I may be one of the few people that have not seen Hamilton on Broadway yet. The tickets seem to be impossible to get unless you want to spend a lot of money. Until prices come down, I found another way to learn more about the man behind the Broadway sensation – the NYC Hamilton Happy Hour Tour.
It’s a walking tour around lower Manhattan where we would visit spots associated with Alexander Hamilton and then end at a pub. I learned so much on this historical tour, it can’t all fit in this post!
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The tour starts at the entrance to Trinity Church, which is located at 75 Broadway. We did our tour on Good Friday so the church closed early, but if you have a few minutes before the tour starts, peek inside! Our tour group was nice and small, just me, Russell, and a family from Utah. The family had actually seen Hamilton on Broadway the night before. We met up with our tour guide, Evan, and then headed to the church yard to start the Hamilton walking tour.
Evan talked about the popularity of Hamilton on Broadway and asked if any of us had seen it. He said one of the reasons that the show is so popular is that people don’t know much about Alexander Hamilton and his story, yet he is arguably one of the most influential men in American history. You could write a whole book on Alexander Hamilton’s achievements. I thought back to my American History days (in high school) and pretty much all I could think about was I knew he died in a dual and that he was the Secretary of the Treasury. Russell, who was a history major (although in England), didn’t even know those facts.
Alexander Hamilton Grave Site
After our introductions, we walked over to the spot where Alexander Hamilton is buried in the Trinity Church yard. Alexander Hamilton’s grave is on the south side of the yard right next to his wife, Eliza. There is also a marker for his son, although he is not buried there. Historians think his son, Phillip, is buried somewhere in the yard, but they are not sure where.
Here we got some background information about Alexander Hamilton. I had no idea he was born out of wedlock in the Caribbean and became an orphan as a teenager. He worked hard on his writing (without any formal education) and was able to earn a place at Kings College, which has turned into Columbia University. He also excelled in his military role in the Revolutionary War and quickly became George Washington’s right-hand man. Hamilton is also one of the few founding fathers who never owned slaves.
The Room Where it Happens
I wasn’t sure why we were stopping on Maiden Lane. Evan explained that if you saw Hamilton this is where the Room Where it Happens was located. Then he showed us the plaque on the wall and told us the story about how Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton were able to negotiate the deal known as the compromise of 1790 here. Hamilton got the national government to take over the states’ debts and Thomas Jefferson got the national capital moved to the south.
Across the street, Even pointed out the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Building. Evan told us about all the gold stored at the Federal Reserve and pointed out some of the security features of the building. While the Federal Reserve was not founded until early in the 20th century, the idea of a central bank came from Alexander Hamilton’s financial plan.
We also stopped outside Federal Hall which is located on Wall Street, caddy corner to the Stock Exchange. This is the site where George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States while Hamilton looked on. The Congress of the Confederation (before the Constitution established Congress) also met here. It was not in the same building as the current structure you see today, which opened as the Customs House in 1842.
Now, the National Park Service operates Federal Hall as a national memorial. The site is open free to the public from 9 am. to 5 pm. on weekdays. Inside you will find information about the New York Harbor area’s federal monuments and parks, and a New York City tourism information center. They also have a gift shop where you can find colonial and early American items.
We also learned more about Wall Street. I knew it had gotten its name from the city wall that used to be there but I didn’t realize there were markings in the street showing the location. Evan also told us about how Alexander Hamilton founded the Bank of New York and tried to stop Aaron Burr from opening the Manhattan Bank. The Manhattan Bank eventually merged with Chase to become Chase Manhattan and now JP Morgan Chase.
Our last stop on the Alexander Hamilton NYC tour was outside Fraunces Tavern. So much history took place inside that bar. Many key figures of the time including Hamilton visited the tavern as it was the place to go during Revolutionary New York. Evan shared a few stories about Fraunces Tavern, but the one I found most fascinating was about how George Washington was almost poisoned here!
I didn’t realize there is also a Fraunces Tavern Museum, but it was about to close by the time we arrived. I might have to check it out on my next trip. Admission to the museum is $7 or it is also included in some of the NYC sightseeing passes.
Evan told us about the dual that led to Alexander Hamilton’s death. Of course, I had learned about this during school, but I was curious to know more details. The tour had really been building up to this as we learned more about the rivalry between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton at each stop. It is hard to understand how two significant and intelligent men had to resort to a dual to resolve their differences. I also can’t believe that Aaron Burr was never punished for what really was a murder.
