It’s that time of year again—house tour season! Architecture buffs, historic home junkies, and garden lovers revel in the spring lineup of events, and to make planning a bit easier, 6sqft has rounded up 16 tours in and around New York City. From Harlem brownstones and Park Slope townhouses to Hamptons estates and Nyack mansions to Jersey shore beachfront homes and Hoboken’s secret gardens, there’s a little something for everyone.
A room in the 2015 Show House by Cullman and Kravis
Kips Bay Decorator Show House
Tuesday, May 2-Thursday, June 1, open daily (check site for specific hours)
For 45 years, world-renowned designers have been transforming a luxury Manhattan home “into an elegant exhibition of fine furnishings, art, and technology” to support the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club. The 2017 house is located in a 1905 neo-Georgian brick home on East 65th Street that boasts views of the surrounding townhouse gardens and nearby architectural cathedrals. Designers each re-imagine an individual room or space, and this year they’ll be working alongside original details such as fireplace mantels, painted beamed ceilings and herringbone floors. The impressive roster includes such sought-after talent including Janice Parker Landscape Architects, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Billy Cotton, and Nick Olsen.
Little Silver, via Coldwell Banker
Little Silver Kitchen Tour
May 4, 8:30am-3:00pm
$55 in advance; $60 day of
This riverfront town in central Jersey has seen a building and population boom in recent years, coming into its own as a quiet commuter suburb. The kitchen tour offers up something a little different—check out nine exceptionally designed kitchens, each one featuring the work of local builders, designers, and florists, as well as tastings from some of the area’s best chefs. Guests will also see the entire home of local designer Amanda Haytaian and the main floor of the Historic Parker Homestead, built in 1665.
Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation House Tour
Sunday, May 7, 1:00-5:30pm
This is the 19th house tour benefit for GVSHP, and, perhaps due to its prestige and unique collection of townhouses, is one of the more pricey events. This year, you’ll experience “hidden gardens, unparalleled art, and historic charm.”
One of the homes on the 2017 Prospect Lefferts Gardens tour
Prospect Lefferts Gardens House Tour
Sunday, May 7, 12:00-5:00pm
$25 in advance; $30 day of
This tour’s been around for an impressive 47 years, and 2017 is offering up seven homes and a garden refreshment area at Dorsey’s Art Gallery, the oldest, continuously active, black-owned art gallery in New York City, where you’ll also be treated to live jazz music and the chance to see the current exhibit of local artists. The residences include a brownstone with animal-themed décor, a rental apartment in a former church parsonage with space-saving built-ins, a limestone townhouse with an impressive collection of South East Asian artifacts, and a colorful co-op filled with pottery, bicycle parts, and other quirky decor.
One of the homes on the 2017 Park Slope tour, via Bowerbird Architects
Park Slope House Tour
Sunday, May 21, 12:00-5:00pm
$25 in advance; $30 day of
Organized by the Park Slope Civic Council, this tour is in its 58th year! And for good reason—in addition to seeing an incredible group of homes, buying a ticket gets you into a post-tour lecture with local architect-historian Francis Morrone. The full list of stops isn’t available (there’s usually close to a dozen), but highlights include a perfectly preserved 1898 Romanesque Revival home, a 1907 Neoclassical home chock full of contemporary art, and an 1883 Neo-Grec house with a new, custom steel and glass rear wall that opens to a magical garden.
A past tour stop, via NYJL
New York Junior League Annual Spring House Tour
Saturday, May 13, 10:00am-4:o0pm
The New York Junior League works with women in the city, training volunteers to develop skills for community work, serving on boards, and acting as leaders. Their bi-annual tour opens up between six to eight homes that are either designer-owned residences or the homes of their clients. This tour also is on the pricier end but comes with several perks—a Friday night kickoff party, a day-of complimentary breakfast at the Astor House, a luncheon, champagne stops along the route, a post-tour reception, and a silent auction.
Westfield Tour of Notable Homes
Saturday, May 13, 10:00am-3:00pm
$35 in advance; $40 day of
This Jersey tour stands out because it’s organized by the New Jersey Festival Orchestra, so you’ll get to enjoy live music at the stops. Four homes in the charming suburb, which is about 45 minutes outside of NYC, will be on view—a 19th-century stunner with a wrap-around verandah, a new-construction Mediterranean-style home, a colorful Colonial, and a uniquely redesigned property.
