Topview NYC sightseeing bus

3 Best Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours in NYC

There are several hop-on-hop-off bus tours in New York City that maximize your time and help you see dozens of attractions in one day. These bus rides are among the best tours in NYC because they allow you to take the bus all over the city as well as get on and off at your own pace.

These hop-on hop-off New York Big Bus tours also include narrated commentary in several languages, so you can listen to interesting facts about key landmarks while you ride past them. When you see something you’d like to explore, hop off and check it out. The bus will come around again, and you can hop back on to continue the route.

City Sightseeing Bus Tour, hop-on-hop-off bus tours in New York City

3 Best Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours in NYC

This type of bus tour is especially helpful for families with kids since they can do lots of sightseeing while saving time and money. Kids get tired and bored easily, so don’t waste money paying for admission to an attraction you’ll only spend a few minutes at!

In a nutshell, these are the top three sightseeing bus tours in Manhattan:

  1. Big Bus Hop-on Hop-Off Tour
  2. NYC Sightseeing Bus (Grayline bus tour)
  3. TopView NYC Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

Before we dive in, I want to tell you that several New York city passes, like the NY Sightseeing Pass and the New York Pass, include New York Big Bus tickets.

1. Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour, the best hop-on hop-off bus tour in NYC

First, the Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour is one of the most popular tours in the city. These daily tours offer commentary in several languages, as well as a Downtown and Uptown route. Your ticket includes access to both routes, although you can choose a 1, 2, or 3-day pass, or a Downtown-only or Uptown-only ticket.

Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour, New York Big Bus maps

1. Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour, the best hop-on hop-off bus tour in NYC

There is also a mobile app where you can keep track of bus arrivals, view New York Big Bus maps, and get sightseeing recommendations. Enjoy the ride through NYC and hop off at any stop that interests you. The bus goes past the Brooklyn Bridge, Chinatown, the Empire State Building, and other popular places in Manhattan.

Big Bus New York tickets are included in the New York Pass, but if you’re not interested in this city pass, here are the price breakdowns:

  • Classic ticket (1 day): $54 for adults, $45 for children
  • Premium ticket (2 days): $72 for adults, $63 for children
  • Deluxe ticket (3 days): $90 for adults, $81 for children
  • Downtown-only ticket: $45
  • Uptown-only ticket: $45

The Premium and Deluxe tickets include a bike rental discount so you can use one of your days to bike around the city.

You can also get combo Big Bus New York passes that include the hop-on hop-off bus and admission to a premium attraction, like the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, or the 9/11 Museum. These range from $69 to $109.

NYC’s Big Bus hours depend on which route you take. The Red (Downtown) Route runs from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, with departures every 15-20 minutes. The full circuit takes about 90 minutes.

The Blue (Uptown) Route runs from 10 am to 4 pm, with departures every hour. The full circuit takes about 75 minutes.

The New York Big Bus sightseeing tour offers two routes past NYC’s top attractions. Both the Downtown Loop and the Uptown Loop are included in your ticket.

Red (Downtown) Route:

  • M&M’s World
  • Times Square East
  • Empire State Building/Koreatown
  • Flatiron District
  • SoHo
  • Chinatown/Little Italy
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Wall Street/Charging Bull
  • Battery Park
  • Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum/Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

Blue (Uptown) Route:

  • Times Square East
  • Times Square North
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Central Park/Strawberry Fields
  • Columbus Circle

You can see a map of New York’s Big Bus tour stops below:

Big Bus map, best hop-on hop-off tours nyc

Big Bus New York map

2. NYC City Sightseeing Bus (Grayline bus tour), a great NYC hop-on hop-off bus tour

NYC’s Grayline Hop-On Hop-Off Bus is another worthwhile tour that goes through Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Harlem. This is one of the best open-top buses in New York because it grants you panoramic views of top attractions like the Rockefeller Center, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Times Square. It also goes past some of the best museums in NYC, like The Met, the Guggenheim, and the 9/11 Museum.

NYC City Sightseeing Bus (Grayline bus tour), New York City’s Grayline tours

2. NYC City Sightseeing Bus (Grayline bus tour), a great NYC hop-on hop-off bus tour

New York City’s Grayline tours include audio narration in 11 languages, including English, Spanish, and French. The company also offers free cancellation up to 24 hours before your tour, as well as an accompanying mobile app with updates and bus routes. Also, the bus stops by several hotels, so it can be a convenient option if you’re staying in the heart of the city.

This New York City hop-on hop-off bus tour has two ticket options, both of which are valid for one day. The Essential ticket includes the Downtown and Uptown routes, while the Iconic ticket only includes the Downtown route.

  • Iconic ticket (Downtown-only): $49
  • Essential ticket (Downtown & Uptown): $59

New York’s Grayline hop-on hop-off bus runs every day from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, with departures occurring every hour. The Downtown Loop takes about 2 hours, while the Downtown/Uptown Loop takes around 3 hours.

This New York sightseeing bus covers a lot of ground, so check out the Downtown and Uptown Loop routes below.

