Travel Tour Reviews

The 5 Best NYC Bus Tours Reviewed – 2018

A Great Way To Experience The Big Apple - Take A Bus Tour In New York City

The city of New York, also known as the Big Apple, has everything an average traveler looks for on a trip: countless historical and cultural attractions, vivid night life, bustling parks, magnificent skyscrapers, a variety of designer stores and boutiques, cafes and restaurants for every taste, and, of course, a highly developed tourist industry.

The range of NYC bus tours is unbelievable. From budget to luxury, bus tours in NYC can take place during day or at nighttime, last a couple of hours or all day long. You can take a mini bus or a double decker bus tour.  Also see: Your Guide To Visiting New York City.

Quick Answer: The 5 Best Bus Tours of New York City

  1. New York in One Day Guided Sightseeing Tour
  2. New York City Guided Sightseeing Tour by Double Decker Bus
  3. Big Bus New York Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
  4. New York City Sightseeing Tour by Coach
  5. New York Double-Decker Bus Night Tour

Best New York City Bus Tours

  New York in One Day Guided Sightseeing TourNew York City Guided Sightseeing Tour by Double Decker Bus Big Bus New York Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
editors choice
 New York City’s top sightsNew York City Guided Sightseeing TourBig Bus New York Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Departure Point:7th Avenue, between 50th & 51st StreetsGray Line Visitors CenterBoard the bus at any stop along your route
Departure Times:10 a.m.9 a.m.Varies
Duration:5 hours (approx)6 or 8 hoursVaries
Tour Includes:Professional tour guide, guided coach tour, tickets for boat cruise (not included during the off season Jan 1 – April 1; guests will visit Grand Central Terminal instead)Professional guide, transport by double decker bus, 1-hour New York Harbor cruise, admission to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck (8-hour tour only)Hop-on hop-off bus tour, live guide
New York in One Day Guided Sightseeing TourNew York City Guided Sightseeing TourBig Bus New York Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Best NYC Bus Tour Reviews

#1  New York in One Day Guided Sightseeing Tour


 New York City’s top sights

New York in One Day Guided Sightseeing Tour at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: 7th Avenue, between 50th & 51st Streets
  • Departure Time: 10 a.m.
  • Duration: 5 hours (approx)
  • Includes: Professional tour guide, guided coach tour, tickets for boat cruise (not included during the off season Jan 1 – April 1; guests will visit Grand Central Terminal instead)
Explore the Big Apple on a full-day guided sightseeing tour. You will visit top attractions of New York City, such as Rockefeller Center, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, Wall Street, New York Harbor, Ellis Island, and many, many others.

During the whole trip, a professional friendly guide, who will share the knowledge of the city and its sights, will accompany you. This NYC tour will take place on a bus, as well as on a boat, which will take you around the harbor.

You will enjoy the magnificent skylines of Brooklyn and Manhattan, take pictures of Governor’s Island and Ellis Island, take a look at the city’s numerous bridges, such as Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, and Williamsburg Bridge. And of course, you’ll have a great 360o-degree view of the Statue of Liberty, for the most magnificent photos.

Keep in mind, though, that between January 1 and April 1, the boat cruise is changed for a visit to Grand Central Terminal of New York City.

During this bus tour, there will be a short lunch stop at the Fulton 55 Market, where you can find all kinds of New York street food or a café to your liking.

On this NYC bus tour, you will visit the sights, filmed in numerous world-known movies. These are the Flatiron Building, the Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Center, Plaza Hotel, and, of course, Central Park. You will drive through some iconic neighborhoods of New York City, such as Chinatown, Soho, and Greenwich Village.

