Everyone knows that New York City is known for its food scene. Exploring NYC like a local means finding some of those hidden gems that aren’t widely publicized, yet are still fantastic. I have found that one of the ways to explore NYC like a local is to take food tours to experience the neighborhood and some of the highlights from a local guide. Our family decided to explore the Flatiron District on a day trip and took a walking tour of some Flatiron food, history, and architecture of the area.
Since our family moved to Connecticut, we have been traveling locally around the Northeast on weekends whenever possible. Luckily, we are only an hour away from New York City, so we try to visit at least once every 2 months. On this particular weekend, I wanted to explore a new section of the city, so I did some research and found out about NYC Like a Local Tours. Our family ended up choosing the Flatiron Food, History, and Architecture Tour. Honestly, I was expecting some food tastings and a little walking tour of the area; however, in addition to the delicious food we tasted, we learned a great deal of the history and architecture of the Flatiron District. I’d like to thank Like a Local Tours for our tickets and for a fantastic experience. Here’s one way to see NYC like a local – take this Flatiron District Food Tour. All opinions are my own.
NYC Like a Local – Flatiron Food, History, and Architecture Tour
- Distance walked: 1 mile
- Stops: 4
- Price: $56 adults and $46 kids
- Dates: Wednesday through Sunday
- Times: 10:30 AM – 1: 30 PM
- Tour Size: Maximum of 14 people
- Weather: Not canceled due to snow or rain
This was our meeting point. The email confirmation was precise and told us to meet our tour guide right in front of the black awning in front of the Eataly gelato area, next to the Tiffany gold clock. They also provided the address of the meeting point and directions in the email. It was very easy, and sure enough, our tour guide Rory met us there right on time to check us in.
Be aware that this Like a Local Food Tour does not cancel due to weather. We were very lucky that we had a gorgeous, sunny day, but I have been on other food tours in the rain. New York in winter can get cold, so be sure to check the temperatures if you are planning on attempting this food tour during the colder months.
Our tour was about 12 people, which was great because Rory never had to yell at anyone who was farther away, and it was easy to keep the pace with such a small number of people. She began by discussing a little about how the Flatiron District is a historic district in New York City, and the only one to be named after a building. We learned that many toy companies came to this area in NYC and that the Eataly store we were about to enter was once a toy manufacturing center.
I had been to a couple of other Eataly stores before, but this one in the Flatiron District is stunning. The designers kept much of the original architecture of the building, so you can see a lot of it is still exposed. The Eataly itself is as amazing as the others; filled with rows of fresh produce, pasta, cheese, bread, and more. The restaurants inside Eataly source everything from the market and are as fresh as it gets.
So far, our Flatiron food, history, and architecture tour was off to a great start! After walking around the various parts of Eataly, we stopped at the bread section and had our first bite of the tour – an apple cinnamon focaccia. We were then given 10 minutes of “free time” to peruse the store and buy anything we wanted before the walking portion of our tour began.
Our second stop was a seated tasting at a sandwich shop opened in 1929, Eisenberg’s. I was not surprised that it was pretty full of patrons; however, with the food tour, we had a spot reserved for us. We had a delicious pressed Reuben sandwich with pastrami and corned beef. I would have loved to order some other things on the menu, but there just wasn’t time. This is definitely a place I need to head back to for lunch.
Just outside of the deli we learned about some of the
We then walked past a Lego store that told the history of the area through its Lego creations. Our tour guide showed us a huge Lego wall that depicted many famed areas of New York City. My Lego-loving kids really enjoyed this, and we made sure to pop into the store again after the tour had finished. This wall really displayed NYC like a local.
Our next stop was a stroll through Madison Square Park, named for the first site of the original Madison Square Garden. This spot held more history than I knew existed. First off, the original Shake Shack is located here. This park is also the spot where the Statue of Liberty’s arm and torch were on display while the rest of her was being assembled. I love little tidbits of history!
When I saw that the Flatiron Food, History, and Architecture Tour was going to include a stop in a cheese shop, I knew I had chosen the right experience. I love cheese! .Beecher’s Handmade Cheese is the only cheese factory in New York City. They started in Pike Place Market in Seattle and opened this store in 2011. Lucky for me, they had samples to taste – fresh cheese curds and their flagship cheese, which is a blend of cheddar and gruyere. I found out that their flagship cheese is available in many local shops and markets in the Northeast and when I returned back to Connecticut, I looked for it at my grocery store. Sure enough, Whole Foods carries it and I often buy this cheese to have at home thanks to visiting this place on the Flatiron Food, History, and Architecture Tour.
After perusing through their cheese selection and buying some on our 10 minute break, our group headed upstairs to eat some grilled cheese sandwiches. Now, this was a great grilled cheese! The bread was buttered on both sides, pressed, and had a combination of their flagship cheese and jack cheese. After learning a bit about the cheese-making process and watching it from below, our group headed to the next stop.
Just outside of Beecher’s, Rory explained a bit about the architecture of the surrounding buildings and some fun facts about the neighborhood. We walked towards Union Square Market, which had some great local vendors selling food, crafts, and more. This was a place we also returned to after the Flatiron Food, History, and Architecture Tour was over. We browsed the offerings from the vendors and bought some soap, fresh fruit, and pastries.
Our last stop on the tour was for dessert. I learned that Bread’s Bakery had won many pastry awards – best chocolate chip cookie, best chocolate babka, and best chocolate rugelach. To be honest, I had never even heard of a babka or a rugelach, but that’s what food tours are all about – to try new things! We tasted the mini chocolate rugelach, which was this light, flaky croissant shaped pastry filled with Nutella. It melted in my mouth! Our whole family loved it so much, we bought 4 more for later. In hindsight, I should have tried the cookie and the babka since this bakery has some of the best desserts in NYC. That’s ok, I have Bread’s Bakery saved on my Google Maps as a place to return to.
Final thoughts on the Flatiron Food, History, and Architecture Tour
Overall, our experience touring through NYC like a local was wonderful. Not only was everything we tried delicious, but we really did learn so many facts about the history of the Flatiron District and New York City in general. Rory, our tour guide, was very thoughtful with our kids, entertaining, and knowledgeable. The NYC Like a Local Flatiron Food, History, and Architecture tour was a great way to spend three hours. We left with an appreciation of the neighborhood, some historical facts, a satisfied stomach.
I would only recommend a food tour for families if their kids love to eat. Otherwise, the cost wouldn’t be worth it for young kids or picky eaters. If you’re visiting for a weekend, check out this
There’s so much to do when visiting New York City, that it’s hard to choose if you’re a first time visitor or even someone who has been a few times. We have been to New York City many times, and while it is valuable to visit Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty, there is much more to this city than those landmarks. These New York adventures and epic hikes in and near NYC provide some tips for people trying to narrow it down.
Food can be pricey in New York City, so if you are a budget traveler like me, check out: Best Value Restaurants in NYC. NYC Like a Local Tours offers even more food tour options such as Chelsea Market and Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Check out these tours and other options by booking directly on their site – NYC Like a Local Tours.
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We received complimentary tickets in exchange for an honest review. All opinions mentioned here were my own. This post contains affiliate links. I make a small commission from any sale of a product linked to this post. DQ Family Travel is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. Your price does not change when you click on these links, but it does provide me with a small commission.