New York Night Tours
This post lists and compares many of the options for New York City night tours available to you, including our pay-what-you-wish options. NYC is a skyscraper city and there is no better time to view Manhattan’s icons than after the sun sets and the lights turn on. Fueled by competition and a dash of audacity, New York City is still producing one of mankind’s most remarkable skylines.
We offer many different New York night tours and are currently working on providing even more options for travelers. The contrast of experiences during the day versus those you’ll discover at night is significant enough that you should consider taking both versions of the same tour. Not all tours run daily, so we recommend that you take a look at our full calendar to see which tours are offered during your time in New York. You might want to take a read on our suggested locations to see the New York skyline if you intend on taking a self-guided tour.
If you are thinking about getting a tourist pass in order to save money on tours and attractions, keep in mind that the passes also include night bus, boat, and helicopter tours. Check out our blog posts comparing the different New York City tourist passes for more information.
While our own services will always be pay-what-you-wish, there are a lot of paid night tours in New York which will not be as affordable. That being said, many of these experiences are so unique and wonderful that you might not have a problem paying a higher price for them. You can expect most nighttime excursions to cost anywhere from $30-$250 per ticket depending on which option you choose. While most bus and boat tours won’t cost more than $50, a helicopter trip will definitely set you back a bit. Keep these figures in mind as you look for the night tour which best fits your schedule, expectations and budget.
Evening Walking Tours
There are a lot of different walking tours you can take at night in New York City. Some focus on seeing the sites in Manhattan, while others are all about spooky supernatural tales. During the winter, you can even take a holiday lights tour which will explore some of the most wonderful light displays in the city. Most of these treks are very well priced, but there are a few that will cost a pretty penny. Each trip is typically available at least 2-3 times per week, running from 1-3 hours on average.
We offer a variety of walking tours in the Big Apple, and many of them take place at night! All of these trips are pay-what-you-want, which means that you can choose how much you’d like to pay for the experience. If you’re low on cash, this could be a great way to save some money. Reservation is required and we do sometimes run out of space, so you’ll want to sign up for our tours ahead of time. Check the tour calendar for more information about availability.
Believe it or not, Free Tours By Foot has actually received a full 5 star rating on TripAdvisor. We strive to provide high quality excursions, and our customers typically leave very positive comments about our walking tours. Many reviewers have a lot of great things to say about their tour guides, indicating that they are very helpful and informative. Other guests really appreciate the ability to name their own price and see the sites after dark. Couples were the most likely to enjoy these night tours.
- Midtown Manhattan Night Tour – Consider this tour in order to see some of Manhattan’s most iconic buildings, such as the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, the Flatiron Building and Grand Central Terminal.
- 911 Memorial and Brooklyn Bridge Night Tour – consider this tour to view the National September 11th Memorial, the Woolworth Building, City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge all bathed in manufactured moonlight.
- Ghost and Dark Side Tours – nighttime is a scary time in the Village as we tap into the spirits of the past on both our Greenwich Village and Brooklyn Bridge Ghost Tours and the Dark Side of the High Line Tour.
- Private Walking Tour – prefer to take one of our many daytime walking tours at night? Request a private tour! All of our tours are available for groups or families as private tours for a predetermined fee.
- Sunset on the High Line — in addition to our Dark Side of the High Line tour, we offer a sunset tour of the park, which focuses more on the history of Chelsea.
- Central Park — we have a number of different Central Park tours, including one just as the sun is setting. Don’t forget your camera as there are many photo ops!
- Holiday Lights Tour – When it’s time to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year, Midtown Manhattan lights up like no other place in the world! Mechanical window displays, synchronized light and sound shows, not to mention Santa Claus and toy soldiers surely await you in this winter wonderland.
For more information on New York Holiday Lights tours, visit our overview of these services.
Paid Walking Tours
Although these tours may come with a price tag, some of them provide opportunities that you wouldn’t otherwise experience. While some of these trips are as short as 1 ½ hours in length, others run for up to 3 ½ hours. These excursions are great for photographers, art lovers and just about anyone with a creative eye. Prices range from $75 – $175 per ticket, depending on the type and length of each outing. All paid walking tours are typically led by professional guides and receive fairly positive reviews.
