Circle Line Cruises
The Circle Line’s famed three-hour guided circumnavigation of Manhattan Island ($24–$37) is a fantastic way to get your bearings and see many of the city’s sights as you pass under its iconic bridges. Themed tours include a New Year’s Eve cruise, a Fourth of July celebration, an evening "Harbor Lights" sailing tour (Mar–mid Apr) and an autumn foliage ride to Bear Mountain in the Hudson Valley (mid Sept–Oct). If you don’t have time for the full trip, there’s a two-hour "Liberty" tour that goes around downtown to the Brooklyn Bridge and back. From May through September, the Beast ($19–$25) offers a fun, adrenalin-inducing and splashy 30-minute ride. Pier 83, 42nd St at the Hudson River (212-563-3200, circleline42.com). Subway: A, C, E to 42nd St–Port Authority.
New York Water Taxi
Like their earth-bound counterparts, New York water taxis are bright yellow, speedy and a great way to get around town. Unlike street taxis, they run on a set schedule, and at weekends you can hop on and off with an All-Day Access Pass ($19–$31), enjoying neighborhood attractions along the way. Offerings include daily Statue of Liberty Express tours ($19–$31) year-round, daily "Statue by Night" cruises with a free champagne toast for over-21s ($19-$31), and an "Audubon Eco-Cruise" ($25-$60) on summer weekends that takes you to uninhabited South Brother Island, a breeding ground for migratory birds such as the great egret (Jun–Aug, see website for specific days). Pier 16, South Street Seaport (212-742-1969, nywatertaxi.com)
Staten Island Ferry
During this commuter barge’s free 25-minute crossing, you get superb panoramas of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. Boats leave South Ferry at Battery Park and run 24 hours a day. Battery Park, South St at Whitehall St (718-727-2508, siferry.com). Subway: R to Whitehall St–South Ferry; 1 to South Ferry; 4, 5 to Bowling Green