Even the littlest New Yorkers are no pushovers. They don’t take anything at face value; they like to know how things really operate. For those who need to know the nitty-gritty details of how their city works, we’ve rounded up 15 behind-the-scenes tours that give the inside scoop on how it happens in theater, television, sports, and beyond.

radio city

photo: mirage 1210 via Flickr

Let Me Entertain You

The Radio City Stage Door Tour
What You Will See: Get up close and personal with the Grand Stage, the Art Deco design – and a real-life Rockette!
Good To Know: A VIP Stage Door Tour is also available, and features the option of visiting the rehearsal hall, the lighting booth, the projection area, and dressing rooms (on non-show days, only).

Radio City Music Hall
1260 Avenue of the Americas
Midtown Manhattan
Cost: $26.95/Adult, $19.95/Child
(212) 465-6741
Online: radiocity.com

The Tour at NBC Studios
What You Will See: The studios where Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, and more are filmed, as well as the chance to produce your own mini-show, download and take it home!
Good To Know: You may be setting your child on an unwavering path to becoming Kenneth, the 30 Rock page.

NBC Studios
30 Rockefeller Plaza
Midtown Manhattan
Cost: $33/Adult, $29/Child
(212) 664-3700
Online: thetouratnbcstudios.com

wicked

photo: via Wicked Facebook page

Behind the Emerald Curtain
What You Will See: How the hit musical, Wicked, got put together, including sets, costumes, props, wigs, and a Q&A with select cast-members.
Good To Know: You’ll never be able to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain again (sometimes, it’s more fun to keep the magic alive)

The Gershwin Theater
222 West 51st St.
Midtown Manhattan
Cost: $33
(212) 586-6510
Online: wickedthemusical.com

Apollo Theater Historic Tours
What You Will See: The past come alive via stories of legends who’ve performed on the stage. Then come on the stage yourself and touch the Tree of Hope.
Good To Know: Tours are only given for groups, but you can call the theater and join a group already in registered.

Apollo Theater
253 West 125th Street
Harlem
Cost: $16/Weekdays, $18/Weekends (discounts available for non-profits and schools)
(212) 531-5355
Online: apollotheater.org

The Metropolitan Opera Guild’s Backstage Tours
What You Will See: Production areas such as lights, costumes, and sets not accessible to the general public.
Good To Know: Don’t confuse this tour with the Lincoln Center one, which only includes the front of the house and does not go backstage.

Metropolitan Opera House
30 Lincoln Center Plaza
Midtown Manhattan
Cost: $25/General, $20/Student
(212) 362-6000
Online: metopera.org

 

ghostbusters location

photo: via On Location Tours Facebook page

Film & TV

Central Park TV & Movie Tour
What You Will See: The spots where movies like The Avengers, Ghostbusters, Smurfs and Enchanted were shot.
Good To Know: It’s a long walk (about two hours) and if the weather is hot (or cold) little ones may start to balk.

On Location Tours
Starts at 59th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues
Cost: $25/Adult, $17/Child
(212) 683-2017
Online: onlocationtours.com

Small Potatoes Animation Factory Tour
What You Will See: How cartoons are put together, from writing to drawing to voice-over via hands-on activities where kids can record their own voices and help with animation.
Good To Know: There’s also a hologram!

Little Airplane Productions
207 Front St.
South Street Seaport
Cost: $10
212-965-8999
Online: littleairplane.com

yankee stadium

photo: Shinya Suzuki via Flickr

Play Ball! (And other stuff!)

NY Yankee Stadium Tours
What You Will See: The famed Yankees Museum, Monument Park, the press box and the Warning Track/Legends Outdoor Seating.
Good To Know: Birthday party packages are available!

Yankee Stadium
1 East 161st St.
Bronx
Cost: $20/Online, $25/Adult & $23/Child at the park
(646) 977-8687
Online: newyork.yankees

NY Mets Citifield Tour
What You Will See: The clubhouse, the field, the dugout, the scoreboard control room, the press box and the Hall of Fame.
Good To Know: Kids under 32 inches are free when accompanied by adults, and the tour is stroller friendly.

Jackie Robinson Rotunda
123-01 Roosevelt Ave
Flushing, Queens
Cost: $13/Adults, $9/Children
(718) 507-TIXX
Online: newyork.mets

Madison Square Garden Tours
What You Will See: This peek into the World’s Most Famous Arena includes visits to the Knicks and Rangers locker rooms, as well as the above-the-scoreboard Chase Bridges seating.
Good To Know: Even though you are literally up on the 100th level, don’t worry about anyone going over the side – it’s protected by glass.

Madison Square Garden
4 Pennsylvania Plaza
Midtown Manhattan
Cost: $26.95/Adult, $19.95/Child
(212) 465-6741
Online: thegarden.com

Barclay’s Center VIP Access Tour
What You Will See: Your friends and family trying to take a shot from the Brooklyn Nets’ Center Court.
Good To Know: VIP Tours are for groups of 25 or more only

Barclay’s Center
620 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn
Cost: Call to find price and availability
(917) 618-6700
Online: barclayscenter.com

subway art

photo: mo1229 via Flickr 

Only In New York

NYC Subway Art Tour
What You Will See: More than just tracks, garbage and rats! Show your kids the beauty most New Yorkers in a rush miss.
Good To Know: The tour lasts three hours. And not all stations have bathrooms.

NYC Subway
Departs from 51st Street and Broadway
Midtown Manhattan
Cost: $30/Adult, $15/Child
(212) 977-2510
Online: nycsubwaytour.com

Grant Central Terminal Tour
What You Will See: A docent talking about history and architecture, and leading you to the famed Whispering Wall.
Good To Know: Audio Tours are also available. Listen to a sample, here.

Grand Central Terminal
89 East 42nd Street
Midtown Manhattan
Cost: $25/Adult, $20/Child
212-464-8255
Online: docentour.com/gct

Urban Exploration Tour of the Abandoned Sea View Hospital on Staten Island
What You Will See: A usually off-limits abandoned building – and you get to climb to the top of its roof!
Good To Know! You get to climb atop an abandoned building’s roof! (Kids, don’t try this at home!)

Behind the Scenes Tour of SIMS Municipal Recycling Facility
What You Will See: 20,000 tons of residential metal, glass, plastic and paper traveling through a Rube-Goldberg like series of tubes, funnels and tunnels.
Good To Know: It may prompt your child to make even more garbage, now that they know what cool stuff happens to it.

Both of the above are tours conducted by Untapped Cities. Tickets are $30 per person, plus a processing fee, and locations vary.

Did we miss your favorite? Add it in the comments below! 

— Alina Adams