This NYC bus tour ends at the original departure point.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

New York in One Day Guided Sightseeing Tour


#2  New York City Guided Sightseeing Tour by Double Decker Bus

New York City Guided Sightseeing Tour

New York City Guided Sightseeing Tour by Double Decker Bus at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Gray Line Visitors Center
  • Departure Time: 9 a.m.
  • Duration: 6 or 8 hours
  • Includes: Professional guide, transport by double decker bus, 1-hour New York Harbor cruise, admission to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck (8-hour tour only)
With this NYC double decker bus tour, you have two options to choose from: a 6-hour itinerary, which includes a bus tour around NYC and a 1-hour boat cruise, or an 8-hour itinerary, which includes an admission to the Rockefeller Center observation deck, in addition to a bus tour and a boat cruise.

Irrelevant of which itinerary you choose, you will get a double decker bus tour around NYC with informative friendly guide all along the way, much of attention to every person on a small tour group, and plenty of impressions from this NYC bus tour.

Relax on a bus tour around Manhattan, including its Lower, Upper, and Midtown parts, Times Square, the Fifth Avenue, Central Park, the Greenwich Village, Madison Square Garden, One World Trade Center, Battery Park, Wall Street, South Street Seaport, Little Italy, and, of course, the Rockefeller Center.

Sometimes, you will hop off the bus, to go on walking guided tours around the best-known attractions of the Big Apple. And, of course, a 1-hour boat cruise will offer fascinating views of the Statue of Liberty and the city’s world famous skyline.

This NYC bus tour ends at the Rockefeller Center.

If you choose an 8-hour-long bus tour, you will then take an elevator, and in less than a minute, find yourself 70 stories above the ground, at the top of the Rock Observation Deck, with an unbelievable view of vibrant New York City life underneath and a magnificent panorama of the city’s skyline.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

New York City Guided Sightseeing Tour


#3  Big Bus New York Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Big Bus New York Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

  • Departure Point: Board the bus at any stop along your route
  • Duration: Varies
  • Includes: Hop-on hop-off bus tour, live guide

See the complete Tour Stops Schedule.

Explore New York City with your own itinerary by an open-top Big Bus tour, which makes over 30 stops around the city, for you to hop on and hop off whenever you like.

This double decker bus tour around NYC offers a trip by Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Central Park, Empire State Building, through the famous Manhattan district, not less famous Brooklyn district, Harlem, and many, many other significant spots of the Big Apple.

On the way, you have a chance to learn about the city’s history from the engaging guide.

This hop on hop off bus tour makes navigating around New York City landmarks easy and pleasurable. Just show your voucher (printed or mobile) to the Big Bus staff on any stop and hop on.

Ride through Upper, Lower or Midtown Manhattan, visit the Greenwich Village, take a look at Little Italy and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and hop off wherever you see an interesting spot or a place for magnificent photos. Or stay for a whole route, which takes approximately 2 hours.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

Big Bus New York Hop-On Hop-Off Tour


#4  New York City Sightseeing Tour by Coach

New York City Sightseeing Tour by

New York City Sightseeing Tour by Coach at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Sheraton New York
  • Departure Time: 8:30 a.m.
  • Duration: 5 hours (approx.)
  • Includes: Live commentary on-board, 9 stops during the tour
Enjoy a fun 5-hour tour on a van or a mini-bus around the top tourist spots of New York City, accompanied by narration from a professional guide.

This NYC bus tour will take you to Central Park, Dakota Building, Lincoln Center, the Upper West Side, the Flatiron Building, the Greenwich Village, the district of Soho, Harlem, Little Italy, and many, many other attractions of New York City.

You have a chance to enjoy a guided walking tour around the famous district of Chinatown and get off the bus near the Brooklyn Bridge, for a magnificent view of Brooklyn district and Manhattan Bridge.

On the way, you will drive past the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, Museo del Barrio, the Fifth Avenue, the Radio City Music Hall, and, of course, the Rockefeller Center.

Get a chance to visit the Financial District, Wall Street, and the Battery Park, for a great view of the Statue of Liberty.

There will be a stop for a short lunch at Chelsea Market, where you can find numerous budget cafes and street food vendors.

