What’s every sightseer’s worst nightmare? Spending so much time wandering the streets and fighting their way through crowds that they never actually get to see the sights! That’s why we think bus tours can be such a practical, convenient option for those travelers who are looking to take in NYC’s most iconic landmarks.
Why do we love bus tours as much as we do? There’s a few reasons: First and foremost, they typically allow you to “hop on and hop off” the bus, meaning that you can leave the bus, enjoy the sights you want to see, then get back on the bus when you’re ready to travel to the next location. They’re also a very affordable option compared to most other ways of seeing the city, so they’re perfect for travelers who are operating on a budget. Finally, bus tours offer a surprising amount of variety. In addition to tours that focus on the most famous sites in NYC (like the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge), there are a number of specialized tours available to cater to individual interests (think food tours and sports tours). Listed below, you’ll find some of our current favorite big bus tours for 2018:
The 4 Best NYC Bus Tours
Brooklyn is unquestionably hip right now, and for good reason: This borough’s food, culture, and entertainment are some of the best in the whole of the U.S.A. True to Brooklyn’s down to earth attitude, the Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours are famous for their personable, fun flair and great food. You won’t find any boring, droning tour guides here: All of the Slice of Brooklyn tour guides are Brooklyn natives who delight in engaging with travelers and sharing their favorite stories. As the tour company promises on its website, “We don’t just show you around- we treat you like family!” It’s little wonder that this tour maintains a 5 star rating on TripAdvisor.
The Slice of Brooklyn company offers four distinct tour options to cater to different tastes:
- The Chocolate Tour, featuring four of the best chocolate makers in Brooklyn. $50 for adults, $40 for kids 12 and under.
- The Pizza Tour, which incorporates pizza from Brooklyn’s finest restaurants along with a tour of locations from famous movies. $80 for adults, $70 for kids 12 and under.
- The Neighborhood Tour, which cruises through Brooklyn’s hippest neighborhoods. $80 for adults, $70 for kids 12 and under.
- The Christmas Lights Tour, which operates seasonally and takes travelers through some of Brooklyn’s most decorated neighborhoods. $50 for adults, $40 for kids 12 and under.
With a four star rating on TripAdvisor and a long history of operation, the Big Bus tour is the classic choice for travelers who want to see the parts of Manhattan that have been made famous by movies and postcards: Times Square, Broadway, 5th Avenue, Wall Street, Central Park, etc. However, this is no “run of the mill” tour; the Big Bus tour remains one of the best bus tours NYC has to offer thanks to its lively, creative narration and rich itinerary. Travelers who purchase the Deluxe Ticket ($81 for adults and $63 for kids under 12) will be treated to two days of diverse sightseeing. The Deluxe tour offers bus trips through Harlem, Brooklyn, and Uptown, with the addition of cruise boat tours and night tours. Considering the affordable price tag of this tour, you get a lot of value for your ticket money.
If the thought of having to crane your neck for hours to look out a bus window is enough to scare you away from even the best NYC hop on hop off tours, then The Ride is for you. The buses used for The Ride are specially designed, multi-million-dollar vehicles that feature theater seating and offer a full panoramic view of the city streets. In other words, passengers get to sit back, relax, and watch the streets of NYC unfold in front of them like a movie. Enhancing the experience, The Ride comes with its own entertainers. The tour guides are both professional comedians who do improv routines during the tour, meaning each Ride experience is unique. The Ride also employs a number of actors, singers, dancers, and instrumentalists to act as street performers along the route, meaning that you’re in for a new surprise at every turn. For a tour that charges just $69 for 75 minutes, The Ride is a bargain for what you get.
No sports enthusiast could possibly say no to the New York Sports Tour, but what makes this big bus tour truly special is that it’s also a fascinating experience for those who aren’t avid sportsmen (or women). Not only does this tour take passengers around NYC’s many famous sports-related landmarks, it provides a vibrant, engaging, and richly informative look into sports history. The New York Sports Tour explores how sports-related events and public figures have actively shaped the development of American culture, from 1776 to present. As one reviewer on TripAdvisor said about this 5 star rated excursion, it’s “Absolutely brilliant! . . . A New York sports time machine . . . one of the rarest glimpses into New York City and sports . . . relaxing and thrilling . . . well-versed tour guides and excellent short videos throughout the ride . . . immersive . . . a worthy alternative to taking in a Broadway show.”
The “full experience ticket” runs at about $200 and includes a full four hours of tour time and a meal. For $150, you can book a three hour ticket that doesn’t include a meal.
Whether you’re looking for unadulterated sightseeing, an entertainment experience, food that’s to die for, or the sports history lesson of a lifetime, the Big Apple has something to offer. This complex, dynamic city is just a bus ride away.