for either option.

Tour Times
Monday through Friday: 11:15am, 12:00pm, 12:45pm, 1:30pm, 2:15pm and 3pm
Cost of Tour: FREE!

Where is the New York Federal Reserve?

The New York Federal Reserve Building is located in Lower Manhattan’s Financial District.  The building is bordered by Liberty Street, Nassau Street, William Street and Maiden Lane.  It’s official address is Liberty Street, but if you are coming for the free tours, then you will enter on Maiden Lane.  The closest subway station is Fulton Street Station, which you could reach riding the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, Z trains.

It’s best to use this Google map for directions to the Federal Reserve Building.

 

Where is the New York Federal Reserve

 

The Federal Reserve Bank Building is located nearby several popular attractions, including the 911 Memorial and Museum, Wall Street, the Charging Bull, City Hall (which also has free tours) and the Brooklyn Bridge.  We recommend pairing these attractions together on your visit to Lower Manhattan.  Click any of the links to read our posts.

Some Things to Know Before You Visit…

  • Tour capacity is 25 people and the tours fill up very quickly, so visitors are encouraged to book a few months in advance. (Earliest you can book is 4 months in advance)
  • Even if you are doing the self-guided option, you cannot “drop-in.” You are still required to book your visit in advance.
  • All visitors must use the 44 Maiden Lane entrance to the building
  • All visitors must be at least 16 years old
  • All visitors will have to go through security. The security checkpoint can take a while, so it is recommended that you get there 20-30 minutes before your tour starts. You won’t be allowed to join your tour if you are late and won’t be able to be in the next group.
  • Every visitor will be required to show a government-issued photo ID and a printed copy of their ticket. The name on the ID and the name on the ticket must match. (No trading times with people!)
  • There is no bag storage available, so guests are encouraged to bring as little as possible with them. (Leave the big shopping bags at your hotel!)
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reserves the right to cancel any scheduled tours as they see fit. (In times of heightened security they are likely to suspend tours.) Guests are responsible for re-booking their own tours.
  • The guided tour includes a trip to the gold vault! You will not be allowed to visit the gold vault if you are doing a self-guided tour.
  • Absolutely no photos or videos of any kind while inside the Federal Reserve Bank.

For a full day in the Financial District, take our Lower Manhattan walking tour (see our calendar for days/times) and then take a tour of the Federal Reserve!

 

Quick Facts About the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

  • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is believed to be the largest gold depository in the world. This cannot be confirmed though, because Swiss Banks do not report their gold stocks.
  • The vaults of the Fed are 80 feet below street level and 50 feet below sea level, on the bedrock of Manhattan.
  • There is over 7,000 tons of gold bullion in the vaults.
  • 98% of the gold belongs to the central banks of foreign nations.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York does not own any of the gold in their vaults. They are only taking care of it for other people!
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York does not charge foreign nations a storage fee for their gold. However, if they want to make a transaction with another country, there is a fee of $1.75 per gold bar moved to another vault (as of 2008).
  • The gold bars weigh 28 pounds each, so the staff has to wear special protective footwear when moving them in case one falls on their feet.
  • As of 2011, there was approximately $415 billion worth of gold in the vaults of the New York Fed. (More than Fort Knox!)

Book your tour and enjoy learning about the ins and outs of the Federal Reserve Banking System. (Also, enjoy looking at all the pretty gold!).

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Written by Katherine Weatherford

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