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In today’s age, a typical guidebook experience of a city just doesn’t cut it anymore. While iconic tourist sites are still worth visiting, traveler’s favorite experiences are often based around much more unique (and often, locally-focused) itineraries.

AllTheRooms is based in New York City, and we’re big advocates on seeing our city like a local, whether you’re here for a quick visit or a more in-depth stay. Below, you can check out some of our favorite tours for a taste of NYC that really showcases it in a way we’re proud of:


Visit.org is an online content and booking platform for immersive, impactful travel experiences offered by local nonprofit organizations around the globe. Travelers use Visit.org to add half- or multi-day off-the-beaten-path experiences to any itinerary, and revenue is channeled back to the local community through the host organizations. In NYC, the platform offers a walking tour of the Lower East Side run by the nonprofit Greenmap; a cooking workshop with immigrants hosted by the social enterprise League of Kitchens; an immersive half-day in the Jewish’s culture and heritage through to the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy; rowing activities with ROW NY; and more.

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Visit.org’s tour of New York City through their partnership with Green Maps. Take a tour by bike or on foot through some of New York’s most historic neighborhoods, and help provide a network for local eco-friendly initiatives while learning new ideas to bring back to your own community.

Turnstile Tours researches, develops and operates tours in partnership with non-profit organizations that highlight places and communities underrepresented in the public record. This includes programs about history, manufacturing, and economic development at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Brooklyn Army Terminal, food and culture tours of New York City’s public market system, and tours about street food and the street vendor community.

Once America’s premier Naval shipyard, today the Brooklyn Navy Yard is a national model national model for sustainable urban industrial parks and serves as a main hub of industry, technology, and craft for New York City, home to over 330 businesses in industries ranging from ship repair to whiskey distilling, eco-friendly countertops to urban farming. Find out more at the tour offered by Turnstile Tours! [Photo by Inna Penek, courtesy of Turnstile Tours]
New York City Urban Adventures supports the local businesses that make New York City unique through small group, food- and beverage-themed walking tours throughout the city. Currently, the company offers six regular public tours and private custom tours that allow travelers to taste their way through a neighborhood’s rich history and meet business owners and residents to get a truly local experience.

Most New Yorkers won’t go anywhere Times Square, avoiding the crowds, the high prices, the chain fast food — everything that’s not authentically NYC. But believe it or not, hidden amongst the tourists, Starbucks, and costumed characters, there is an authentic NYC neighborhood to discover. Find it on Urban Adventures’ Beyond Broadway tour.

BQE Tours provide “the Brooklyn Queens Experience” on small-group walking tours in DUMBO, Williamsburg, and Long Island City, led by an NYC native guide. Tours focus on offering a slice of life and allowing guests to engage with local artists, makers and entrepreneurs.

By now, most people have heard about Brooklyn hip. Well, let BQE Tours introduce you to Queens cool! Queens holds many treasures if you know where to look. Just across the river from Midtown Manhattan lies Long Island City, a rapidly changing neighborhood of massive new apartment towers and budding cultural centers, set amidst the bones of NYC’s industrial past.

NYC Tours & Photo Safaris are active and educational tours through some of the city’s most scenic areas, led by a professional photographer, travel blogger, and native New Yorker. With a focus on getting travelers out from behind their guidebooks and into meaningful experiences, tours combine historical facts, cultural stories, lesser known sites and local foods.

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Bushwick is NYC’s most up and coming neighborhood, gritty and passionate about experimental arts with vibrant street art, German beer history, people watching opportunities, hipster shops and a melting pot of culture. Join Jessie Festa, the blogger behind Jessie on a Journey, on this Instawalk tour of Brooklyn.

Local Expeditions offers “community-driven adventures,” excursions designed by locals for visitors who want an insider experience. Adventures range from a CitiBike ride over the Manhattan Bridge combined with a walking tour of DUMBO to a book lover’s stroll through the West Village to a photography workshop on Coney Island. Five percent of each expedition is donated to a local nonprofit of the guide’s choice.

Join Local Expeditions for a bike tour from Manhattan to Brooklyn that’s focused on history, art and architecture/engineering. You’ll enjoy some excellent vistas and hear some stories along the way, and once in Brooklyn, walk through DUMBO enjoying some of the top shops, eateries, and local sights. The tour is three hours total and loops back into Manhattan to finish.
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