- New York by Night Photo Tour – Follow a professional photographer to some of the most beautiful locations in the city. On your journey, you’ll learn how to properly set up your camera to take the perfect picture of NYC at night. Visit sites such as the Grand Central Terminal, the Chrysler Building and Radio City Music Hall!
- NYC After-Dark Photography Tour – Visit Times Square and learn about interesting photography techniques from your professional guide. Discover how flash and long exposure work and find out how to take great pictures at night in New York.
- Central Park Night Time Photo Tour – Discover Central Park at night as a professional photographer guides you to several beautiful locations. See some of the most filmed sites in the entire park and take the opportunity to recreate some of those famous shots. Learn the best methods for taking pictures at night.
- EmptyMet Tour – During the day, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is often buzzing with guests from around the world. At night, you can take a guided tour around this important museum while it’s completely empty! See another side of the Met as you uncover over 5,000 years of art history.
- New York Pub Crawl – Join a professional guide and discover some of the most popular pubs in West Village, East Village or Hell’s Kitchen. Learn about the history behind the Bohemian movement and see significant historical sites as you drink your way from one bar to the next.
- Additional NYC Pub Crawls – New York has a long history of excellent pubs and bars. With so many fine establishments, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are quite a few pub crawls offered in the Big Apple. For more information on these night tours, please visit our overview of NYC Pub Crawls.
Night Bus Tours
Occasionally, we offer our fully guided hop-on, hop-off, pay-what-you-wish night bus tour. Please check our calendar to see if the bus tour is offered during your time in New York. Below are some other bus tour companies that offer evening tours. Ticket prices typically range from $30-$55, making this one of the more affordable after dark adventures through NYC. Unfortunately, most of these companies do not offer hop-on, hop-off service at night. That being said, you can usually get a pretty good deal on these trips either through combo packages or attraction passes. Be sure to check out our comparison of all the night bus tours for more info.
- Big Bus Tours – This company offers a fully guided night tour of Manhattan that crosses the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn for spectacular views. The tour is in English and there is no audio in any other language. The tours last 2 hours and departs from 48th Street and 7th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. THIS IS NOT A HOP-ON, HOP-OFF tour, but it is on an open top bus. This trip is offered every half hour from 7 PM – 9 PM.
This night tour is included as a part of the Big Bus Deluxe 2 Day Ticket (starting at $57/adult + $47/child), which includes 2 days of hop-on, hop-off bus service through all of Manhattan + plus a Brooklyn loop and a 1 hour boat cruise. It is also included as a part of their Big Apple 3 Day Ticket (starting at $74/adult + $54/child), which includes 3 days of hop-on, hop-off bus service through all of Manhattan + plus a Brooklyn loop, a 1 hour boat cruise, free entry & breakfast at the Museum of the City of New York.
- Ticket Price: $45 for Adults | $35 for Children | Purchase tickets here.
- Gray Line/City Sightseeing – They also offer a night bus tour which will take you to several significant sites in and around NYC. Although this is not a hop-on, hop-off service, a professional tour guide will provide commentary on all of the landmarks you will be passing. Discover Times Square once the sun goes down and see Madison Square Gardens after dark. This 90 minute bus tour is offered daily at 6:30 PM.
If you want to get a closer look at popular landmarks in New York, Gray Line also offers a combo ticket which includes admission to one attraction. This option costs an additional $20 per ticket, but you’ll also have access to locations such as Top of the Rock, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Alternatively, you can also take this night tour if you purchase either a 48-72 hour hop-on, hop-off ticket. This could be a great option if you plan on experiencing as much of the city as possible while you’re visiting. You can also save $5 per ticket on this night bus tour by using CitySights NY!
- Ticket Price: $54 for Adults | $44 for Children
- USA Guided Tours – This might actually be the longest night tour in NYC. Over the course of 4 ½ hours, you’ll see all of the most significant sites in New York – and even a few neighborhoods that other services might not have the time to visit! Starting at 5:30 PM, this trip will continue until 10 PM, visiting locations such as Times Square, Chinatown, Chelsea Market and Greenwich Village. Considering the length and depth of this bus tour, the price of admission is more than reasonable. Sadly, this is not a hop-on, hop-off bus service.
