Flatiron Feature

The Flatiron Building in New York City

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

When Daniel Burnham’s design for the George A. Fuller company’s office building was completed in 1902, it was named after Fuller himself, the Fuller building. But much like 56 Leonard today has come to be known as the Jenga building, New Yorkers gave this building a name of their own, the Flatiron building, because of its similarity to the household appliance, a flat iron.  With the intersection of Broadway and 5th Avenue forming a triangle, there was no room for a traditionally shaped building if the developer wanted to use all of the real estate available. Instead, this plot of land, (which had always been known as the Flatiron) suggested that this, and many other buildings made at intersections would come to look like.
 

 


Visiting the Flatiron Building 

Map of Flatiron

The Flatiron building is located at the intersection of Broadway and 5th avenue on 23rd street. The closest subway stations are the N/Q/R/W at 23rd Street Station in Madison Square Park, right in front of  the building. You can also take the 6 train to 23rd Street just to the east of the building. Lastly, you can take the F or M to 23rd Street, however the exit is on 6th Avenue and so you will have to walk one long crosstown block to 5th Avenue. 

TIP: Located inside Madison Square Park is the original Shake Shack location, where some say are the absolute best hamburgers in town. 

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Tenement Feature Image

Tenement Museum in New York City

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

The Tenement Museum, located at 97 Orchard Street, is a must see for anyone visiting the Lower East Side.  Built in 1863, this tenement style apartment building served as a residence for approximately 7,000 immigrants from the time it was built all the way into the 1930’s. In an effort to preserve the history of the immigrant experience on the Lower East Side, historian and social activist, Ruth Abram, led a movement to  convert this run down building,  and in 1992, the Tenement Museum at 97 Orchard Street opened its doors.

TIP: A great way to complement your visit to the museum is to take one of our pay-what-you-wish tours.  Check out our Lower East Side/Nolita/East Village tour or our Lower East Side Food Tour.  

Getting There

Building Tours

Walking Tours & Food Tours

 


 

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Bus NYC to DC

New York to Washington DC by Bus

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City, Washington DC.

This post reviews the various bus companies that offer bus service between NYC and DC.  We compare the average prices, length of journey, availability of basic facilities (such as Wifi and luggage storage), and arrival/departure locations. With so many different bus companies operating between the cities, it is hard to know which one offers the best value for your needs.  Additionally, we also show you how to easily compare and book bus tickets for specific journey times on your own, as well as use public transportation in either city, find the best bus tours, and choose the best hotel. Finally, we’ve also included a list things to do in NYC and DC so that you can make the best use of your time in both cities.

Sorting out transportation during your vacation can be stressful, but with this guide it doesn’t have to be!


Buying Bus Tickets

Company Reviews

Pick-Up + Drop-off Locations

Things to Know


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Donald Trump Buildings in New York City

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

Donald Trump is the second native New Yorker to be elected to the Oval Office, the first having been Theodore Roosevelt, who was born in Gramercy Park.  Trump, who was born in the borough of Queens, also happens to be one of the biggest real estate tycoons in the city.  He has more 30 properties in the United States. Trump’s real estate imprint, buildings that he currently or formerly owns, is all over Manhattan.  From Soho to Chelsea, Midtown to Downtown, Upper West Side to the Upper East Side, there is a Trump connection.  This self-guided tour lists the addresses as well as links to our neighborhood guides so you can explore on your own.  You might consider timing your visits to these buildings to sync up with one of our many pay-what-you-wish tours

MIDTOWN

Trump Tower  721 5th Avenue between 56th and 57th Street 

Trump Tower

This 58-story skyscraper, completed in 1983, is a mix of apartments, offices and stores.  It is the central headquarters for The Trump Organization.  It also is where President Trump’s penthouse is located.  This building shouldn’t be hard to find these days given all the recent security and protests. Trump Tower is the location of the “You’re fired” boardroom for NBC’s The Apprentice.  

If you plan on going here, see our post Visiting Trump Tower in New York City.

In the summer of 2016 in the height of the presidential election race, a man attempted to scale the building, claiming he had an important message to deliver. Just days after Trump won the election, protesters gathered outside, changing the flashy class of the tower into a site of outrage.  This video shows both:


 

The Grand Hyatt Hotel at Grand Central

Grand Hyatt

Just east of Grand Central Terminal, stands the 295 ft. (90 m), 26 story Grand Hyatt Hotel. When it opened in 1919, it was known as the Commodore hotel, named after railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt.  Vanderbilt’s nickname was the Commodore.   In 1976, Trump teamed up with the Hyatt Corporation to buy it.  In 1996, the Hyatt Corporation bought Trump’s share for $142 million.  It has undergone renovations in 1980, 1996, and 2011 and it features 1,306 rooms.   Check out our Grand Central Terminal tour and Midtown tour.

 

CHELSEA

The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center  Eleventh Ave between 34th and 40th Sts.

Known as the busiest convention center in the United States, it was opened in 1986 and named after United States Senator Jacob K. Javits who died that year. This 1,800,000 square foot (170,000 square meters) convention space served as Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton’s election night headquarters, but it is also linked to the Trump name.

In the early 1970’s, Donald Trump supported the idea of building a convention center at this location, bought an option when Penn Central declared bankruptcy in 1975, and wanted to name it the Trump Center, after his father, Fred Trump, who was also a real estate developer.  At one point in the 1970’s, The Donald almost tricked the city into naming it that.  The Javits Center is also where ComicCon and the NY International Auto Show are held. Located just north of the Highline  you can get a great close-up view of the Javits Center as you enter or exit the Highline on 34th Street.

We offer several tours of surrounding area with an emphasis on the must-see High Line!  Click here to find out about the many different pay-what-you-wish tours we offer.  Feel free to use our self-guided tour of the High Line and neighborhood and also the Chelsea Market. We even have a free Audio Tour of the Highline!

 

SOHO 

Trump SoHo Hotel  246 Spring Street 

Trump Hotel SoHo

Trump SoHo, a $450 million, 46-story, 391 room hotel opened in 2010 and is by run y Trump’s children Donald Jr. and Ivanka.  As of 2016, this is the latest building project constructed by Trump with his name on it.  It is a four and a half star hotel with amazing amenities such an outdoor pool deck complete with a waterfall, cabanas and drinks from  the Bar D’Eau. Standard rooms go from ‎$317 to $671.

If you can’t get a room here, you may want to coordinate your visit so you can take our pay-what-you-wish SoHo, Little Italy & Chinatown tour, which meets only one block away!

 

LOWER MANHATTAN

40 Wall Street between Nassau Street and William Street 

40 Wall Street

Also known as the Trump Building, this 71-story commercial skyscraper, completed in 1930 after 11 months of construction, is probably the most historic of all of Trump’s buildings. originally known as the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building as well as the Manhattan Company Building, it was renamed the Chase Manhattan Bank building then bought by Donald Trump and renamed The Trump Building.  It remains 100% commercial space.  In 2003, Trump’s efforts to sell the building for more than $300 million proved unsuccessful.  In 1998, the building was designated a NYC landmark.

In 2007, Trump stated he paid $1 million for 40 Wall Street and that it was worth $600 million in 1995, a $200 million increase from two years earlier.  It has also been reported that he paid $10 million and that is worth about $400 million.

Be sure to take our Lower Manhattan or All-in-One Downtown tour for an up close look at this iconic edifice, which was the tallest building in the world for only four days!  Read more about the historic skyscraper race in 1929 between 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler building.

 

UPPER EAST SIDE AND TUDOR CITY

Trump World Tower 845 United Nations Plaza 

Trump World Tower

You might recognize from NBC’s The Apprentice.  This 72 floor apartment building was completed in 2001 at a cost of $300 million.  This building features a two story bar and cocktail lounge called the World Bar, which is frequented by UN diplomats.  Also of note are the large windows, giving residents spectacular views of the East River and Midtown.