Enjoy the personal service and attention of the guide, due to a small number of tourists on the group. You will see that a mini bus tour in NYC is not worse than a tour on a big double decker bus.

This NYC bus tour ends at Herald Square, by the Empire State Building.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

New York City Sightseeing Tour by Coach


#5  New York Double-Decker Bus Night Tour

New York Double-Decker Bus Night Tour

New York Double-Decker Bus Night Tour at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Gray Line Visitor Center
  • Departure Time: Daily at 6:30 p.m.
  • Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)
  • Includes: Double Decker Bus Tour
Get to know the vibrant nightlife of the Big Apple, the city, which never goes to sleep. Enjoy the evening panorama of the city lights; see its most famous landmarks covered in sunset colors and neon light. Get aboard a double decker bus for a view of the sparkling Manhattan skyline.

Rest after a long day of sightseeing, while enjoying the views of Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building, the Manhattan Bridge, Greenwich Village, Little Italy, the Lower East Side, Soho, and Chinatown.

Get to know the history of New York City from an on-board guide, while seating comfortably on the double decker tour bus. You will cross the Brooklyn Bridge for a sparkling view of the evening Manhattan skyline.

And if you are lucky to come to New York City during Christmas time, enjoy the Holiday Lights Tour, instead of the Night Tour, which will take you to Midtown, covered in Christmas lights and decorations.

The guide will show famous New York City department stores, brightly decorated for the holidays, filled with people buying presents for their significant ones.

This NYC double decker bus tour returns to original departure point.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

New York Double-Decker Bus Night Tour


Your Guide to Visiting New York City

Best NYC Bus Tours - Guide Image

Airports & Entry

There are three airports in New York City: John F Kennedy International Airport, La Guardia Airport, and Newark Liberty International Airport.

To get from the JFK Airport to the city, take the AirTrain, which links to the subway, and will take you to Manhattan in one hour by the cost of $2,75. Or use the service of an express bus to Grand Central Terminal or Port Authority, which takes 1,5 hours and costs $18.

You can also take a taxi from the taxi dispatch booths or use services, such as Uber. The flat taxi fare is $52, excluding tolls, tips, and rush hour surcharge.

La Guardia is the closest airport to Manhattan, and still, least accessible by public transport. You can take an express bus #Q70, which will bring you to the 74th St – Broadway metro station, and will cost you $15. Or take a cab, which will cost approximately $34 – $53, excluding tolls and tips.

From Newark Liberty Airport, take the AirTrain to Newark Airport train station, and then, take any train to New York Penn Station for $13. Taxi fares range from $60 to $80, excluding tolls and tips.

Planning Tips

You should promptly consider your plans for the Big Apple, before you pack your luggage. Are you going for a picnic in the Central Park? Are you planning to visit a musical, an opera, or a theatre performance? Are you going to dine in a luxury top-end restaurant on the Fifth?

Consider all your wants and needs for your trip to New York, not only to pack everything you might need, but also to get tickets in advance. Keep in mind, the most popular places and events can be highly overbooked during the high season (summer, vacation time, and during the holiday season).

Restaurants & Eating Out

New York City might have its disadvantages, but you’ll never get hungry in the Big Apple, that’s for sure. Countless cafes, bars, bistros, and restaurants cater for every taste and budget. Italian, Asian, Middle Eastern, Greek, French, Mexican – the variety of cuisines available is outstanding.

From small family cafes to large international restaurant chains, from fast food to luxury “haute couture” cuisine, from street food of all kinds to extravagant restaurants with huge booking lists.

Whatever plans you have for the Big Apple, you definitely can’t leave without trying these typical New York foods and drinks:

  • Pizza
  • Hot dog
  • Bagels
  • Sandwich
  • Cheesecake New York
  • Egg Cream
  • Long Island Ice Tea

If you are on a budget, don’t miss the markets: Chelsea and Fulton 55, where you can find all kinds of New York street food, as well as numerous budget cafes.

