As one of the largest cities in the world, New York City has so much to see and do. That’s why many visitors start their trip off with a bus tour to see iconic sights and neighborhoods and get the lay of the land. To help you find the tour that’s best for you, U.S. News reviewed traveler sentiment and expert input to determine the top New York bus tours. Read our suggestions below for some of the best bus tours you can book for your next trip to the City That Never Sleeps.
Note: Some tour providers on this list may be running more limited operations due to COVID-19 or may impose testing or vaccine requirements. Check with your tour operator about availability before you book.
Price: From $79
Duration: 75 minutes
This dynamic company offers a one-of-a-kind bus ride that boasts its own onboard theater. Comedic hosts keep you entertained during the 75-minute ride through midtown Manhattan and Times Square while ballet dancers, rappers, hip-hop artists and other entertainers bring the city streets to life right in front of your eyes. State-of-the-art buses feature large windows and stadium-style seating to ensure everyone can view the performances. Many reviewers call the tour amazing thanks to all of the talented performers. Some note The Ride is ideal if you’re looking for an entertaining experience, not one that is particularly educational about NYC.
Tickets start at $79; you can book the first row for around $90. For $100, you get a front row seat and ticket insurance as well as a shoutout. Rides depart at several times daily.
Big Bus Tours
Price: Adults from $60; kids from $50
Duration: 75 to 90 minutes
Big Bus New York offers a hop-on, hop-off tour that features 14 stops at major attractions like Bryant Park, Broadway and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, with prerecorded commentary provided along the way. Double-decker buses frequent stops every 15 to 20 minutes on the Red Line (which runs through downtown) and every 60 minutes on uptown’s Blue Line. The Classic Ticket, which is valid for one day, grants you access to the 90-minute downtown and 75-minute downtown routes and lets you add on extras like tickets for Madame Tussauds, the Empire State Building or a harbor cruise. You can also book multiday passes. Big Bus New York is a hit with travelers who appreciate the ability to tailor the tour to their interests. Others bemoaned the overcrowded buses and long wait times.
One-day passes cost about $60 per adult and $50 per child. Big Bus Tours also operates a seasonal night tour.
A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours – Original Brooklyn Pizza Tour
Price: Adults from $90; kids from $80
Duration: 4.5 hours
Brooklyn has so much to see and do – and eat! The Original Brooklyn Pizza Tour, which reviewers describe as a great experience with even better pizza, lasts 4 1/2 hours and takes travelers throughout the borough to sample delicious slices from places like Grimaldi’s and L&B Spumoni Gardens. You’ll also see filming locations for movies like “Saturday Night Fever” and “Goodfellas.”
Tickets, which cover lunch, cost approximately $90 for adults and $80 for children ages 11 and younger. Tours are available Friday through Monday and Wednesday at 11 a.m. A Slice of Brooklyn also leads a seasonal tour exploring Dyker Heights’ Christmas lights, among other options.
On Location Tours – “Sex and the City” Hotspots Tour
Price: From $66
Duration: 3.5 hours
Fans of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda can relive all their favorite “Sex and the City” moments during this New York bus tour, which features more than 40 popular locations from the show and movies. During the 3 1/2-hour tour, you’ll view iconic, must-see filming locations, sample cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, drink a cosmopolitan (if you wish) and shop in Greenwich. Plus, you’ll visit stops from the reboot “And Just Like That,” including Bergdorf Goodman and Chelsea Market. Reviewers peg this tour as worth experiencing, fun and fabulous.
Tickets for the half-day tour start at $66, but you can pay another $10 for priority seating. Outings are open to those 18 and older. Tours generally depart Thursday to Sunday at 2 p.m. On Location Tours operates other filming locations tours for shows and movies, including “Gossip Girl,” “The Sopranos” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” among others.
USA Guided Tours – Discover NY Tour
Price: Adults from $99; children from $89
Duration: 6 hours
On this six-hour tour, you’ll drive through some of the city’s most famous neighborhoods and most-visited areas. You’ll have your choice of a traditional bus or a bus with either a glass top or convertible top. Regardless of the vehicle, enjoy expert commentary and a history lesson from your tour guide as you cruise past Times Square, Madison Square Park, Central Park, Rockefeller Center and more. A 15-minute stroll through each of the main stops is included, as is a boat cruise that takes you to see the famous NYC skyline. Many travelers call this full-day tour fantastic and a must-do in New York.
Tours depart at 9 and 10 a.m. daily. Tickets start at $99 for adults and $89 for kids for a regular bus. Open-top and glass-top buses cost $119 per person. USA Guided Tours also offers this tour in Spanish as well as a night tour of the Big Apple.
Hush Hip Hop Tours – Birthplace of Hip Hop
Price: Adults from $80; kids from $60
Duration: 3 hours
Travelers routinely praise the Birthplace of Hip Hop tour not only for its cultural lessons about Harlem, but also for the informative guides who explain the history of hip-hop music. During the three-hour tour, you’ll see famous clubs, murals dedicated to artists and the Apollo Theater. Plus, you’ll get to witness a dance session and show off your own moves.
Tours cost about $80 for adults and $60 for seniors (65 and older) and kids 6 to 18. Children younger than 5 tour for free. Outings run Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11 a.m. Hush Hip Hop Tours also operates walking tours of Harlem and Brooklyn, among others.
Interested in more New York City tours? Check out the: