Whether you’re a new Brooklynite, a visitor or an old hand who wants to take a deeper dive into one of the greatest cities in the world, a tour is one of the best ways to get acquainted. Embark on one of these walking, biking or bus tours to see the city like a local, and get to know Brooklyn’s best art, shopping, food and culture scenes with some of the most knowledgeable guides around.
A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours
Way before the borough was considered cool, Tony Muia, founder of A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours, led guided tours of Brooklyn’s favorite foods, neighborhoods, landmarks and famous movie locations. Departing from Manhattan, the various tours include the Pizza Tour, the Chocolate Tour, the Neighborhood Tour and the Christmas Lights Tour of Dyker Heights, which showcases the neighborhood’s over-the-top decorations. Muia’s tour team stands out in that every guide was born and raised in Brooklyn. What makes his tours unique, said Muia, is how they strive “to exceed our guests’ expectations of what a bus tour should be like through the use of our multimedia audio-visual presentations on the screens of the bus.” Guests are treated to “slides, music, montages of famous Brooklynites and the respective movie clips when we visit famous movie locations like Saturday Night Fever, Goodfellas, The Godfather, Moonstruck,” added Muia. Considering they’ve escorted over 750,000 people around Brooklyn over 12 years, these are the right guys to take you around.
Developed in partnership with nonprofit organizations and cultural institutions, Turnstile Tours researches and operates tours that focus on the way the city works. What better way to get to know a place than to experience Brooklyn’s manufacturing and infrastructure, food systems and public spaces—and the stories of the people behind their history? Set off by bus, bike, boat or on foot to explore Prospect Park and celebrate 150 years since its founding. Visit the Brooklyn Navy Yard on one of seven different themed tours that cover the industrial park’s architecture, industry and ecology. Tour options include a Past, Present & Future Tour, a World War II Tour and a Photography Tour. You can sign up for them at the Brooklyn Army Terminal—a thriving industrial park that’s home to more than 100 companies including precision manufacturers, biotech researchers, online retailers and chocolatiers.
Inside Out Tours
$35 per person, insideouttours.com
Spend an afternoon scoping out the street art scene in Williamsburg and Bushwick to learn about graffiti terms like “runtime,” “wildstyle” and “tagging to the heavens.” On this three-hour tour with guides from Inside Out, you will get a one-of-a-kind glimpse into contemporary American subculture, gain a new comprehension of New York society and view Realist, Surrealist and Pop Art works by local and international artists. Since Brooklyn has united people of diverse backgrounds through art and expression for decades, this is a must-take tour for creatives who want to expand their views or understanding of non-curated public expression. Conclude your day by snapping a few obligatory Instagram pics in front of these epic murals before shopping and eating at some of Brooklyn’s most interesting stores and restaurants.
Like A Local Tours
Tour Brooklyn like a local on a food crawl through Williamsburg, where you’ll enjoy samples of delicacies like pierogis and pastries, try BBQ and pizza at neighborhood favorites, indulge in bagel bombs and cereal milk ice cream at Momofuku Milk Bar and drink coffee to wake up from your food coma. And if you like the sound of this Williamsburg Bites tour—but want a slightly more spiked version—try the tour group’s boozy Sunday Funday edition instead. You’ll tour the industrial buildings of historic Brewer’s Row, stop at the Artists & Fleas to do some shopping, try hot sauce with “sommeliers” and take photos with the New York City skyline view with the waterfront as your backdrop—all with wine and beer along the way.