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The Hornblower Infinity on the waters around Manhattan.
Scott Barrow

The best boat tours in NYC

All aboard! Book these boat tours in NYC for incredible views of the Statue of Liberty and other iconic landmarks.

Annalise Mantz
Written by
Annalise Mantz
Time Out New York contributors

Why settle for walking/bus tours in New York City when you could cruise the harbor on a boat tour? The upper deck of a yacht or rail of a sailboat offers some of the most incredible views in city, from the breathtaking skyline to glimpses of the legendary attractions. Plus, you won’t have to deal with packed subway cars or jammed streets. Better book your tickets ahead of time, though: locals and tourists alike will no doubt have some of these cruises, sunset sails and yacht parties on their list of can’t-miss things to do in the summer.

Best boat tours in NYC

The Circle Line’s famed 2.5-hour guided circumnavigation of Manhattan Island is a fantastic way to get your bearings and see many of the city’s sights as you pass under its iconic bridges. It’s the only sightseeing cruise to circle the island, giving you unparalleled views of three rivers and all five boroughs. You’ll even pass within 100 feet of the Statue of Liberty. Better get your camera ready! $43

You can't miss the water taxis, they look just like the car versions: big, bright and yellow. These little beauties cruise round New York Harbor daily, passing major sites like the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings, Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. You can stay on and complete the entire loop in 70 minutes, or hop on and off as you please, exploring the greats eats, shops and attractions in NYC's waterside neighborhoods. $37


Perfect for the sightseer who knows exactly what he or she wants, this Circle Line express tour goes right to the Statue of Liberty—no pit stops this time. Listen to an expert guide point out some lower Manhattan landmarks before pausing for photos right next to Lady Liberty. And since this cruise only takes an hour, it’s easy to fit into even the busiest itinerary. $30.99


The area south of 59th Street is packed with architecturally significant buildings: There’s the Chrysler Building, the Woolworth Building, the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center, just to name a few. This 90-minute boat tour led by a member of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects will cover all of Manhattan’s most significant structures, plus the Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty. Sip complimentary beer, wine or champagne from the bar while you learn about infrastructure, parks and architecture. $48


Adrenaline junkies will want to book tickets for this supercharged half-hour ride through New York Harbor. The 70-foot speedboat known as the Beast zooms toward Statue of Liberty at 45 miles per hour, kicking up plenty of waves. In fact, the ride can get so intense that guides recommend wearing wetsuits. $30


Put your purse away, because the Staten Island Ferry is totally free. That's right, in one of the most expensive cities in the world, you can find a free ride. This old chugger has been going since before any bridges were built, transporting folks from the 'burbs to Manhattan in 25 minutes. It still functions as a commuter necessity, but more and more sightseers are taking it to get the stunning panoramas of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. Boats leave South Ferry at Battery Park and run 24 hours a day.

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