Until 2003, it was the tallest all-residential building in the world and is currently the tallest residential building owned by Donald Trump.  Prices range from $625,000 for a studio to over $28 million for a penthouse.  Originally, the top two floors, a 20,000 square foot space, were being sold as one penthouse for $58 million, but didn’t sell and were then split into four units.  Rentals range from $2800-$3700 for a studio to about $5000 for a one bedroom.  

Yankees great and future Hall of Famer, Derek Jeter, bought a 5, 425 square foot condo here for $12. 6 million and sold it for $15.5 million in 2012.  Other tenants have included Bill Gates, Sophia Loren, and Harrison Ford. Senior Advisor to Donald Trump, Kelly Anne Elizabeth Conway, owned a condo here when it first opened. To learn more about the United Nations, use our Self-Guided Tour of the United Nations Building.

 

 

610 Park Avenue corner of 65th street 

Daniel

Also located on the Upper East Side, this building was formerly the Mayfair Hotel. This 15 story pre-war classic was built in 1925 and converted into a 70 unit condominium in 1998.  610 Park Avenue is also known for Daniel Boulud’s legendary restaurant, Daniel.  This four star spot, considered to be one of the world’s best restaurants, offers full butler service to 610 Park residents.

 

Trump Park Avenue Park Avenue and 59th Street

This 1929 building was originally the Viceroy Hotel.  It has 32 stories high and has 8 penthouses. Trump purchased it for $115 million in 2002 and converted it into a residential building in 2004.

 

Trump Palace 200 East 69th Street 

Trump Palace

Rising to 623 ft. (190 m.), this 54 story luxury tower is the tallest building on the Upper East Side, and it was designed to resemble classic art deco architecture of the 1920’s and ’30’s.  Trump purchased it in 1985 and it was completed in 1991. The average purchase prices of a condo here are:

Studio $625,000
1 bedroom $920,000
2 bedroom $2,600,000
3 bedroom $4,750,000
4 bedroom $10,000,000

 

UPPER WEST SIDE AND MIDTOWN WEST

Trump International Hotel and Tower   1 Central Park West

Trump International

Construction of this 44 story residential & hotel building began in 1968 and was completed in 1970.  Originally an office building, this 583 ft. tower was renovated from 1995 to 1997. Trump bought it in 1994 with the intention of making it a part condo part hotel.  In April 1996, Trump said that he would move into the building’s penthouse.  He also said the address would be changed from 7 Columbus Circle to 1 Central Park West.  

Out front, as homage to the Unisphere located in Trump’s home borough of Queens, is a 30-foot-wide silver globe, titled “Trump International”.   The 2011 film Tower Heist was filmed here.  

Speaking of film locations, many of our tours, including Central Park, Midtown Manhattan and Grand Central feature many movie locations.

 

1290 6th Avenue between 51st and 52nd Sts.

1290 6th Ave

Recently LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), this 1964 building, originally designed by renowned architectural firm, Emery Roth & Son, and restored in 2013, occupies an entire block in the center of Manhattan. It has 43 stories of office space, and offers spectacular views of Central Park and New York City’s skyline. In sharp contrast to bedazzling golden Trump Tower a few blocks away, this building has a stunning, crisp and modern all-white marble lobby.  Speaking of New York City’s unparalleled skylines be sure to take our Brooklyn Bridge/Brooklyn Heights/DUMBO tour.  From the bridge you can fabulous views of both the downtown and midtown skylines.

 

Riverside South & Trump Place along the Hudson River between 59th and 72nd Sts. 

Trump Place and Riverside South

In the 1970’s Trump partnered with six civic associations to build this 3.5 billion dollar, 57 acre urban development. Built on the former New York Central Railroad yard, it includes Trump Place and Riverside Center. Trump sold it to investors from Hong Kong and China in 1997. Trump parlayed his sale of Riverside South into two premier office buildings: 1290 Avenue of the Americas and 555 California Street in San Francisco.  This is considered the most lucrative deal of Trump’s career, accounting for the largest percentage of his net worth, approximately $3.5 billion, according to Fortune Magazine. The three buildings that make up Trump Place is no longer emblazoned with the Trump name.  During the election race, residents of these buildings began a petition to have the name removed based on offensive statements and actions then nominee Trump made.  The three buildings are ow known simply by their street addresses: 140, 160 and 180 Riverside Blvd. 

 

 

CENTRAL PARK SOUTH 

Trump Parc and Trump Parc East  Central Park South and the southwest corner of 6th Avenue

Trump Parc

These two adjoining buildings are owned by The Trump Organization.  Trump Parc East is a 14-story apartment/condominium building built in 1929 and Trump Parc (the former Barbizon Plaza Hotel) is a 38-story condominium building. 

Trump bought the Barbizon Plaza Hotel and 100 Central Park South in 1981 for $13 million. At the time, 100 Central Park South was a rent-controlled building with 80 apartments.  

After a long stretch of legal battles between Trump and the tenants of 100 Central Park South, a final settlement was reached in 1988.  The building was converted to a condominium and 51 units remained rent regulated.  Some tenants here pay less than a $1000 a month in rent for a one-bedroom apartment! At one point, Eric Trump lived here.

Central Park is such an amazing place with or without Trump buildings, it is definitely a place to explore. We offer several different tours we offer of Central Park, including bike tours, walking tours and a self-guided tour.

 

CENTRAL PARK

Wollman Rink  Inside Central Park closer to 5th Avenue between 63rd and 64th Sts 

Wollman Ice Rink

This public ice skating rink that operates from October-April is in the southern area of Central Park.  It opened in 1949 with funds donated by Kate Wollman.  In case you weren’t sure if Mr. Trump had anything to do with this ice rink, it will become clear once you’re here. Trump’s name is all along the rink walls and on the zamboni (ice resurfacing machine).  The rink was closed in 1980 for a two year renovation plan at a cost of $9.1 million.  In 1986, when the project was still not complete and the budget had grown to $13 million, Donald Trump persuaded Mayor Ed Koch to let him take over the project.  Trump said it would be completed in four months for an additional $2.5 million. The rink reopened to the public on November 13, 1986, under budget at $2.25 million and two months ahead of schedule.  

Donald Trump operated the rink from 1987 to 1991.  Since 2001, Wollman Rink has been operated by The Trump Organization and Rink Management Services of Mechanicsville, Virginia.  The two organizations also run the Lasker Rink, located on the north edge of Central Park. The rink has been featured in several movies, including Love Story and Serendipity.  Speaking of ice skating rinks, if you are here during the winter months, here are other ice skating rinks in New York City.  

 

Related posts: 

 

 


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Written by Courtney Shapiro

 

 

New York 911 memorial 8

9/11 Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

In this post, we detail how to visit the National September 11th Memorial, also known as the 9/11 Memorial, World Trade Center Memorial, the Ground Zero Memorial, or the Twin Towers Memorial.  It is free to visit the memorial and you do not need tickets.  Tickets to the Museum and One World Observatory are required and have a cost, as do tours of the memorial itself. 

Plan Your Visit
Visiting the 911 Museum
Guided Tours
Self-Guided Tour
Lower Manhattan Sightseeing
World Trade Center and “Freedom Tower”

 

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New York on a budget

A Travel Guide for New York City on a Budget

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

New York City is a notoriously expensive city, both to live in and to explore as a tourist.  But, it doesn’t have to be. Free Tours by Foot’s pay-what-you-wish tours prove that.  However, there are much more ways to save during your trip to NYC than just our tours.  Here are some insider tips for taking in the best that this city has to offer without compromising your wallet.  Many amazing things in NYC are free or affordable can fit any budget! Here are some helpful hints to enjoy New York on a budget. (en español) (auf Deutsch).

Be sure to check out our budget itineraries for 1, 2, and 3 days in NYC and our newest tour/experience – Harlem Gospel Tour and Soul Food Experience on Tuesdays at 11 am.


Finding Discounts Before You Arrive

Free Museums and Attractions

Eating, Drinking and Nightlife

Discount Broadway Tickets and Shows

 

 

Finding Discounts Before You Arrive

Is the New York Pass Worth It?One of the most popular ways to save money on your visit to NYC is to purchase a tourist pass.  Tourist passes offer free entry (as well as discounted entry) to dozens of tourist destinations, such as the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty as wall as organized tours.  The passes are not for everyone; it depends on what you plan to see and how much time you have.  Check out our guide on choosing which tourist pass might work for you.

