The Bizarre, One-Of-A-Kind Tour You Can Book In New York City

Many visit New York City for its iconic architecture and historic landmarks, others for its world-class restaurants and vibrant street food, and some for its renowned art galleries and museums. But few have ventured to this concrete jungle for the ubiquitous 16-inch long, elongated, scaly-tailed creatures that live within it: the rats. However, this trend is changing due to a bizarre, one-of-a-kind tour you can book in New York City to see the rats at their finest hour!

Before we share more details about this tour, it's important to understand some context about New York City and its infamous rat "problem." These resilient rodents have been a part of the city's ecosystem since the 18th century, thriving in its underbelly. With an estimated population of 3 million in 2024 (via, rats in New York City number more than one-third of the human population. The infestation has gotten so bad that the city has actually developed an Interactive Rat Map (also used on the tour) that allows you to see the most up-to-date data collected from official inspections and individuals who come across them.

Despite some improvements, like better waste disposal practices to curb the rats, there is no telling when these critters will impact city businesses, restaurants, landlords, and everyday life. So the expression goes: If you can't beat them, join them — at least on a tour! This "Rat Tour" hosted by Kenny Bollwerk will give you an up-close look at the not-so-secret life of rats in NYC.

What is the NYC Rat Tour?

The "Rat Tour" began in January 2023 when Kenny Bollwerk, a content producer of New York City tourism videos, created a TikTok video about NYC rats. To his surprise, the video went viral, prompting him to capitalize on its success. With a new recipe for engagement, these videos captivated audiences worldwide. As a result, Bollwerk's account has grown to nearly 300,000 followers, with over 4.1 million likes on his "RatTok" videos. His popularity has earned him the presumably affectionate nickname "Rat Daddy" from his viewers.

As a result of TikTok's new rat obsession, Bollwerk began to receive requests for livestream videos, which quickly turned into live tours. So far, over 100 people have participated in the tour, and not just Americans! In an interview, Bollwerk tells Business Insider that he has conducted tours for Europeans as well, specifically from Germany and the United Kingdom.

The tour runs as follows: At 10:45 p.m., guests and Bollwerk will begin at Grand Central Station. After this, he likes to pay a visit to the news store, which, for some unknown reason, is infested with rats — this is what Kenny likes to call the "appetizer." But for the main course (or the "ratatouille," if you will), you will explore the city, including Pershing Square and even out in Queens, guaranteeing rats and results. The tour costs $50 per person, although if you subscribe to him on TikTok, you can enjoy a complementary 2-hour tour!

Tips for your tour

There are no limits to what you might see on such a bizarre night tour like this, especially in New York! But based on RatTok, you can certainly expect the essentials. You will see rats secretly running through people's feet without them knowing or rats performing some of their most acrobatic skills by jumping into anything that might have food inside. Rats can jump 36 inches vertically and 48 inches horizontally and can even survive 50-foot drops (per Cascade Pest Control). Also, of course, expect to witness rats doing what they do best: scaring the pants off people.


Pt. 68 – Rats in Sunnyside, Queens #nycrats #whatisnewyork #nyctiktok #sunnysidequeens #nyctour #nycguide #nyclife #onlyinnewyork

♬ ScoobyDooPaPa(DJ版) – 王梦瑶

When joining the Rat Tour, there are a few tips to keep in mind for a safe and enjoyable experience. First, never grab a rat by its tail; it's been attempted before, but the risk of a rat bite and disease is too high. Maintaining a safe distance of at least 10 feet from the rats is necessary. Moreover, by participating in the tour, you're contributing to ongoing efforts to control the rat population in a cruelty-free way.

Bollwerk often revisits infested areas, urging his followers to contact 311 until the health department takes action, such as spraying sites with rat deterrents. Plus, the experience is often live-streamed on TikTok, allowing a broader audience to engage. The tour also offers various merchandise, which helps spread awareness about the city's rat issue. So whether you're curious about rats in New York City or in search of Master Splinter, this tour is the real deal.