After saying farewell to Evan, Russell and I went inside Fraunces Tavern. We got seats at the back bar, had a drink, and talked about what we had learned on the tour. It was a nice way to end our afternoon.
Hamilton Happy Hour Tour Review
I enjoyed our tour and learned a lot about American History (more than I can fit in this post). I thought our tour guide, Evan, was a great storyteller and made the tour very interesting. It was also nice that we had a small group (5 of us). Unfortunately, it started raining during our Alexander Hamilton walking tour. My jacket had a hood so it wasn’t too bad. Evan did not let the rain affect the tour or his energy level even though he got wet.
The Hamilton Happy Hour tour is really about the history of Alexander Hamilton. Although the tour has “Happy Hour” in the title, drinks are not included in your tour price. We were the only ones from the tour that went into Fraunces Tavern.
Additionally, this Hamilton walking tour is child-friendly. The family that joined us for the tour had a boy around 13 years old who seemed to enjoy the tour, especially after seeing the Broadway show. (Theater fans will also enjoy the Inside Broadway Tour.)
After going on the NYC Hamilton tour, I want to read more about Alexander Hamilton and I would love to see the Broadway show (if only I could find discounted Broadway tickets!). The Hamilton tour was also very thought-provoking as some of the topics (immigration, the role of the federal government, political strategy, etc) are still hot today.
Hamilton Happy Hour Tour Logistics
NYC Hamilton Tour Schedule
The Hamilton Tour is available every day at 3 pm. It is scheduled to last 2 hours.
Hamilton Tour Tickets
Tickets for the Hamilton Happy Hour Tour are $30 per person and you should purchase them online in advance. The tour is also included if you purchase the NY Pass (click here to check the price and learn more about the NY Pass) or the New York Sightseeing Pass (click here to check the price and learn more about the New York Sightseeing Pass). If you are doing a lot of sightseeing during your time in New York City, it will be easy to get your money’s worth from these passes.
NYC Tour Route
The tour starts at Trinity Church at 75 Broadway and ends at Fraunces Tavern at 54 Pearl Street. The closest subway to Trinity Church is the 4 or 5 train to the Wall Street station. Use the exit to Rector and Broadway and you will be right there. Fraunces Tavern is about a four-minute walk from the 1 train South Ferry Station or the R train Whitehall Station.
I think we walked about a mile during our tour and most stops were only a few blocks apart. The tour does operate rain or shine. Unfortunately about half way through our tour, it started raining. In the event the weather is so severe that it would impact the tour, Urban Adventures would contact you in advance.
Other NYC Alexander Hamilton Spots
Since the Hamilton Happy Hour Tour is a walking tour, it is focused on the historical places in downtown Manhattan. There are a few other spots that I wanted to mention for those of you that are interested in visiting more Hamilton locations.
Alexander Hamilton Statue
Inside Central Park, on the East Drive at 83rd street, you will find the larger than life statue of Alexander Hamilton. It is made entirely of granite and was donated to the city of New York by his grandson in 1880.
Alexander Hamilton House
In 1800, Hamilton began construction of his country home in Harlem. Unfortunately, the house was not completed until shortly after his death. The estate, known as the Grange, was located in the neighborhood that later became known as Hamilton Heights. In 2008 the home was moved to 414 West 141st Street in St. Nicholas Park in Manhattan. Admission to the site is free, and they are open Wednesday through Sunday. You can tour the home’s three restored period rooms and there is also 15-minute introductory film if you are interested. Additionally, they have galleries with historical information about Alexander Hamilton.“There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism.” - Alexander Hamilton
Learn More about Alexander Hamilton
If you are interested in learning more about Alexander Hamilton and visiting some of the historical sites in NYC, I think the NYC Hamilton Happy Hour Tour from NY Urban Adventures is a great option. Whether or not you have seen Hamilton on Broadway, you will enjoy it and I guarantee you will learn a few things!
Are you a fan of Alexander Hamilton? Have you seen the Broadway show?
Expert Tips for the NYC Hamilton Happy Hour Tour
- It is a walking tour and you will be outside for the duration so dress accordingly. If there is rain in the forecast, bring along rain gear.
- You don’t need to have seen Hamilton on Broadway or have previous knowledge about Hamilton to enjoy the tour.
- I think it’s worth it to go inside Fraunces Tavern and grab a drink after the tour.
Disclosure: We were given complimentary tickets for the Hamilton Happy Hour Tour so that we could share our experience with our readers. As always, opinions expressed here are my own.
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