Before you pay full price for anything, we recommend that you first take a look at discount sights such as Living Social for discounts on tours, hotels, restaurants, and attractions.  Many travel companies will offer deep discounts on Broadway shows, sightseeing tours, dinners, flights, and hotels, depending on the season and their capacity.  Goldstar is a discount site that is focused on events and theater.

  • Save up to 40% admission to the Intrepid Sea, Air + Space Museum.
  • Get 20% off admission to the Bronx Zoo or pay what you wish on Wednesdays.

 


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Traveling to and from and around New York City

New York TaxiAs stated above, you should check out the discount websites for flight deals to and from NYC.  We’ve put together an article on finding cheap flights to New York City, which shares tips on when to travel and where and when to buy your tickets.  The savings don’t stop there.  Check out our money saving tips for travel to and from all three major New York City area airports.  If planning to travel by hop-on, hop-off bus, then check out our post comparing all New York bus tours.

Arguably the most important money saving thing you could do is take advantage of one of the world’s most extensive and inexpensive mass transit systems.  We have put together two guides, one for navigating the New York City subway system and the other to help you decide which travel card you should buy. We also recommend downloading one of these free subway apps.

Here are some other posts and articles on getting around NYC.

International Visitors to New York

  • Find Free WiFi – attention international travelers – don’t make expensive international roaming calls.
  • Which SIM Card to Buy? – learn about the different SIM card options to help avoid steep roaming fees.
  • Proper Tipping Etiquette – tipping is more prevalent in the U.S.A, so learn what appropriate and what’s not.

 


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Free and Pay-What-You-Wish Museums and Other Attractions

911 Memorial MuseumThis is another fantastic way to visit New York on a budget.  New York City is filled with museums of all shapes and sizes.  Many offer suggested donations, which means it’s only a suggestion.  Like our walking tours, you can pay what you wish or can afford.  Some museums have free days or nights.  Others are free altogether.  We’ve put together a list of these free museums, art galleries and attractions, which includes big names such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Modern Art.

We’ve also written a post on the Downtown Culture Pass, which like the tourist passes, offers entry to a number of Lower Manhattan museums over a 3 day period, including the Museum of American Finance, the 911 Tribute Center and the Skyscraper Museum.

Other Free Activities

  • Brooklyn Bridge – possibly the most famous attraction that you can see for absolutely free.
  • TV Show Tickets – Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America, Saturday Night Live and more.  All are free to attend.

 


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Save Money on Sightseeing Tours

All of the tours offered by Free Tours by Foot are pay-what-you-wish and a great way to visit New York on a budget. If you are considering a purchase of one of the New York tourist passes mentioned above, please be aware that participation on many sightseeing tours is included in the pre-paid price.   Check out our guide on choosing which tourist pass might work for you.  And as mentioned above, be sure to look at the discount sites for coupons on guided tours.

Below are some articles we have written to provide you with some options to sight-see for free or at a discount.

 


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Guide to Eating, Drinking and Nightlife in New York on a Budget

Food New YorkNew York City has great food and it doesn’t have to come at a great expense.  In fact, much of the food that New York City is famous for are surprisingly inexpensive.  Our pay-what-you-wish food tours rely on this affordability. One big suggesting is to experiment.   Also, as mentioned above, check out Living Social for restaurant deals.   You should also check to see if you will be visiting NYC during Restaurant Week.  Another option is to check out the deals on offer at restaurants.com.   A relatively new concept is having a meal at real New Yorker’s apartment.   Websites such as mealsharing.com allow travelers to find locals (often aspiring chefs) and have lunch or dinner at their homes.  It’s a great way to meet locals and not have the large costs associated with some restaurants.

For nightlife, consider our free night tours.

 


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Save Money on Accommodations in the Big Apple

hotel fotoliaYou might think that finding cheap hotels in New York City can be far more challenging to nearly impossible.  Believe it or not, it’s possible to find great New York budget hotels as low as $80 per night for a clean, comfortable hotel room in some prime location.   Once more, check out Living Social for deals on hotel stays. You should definitely check out discount search engines such as Cheapostay.   We’ve put together a few posts and articles on finding the right type of accommodation for you, including:

But there are many more alternative options:

  • Air B+B, the app that connects travelers with homeowners who want to rent out their space while they are away.
  • Couch Surfing – crash on someone’s couch
  • House Sitting – watch someone’s house (and sometimes pets) for free while they are away.  They also offer our guests 10% membership when you use FREETOURS10 at checkout.

 


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Discount Broadway Tickets and Shows

Broadway fotoliaIf you are planning to take in a Broadway show or any theater in the Big Apple, then this may be one of the biggest areas where you could save. The most popular thing that visitors do is visit the discount ticket booths throughout NYC.  Check out our blog post on how to obtain discount theater tickets at the TKTS Booths.  However, there are other ways to obtain cheap tickets for Broadway shows.  For more ways to score discount theater tickets, check out this post from Kiplinger’s.  And don’t forget about free tickets to Shakespeare in the Park.

If you are considering purchasing a tourist discount pass, the New York Pass entitles you to up to 10% on Broadway shows.

There are also a handful of other shows that offer discounted or free tickets on a regular basis. The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn features a free comedy show every Friday at midnight. Search: Paul Clayton is a musical that tells the story of Bob Dylan’s first musical mentor. Using the code SPCGEN at Brown Paper Tickets reduces the price from $35 to $24, and includes 2 drinks at the show.

 


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Finding Deals on Clothing in New York City

Shopping 3New York City is a top world destination for shoppers.  It’s easy to spend all your travel money on top shelf designer clothes.  However, shopping can be both fun and affordable.  We’ve put together a few posts and pages to help you discover all the best shopping discounts in the city and get the most bang for your buck.  First, take a look at our tips for discount shopping in New York City post.  This post outlines the many ways you can save, including outlets, retail sales, sample sales, discount department stores, designer resale and consignment stores as well as thrift and second hand shops.  Be sure to schedule some time at one of the area’s three main premium clothing outlets.  The most famous is Woodbury Commons, but there are two others that are arguably just as good.  Lastly, consider taking one of our pay-what-you-wish New York shopping tours, particularly our Thrift and Vintage Shopping Tour.

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A Review of Carnegie Hall Tours

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

carnegie-hallThis post is a review of Carnegie Hall Tours, what to expect, how to get a discount and much more.  One of the world’s most famous music venues, Carnegie Hall has been the showcase for legendary performers from around the world since its opening in 1891. And it is open to the public.

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New York Helicopter tours

Which New York Helicopter Tour is Best?

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

This post provides an overview of the various helicopter tours in New York City, including reviews and tips for the best rides. Manhattan boasts one of the most famous cityscapes in the world. A trip up to the Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building enables visitors a glimpse into the island’s scope. However, nothing quite allows that bird’s eye view of New York City like a helicopter ride of the city. There are many New York helicopter tours, but as guests will find, the tours can be very expensive, and sorting out which is the best value can be difficult. Thus, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite helicopter tour companies, provided some tips for finding discounts and analyzed which New York helicopter tour is best, cheapest and best value. (en español)


Cost and Value

List of Companies

Where Is the Heliport


 

CitySights is offering a great value deal.  Their All Around Town Tour & Manhattan Helicopter which includes a helicopter ride and 2 days of unlimited hop-on, hop-off bus tour service is $245/Adult and $235/Child.

Save more money with a discount tourist pass, some of which include discounts on helicopter tours.

 

 

Is a New York helicopter tour worth the cost?

There’s no denying that helicopter rides are costly. Even the most basic tour packages run well over $150 per person and usually only last 12-15 minutes. Expect to pay $199 and up (occasionally there are really great deals). Thus, for many, the price alone might mean that a helicopter tour just isn’t a feasible option. Furthermore, if you are looking to take a helicopter to learn more about New York, then perhaps you should consider following other tours instead. The pilot is your guide during these tours, and though he or she will most often point out major landmarks to guests, his or her main job is to ensure the safety of everyone on board. Thus, content is usually very limited. For a tour laden with information, check out one of our many free walking tours. 

