During these laid-back excursions, a native New Yorker guides visitors to the cuisines, art and people of Brooklyn and Queens. They pass along their knowledge and appreciation of the boroughs, let tour goers see what makes various neighborhoods tick and give them the opportunity to interact with local artists, restaurateurs and shop owners.
Find out what the Brooklyn hype is all about on a Best of Brooklyn Tour, which takes you around Williamsburg while offering a general overview of the borough's history and arts scene. There's also the Graffiti and Street Art Tour venturing through colorful Bushwick, during which participants can see wall murals, posters, tags and stencils and learn about the artists behind the work. Brooklyn Unplugged also runs personalized private tours focused on a neighborhood or theme of interest to you—say, food, shopping or Coney Island.
Go backstage at the Metropolitan Opera, one of the world's largest and most respected classical music institutions. During the Met's season (which begins in late September), visitors can take this 75- to 90-minute tour to learn about the history of the organization and its Lincoln Center space—the current Metropolitan Opera House opened in 1966, and the opera company itself dates back to 1880. They also see the intricate work that goes into creating a major stage production: the beautiful backdrops, the elaborate costumes and the rehearsal rooms where the talented artists hone their craft.
Downtown Manhattan has some of the most photogenic views in the City—and they look even better from the water. These sightseeing cruises offer a chance to glimpse attractions like the Statue of Liberty, the World Trade Center and Battery Park from a vantage point you just can't get on land. If you don't get a good look the first time, don't worry—the water tour heads back to its starting point the same way for a second glance
New York City is home to a great many celebrities, and on this tour pop-culture lovers can see where some of these personalities live, eat and spend free time—all from the comfort of an air-conditioned bus. Just take a seat, listen to scandalous stories and maybe take notes so you can pass the juiciest gossip along to your friends back home.