We bought a ticket that lasted 48 hours with the New York Sightseeing company. Which covered all loops (all routes around the city) and also a night tour.
We did all of them over the two days - I highly recommend the night tour, places are so different at night. We got off at the places we were really interested in and got to see the places that were in walking distance for us.
I love tour buses. You are shown the sights by the people that either lived there or have worked there for many years. The tour guides give their own opinions and you don't get the same guide twice with the bus hopping!
You can buy tickets from the driver or tour guide on the bus. The tickets are checked every time you board. The prices also vary as to which offer you choose to take.
Took the best tour of my life with Personalized NYC Tours. Our Tour guide Andy was the best!!! he took us all over Manhattan in ONE DAY. He met our group of 6 at our hotel and from there it was go, go, go until 12:00 midnight all for $180 bucks split between the 6 of us!!! We saw Central Park, 5th ave, The Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, the Library and Bryant Park and Times Square then we took a subway downtown and he showed us the Empire State building and the flatiron building, another subway ride and we saw SOHO and the Village, Chelsea and finally a cab ride later to Wall Street and the World Trade Center sight. Every time we asked a question he knew the answer. He had funny stories and suggestions of where we should eat and go out. He knew the best places to grab a bite to eat or to grab a drink. He even knew the history of the Bars and Restaurants we went to. He was a real New Yorker who let us pick what we wanted to see and then added the History and fun facts and where to go to get something cool in the area!!! What an amazing day! After getting Pizza in Brooklyn (at my request) we headed to a cool bar in the village for Jazz (at my request). He was able to get us tickets to a Broadway play for the next day! It was so much fun.
Here is his Info firstname.lastname@example.org - I think he does hourly rates too but we just took the all day option for $180. it was Awesome!
We took the Elegant Tightwad tour (specifically I think it was their Garment District Diva Trek) of private rooms (rather than stores) where we paid at or just above wholesale prices. The guide was really nice, and worked really hard to make sure that when, at the end of the day, we had to choose between a few places we went to the places that would please the most people. We went to 6 or 7 places during the day, and saw everything from clothing including tops, pants, skirts etc to winter coats and handbags and jewellery. My favourite though, by miles, was the leather goods, I got a fantastic leather jacket at what I later discovered was about a quarter of its retail price, well beyond my means!!!
There wouldnt have been more than a dozen of us on the tour, which was a manageable number, and while we did keep up a pretty good pace, we did stop for quick refreshments once.
When you book you provide a little information about your dress sense and what you most want so that they are best able to tailor each tour to suit that particular group.
The City Pass really worked well for us. I got to skip a line MILES long at MOMA, and we chose to use the ESB pass in the evening and the Top of the Rock pass in the daytime (I had an extra trip up the ESB during daylight too). I'd really recommend using the pass this way instead of buying the tickets which allow you a daytime and nighttime visit, because when you consider the savings you make (I did the maths, but suspect prices have changed in the past year) they are even bigger this way.
As some other VTers have done, we paid an extra US$4 to take the full trip around Manhattan, rather than the shorter one - this worked really well because right at the northern tip you see a completely different NYC, one you often miss when you only have time to hit the big tourist attractions. The other reason this worked well for us was that it provided us with some rest time while still seeing interesting sights and learning heaps (the guide used to be a university lecturer and he was a brilliant orator). The rest of our visit we kept up a pretty mainc pace so this was really welcome!
We paid a little more for our citypass so we could do a cruise around manhattan. normal only a part for 2 hours.
i think it was around $5 more.
so for each citypass around $55.
we took a lot of pictures. sometimes it is better to take pictures from below than on the deck because of the sun.
you see also the state of liberty but you dont get from the cruise.
you will hear a voice who say what will come.
dont forget to bring something against the sun. was burned a bit.
closed Christmas day and new year's day
Gray Line New York Sightseeing has the most extensive tours around manhattan area and the company offers hop-on, hop-off bus tours throughout New York City like the All Loops Tour, which includes The Uptown Loop, The Downtown Loop, The Night Tour, Brooklyn Loop accessible for 48 hours, Manhattan Comprehensive, The Classic New York and an insider's tour called the NYC Showbiz Insiders Tour. Prices depends on the type of tour you take and is convenient especially when it there is rainy weather. Tickets can be purchased at 810 7th Avenue (between 52nd & 53rd Streets) inside the NYC & Co. Visitors Center, Times Square Visitors Center located at 7th Avenue between (46th & 47th Streets), and the Port Authority Bus Terminal (42nd Street & 8th Avenue).
Because we only had two and a half days in New York, we decided to take the Hop on Hop off bus tour. Several companies offer these tours for 1 day or more. This is perfect when you have not a lot of time, but when you want to see ''everything.'' The bus tour takes you to several touristical attractive sites. You can get off and get up at a lot of places in Manhattan. You can also choose from several routes.
With our bus tour we saw for example: Brooklyn Bridge, Chrysler Building, World Trade Centre Site, Empire State Building, Times Square, Madison Avenue etc.
These tours are a great way to see the city of New York and interact with the locals. I had an aspiring singer croon a couple of songs on one of my trips and an army guy on leave as my guides.
2 hints for getting the most out of your tours:
1) most of the bus tours start around Times Square. Find out which is the last stop and get on there, as the bus will be full by the time it gets to the 1st stop ;)
2) Don't get off the bus - it sounds stupid, but if you get off, the people downstairs will get your upstairs seat. When you get on again, you will have to wait downstairs until more people get off... See the sights, enjoy the commentary and then visit the attactions by the subway.
here are some suggestions and tips from our personal experience
we went to NY for a week and stayed at the Hilton Embassy Suites.
we had a blast!!!
there's a book called Lonely Planet (NYC)
it is a really really helpful book for tourists like us because it includes walking tours, etc, and places to eat.
you should visit Serendipity for dessert...
by the way, instead of waiting for hours in line to get to the statue of liberty, you may opt to have the NY waterway tour instead. This way, you will save enough time to tour other parts of the city.
there's also the famous BULL at the financial district :)
you should also try the yummiest Pizza Margherita at 'Lil Frankie in East Village ^,^
if you have more time, try walking the stretch of Brooklyn Bridge.
this serves as an exercise too.. hihihi
also, do visit Saint Patricks's Cathedral at 5th avenue.
don't miss to go inside.
we also went to Top of the Rock instead of the Empire State Building to avoid the long line hihihi because we were afraid we won't have enough time to see other parts of NYC :)
for shopping, you may want to visit Century 21, just across the former WTC.
you should have lunch/brunch at Cafe lalo!!! or at Sarabeth's.
we chose Cafe Lalo hihihi because of the ambiance and because it's famous.
To relax, try having a picnic at Central Park.
we chose to eat at the top of one huge rock there to have e good view of the whole central park.
then, we went to MET (entrance is by donation only, you don't have to give 20 USD)
if you're a techie like my friends, you may want to visit the MAC store. it is now a tourist spot because of its unique architecture :p
DON'T MISS eating at PARADOU!!!
it's a MUST!!!
trust me on this!
you also gotta watch a broadway show! definitely!
there's WICKED and SPAMALOT :)
New York City Photoshoot do really good private photo-shoot tours around the city taking your picture with famous new york landmarks. My girlfriend and I really enjoyed our afternoon with them. And the pictures are really stunning we are planning to frame many of them and display them in our house. I think this is something that can especially be enjoyed by friends, couples or families visiting New York.
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