However, if you can afford the costs and are primarily interested in the unique visual experience of looking down at Manhattan and coming eye to eye with the Statue of Liberty, then a helicopter tour might be well worth the investment. Though the ride is brief, it provides guests with a rare, bird’s eye view of the city that is otherwise impossible to achieve.

 


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Where can I find discounts on New York helicopter tours?

Which New York Helicopter Tour is Best
  • CitySights is offering a great value deal.  A Liberty Big Apple Helicopter Tour and 2 days of unlimited hop-on, hop-off bus tour service for $245/Adult and $235/Child.
  • You can save money by including a helicopter ride with combo saver ticket with a bus and/or boat tour.

 


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List of New York Helicopter Companies

There are several helicopter tour companies with names so similar, it can easily get confusing.  All of the companies have similar review profiles, which is generally good.  The experience of flying over the Big Apple is so fun, most people are happy with the experiences.  However, we provide links to each companies TripAdvisor reviews, so that you can take a closer look for yourself.  Also, we list the companies in order of lowest to highest price.

NOTE: No helicopter flights permitted on Sundays.

There is one common thread you will see when it comes to complaints about helicopter tours: overcrowding and weight distribution problems. Due to the way that this aircraft functions, it can sometimes be important to make sure that there is not too much weight on one side. Because of this, you will most likely be asked to provide information about your weight before boarding, and you may also be asked to sit in a location you are not comfortable with.

The more crowded a helicopter tour is, the more likely you will be asked to sit in the middle. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to enjoy the views from the middle seat of a helicopter, so most people in this position report having a negative experience. In order to avoid these issues, make sure to call ahead and ask the tour company about which times would be best for obtaining a window seat.

 


Liberty Helicopter Tours

As you will see with most of the helicopter tours, this outfit has overall good reviews.  Although there aren’t many negative reviews, some comments note that passengers may be asked to sit in the middle of the aircraft in order to avoid problems with weight distribution. This may make it more difficult to see the sights while on your tour, so it could be beneficial to ensure that you join a tour with fewer people. That being said, most visitors have had an absolute blast with Liberty Helicopter Tours, and many reviewers have raved about the great views of NYC!

While it’s listed price is not the lowest on offer, with the deals available, particularly the CitySightNY deal, the Big Apple Tour is the lowest priced. There are 2 popular public tours offered:

  • The Big Apple (12-15 minutes) – $214 + ($40 airport fees).  This popular tour provides a bird’s eye view of the most famous sites in New York City. Some of the landmarks covered include Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower, Empire State Building, Chrysler, Woolworth, Met Life Buildings, USS Intrepid, and Central Park.
    • Trusted Tours offers this tour for $200 + fees
    • CitySights is offering a great value deal.  A Liberty Big Apple Tour, 2 days of unlimited hop-on, hop-off bus tour service, 1 day hop-on, hop-off boat cruise as well as free entry to the 9/11 Tribute Center, the Museum of the City of New York and the New York Historical Society. Price:  $244 for Adults and Children.
  • New York, New York (18-20 minutes) – $299 + ($35 airport fees).  Very similar to the Big Apple tour, but with an additional few sites including The Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, The Verrazano Bridge, George Washington Bridge, Yankee Stadium, and MetLife Stadium.

Need to Know

  • Tours ARE weather dependent. If a tour is cancelled, Liberty Helicopter Tours will try to accommodate a guest’s schedule to reserve a new time. If a time cannot be agreed upon, the guest will be fully reimbursed.
  • The helicopter can accommodate 5-6 guests plus 1 pilot.
  • There is a $35 heliport fee per passenger in addition to the cost of the tour that is made payable on the day of the tour.
  • Other than cameras, no personal items are allowed in the helicopter. Items can be left at the waiting area and lockers are available for rent at an additional fee.
  • Photo I.D. is required for all guests.
  • For more information, see Liberty Helicopter Tours’ FAQs page.

 


Manhattan Helicopters 

Manhattan Helicopters also enjoys a 4 ½ star rating on TripAdvisor, with some guests describing their experience as amazing. As with most of these excursions, the only common complaints focus on crowded tours, which do not appear to happen very often.  Many reviews indicate that this company is very accommodating and friendly. Some commentators have said that first timers are welcome, as the staff will make sure to explain everything you need to know in order to have a safe and fun ride. According to reviewers, the pilots are very experienced, so you can rest assured that your trip will be stress free.

Its tours are not the lowest priced tours, but like Liberty, the CitySights deal is also available for this company.

  • The Classic Manhattan Tour (12 – 15 minutes)
    • Price: 209 for Adults and Children
    • CitySights is offering a great value deal.  Their All Around Town Tour & Manhattan Helicopter which includes a helicopter ride and 2 days of unlimited hop-on, hop-off bus tour service is $245/Adult and $235/Child.
  • Deluxe Manhattan Tour (20 minutes)  Price: $289 for Adults and Children.
  • VIP Manhattan Tour (25 – 30 minutes)  Price: $325  per person. Minimum 4 person to reserve

 


New York Helicopter

This company’s base tour is actually the least expensive ($23 cheaper), if you are not purchasing a combination or tourist attraction discount pass.

In addition, their 4 ½ star rating on TripAdvisor is just as good as every other service on this list.  Most passengers have given glowing reviews to this company, with one guest going so far as to say it was “the best ride of my life.” Other reviewers suggested that they did not have to book their tour ahead of time in order to get in the air, which is definitely nice to know. That being said, you might want to consider booking in advance to avoid crowded trips.

Once again, the issue of weight distribution is a common complaint, but there isn’t much that any helicopter tour can do to avoid this problem. Overall, there are many more positive reviews than negative, and a lot of people reported having a wonderful time on their journey through the skies of NYC.

New York Helicopter offers 3 popular public tours:

  • The Liberty Helicopter Tour (15 minutes) – $199 + ($30 airport fees)
    • Similar to the base level tours offered by the other companies, this tour includes the Statue of Liberty, Governor’s and Ellis Island, the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, the South Street Seaport and the Wall Street Financial Center.
  • The Central Park Tour (19 minutes) –  $266 + ($30 airport fees)
    • Covers all that is seen on the Liberty tour, but also features the Empire State Building, Central Park, the Intrepid Air, Sea, and Space Museum, Yankee Stadium, and the George Washington Bridge.
  • The Grand Helicopter Tour (25 minutes) – $355 + ($30 airport fees)
    • Covers all that is seen on the Central Park Tour, in addition to the Verrazano Bridge, uptown, midtown and the downtown skyline of Manhattan and New Jersey Palisades.

Need to Know

  • Tours ARE weather dependent. If a tour is cancelled, New York Helicopter Tours will try to accommodate a guest’s schedule to reserve a new time.  If a time cannot be agreed upon, the guest will be fully reimbursed.
  • The helicopter can accommodate 5-6 guests plus 1 pilot.
  • There is a $30 heliport fee in addition to the cost of the tour that is made payable at time of booking.
  • Photo I.D. is required for all guests.

 


HeliNY Tours / Helicopter Flight Service Helicopter Tours 

This outfit is a little bit more expensive than the other options, but they state that they user newer and more expensive helicopters.  They are well reviewed, but as we stated before, all the companies have relatively good reviews.  With the Smart Destinations Explorer Pass, you could save 20% – $45% off.

Reviewers describe their staff as attentive and helpful, providing passengers with all of the information necessary to enjoy their trip. Other comments suggest that Helicopter Flight Services is highly organized and that their pilots are very experienced. Most of the negative reviews complain of overcrowded trips, which may be avoided if you book your tour in advance.  Despite the higher costs, hundreds of guests have said that this helicopter ride is well worth the money. Some reviewers suggested that you make sure to bring a camera with you in order to get your money’s worth in fantastic photographs of New York City!

There are 4 popular public tours offered:

  • The New Yorker Tour (12-15 minutes) – $194/person + ($35 airport fees).  You will travel up the Hudson River and see iconic landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Freedom Tower, Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, Chelsea Piers, and the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.
    • Get $5 off during Summer 2016.
  • The Ultimate Tour (18-20 minutes) – $244 + ($35 airport fees).  This tour includes all the sites covered in the New Yorker Tour, in addition to views of Yankee Stadium, Central Park, Columbia University, and George Washington Bridge.
    • Get $15 off during Summer 2016.
  • The Deluxe Tour (25-30 minutes) – $314 + ($35 airport fees).  This tour includes all the sites covered in the Ultimate Tour, in addition to Coney Island, Brooklyn and New Jersey, Grants Tomb, the Northern edge of Manhattan, and Verrazano Bridge.
    • Get $20 off during Summer 2016.
  • VIP: Air & Sea Tour (12-15 minutes) – $274 + ($35 airport fees).  Features sites covered in the New Yorker tour, but also includes an hour long water taxi ride by the Statue of Liberty. On the water taxi, there is a narrated tour, a champagne toast, and a cash bar.

Need to Know

  • Tours ARE weather dependent. If a tour is cancelled, HeliNY will try to accommodate a guest’s schedule to reserve a new time. If a time cannot be agreed upon, the guest will be fully reimbursed.
  • The helicopter can accommodate 5-6 guests plus 1 pilot.
  • Photo I.D. is required for all guests.
  • Reservations are not required, but encouraged.

 


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Helicopter, Bus and Boat Combo Tickets

Another way to save money is by combining a helicopter tour with a bus and/or boat tour.  These are pre-selected combinations.  CitySights deal is really a great one.

  • CitySights  All Around Town Tour & Manhattan Helicopter Tour  This may be the very best offer out there. Price: $235/adults + $225/children
    • a helicopter tour (does not include $35/person heliport fee)
    • a 1 day hop-on, hop-off ferry ticket
    • 2 days of hop-on, hop-off double-decker bus tours
      • included loops – Uptown, Downtown, Brooklyn, Bronx and a nighttime bus tour
    • free entry to 9/11 Tribute Center
    • free entry to the Museum of the City of New York
    • free entry to New York Historical Society
    • get more information

 


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DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN HELIPORT

All helicopter rides depart from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport at the southern tip of Lower Manhattan between South Street Seaport and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.  It is accessed within a short walking distance to many subway lines.  We recommend using this Google map to get directions the the heliport.

Other popular tourist attractions in the area are the Staten Island Ferry, Wall Street, the National September 11th Memorial, the Freedom Tower and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Downtown Manhattan Heliport

New York Bus Tours Reviewed

Which New York Bus Tours Are Best?

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

This post reviews and compares the various different bus tour options available to you in NYC.  Bus tours are a great way to see the most sites in the least amount of time. Especially in a city as vast and intimidating as New York, bus tours offer guests a way to get a taste of the Big Apple without having to deal with the stress of navigating these busy streets on your own. However, occasionally that means quantity over quality.  So, which New York bus tour is best?  TIP:  Many of the bus tours mentioned below are included in one form or another with the New York tourist passes.


Double Decker Bus Hop-on, Hop Off

Themed Bus Tours

Combo Discount Passes


 

New York Bus Tours

 

 


BEST HOP-ON, HOP-OFF NEW YORK BUS TOURS 

Traditional hop-on, hop-off bus companies provide transport to major sites all over the city, which is appealing if the New York subway system seems daunting.  Typically guests purchase 1,2 or 3 day access passes, and can then get on/off the bus at any of the company’s designated stops at any time.  Most multiple-day tickets include a night tour and a boat cruise as well as discount coupons.  Prices for these combination tickets are sometimes too good to pass up.  Some have live guides and all offer audio headsets with commentary in multiple languages.  The market is very competitive with companies outdoing each other’s prices regularly.  Be sure to check on our listed prices.

However, there is no information provided when off of the bus, and commentary on board occasionally consists of a recording. For that reason, these tours are best for those looking for a shuttle service between attractions rather than detailed information about the city.  Leave the detailed touring to our pay-what-you-wish walking tours or to our audio tours, many of which start and end near popular bus stops. However, during busy season guests may have to wait for multiple buses to pass through one stop as seat availability is not guaranteed. Also, keep in mind that though bus tours guarantee easy transportation around the city, they are not always the quickest as all bus tours are subject to NYC traffic!

 

 

BIG BUS TOURS

Big Bus Tours consist of 35 stops around New York City on 4 routes, including Downtown, Uptown and Midtown Manhattan routes and one route in Brooklyn (see map detail).  You can also download their app, which has the maps to help you plan your route.  Guests listen to either an English-speaking guide or an audio recording in one of 10 languages while on the bus, and then are free to wander around on their own at each stop.  Their night tour is not a hop-on, hop-off tour. They also offer combo packages.  If you are also planning on traveling to Washington, DC, Big Bus offers a package that combines both cities.

Review of Big Bus New York

Big Bus is the best reviewed hop-on, hop-off bus tour in NYC and the company regards itself as the premium hop-on, hop-off bus service in New York City.  This company sports an overall 4 star rating on TripAdvisor, with over 800 positive reviews for their hop-on, hop-off service. Most negative comments focus on the amount of time that it can take to get on the bus, but that’s bound to happen in such a popular tourist destination. Even those who didn’t enjoy their experience typically reported that this bus service was worth considering. Many passengers describe their trip as both informative and fun, with some going so far as to say it was amazing.

Here are just a few of their most popular tickets:

Classic Ticket 1 day
1 Day Hop on, hop off with 3 extensive routes
Price: adult/$53.10; child/$44.10; family (2 adults and 2 children) $167

Deluxe Ticket 3 days
3 Day Hop on, hop off with 5 different routes and over 35 Stops
Night Tour
Sightseeing Cruise
Admission to Museum of the City of New York
Price: adult/$80.10; child/$62.10; family (2 adults and 2 children) $247

Liberty Package
2 Day Hop on, hop off with 5 different routes and over 35 Stops
Night Tour
Round-trip visit Liberty Island and Ellis Island
Price: adult/$67.70; child/$50.20

Liberty Package + One World Observatory
2 Day Hop on, hop off with 5 different routes and over 35 Stops
Night Tour
Round-trip visit Liberty Island and Ellis Island
One World Observatory entry
Price: adult/$105.00; child/$85.00

Learn more and/or purchase tickets here.

Big Bus also offers even more combinations where you can add on attractions (see below), which could include access to the Empire State Building, Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, Madame Tussauds and much more.

Note: If you are considering a tourist attraction pass, the New York Pass includes both the 1 and 2 day Big Bus tickets. Be sure to read our post comparing all the different tourist pass options in NYC.

 


GRAY LINE BUS TOURS (also known as CitySightseeing NYC) 

Double-Decker, open top bus tours that offer a huge range of loop tours that can be combined with other attractions. The guide does not accompany guests off the bus.  They also offer combo packages.  This outfit has the largest fleet and the widest selection.

NOTE: Get 15% off all Gray Line bus tours and packages with promo code FREETOURS15.

Reviews of Gray Line NYC

When it comes to their hop-on, hop-off service, reviews on TripAdvisor are mixed. Gray Line has earned an overall rating of 3 ½ stars, but they’ve only received roughly 100 more positive reviews than negative. As with most bus services in New York, the negative comments focused mostly on long wait times. Sadly, this isn’t necessarily the fault of the company, but they still get blamed for the queue. Those who were pleased with their experience reported that the bus drivers/guides were both helpful and knowledgeable.  Previous guests have complained about experiencing a lot of pressure to tip the guide/driver at each stop, so be prepared to ignore these pleas or carry $1 bills to distribute at each stop.

Routes:

  • 48 hour and 72 hour All Loops Tour (combines all separate tours below + 1 hour boat tour)
    • Downtown Tour (Midtown south to the Financial District)
    • Uptown Tour (Midtown north to Harlem)
    • Brooklyn Tour
    • Bronx Tour
    • Night Tour/Holiday Lights

Prices:

  • 48 hour All Loops  $64/adult, $54/child
  • 72 hour All Loops  $79/adult, $69/child
  • Uptown and Downtown $49/adult, $39/child
  • Downtown $44/adults, $34/child
  • Uptown $54/adult, $44/child
  • Brooklyn $54/adults, $44/child
  • Bronx $54/adults, $44/child
  • Night Tour $54/adults, $44/child

Learn more and/or purchase tickets here.  NOTE: Get 15% off all Gray Line bus tours and packages with promo code FREETOURS15.

 


City Sights NY – (Enter code FREETOURS15 and get 15% off all CitySights NY bus tours.)

Similar to Gray Line Bus and Big Bus Tours, City Sights NY provides loop tours of the city with a guide who remains on the bus for the duration of the trip.  They also offer combo packages.

  • Cost: All Around Town tour starts at $64/adult, $54/child
  • Free with the purchase of an Explorer Pass – read our post on NYC tourist discount passes.
  • Duration: Multi-day, single day, neighborhood, and evening passes available.

Review of City Sights NY

Although this company only has an overall rating of 3 stars on TripAdvisor, reviews for their hop-on, hop-off service are far more favorable than you might expect. They have received over 200 positive comments about this tour, with many passengers describing it as a great way to discover New York. Unfortunately, the service from this company is not universally praised. According to some passengers, their tour guides can be very hit or miss.

As you might expect at this point, several of the negative comments discuss how long they had to wait for a bus. In a city with this much traffic, there’s not much that any company can do to improve upon the problem. Other complaints revolve around lackluster buses and guides.

 


OPEN LOOP 

This hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus tour features 40 stops throughout the city on 3 routes. Covering Uptown, Downtown and Midtown, as well as Brooklyn, all of New York City’s major attractions, are available to see in the comfort of their brand new double-decker buses. In addition to their daily trips, they also offer night tours and combo packages.  Tickets for this service are typically cheaper than other competitors, but you may want to read some of the reviews before booking your trip.

Review of Open Loop NYC

The overall 3 out of 5 stars rating you’ll find for this service on TripAdvisor won’t tell the whole story. In reality, a majority of ratings for their hop-on, hop-off tour are two stars or less.  Although there are a few people complaining about long wait times, it would appear that there are far more complaints about a general lack of decent customer service and tour guides. Positive comments suggest that this isn’t a constant problem with the company, but it’s worth noting that a lot of people have been unhappy with their experience on this trip.

  • Downtown Loop One Day tickets are $30/adult and $23/child
  • All-Loops Tour prices (when booked online)
    • 1-day Adult  $45 / Children $35
    • 2-day Adult $49 / Children $39
    • 3-day Adult $55 /Children $45
    • 5-day Adult $65/ Children $55
    • *Children 4 and under are free.
  • Locating the bus on a mobile device is just as easy as hopping on and off with their exclusive mobile technology “Where’s my bus”.
  • Audio guide narrations in 9 languages: English, French, German, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian.
  • Best prices – but their reviews are the least impressive of all the hop-on, hop-off buses.

 


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HOP-ON, HOP-OFF WITH A TOUR GUIDE 

As a company that primarily offers walking tours, we prefer these types of bus tours as they include all the benefits of a bus tour without any of the cons! The guide accompanies you off the bus at each stop so you get detailed information about all the major sites, rather than just wandering around on your own. You are also with the same bus, driver, and guide for the entire duration of the tour, so you never have to worry about getting a seat and are able to enjoy the tour in a more intimate setting.  These are premium tours, so they are usually more expensive than the traditional hop-on, hop-off variety.

 


USA GUIDED TOURS – Hop-on, Hop-off w/Guide

Visiting New York can be an exciting and bewildering experience. If you’re looking for a nice overview of the entire city, you might want to consider the NYC Day Bus Tour. In addition to a fully guided trip throughout the Big Apple, you’ll also enjoy a boat cruise around Manhattan. The full trip will take roughly 5 hours to complete and you will see a lot of significant landmarks along the way. For those who don’t feel comfortable hopping off at various locations on their own, fear not – your tour guides hop off at each stop to help show you around!  Available Daily from 10 AM – 3 PM.

 

 

TIP: If you are planning on visiting Washington, DC, you will get 30% off the Discover DC Tour (normally $69) if you purchase it at the same time as your Discover DC Tour.  You will need to call USA Guided Tours to confirm your NYC tour date.

Tickets

Reviews for USA Guided Tours NYC

All of the reviews for USA Guided Tours are positive. With a full 5-star rating on TripAdvisor, it’s safe to say that this is one of the highest rated tour companies in NYC. One happy customer went so far as to exclaim that this is a must for any first timers in New York. This seems to be a common sentiment, as several visitors left similarly positive comments. A majority of the reviews for this service were left by couples, indicating that this may be a great trip for anyone who wants to discover New York City with their significant other.

 


CitySights NY

This company is well known for providing a variety of different tours in New York City. Their services include this 6-8 hour guided tour with two ticket options. The Manhattan Experience includes a visit to such sites as Times Square, Central Park, the Empire State Building and several notable communities such as Greenwich Village and Little Italy. Each trip also includes a cruise which will take you close to the Statue of Liberty.

  • Ticket Prices for 6-hour tour: $89 for Adults | $79 for Children
  • Ticket Prices for 8-hour tour: $109 for Adults | $84 for Children
  • Duration: 6-8 hours depending on ticket choice
  • Availability: Daily at 9 or 9:30 AM
  • More information or to book online.

Reviews for the Manhattan Experience are almost entirely positive. Guests indicate that their tour guides are very helpful and friendly, providing a lot of useful information about New York during the trip. Several customers were very happy with all of the different attractions included on this outing. Some visitors even went so far as to suggest that this tour was worth every penny.

 


OnBOARD NYC

OnBoard offers both day and night time tours, including an 8-hour Premium See-It-All Tour, which covers the length of Manhattan and comprises a visit to the Statue of Liberty. Just like our tours, OnBoard guides accompany guests on and off the bus. 

  • Cost: $39-$119 depending on type/length of tour and which day of the week
  • Duration: Tours vary from 3.5-8 hours

Reviews of OnBoard NYC Tours

Reviews for this company are very good, resulting in an overall 4 ½ star rating on TripAdvisor. Over 1,000 reviewers have left positive comments about this service, suggesting that OnBoard NYC is a very reliable tour company. Some went so far as to indicate that they visited locations you wouldn’t typically see on a tour of New York City. This tour has received particularly positive reviews from families and couples, so you can feel safe bringing larger groups.

Few of the negative reviews seem to have much in common, but it’s worth noting that some guests have experienced less than stellar customer service. Some passengers who had an unpleasant trip suggested that they might have caught the tour on a bad day. A majority of their unfavorable reviews were provided during the summer months, so you may want to consider another company if you’re planning a trip between June – August.

 


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SPECIALTY AND THEMED BUS TOURS

NYC Street Theater

Movie and TV Tours

Hip Hop Tours

 


THE RIDE

The Ride is Broadway on a bus! A totally unique experience that, according to their website is “equal parts theatrical show and immersive tour.” It’s designed to be fun and entertaining, with street performers scattered throughout the tour route.  The information about the city is rather limited and the route is confined to the area around Times Square, so guests looking for a comprehensive city tour should take a look at “The Tour” or look elsewhere.

 

 

Reviews of The Ride

This service has received an overall rating of 4 stars on TripAdvisor, with one reviewer stating that the tour was “like nothing I have ever done.” Mosts guests enjoy their experience on The Ride, but some have said that the quality of this tour has decreased over time. It would appear that this trip does not appeal to all audiences, but it’s worth noting that hundreds of customers have left positive feedback about their adventures. If you’re looking for something a bit different, many passengers have suggested that this is one of the most original and unique bus tours in New York!