Nightlife & Entertainment

New bars and clubs open and close in New York City all the time. Every district is filled with night entertainment facilities. If you are in Manhattan, head to Greenwich Village. There are plenty of places, popular with locals, mostly NYU students. Chelsea and Lower East Side are other popular nightlife spots in the heart of the Big Apple. However, if you are staying in Brooklyn, Queens, or Staten Island, don’t worry, you won’t feel the lack of sparkling New York nightlife.

New York City has the name of the world capital of jazz, and it is probably true. The city has expired many world famous jazz musicians in the past, and nowadays, it has countless settings, where you can listen to good jazz music, while enjoying a drink with your friends or a date.

Probably, the most famous jazz club in the world is the Blue Note in Greenwich Village. And the Village Vanguard, which dates back to 1935, is another popular spot in the district for jazz admirers. However, if you can’t afford such top-end places, take a look at Smalls or Fat Cat, situated also in Greenwich Village, just a block from each other, which keep their charges quite reasonable.

Salsa, although originates from Cuba, also draws numerous dance lovers to New York City clubs. If you find yourself into passionate Afro-Caribbean rhythms, head to Copacabana, the best-known Latin dance club dating back to 1940’s, situated right next to Times Square, El Morocco in Spanish Harlem, or Iguana in West Midtown.

As for classical entertainment, Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall, along with Broadway theaters are the main venues you should head towards. Opera, ballet, music shows, and concerts of all kinds will suit any cultural taste and budget.

And, of course, most New Yorkers tend to be passionate sports fans. Baseball, basketball, hockey teams – you have a wide list to choose from. Join the locals in one of the games, pick your favorite, and don’t forget to buy souvenirs during a break.

Getting Around

New York City has an extended system of public transportation, which includes subway, buses, commuter rail, and ferries. The terrible stories about New York City subway crimes are mostly in the past. However, you should still be careful, when traveling alone at night: don’t flash your valuables in public, use crowded stations, and try to be around people all the time.

Yellow cabs are as much the symbol of New York City, as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. They are numerous, reasonably priced, and comfortable. To get a cab, all you need to do is stand close to the road and raise your arm. However, if you are in a hurry, it may be wiser to go underground, due to heavy traffic, especially during rush hours.

Accommodations

New York City has some of the most expensive accommodations in the world. Be prepared to pay a minimum of $100 – $200 for a hotel room and, at least, $50 for a bed in a hostel in Manhattan. However, Manhattan is not the only district in New York. You can find much cheaper accommodation in Long Island City, Queens, Brooklyn, or New Jersey. Cheaper fares are also available during January and February, in the end of August, and on Sundays.

Typically, the room fare is claimed without taxes. All New York State and New York City taxes add up to approximately 15%. So, be prepared to pay more on arrival, than the amount on the booking.

Weather

New York City generally experiences cold winters, wet springs, hot humid summers, and cool dry autumns. In winter, the temperature can decrease to -18oC and during the summer, be prepared for the temperature to go up to 38oC sometimes. Snowstorms are regular during the winter months, but the snow rarely lies longer, than for a couple of days. Also, tropical storms can hit the city during summer time and in September. So, keep that in mind.

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R. L. Moore "El Tigre"

Richard M. aka El Tigre is an avid adventure traveler with extensive trekking experience throughout Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. In 1998 he weathered category 5 Hurricane Mitch on the northern coast of Honduras. He has mountain-biked, hiked and 4x4 toured extensively in Central America, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico. In the summer of 2004 he lived among the Kuna Indians of the San Blas islands in Panama. Today, he manages a real estate investments company based in San Jose, Costa Rica and organizes adventure travel excursions to Costa Rica. He is a motorcycle enthusiast and enjoys sport touring and dual-sport riding. Richard lives in Arizona.

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