- Ticket Prices: $59 for Adults | $49 for Children
- Open Loop – Believe it or not, this is probably the cheapest night bus tour in New York. At 2 hours in length, this trip is actually a bit longer than some of the services provided by their competitors. Although they don’t appear to have a live tour guide, you will have access to an audio guide in 9 different languages. See a variety of important landmarks such as Times Square and the Empire State Building after dark. This is a non-stop, continuous loop throughout the city departing at 7, 8, 9 and 10 PM each night.
- Ticket Prices: $29 for Adults | $19 for Children
See our New York Bus Tour Overview for more information on all of these services.
Night Boat Tours
The New York City skyline is beautiful at all hours, but it’s especially nice when lit up at night. Remember, this is the city that never sleeps, so a night cruise is a great way to see New York really come alive after dark! Prices typically range from $30-$40 for an average trip, but dinner cruises can cost quite a bit more. If you plan on dining while you take in the views, expect to pay between $100-$150 per ticket. Most night cruises run for 60-90 minutes at most, offering a plethora of amazing photo ops. Be sure to read our comparison post on New York boat tours for more information on the following services.
There are both evening and dinner cruises available.
- City SightSeeing – Experience a 90 minute twilight cruise around some of the most notable neighborhoods in New York City. This trip is all about the photo ops, so get ready to break out your smartphone when the landmarks come into view! These tours depart at 6 PM during the winter and 7:30 PM during the summer, giving you plenty of time to see the skyline of NYC from the water.
- Water Taxi – Although shorter than services offered by their competitors, this 60 min Statue by Night Tour is perfect for anyone who wants to see Lady Liberty after dark. Highlights include one complimentary glass of champagne for adults and a cash bar. This is a fully narrated cruise which incorporates several excellent photo ops. Cruises depart at 7:30 pm (19:30) from Pier 16/South Street Seaport (map).
- Adults $31 | Children $19 | Use promo code FTBF for $5 off each ticket.
- Included for free with a the Explorer Pass. It is not available with the other tourist passes.
- Circle Line — This company offers a Harbor Lights Cruise which departs just before sunset so you can enjoy the skyline while the sun goes down. Although the focus isn’t exclusively on seeing the Statue of Liberty, you will experience excellent views of the monument. This cruise will take you under both the Brooklyn and the Manhattan bridge, giving you plenty of excellent photo opportunities. Narration is provided during your trip to provide information about each of the sites you will see. This boat tour departs at 7 PM and runs for a total of 90 minutes.
- Hornblower Cruises — Departs from Pier 40 in the West Village and Pier 15 at the South Street Seaport. Their main dinner cruise provides photo ops of Lady Liberty, Ellis Island, The Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Skyline. Rather than a buffet, you’ll be given a 3-course meal with access to coffee, herbal tea and a full bar. A live DJ will play music for after-dinner dancing. They also offer special holiday cruises during the 4th of July for viewing the fireworks.
- Thursday/Friday Prices: $135 for Adults | $121.50 for Seniors/Military | $81 for Children
- Saturday Prices: $145 for Adults | $130.50 for Seniors/Military | $87 for Children
- Cruise runs from 7 PM – 10 PM
- Spirit Cruises — Offers both New York and New Jersey evening cruises with a buffet dinner and music. This definitely isn’t a boat tour, as the intent is to dine and enjoy the NYC skyline from the water. These excursions are particularly popular with couples, but they can also be great for business trips. Ticket prices vary depending on which service you choose, but you can expect an average cost of $100-$120 per passenger. Although there may be photo ops, that definitely isn’t the focus of this cruise.
- World Yacht — Departs from Pier 81. This dinner cruises serves a 4 course meal, and also offers brunch and holiday cruises. Their open air top deck is 3,000 sq ft, providing plenty of room to spread out and see the sites as you drift along the water. They accommodate group sizes of just about every size. Ticket prices vary depending on how many people will be attending and which cruise you are going to take.
For more information on Dinner Cruises and night boat tours in New York, check out our comparison of these services.
We would love to offer pay-what-you-like helicopter tours of New York City, but unfortunately that isn’t possible. As mentioned above, the New York tourist passes all include some helicopter tours.
Thankfully, there are a few night helicopter tours that you can take in New York City. These trips are pretty expensive, but the experience is one of a kind. If you thought the NYC skyline was incredible from the water, wait until you see it from the air! What better way to see the spire of the Empire State Building all lit up than while floating above it? Although you won’t find many nighttime helicopter rides in the city, they’re definitely worth considering if you have the money. Expect to pay at least $200-$250 for a 15-30 minute helicopter flight.