 


THE TOUR

This fun and educational trip actually comes from the company that brought you The Ride. The Tour is less about the performance (there are no singers or dancers along the route) than it is about the city itself. If you’re not interested in a more theatrical journey around New York, you may want to consider this trip instead. Clocking in at 15 minutes longer than The Ride, this service is more affordable and it covers a slightly larger area. You might not get the song and dance, but you’ll still learn a lot about NYC and discover the city from a different point of view.

Much like the other services from this company, The Tour has an overall4-star rating on TripAdvisor. There are a few negative comments, but the overwhelming majority of their ratings are positive. Some passengers suggest that this is a great option for anyone who might be short on time, while others say it’s the best tour they’ve ever taken. Several of the negative reviews indicate that they were expecting the same experience that is offered on The Ride, but that simply isn’t the case. Please make sure to select the right bus tour from this company in order to avoid any confusion.

  • Cost: $45 for adults and children.
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Free with the purchase of the Explorer Pass.

 


ON LOCATION TOURS

If you’re a major movie buff, then this is the tour for you! On Location Tours specialize in showing guests where all their favorite movies and TV shows were filmed. Some of their most popular tours include NYC TV & Movie Tour, Sex and the City Hotspots Tour, Gossip Girl Sites Tour, Sopranos Sites Tour, TCM Classic Film Tour, When Harry Met Seinfeld Tour, The Real Housewives of New York City Tour and the Central Park TV & Movie Sites Walking Tour. Guides also pepper the tours with history about the different neighborhoods you drive through.

 

 

Reviews of On Location NYC Tours

With a 4 ½ star rating and over 1,500 positive reviews on TripAdvisor, it’s safe to say that On Location Tours has impressed a lot of customers. That being said, they have received hundreds of negative reviews which might be of concern. Some unhappy passengers complain that the tour wasn’t as long as they were promised, while others simply found it uninteresting. Although these comments may be troubling, it’s worth remembering that there are ten times as many people who absolutely loved their experience with this company. Several guests recommend this tour for film buffs of all ages, stating that it is both informative and fun for movie lovers.

  • Cost: Varies with tours, but most are between $25-$50.
  • Duration: Tour times vary, but most run between 2-4 hours
  • Visit their website at www.onlocationtours.com.

 


HUSH HIP HOP TOURS

Whether you are looking to bust a move or bust a rhyme, Hush Hip Hop Tours has the perfect tour for fans of the genre. They claim to be the only hip hop tour company in the world with pioneers of hip hop, DJs, and professional break-dancers leading its tours. As you travel from one location to the next, some of the people who helped make the movement possible will explain how this art form was born in the streets of NYC. Their tours will take you to Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn.

 

 

Reviews of Hush Hip Hop Tours

This may be one of the highest rated experiences on the list, as Hush Hip Hop Tours has earned an overall 5 star rating on TripAdvisor. An overwhelming majority of customers have reported that their trip around New York was not only memorable, but historically accurate as well. Some have even said that this tour is great for all audiences, suggesting that you need not be a fan of hip hop to learn a lot about the city while on your trip. There are only a handful of negative comments, and few of them seem to have anything in common which would suggest any major issues with their service.

 


SCOTT’S PIZZA TOUR

Scott’s Pizza Tours are the premier pizza tours of New York City.  Scott’s offerings are primarily walking tours. However, on Sundays, Scott offers a pizza bus tour that reaches the outer boroughs of NYC.  Free Tours by Foot guests are given $2 off on all of Scott’s tours. To get the discount, be sure to plug in FREEBYFOOT at checkout. Click here to to learn about Scott’s Pizza Tours.

Reviews of Scott’s Pizza Tours

Everyone loves pizza, and according to reviewers on TripAdvisor, learning about the dish can be pretty fun. An overwhelming majority of the reviews for their bus tour are positive. They have received one or two negative comments which don’t appear to reflect any serious issues with the service. This tour apparently takes place on a yellow school bus, so it might not be the most comfortable seating you’ll ever experience. That being said, almost everyone who has experienced the trip has had an absolute blast. Positive reviews suggest that the entire journey is entertaining, and you’ll even have the opportunity to eat a few slices!

Scott also offers pizza walking tours, including:

  • Greenwich Village Pizza Walk
  • Crosstown Pizza Walk
  • Lower East Side Pizza Walk
  • Brooklyn Pizza Walk

 


KENNY KRAMER’S SEINFELD TOUR 

Fans of Seinfeld will definitely want to consider taking this tour. According to Larry David, Kenny Kramer was the actual person who inspired the hilarious character of Cosmo Kramer. Believe it or not, Kenny still lives in New York, and he provides a fabulous tour of the city to give fans a better idea of what life was like for the people that inspired the characters in everyone’s favorite show about nothing. Visit a lot of the locations you’ve seen in the series and hear about the creation of this concept from Kramer himself!

With the exception of just one negative review, every rating on TripAdvisor is positive. The one negative rating seems to come from someone who simply did not agree with the majority and found the trip uninteresting. Thankfully, this isn’t the common experience, and most guests refer to Kramer’s Reality Tour as an absolute must. Some fans report waiting years to take a tour with Kenny only to have their expectations exceeded in the end. According to many reviewers, this might be one of the more entertaining bus tours in the city, and it’s perfect for any fan of Seinfeld.

  • Cost: $37.50 (plus $2 service charge)
  • Available Saturdays at 12 PM
  • Duration: 2-3 hours

 


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DO-IT-YOURSELF NYC BUS TOUR

If all of the above sounds out of your price range, then you could always take advantage of the public bus system and tour around the city on your own! The New York Times published a great article a few years back about the best bus lines and routes to see all the major sites in the city.  For under $10, the public bus system offers visitors a great way to explore the city on their own for a minimal cost.  Don’t forget that you can also take our free walking tours in combination with this option.

Another option is to download our audio tour app and use it for the neighborhoods that you bus (or subway to).

 


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COMBINE BUS, BOAT, HELICOPTER TOURS AND MORE

If you interested taking both a boat and bus tour while visiting New York, it’s often cheapest to purchase those two tickets as part of a combo deal. Many companies offer a variety of combinations, including helicopter tours and museums tickets as well.  Child prices are even less, but they vary.  Click the company links for more details.  Be sure to also read our post comparing the various tourist discount passes, such as the New York Pass, CityPass and the Explorer Pass, which may be even better fits for you.

 


 

BIG BUS TOUR

Although Big Bus offers 2 and 3 day tickets (see hop-on, hop-off bus service above), which already include a boat cruise, they also offer their own version of a tourist discount pass, called the Big Adventure Pass. This pass combines the 2 or 3-day bus and boat tickets with other activities around town. You can choose from a list of different activities and/or attractions when you purchase your pass. This is a great option for anyone looking to explore as much of NYC as possible in just a few days!

Big Adventure Pass (2 day $118.20/adult and $92.70/child or 3 day $143.70/adult, $118.20/child) Click here for more information.

  • 2 or 3 days of Uptown, Downtown and Brooklyn hop-on, hop-off bus service
  • + the choice of either 3 or 5 attractions (including, but not limited to)
    • One World Observatory
    • Central Park Bike Tours- Free tour or 3 hour rental
    • Hornblower International Sightseeing Cruise
    • Discovery Times Square Exhibits
    • Intrepid: Sea, Air & Space Museum
    • Museum of Modern Art
    • Big Bus Panoramic Night Tour
    • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
    • Madame Tussauds

Reviews for the Big Adventure Pass are decent, although there have been some negative ratings. Customers who rated their experience poorly suggested that they had trouble understanding how the package worked. Based on their experience, we suggest obtaining this pass well in advance and planning out your trip beforehand. Call ahead and make sure that you understand how to fully take advantage of the combo package before you set your heart on this tour pass.

That all being said, some customers actually had great things to say about the Big Adventure Pass. One reviewer described this opportunity as a great way to see the city, indicating that his family had a great time. One thing is for sure: It’s definitely possible to get a lot of value out of this combo deal. If you’re willing to stick to an itinerary and plan out your trip, this could be a fantastic option.

