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The best NYC bus tours

From the classic double-decker bus trip to a Sex and the City excursion, here are the best NYC bus tours for sightseeing

Photograph: Courtesy Big Bus New York Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

In a rush to see all of NYC? Bus tours are your most efficient option. While you could take a leisurely stroll with the best walking tours in NYC or feast your way through the best food tours, you’ll visit more in less time with one of the best NYC bus tours. Whether you’re looking for the classic hop-on, hop-off bus experience, a themed TV and movie tour of popular filming sites or a straightforward excursion that hits all the top New York attractions, we’ve got you covered with our guide to the best NYC bus tours.

RECOMMENDED: Find more New York City tours

Best NYC bus tours

1
THE RIDE New York City

THE RIDE New York City

For an alternative to the usual double-decker red bus, this dynamic part-show, part-city tour adds an element of performance to the usual cruise of New York landmarks. The uniquely designed, $1.5 million bus offers outward-facing, stadium seating with floor-to-ceiling glass windows from which to view passing sights. Billed as a “traveling theater,” the 75-minute ride allows guests to interact with street performers and take photos of top attractions. $55

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2
Big Bus New York Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Big Bus New York Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Visiting New York for the first time? This comprehensive, fully-narrated tour of more than 30 attractions allows you to customize your itinerary, boarding and leaving whenever it’s convenient for you. Vouchers can be redeemed in Times Square, where the tour begins. From there, choose from three routes: the uptown loop, which includes Rockefeller Center, Lincoln Center and the Apollo Theatre; the midtown loop, which stops at the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden and United Nations Headquarters; or the downtown loop, which visits Little Italy, Chinatown and the World Trade Center. $40.50

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3
Sex and the City Hotspots Tour

Sex and the City Hotspots Tour

New York City itself plays such a big role in Sex and the City, it might as well be the fifth member of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda’s gang. Step into the girls’ fabulous shoes for a day on a guided tour aboard a luxury coach. You’ll spy the site of Carrie’s rehearsal dinner, the sex shop where Charlotte purchased her “rabbit” and the bar owned by Steve and Aidan. $49

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4
Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens Coach Tour

Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens Coach Tour

This 4.5-hour tour takes you through three boroughs—four if you count your departure from Manhattan. Board at Grand Central Station and drive north through the Upper East Side to Spanish Harlem and the Bronx. Check out Yankee Stadium and the Italian enclave on Arthur Avenue before crossing into Queens. You’ll drive through Astoria and Long Island City before entering Brooklyn. Then, you’ll head south through Greenpoint and Williamsburg with a stop at Fortunato Brothers for a cappuccino or gelato. There’s just enough time left to drive over the Brooklyn Bridge for one last look at the New York City skyline. $60

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5
The Sopranos Sites Tour

The Sopranos Sites Tour

Make like Tony Soprano with this Jersey-set tour visiting key locations in the Mafia-inspired HBO series. The four-hour excursion starts in Midtown Manhattan and crosses into New Jersey to pass the fictional sites of hush-hush deals and violent beat downs, including Muffler Man, Pizza Land, the Valley Landscape silo and the ramp to the Pulaski Skyway seen at the end of every episode. You’ll also catch a glimpse of Satin Dolls (the Bada Bing bar). $52

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6
New York at Night Open Top Bus Tour

New York at Night Open Top Bus Tour

If New York is the city that never sleeps, it makes sense to experience in all its nighttime glory. This after-hours tour starts at 51st Street and Broadway, hitting stops like Times Square, the Empire State Building and Chinatown, and crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. On the way, you’ll see the city illuminated and views of the Manhattan skyline as you cross into Brooklyn. $29

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7
Gossip Girl Sites Tour

Gossip Girl Sites Tour

“Spotted at Grand Central, bags in hand” is the opening line of the New York-centric hit show Gossip Girl. An homage to the city and its super elite, the show takes place across a number of memorable locations. This three-hour tour takes fans to sites including the hotel that was home to the Bass and Van der Woodsen families, the Henri Bendel store where the girls shop and of course, Blair’s throne on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. $49

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8
NYC Harlem and Gospel Tour by Bus

NYC Harlem and Gospel Tour by Bus

On this new guided tour, explore the culture of Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood, one of the meccas of African-American identity. The tour visits both iconic and lesser-known attractions, such as Saint John the Divine, a renowned neo-Gothic church, and the Apollo Theater, where Michael Jackson once performed. The multi-sensory tour also makes stops at the soulful Sylvia’s Restaurant and allows guests to participate in a Gospel mass. $59

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9
New York City Guided Sightseeing Tour by Sprinter

New York City Guided Sightseeing Tour by Sprinter

Opt for a smaller group experience with a choice of four-, six- and eight-hour tours aboard a Sprinter minibus. All include a comprehensive tour of Manhattan, from lower to upper, visiting spots such as Battery Park, Museum Mile, Central Park, Greenwich Village and Times Square. Upgrading to the longer tours will also afford you the chance to hop off the bus for guided walks of historic sites, a one-hour sightseeing cruise with incredible views of the Statue of Liberty and the chance to look out over Manhattan from the Top of the Rock. $65-$109

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Comments

4 comments
Elizabeth M
Elizabeth M

The best way to see NYC, no matter the size of your group is High Quality Tours! Beautiful luxury buses and all of the tours include something; a sightseeing cruise, tickets to On World Observatory or even lunch! 


highqualitytours.com

Talmage D
Talmage D

I think that this would be the way to see New York for the first time. You wouldn't have to worry about driving in traffic, and being on the roof would allow you to see exactly how tall those buildings are. My grandkids have never seen New York City before, and I've been trying to convince their mom to let me take them. They would love one of these bus tours. http://www.voigtbus.com/

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