- Viator VIP – This is actually a package deal including both a night helicopter tour and an evening Statue of Liberty cruise. Get a fantastic view of Lady Liberty as the sun sets, and enjoy a flight above the city as it lights up. Ticket prices are pretty high, but that is to be expected. Reviews for this service are all quite excellent, with most guests agreeing that it was an excellent experience which did not disappoint. Some visitors took issue with the cruise, but almost all of their customers absolutely adored the helicopter ride.
- Ticket Price: $264 per person
- Duration: 1 hr 45 minutes
- Hotel pick up and drop off available
- City Lights Skyline Experience – If you’re only interested in taking a helicopter tour of New York at night, this might be your best option. You can choose a departure time between 7 PM – 10 PM at night, allowing you to dictate the kind of trip you’ll have over the skies of NYC. While floating above the city, you’ll see sites such as the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and Rockefeller Center. The ticket price may seem high for a relatively short helicopter ride, but you may just find that the views are priceless. Reviews for this service are quite excellent.
- Ticket Price: $244 per person
- Duration: 20 minutes
The best way to purchase discounted helicopter tour tickets at any other time of the day is through a third party site such as Groupon, Travel Zoo, or Living Social. There are almost daily deals for significantly lower prices. Also, if you are considering getting the New York Explorer Pass, the Liberty Helicopter Tour (see below) is already included at 20% off. The New York Pass offers 15% on the Big Apple Tours.
Night Bike Tours
Though there are not many bike tours available after dark, Bike and Roll does offer a bike tour through Central Park. Alternatively, you can also rent a bike from this service and many others in New York. With a bike rental, you can easily visit a lot of the locations you’ll find on one of our self-guided tours.
This won’t be as nice as having a professional guide show you around town, but you will have the freedom to explore at your own pace. Renting a bike can cost as little as $12 per hour or $32 for an entire day. For more information on New York Bike Tours and rentals, make sure to check out our overview of all the services.
Deals and Discounts
Several of the services we have listed here are actually available at a discount. Alternatively, you’ll also find several tour packages which include excursions after dark. Here’s a general rundown of the many deals and discounts available on New York night tours.
- Big Bus Tours – If you purchase either a 48 hour or 72 hour ticket, their night tour is included. These tickets are also included with several of their tour packages.
- City Sightseeing – If all you want is a night bus tour, you can save $5 per ticket by using CitySights NY. This company also offers both their bus tour and Statue by Night cruise in a few combo packages.
- New York Pass – This tourist pass includes access to a variety of the services we’ve already listed, including Circle Line cruises and Big Bus tours. They also offer discounts for Spirit Cruises, Liberty Helicopters and other sightseeing tours.
- Explorer Pass – The Explorer Pass includes access to such services as Big Bus Tours, Circle Line cruises and New York Water Taxi. You’ll also gain admittance to attractions like Top of the Rock, Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall. The Big Bus night tour and Circle Line night cruise are both included with this tourist pass.
- Sightseeing Pass – City Sightseeing offers their very own tourist pass including quite a few attractions and tours. Their night bus tour is included with this pass, as is their sunset cruise. You’ll also enjoy access to locations such as One World Observatory, Madame Tussaud’s and the 9/11 Tribute center.
Make sure to check sites like Groupon, Living Social and Goldstar for additional discounts on NYC night tours. For more information on these discounts, check out our guide to New York on a budget. You’ll also find more information about various tourist pass options on our overview of New York attraction passes.
Audio Guides/Self-Guided Tours
Believe it or not, we are currently developing a pay-what-you-want audio guide for the purposes of self-guided tours. Although it is not yet available, this service will be excellent for night tours, allowing you to explore the city at your own pace without spending too much money. You’ll be able to download the app on your smartphone and access a variety of audio tours whenever you wish. Until then, we recommend checking out some of our written self-guided tours in New York.
Locations such as Times Square and Midtown Manhattan are absolutely beautiful at night, and you can explore the area without too much trouble simply by using our guide for information. There are several self-guided trips available which would be excellent for a night tour, but we do recommend joining a friend or partner for these excursions if you plan on going after dark.