The Birth of Punk Tour


Covering the Velvet Underground, glam rock, and the birth of punk, from 1965 to 1977. Visit sites relevant to Patti Smith, the New York Dolls, David Bowie, the Ramones, Kiss, Lou Reed, Talking Heads, Television, Robert Mapplethorpe, Nico, Richard Hell, Jobriath, Suicide, Andy Warhol, Blondie, The Cramps, Jayne County and more.

Post-Punk, Disco, & Hip Hop Downtown Tour


Covering the era when punk, disco, hip hop, and the avant-garde converged below Houston Street between 1975 and 1988. Visit sites relevant to Sonic Youth, Madonna, Run-DMC, Blondie, Talking Heads, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Philip Glass, David Mancuso, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Brian Eno, Glenn Branca, LL Cool J, Arthur Russell, Kurtis Blow, Nicky Siano, and more.

Indie Rock Tour


Covering the rise and fall of indie rock in Manhattan between 1990 and 2005. Visit sites relevant to the Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, Elliott Smith, Beck, Interpol, Jeff Buckley, Magnetic Fields, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jonathan Fire*eater/the Walkmen, Le Tigre, Neutral Milk Hotel, Anohni/Antony & the Johnsons, Moldy Peaches, Regina Spektor, and more.


Sonic Youth's New York Tour

Patti Smith & Robert Mapplethorpe Tour

Beastie Boys’ New York Tour


An comprehensive tour through Sonic Youth's long and celebrated career - see where the band lived, rehearsed, recorded, and performed, and learn more about the No Wave and Indie Rock communities downtown in the 80's, 90's, and 00's

A look at Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe’s lives, careers, and mutually-inspirational friendship - see apartments, venues, studios, and other significant landmarks, and learn more about the larger music scene and art world in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.

A look at the Beastie Boys’ lives and careers as born-and-raised New Yorkers - see where they lived, rehearsed, recorded, and performed, and learn more about the Hardcore Punk scene they emerged from, and the Hip Hop world they came to inhabit.


Arthur Russell’s New York Tour

Basquiat’s New York Tour

Custom Tours


A look at Russell’s life and career - see where he lived, rehearsed, recorded, and performed, and learn more about the Disco, New Wave, Avant Garde, and LGBTQ+ communities during the 70’s and 80’s.

A comprehensive tour through Jean-Michel Basquiat’s life and career - see where he lived, painted, exhibited, and socialized, and learn about the downtown art and music scenes in the late 70’s and 80’s

Want to learn more about the specific artists and genres you love most? I’ll happily put together a custom tour just for you!


"[Walk on the Wild Side] reminds visitors that these movements were the product of people making the most of their unique time and place. Hearing him speak… familiar streets begin to feel a little more alive — full of connections to be forged, of fire escapes and community gardens brimming with secrets.” - New York Times

“Even New York natives will love this music tour of the city…the stories of these past decades are vivid when Rifkin tells them, and you can almost imagine kids from the disco scene stumbling out of the giant Abercrombie and Fitch when it was a nightclub.” - Fodor’s Travel

"From Sonic Youth to Public Enemy, tour guide Jesse Rifkin’s knowledge of the city’s role in some of the biggest musical movements in the world is impressive." - amNewYork

"Offering several genre-specific tours, artist-specific outings and other custom packages, the tours wind their way through the streets of the city, revealing tales of the people, places and events that shaped modern music." - BTR Today

"Solidify your music-lover status by signing up for a walking tour of NYC that takes you to significant spots where classic album cover photos were taken, bands formed, demos were recorded and more." - Alternative Press

"Sonic Youth isn’t touring and won’t be anytime soon, but now you can at least go on a Sonic Youth tour of downtown Manhattan." - Bedford + Bowery

"If you want to go fully immersive, learn about the world in the late ’90s and early aughts that created bands like Interpol, with the new Walk on the Wild Side Indie Rock tour. Because that’s all history now." - Grub Street


Watch this brief video about of some of the sites covered on our tours