10 Offbeat Guided Tours Around the U.S.
July 24, 2014 5:00 pm Post a comment
Travelling Yogini Downtown Yoga Tour
Where: Asheville, North Carolina
Let the energy of the city soothe your senses on the one-of-a-kind Travelling Yogini yoga tour through downtown Asheville. With Travelling Yogini's beliefs in culture, community, and connection, each guided tour brings a heightened awareness of self, as well as picturesque surroundings. For those who want a completely unique experience, try the Bend & Brew series, which features weekly yoga classes at local breweries followed by beer tastings.
Insider Tip: Asheville's Zipline Canopy Adventures are a great way to keep moving on your visit.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Asheville Guide
Birthplace of Hip Hop Bus Tour
Where: New York City
Bounce along to the beat as you're guided through the storied history of hip hop's legendary beginnings. The Birthplace of Hip Hop Tour begins on a bus in midtown Manhattan, where you're transported for four hours by energetic hosts who wax poetically about the hallowed streets of Harlem and the Bronx. You'll see landmarks such as The Apollo Theater, Yankee Stadium, the Graffiti Wall of Fame, as well as the site of the first ever hip hop party, hosted by DJ Kool Herc. The playlist along the tour is custom-built to complement each stop along the way.
Insider Tip: After the bus tour, head to the Roosevelt Island Tram for one of the best scenic views of the city as you cross over the East River to Roosevelt Island. The tram is the same cost as a subway ride.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's New York Guide
Idaho Heritage Barns Tour
Roll down the windows and let the fresh air in as you explore the agriculture and architecture in the American mainland with the self-guided Idaho barn tour. Organized by the Idaho Heritage Barn Committee, this comprehensive circuit covers more than 40 classic barns along the scenic landscape. The barns are cataloged by county and described in great historical detail from the free guide book. Learn about the history of the food production, the evolution of technology on the farms, and the unique local farming methods that have prevailed through generations of toiling the soil.
Insider Tip: While on the tour, stop by the fascinating Museum of Clean in Pocatello for a history of cleanliness.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Idaho Guide
Underground Portland Walking Tour
Where: Portland, Oregon
For a city regarded so highly for its scenic natural beauty, it seems counterintuitive to want to go underground. Yet the Underground Portland Walking Tour succeeds at shining light on the bustling city's subterranean landscape, bringing visitors along secret passages and through hidden dens for a unique Portland experience. Lit by flashlight, the two-hour tour unearths the seedy subcultures of Portland's history, with a visit to the famous Portland Shanghai Tunnels, a series of winding tunnels that connect the basements of many of Portland's downtown hotels, bars, and shops.
Insider Tip: For something more sun-drenched, don't miss the International Rose Test Garden. Stroll through the lush gardens blooming with a wide assortment of flowers, free of charge.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Portland Guide
O'Leary's Fire Truck Tour
When the cow tipped over a lantern in Mrs. O'Leary's barn in 1871, a small fire soon escalated to a city-wide inferno that destroyed a good portion of the Windy City. It took years to recover from what is now referred to as the Great Chicago Fire. Now, O'Leary's Fire Truck Tour takes you on an adventure through the history of the blaze as you visit off-the-map landmarks in an antique 1965 custom-fitted fire truck. Look for the Dalmatian that stands post at the front of the fire engine, who acts as co-pilot to the tour guides, many of whom are actual firemen.
Insider Tip: After your tour, walk a few blocks to see the iconic Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Chicago Guide
Poetry Foundation Poetry Tour
Where: Washington, D.C.
For a literary stroll through D.C., plug into the Poetry Foundation's Poetry Tour to explore the nation's capital through a self-guided audio walking excursion with prose that accentuates and highlights your surroundings. Featuring classic and modern poetry, former D.C. residents including Walt Whitman and Robert Frost paint an artful image of the Capital over the two-hour trip.
Insider Tip: Kramerbooks and Afterwords Café is a Dupont Circle watering hole with a tasty late-night menu. Locals come to enjoy fresh sandwiches and peruse a book or two.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Washington, D.C. Guide
Hearse Ghost Tours
Where: Savannah, Georgia
Look out for the things that go "bump" in the night on the Hearse Ghost Tour of Savannah, one of the most eerie and unusual tours in the country. Local ghosts join in on the fun as you cruise through Savannah's most haunted streets in a real hearse designed to seat groups of eight. Driven by cultured guides who share personal anecdotes of ghost interactions, the Hearse Tours are popular for their light-hearted, comedic sensibility.
Insider Tip: The Olde Pink House is a Savannah treasure with fine dining inside the historical edifice. The shrimp and grits are a favorite, along with the fried green tomatoes.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Savannah Guide
Last Chance Segway Tours
Where: Helena, Montana
Segway tours have become a staple of larger cities, but gliding through the picturesque town of Helena on a Last Chance Tour is a unique experience. Travel on the high-tech two wheelers back to the 1800s, where gold miners scavenged the area in search of riches. With impressive colonial architecture throughout the city and well-maintained landscapes, the two-hour Segway tour is both enchanting and informative.
Insider Tip: The Great Northern Carousel is an ornate classic merry-go-round that still features the coveted brass ring grab. Be the one to reach and get the brass ring for a free ride!
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Montana Guide
Boston Duck Tours
Stroll around the Massachusetts capital and you'll surely see one of the Boston Duck Tours' amphibious vehicles, built for World War II combat. Start with a tour of the fabled streets of Boston as you motor past Quincy Market, the State House, Bunker Hill, and more before shifting gears, driving head-first into the Charles River for a relaxing float. From the river, the best views of the Beantown skyline await.
Insider Tip: Your Duck Tour ticket entitles you to a PRUferred card which offers exclusive deals and discounts at the Prudential Center shopping mall, which features popular restaurants Wagamama, 5 Napkin Burger, and Legal Sea Foods.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Boston Guide
Salem Tunnel Tour
Where: Salem, Massachusetts
Indelibly marked by its witch trials of 1692, Salem is now host to many modern-day commemorative attractions that evoke the famed tribunals. The Salem Tunnel Tour explores beyond the well-trod stories of persecution as you trace the steps of pirates, smuggling trails of past Presidents, and mysterious burial grounds. Primarily led by author and Salem expert Christopher Dowgin, the tour brings old Salem's storied past to life. If you can't get enough of witches and mystery, pick up Dowgin's book Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City to further your knowledge of the town's remarkable history.
Insider Tip: The Peabody Essex Museum is home to fine New England art and historical exhibits that provide a deeper look into Salem's past.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Salem Guide