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Walking Tour of Old New York

Step Into History

Guests of our hotel are usually interested in getting a taste of classic New York — after all, they’re staying in a piece of the city’s history. Thankfully, our elegant property puts you in prime position to explore some of New York’s most storied destinations. Within walking distance, you’ll find enchanting destinations that capture the charm and elegance of a bygone era. Follow our itinerary and let the magic of old New York sweep you off your feet.

Discover Priceless Art in Historic Mansions

Start the tour by walking just a couple blocks over to the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Perfectly embodying the city’s transition from old to new, this sleek design museum is housed in the magnificent Andrew Carnegie Mansion, a historic building completed in 1902 and once home to the famous steel tycoon. 

Afterward, continue two blocks south to reach one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. This surreal building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and made to showcase and complement modern art.  

Once you’ve had your fill of modern art, stroll another four blocks south along Central Park to reach the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Regarded as one of the world’s finest museums, the facility spans four blocks and two million square feet. Here you’ll find everything from Paleolithic artifacts to suits of medieval armor.

Another 10 blocks south lies the final art museum of the tour. Opened in 1935, the Frick Collection houses the art collection of industrialist Henry Clay Frick, which includes famous works by European masters. The museum itself is housed in the collector’s former home, an 18th-century French-style mansion.

Find History in the Park

After browsing the priceless works of art, turn west and enjoy the greenery and fresh air of Central Park. Enter at 72nd Street and walk along Terrace Drive to reach Bethesda Terrace, one of the park’s most iconic features. This architectural marvel was finished in 1863 and offers lovely views of the fountain, lake, and woods.

Continue through to the west side of the park, before heading back uptown to 77th Street, where you’ll find the American Museum of Natural History. Founded in 1869, the museum holds more than 33 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains, and cultural artifacts.

Learn About the City’s Past

From here, walk back across the park and head north to 103rd Street to visit the Museum of the City of New York. Housed in a beautiful red brick building with marble trim, dating back to 1930, the museum is dedicated to documenting the history of New York City itself.

Finish your tour by walking down to 88th Street and heading east until you reach the water. This lovely waterfront location is the home of Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the Mayor of New York City. The Federal Style mansion was built in 1799 as a country home, then located 5 miles north of the city limits. After changing hands and serving various purposes, the building became the official Mayor’s residence in 1942 and was designated a New York City landmark in 1966.

Visiting all these famous landmarks will certainly have you dreaming of old New York. Live the dream yourself by staying at Hotel Wales, a historic Upper East Side hotel that will be closing next year. Take advantage of our Curtain Closer offer and save on your booking.

Place Name Address Phone Distance Show on map
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution 2 East 91st Street (off Fifth Avenue) New York, NY 10128 0.11

Experience the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Cooper Hewitt educates, inspires, and empowers visitors through design by presenting exhibitions and educational programs and maintaining active publications. Please check operating hours on the museum's site here: https://www.cooperhewitt.org/visit/hours-admission/.

Guggenheim Museum 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128 (212) 423-3500 0.28

Browse a continuously expanding collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern and contemporary art in a landmark building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street New York, NY 10028 (212) 535-7710 0.63

Founded in 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is located in New York City’s Central Park along Fifth Avenue. Nearly five million people visit this Manhattan art Museum each year. Visitors to the museum will enjoy more than two million works of art spanning five thousand years of world culture, from prehistoric to present and from every part of the globe.

The Frick Collection 1 East 70th Street New York, NY 10021 (212) 288-0700 1.22

The Frick Collection includes some of the best-known paintings by the greatest European artists, major works of sculpture, superb eighteenth-century French furniture and porcelains, Limoges enamels, Oriental rugs and other works. Several special exhibitions are scheduled annually.

Central Park - 72nd Street Entrance east 72nd street playground 1.13
Bethesda Terrace Bethesda Terrace 1.26
American Museum of Natural History Central Park West & 79th Street New York, NY 10024 (212) 769- 5100 1.13

Showcasing spectacular sights of prehistoric animals, marine life, space exploration, and much more, the American Museum of Natural History is sure to leave the whole family breathless. Awaken your inner child at the Fossill Halls, where you and the kids can find life-size skeleton replicas of a tyrannosaurus rex, apatosaurus, and other dinosaurs. When you’re done with the dinos, don’t forget to check out the Miilstein Hall of Ocean Life for the whopping 94-foot-long blue whale model. With all these and more, the AMNH stands out as one of the best family attractions in NYC.

Museum of the City of New York Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Avenue New York, New York 10029 (212) 534-1672 0.61

The Museum of the City of New York celebrates and interprets the city, educating the public about its distinctive character, especially its heritage of diversity, opportunity, and perpetual transformation. Founded in 1923 as a private, nonprofit corporation, the Museum connects the past, present, and future of New York City. It serves the people of New York and visitors from around the world through exhibitions, school and public programs, publications, and collections.

Gracie Mansion 88th Street and E End Ave, New York, NY 10028 1.03

This picturesque riverside mansion has been the official reside of NYC mayors since 1942, when Mayor Fiorella La Guardia moved in. Previously, it was the first home of The Museum of the City of New York. Built in 1799, it’s one of the most historic buildings in Manhattan.

Hotel Wales
1295 Madison Avenue (between 92nd & 93rd), NY, 10128, USA
Phone: (212) 876-6000