Pretty Penny, via Airbnb
Nyack House Tour
Saturday, May 13, 10:00am-4:00pm
$40 in advance; $50 day of
After a three-year hiatus, the Historical Societies of the Nyacks is back with their Great Nyack House Tour. Seven Victorian-era homes will open their doors, including two of the area’s most famous—Pretty Penny, Helen Hayes’ former riverfront estate, and the Ross-Hand Mansion, an 1859 Gothic Revival-style mansion with grounds designed by the great landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing.
Larchmont Yacht Club
Larchmont Historical Society House Tour
Sunday, May 21, 1-6:30pm
$65 before May 1, $75 after May 1
Known as “Tree City USA,” this affluent Westchester village (just 18 minutes north of Manhattan) has everything you could want from a small town—a quaint downtown, lots of parks, including one on the waterfront, and a mix of historic homes. Those featured on the tour must be part of the LHS Century Homes Club, a distinction given to homes built pre-1909 that have maintained original appearance and details. From 1-5pm, take the tour, and then enjoy a reception at the historic Larchmont Yacht Club on the Long Island Sound.
Roger’s Mansion via Art & Architecture Quarterly
Southampton Insider’s View
Saturday, June 3, 1:00-4:00pm
$95 in advance; $110 day of
The Southampton Historical Museum has been putting on this house tour for eight years now, providing “a rare opportunity to pass beyond the hedges and through the doors of some of the most beautiful and historically important homes of the Hamptons.” When the tour is over, guests are invited to a champagne reception catered by Sant Ambroeus at the Rogers Mansion, a 20-room Greek-revival house built in 1843 during the peak of the whaling industry.
Keyport Garden Walk
Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4, 11:00am-3:00pm
Explore (for free!) a whopping 40 public and private gardens throughout this charming waterfront town on the Raritan Bay. There will be live music, a free garden talk at 9:30am each morning, as well as complimentary pedicabs for a leisurely way to see several of the sites.
A garden from a past tour, via The Hoboken Journal
Hoboken Secret Garden Tour
Sunday, June 4, 9:00am-4:00pm
$30 in advance; $35 day of
Hoboken is a lot more than sports bars and partying post-grads. In fact, its founder Colonel John Stevens had some of the most elaborate and scientifically cultivated gardens of the time, a feature that still exists behind the city’s rowhouses and repurposed factories. This year, seven to eight homeowners will share their “secret gardens, designed by both professional designers and personal gardening enthusiasts.” They’ll also share their best gardening tips, like issues related to shallow soil and deep shade.
The Parry Mansion
New Hope Historical Society Home & Garden Tour
Sunday, June 4, 10:00am-4:00pm
New Hope, Pennsylvania is just across the Delaware River from Jersey, and it’s known for its funky vintage shops, art galleries, music scene, and laid back “hippy” vibe. It’s also quite historic, having served as a strategic point during the American Revolutionary War and later becoming an artist haven in the 1920s. This year, the New Hope Historical Society teamed up with Bucks County realtors to present a “Million Dollar Listing Bucks County” tour, where guests will have access to five of the grandest, most historic residences in the larger Bucks County area. They’ll also receive a guided tour of the 18th-century Georgian-style Parry Mansion, home of Benjamin Parry, the Father of New Hope.
Mount Morris Park House Tour
Sunday, June 11, 11:00am-4:00pm
$35 in advance; $50 day of
After taking last year off, the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association is back with their event that takes guests into the stunning historic brownstones in and around the Mount Morris Park Historic District, a 16-block area near Marcus Garvey Park. This year’s theme is “Living Legacy!” which will narrate the area’s story through the homes of those who have lived there the longest.
Long Beach Island Seashore Open House Tour
Wednesday, August 2, 10:30am-4:30pm
$40 in advance; $45 day of
This 51st annual tour will require a two-hour drive south of the city, but it’ll be well worth it to relax on the tranquil Barrier Island. The six homes on view were chosen for their “unique style, lush landscaping, dynamic interior decor, and sustainable building.”
Historical Society of Ocean Grove House Tour
Friday, August 4, 10:30am-4:30pm
$30 in advance; $35 day of
This one-of-a-kind Jersey Shore town was founded in 1869 by a group of Methodist clergyman as part of the camp meeting movement. It’s not quite as religious anymore (though it’s still a dry town!), but it remains the longest-active camp meeting site in the country. It also has the highest concentration of authentic Victorian architecture in the country! On this year’s house tour, get a look inside some of the beauties, as well as an inn, various historic buildings, and one of the town’s famous Tent City rentals.
Know of another tour in the area? Let us know in the comments so we can add it to our list!
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