There are five main reasons to choose OnBoard Tours for your voyage through New York, Washington D.C., or Las Vegas. First, the tour guides don't just deliver their spiels from the comfort of the bus, they'll hop off with their passengers for a more up-close look. Second, riders need a ticket for the comfortable, climate-controlled buses, so no tourist will be left unseated on the trip. Third, they limit each group to 35 people, meaning everyone can see and hear the guide at all times, and will have a chance to ask them specific questions. (And small, private tours can also be arranged.) Fourth, the guides are all locals, and tell stories from an insider's point of view. Finally, all tours feature free water bottles, allowing guests to stay hydrated, save money, and avoid the hassle of trying to drink from any decorative fountains.
Sky Combat Ace gives customers the thrill of a lifetime by pairing them with a professional aerobatic flight instructor for adrenaline-filled flight experiences such as an aerial dogfight where they man the controls of a real Extra 330LC or Waco biplane. All skybound guests don parachutes prior to takeoff, and pilots maintain constant communication with them during the flight—checking in to make sure they're relaxed, comfortable, and aren't aging prematurely due to g-forces. After touching back down, guests can calm their racing hearts with a stroll through the SCA Heritage Museum.
Pickled Tink's store boasts a dizzyingly diverse collection of hip artisanal and vintage wares for body and home, and it also offers a potpourri of crafting workshops. The boutique, which recently merged with local art-scene favorite ArtisTree studio, overflows with day-brightening goods such as vintage dishtowels ($9–$12), aprons ($20–$30), handmade jewelry ($10–$30), glass flowers ($20–$60), and romantic Amy Butler fabrics, among scores of handcrafted and repurposed finds.
A chill travels down Virginia City's streets, where it meets a group of unsuspecting men and women on the sidewalk. Maybe it's just the wind. Maybe it's a sudden drop in temperature. Or maybe it's something else—something from another time. After all, the group had followed their tour guide's advice and dressed warm for the Comstock's cool nights. When the guide and group arrive at the Silver Queen Hotel, something else seems a bit off. A large painting of a woman stands before them, her evening gown made of thousands of silver dollars. The group stares into her eyes, and they seem to stare back, as if she knows they're there and that they need more change for the parking meter.
The guides at Bats in the Belfry Ghost Tours specialize in this sort of paranormal activity. Several nights a week, they lead tours up and down Virginia City's streets, stopping to tell spooky stories at old 19th-century buildings, including Mackay Mansion and the Washoe Club Haunted Museum. They also host the occasional special event, such as investigations with ghost hunters.
Stray Boots is an interactive tour that sets friends and family members loose on an exhilarating, knowledge-fueled undertaking guided by clues, trivia, and riddles. They operate in cities across the country, dividing them into special themed tours that contain the historical sites, local areas of interest, or eccentric child mayors unique to each city. During the explorations, clues point the way to cultural hot spots, which Stray Boots communicates via their official mobile app. At least one player on the team will need an iPhone or Android phone to receive clues, and none of the self-guided tours require previous knowledge of the city. Adventurers play at their own pace—most tours take two to three hours to finish—which allows them to spend more time learning about the city and photographing vibrant fire hydrants for aquacentric scrapbooks.
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1–2 hours
Parking: Free street parking
Recommended Age Group: Adults
Pro Tip: Wear comfortable shoes.
As the former largest city of Nevada and the former gambling capital of the United States, it's no surprise that Reno's rich past is shrouded in mystery. Janice, a paranormal investigator and tour guide who has authored numerous books about Nevada's hauntings and history, details the city's dark history and fascinating ghosts during 90-minute Reno's Ghost Walk tours.
On the tours, she tells tales of teenage boys who dredged the Truckee River for gold and size 9 shoes, and talks about a mysterious disappearance that's never been solved, drawing on the knowledge she's obtained living in the city for most of her life.