Energetic, eclectic tours of Brooklyn and beyond, from a veteran guide.
Why tour with Norman Oder of NY Like a Native?
Why visit Brooklyn neighborhoods?
See enthusiastic reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google. As cited in Frommer's, Native's Guide to NY, & Rough Guide to NYC. Follow me on Instagram.
I am vaccinated and have been leading tours outside w/o masking, though I can of course wear a mask if preferred.
(Please note updated guidelines during the pandemic and also the option for using a wireless transmitter and receiver system. I can now lead webinars, at least about Coney Island--click here for upcoming.)
"Mr. Oder has an encyclopedic knowledge of the borough..."
--Wall Street Journal
"...incredibly knowledgeable, dynamic, and engaging."
--Trip Advisor reviewer
"The thinking person's tour guide"
"Their favorite day of class over the semester"
Veteran Brooklyn tour guide Norman Oder aims these tours--mainly walking and public transit--to be wide-ranging and briskly-paced. Most tours involve 2-4 miles of walking, but can adapt to your pace. Vehicle tours range farther.
These tours, all led and booked by Norman, a longtime Brooklynite, are geared to energetic, curious people, and have attracted enthusiastic visitors of all ages, from student groups to seniors, as well as New Yorkers and Brooklynites interested in learning more.
While exploring Brooklyn, we aim to understand the history of what we see, what's changed, and why. The idea, as one tour guest aptly put it, is to get the gestalt of a neighborhood, recognizing the advantages and pains of change. (Here's The Onion.)
We can snack, shop, and see art--depending on the tour or neighborhoods--and we can delve deeper into neighborhood social history.
Brooklyn would be the nation's fourth-largest city if it were independent. When you tour with me, you learn about the ebb and flow of Brooklyn history, especially its fascinating and uneven rebirth, and witness its diversity, complexity, charm, and challenges. I aim neither to sugarcoat nor to denigrate.
My private tours can focus on Brooklyn highlights, specific neighborhoods, or multiple areas, and can be customized. I try to be more lively than a purely academic or architectural tour, but mindful of public policy and more substantive than a "let's have fun" tour. I'm intrigued, enthused, and sometimes confounded by what we see. I'm happy to work with college/university groups to adapt tours.
"Brooklyn" has become media shorthand for some neighborhoods within the larger borough, part of the evolving Brooklyn "brand."
I can introduce you to some of those neighborhoods, but, remember, Brooklyn is larger and more populous than the City of Paris (within the peripherique), and it "contains multitudes." You can't see it all in a day!
First steps to your Brooklyn tour
Nearly all my tours are private tours, and mostly on foot. You can book my listed tours, which usually start at 2.5 hours, or can request modifications. The tours rely mainly on walking, with occasional public transit or taxis, though we can adapt a tour to use vehicles.
Those new to Brooklyn should consider Brooklyn 101, an introduction to classic "brownstone" neighborhoods, or the expanded Brooklyn 202, which adds neighborhoods plus Downtown Brooklyn. But also consider Williamsburg, or Jewish neighborhoods, or other areas beyond Brooklyn, like Manhattan's Lower East Side or Long Island City in Queens. We can discuss it.
Please look at (and expand) the map below. (Click on the rectangle.)
Do I offer the "best Brooklyn tour"? Well, for some people.
I try to provide much information here to save time, so please first check tour pages, fees, my FAQ and list of "top misconceptions" about Brooklyn, then get in touch. Tip: this site's easier to read on a desktop or laptop computer.