 


New York Tour Shuttle

This bus tour is perfect for those who only have a limited amount of time in New York. Over the course of 9 hours, you’ll see several different landmarks and enjoy access to sites such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. In addition to these activities, you’ll also make a special stop in Little Italy for lunch. Needless to say, this is a fairly comprehensive day trip which covers most of the bases in NYC. Tickets are a bit expensive, but ratings indicate that the service may be worth its higher price tag.

  • Ticket Prices: $159 for Adults | $149 for Children
  • Duration: 9 hours
  • Availability: Thursday – Monday at 8:30 AM
  • Click Here to get your tickets
  • Attractions/Activities Included:
    • Empire State Building (w/ Observation Deck visit)
    • Statue of Liberty (w/ access to the Pedestal)
    • Wall Street Walking Tour
    • Times Square
    • Fifth Avenue
    • Little Italy

Reviews for this service are quite good, as a majority of customers have given the trip a 5 star rating. Several visitors mentioned their tour guides by name, indicating that they were very friendly and provided a lot of useful information about the city. Although they enjoyed the experience, some reviewers felt it important to note that you will need a lot of stamina for this all day outing. Seeing this much of New York City in just one day can really take it out of you, but most guests still recommend it for those who feel up to the task.

If you are interested in day trips such as this, consider checking out our comparison of NYC in a Day tours.

 


GRAY LINE

Again, like the top two, Gray Line offers several combo packages.  Their packages stand out because they offer a choice of the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock.

  • Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Empire State Building combined for $49 per adult (no bus).
  • Downtown-Loop Bus and Top of the Rock for $85 per adult.
  • 6 hour guided Manhattan bus tour with boat tour for $89 per adult.
  • FreeStyle Passes includes 3 days of bus and 3 to 5 attractions starting at $129 per adult.
  • All-Loop Bus and either Empire State Building or Top of the Rock for $109 per adult.
  • Bus, boat and Empire State Building combined for $130 per adult.

 


CITY SIGHTS 

City Sights also offers a number of different combo packages at a discounted rate.

  • Big Four Combo includes double-decker bus tour, hop-on hop-off ferry tour, Empire State Building, and 9/11 Tribute Center combined for $89 per adult.
  • FreeStyle Passes includes 3 days of bus and 3 to 5 attractions starting at $139 per adult.
  • 72 hour access to bus tour of NYC paired with either the Empire State Building or the Top of the Rock for $104 per adult.
  • 96 hour access to bus tour of NYC paired with Top of the Rock and stop at Woodbury Premium Outlet Mall for $124 per adult.
  • The Big Apple – CitySights offers a pretty good deal that includes:
    • 2 days hop-on, hop-off bus service
    • Helicopter ride
    • 90 Statue of Liberty cruise
    • free entry to the Museum of the City of New York or New York Historical Society
  • 72 Hour All-Around-Town and the CityPass – Another good deal. $150/Adults, $120/Child
    • 72 hours of hop-on, hop off bus service (Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx)
    • nighttime bus tour
    • hop-on, hop-off boat tour
    • free entry to the Museum of the City of New York or New York Historical Society
    • plus the CityPass booklet, which gets you entry into:
      • Empire State Building
      • American Museum of Natural History
      • Metropolitan Museum of Art
      • Top of the Rock Observation Deck or the Guggenheim Museum
      • Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island or Circle Line Cruise
      • 9/11 Museum and Memorial or Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

 


 

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NIGHT BUS TOURS OF NYC

Many of the companies listed above also offer evening bus tours. The New York skyline is breathtaking when illuminated after dark, and a bus tour is a great way to see many different areas of the city in a short amount of time. Night tours do not typically operate as hop-on, hop-off tours, even though many are operated by hop-on, hop-off companies in double-decker buses.  There are also small group shuttle bus night tours.  This is a common complaint from guests of all companies, but this likely stems from misunderstandings. NOTE: many of these night tours are included in the multiple-day tickets offered by each company.

 


BIG BUS NIGHT TOUR

Big Bus offers nightly bus tours that depart between 7-9 pm every 15-20 minutes from Times Square (6 pm – 8 pm in winter months). Sites include Radio City Music Hall, 5th Avenue, the Empire State Building, the Manhattan Bridge, and the Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn waterfront. You can view their night tour route map (yellow).  Since it is included in just about every multiple days or combo ticket, many people are likely to find it cheaper to get the night tour in a package deal.

  • Cost: $33.20 for adults and $24.70 for children
  • Duration: 2 hours.
  • Included in the price of all multi-day Big Bus tickets.
  • It is not included in the New York Pass.
 

GRAY LINE – (a.k.a. City Sightseeing, a.k.a CitySights)

This trip departs every half hour between 6:30 pm – 8 pm from 47th Street and 8th Avenue. Sites include Times Square, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Chinatown/Little Italy, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Macy’s, and the Broadway Theater District.  During the month of December, the night tour becomes the Holiday Lights Tour.

Reviews for Gray Line NYC’s night tour are mixed, but there are twice as many positive comments as there are negative. Some passengers have reported that they learned quite a bit while on this trip, and it would appear that this is a common compliment. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of complaints focusing on long lines and unimpressive tour guides, so it’s difficult to say what your individual experience will look like. Most guests enjoy this bus tour, but some find it lacking the depth and entertainment that they expected.

  • Cost: $39/adults, $29/children
    • NOTE: Get 15% off all Gray Line bus tours and packages with promo code FREETOURS15.
  • Duration: 1.5 hours

 


CITYSIGHTS NY 

Similar to experiences with Gray Line, most of the reviews for this service are excellent, but there are several negative comments worth mentioning. Complaints range from unimpressive tour guides to the inability to hop off whenever you wish. As with other night tours, this is not a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, and a lot of passengers would prefer that it was. Unfortunately, you won’t find many nighttime bus tours which allow passengers to hop-off whenever they wish.

That being said, there are twice as many positive comments, and some guests have even referred to this as the best tour offered by CitySights. Many of the combo deals offered by this company include the night tour, and several customers who took advantage of those deals report that this was their favorite experience.

 


USA GUIDED TOURS 

In addition to their highly rated daily tour, this company also provides one of the longest and most detailed night tours in New York. Clocking in at 4 ½ hours in length, the NYC Night Bus Tour will take you past some of the most popular destinations in the entire city, including locations such as Times Square, Chelsea Market, Chinatown and Greenwich Village. This excursion also includes at least one short walking tour and a boat tour which departs from the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. Discover how New York City changes when the sun goes down! Available Daily from 5:30 PM – 10 PM.

Tickets

Every single review for this particular night tour is 5 stars. As a matter of fact, USA Guided Tours has yet to receive even one negative comment about their service. Most guests report that this company is very professional and reliable, describing their tour guides as entertaining and knowledgeable. One high-level contributor pointed out that the landmarks and neighborhoods visited on this trip are different from those they visit during the daily tour. Anyone looking to experience New York during both the day and night will no doubt get a lot of value out of both of these bus tours.

 


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Magnolia Bakery NYC

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

Magnolia Bakery, renowned for their cupcakes, started out as a small local bakery in the quaint West Village in 1996. Now it is a worldwide phenomenon- partially due to its 30 second cameo in an episode of Sex and the City, but mostly because they are really darn yummy! Magnolia Bakery has over 30 stores around the globe. Luckily, six of them are right here in New York City, including the original, which happens to be located very close to where Carrie Bradshaw lived! See our post on how to find  Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment).  Below we also include all the locations of Magnolia Bakery and a map to help you find them.  We’ve also got tips on the best times to go, what to try and what not to buy. Lastly we have some suggestions of what you can do near each of the several locations.

 

Long before Magnolia Bakery made its 30 second appearance on Sex and the City, word was out in New York that their cupcakes were to die for. Locals new how great they were, but there were certainly no lines stretching around the block. The turning point was shortly after an episode of HBO’s Sex and the City aired. SATC  has quite a  cult following. In fact, there are a number of SATC tours that you can take in New York. We have a self-guided Sex and the City tour that includes a stop at Magnolia Bakery. There is also a SATC Bar Crawl – strictly for adults!

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