Downtown Loop:

  • Times Square North
  • Times Square South
  • Macy’s
  • Empire State Building
  • Flatiron District
  • Union Square
  • Greenwich Village
  • SoHo
  • Chinatown/Little Italy
  • City Hall (One World Trade Center, Brooklyn Bridge)
  • Battery Park
  • South Street Seaport
  • Lower East Side
  • East Village
  • United Nations
  • Waldorf Astoria Hotel
  • Rockefeller Center/Radio City Music Hall
  • Winter Garden Theatre
  • Central Park
  • Park Central Hotel

Uptown Loop:

  • Winter Garden Theatre
  • Hell’s Kitchen
  • Restaurant Row
  • Theatre District South
  • Theatre District North
  • Columbus Circle
  • Lincoln Center
  • The Dakota/Strawberry Fields
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Hotel Newton
  • Upper West Side
  • Cathedral of St. John the Divine
  • Grant’s Tomb
  • Apollo Theater
  • Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market
  • Museum of the City of New York
  • Smithsonian Museum of Design/Jewish Museum
  • Guggenheim
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Frick Collection
  • Central Park Zoo
  • Central Park South
  • Park Central Hotel

Here is a Grayline Bus Tours NYC map showing both the Downtown and Uptown stops:

City Sightseeing, new york city grayline tours

City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off New York map

3. TopView NYC Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, another good hop-on hop-off bus tour in NYC

A third option is this TopView NYC bus tour, which offers routes through Downtown, Uptown, Harlem, and Brooklyn. You can even book a Statue of Liberty cruise or take the tour at night. The multi-day passes are a great deal since they include the cruise and discounts at several attractions.

TopView NYC Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, best hop-on-hop-off bus tours in NYC

3. TopView NYC Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, another good hop-on hop-off bus tour in NYC

This is one of the best hop-on-hop-off bus tours in NYC if you want to see a wide variety of attractions across the city’s different neighborhoods. Among the sites you’ll visit, you can stop at the Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Center, and some of NYC’s top parks, including Union Square and Columbus Circle.

These New York City hop-on hop-off bus tours operate daily and include free onboard Wi-Fi and audio narration in 11 languages. Once you book, you can use your ticket any time in the next 12 months. I also recommend downloading the accompanying app to see a live map with up-to-date arrivals and departures.

The TopView New York City shuttle bus has 1, 2, and 3-day passes that include the Downtown Loop and the Uptown/Harlem Loop. The 2 and 3-day passes also include the Statue of Liberty cruise, the Brooklyn route, admission to the Museum of the City of New York, and a Central Park bike rental discount.

You can also purchase a night tour pass if you’d like to explore downtown NYC after dark. Below are the ticket prices for the night tour, the 1-day pass, and the multi-day passes:

  • 1-day pass: $49 for adults, $39 for children
  • 2-day pass: $55 for adults, $21 for children
  • 3-day pass: $65 for adults, $28 for children
  • Night tour pass: $29

The TopView New York double-decker bus runs every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The loop takes 2-2.5 hours to complete.

This is one of the best bus tours in New York because you can choose from several loops around the city. Below are the different routes and their respective stops:

Downtown Route:

  • Times Square
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Empire State Building
  • Flatiron Building
  • Macy’s
  • Madison Square Garden
  • Union Square
  • Washington Square Park
  • SoHo
  • Chinatown
  • Little Italy
  • City Hall
  • Battery Park
  • Charging Bull
  • One World Trade Center

Uptown/Harlem Route:

  • Central Park
  • Carnegie Hall
  • Jose de San Martin Monument
  • Columbus Circle
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Cathedral of St. John the Divine
  • Apollo Theater
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • The Met
  • The Plaza Hotel
  • General William Tecumseh Sherman Monument

Night Tour Route:

  • Times Square
  • Empire State Building
  • Flatiron Building
  • Chinatown
  • Union Square
  • 5th Avenue/City Hall
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Manhattan Bridge
  • Grand Central Terminal
  • United Nations
  • One World Trade Center

Brooklyn Route:

  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Antique Furniture District
  • Grand Army Plaza
  • Barclays Center
  • Manhattan Bridge
  • Brooklyn Museum

You can see this tour’s routes and stops on this hop-on-hop-off New York map:

Topview bus, best hop-on-hop-off bus tours in NYC

New York bus hop-on hop-off map

Which NYC hop-on hop-off bus tour is best?

Now that you’ve read about the 3 best double-decker bus tours in New York, you have a better idea of which one suits your preferences. If you’re still unsure, here is a comparison chart with the NYC bus tour prices, ticket options, and stops.

For the price comparison, we have used the basic ticket including the downtown and uptown routes.

 

BIG BUS NYC

GRAYLINE NYC

TOPVIEW NYC

1-day (adults)

$54

$59

$49

1-day (kids)

$45

$59

$39

2-day (adults)

$72

-

$55

2-day (kids)

$63

-

$21

3-day (adults)

$90

-

$65

3-day (kids)

$81

-

$28

Downtown Tour

$45

$49

-

Uptown Tour

$45

$49

-

Night Tour

No

No

Yes

Highlights

• Downtown route
• Uptown route
• Madame Tussauds (optional)
• Empire States Building (optional)
• Statue of Liberty ticket (optional)
• Cruise (optional)
• 9/11 Memorial Mueseum (optional)

• Downtown route
• Uptown route

• Downtown route
• Uptown route
• Brooklyn route*
• Night route*
• Statue of Liberty cruise*
• Museum of the city of New York*

NYC HOP-ON HOP-OFF BUS TOURS

* Included only in 2-day and 3-day tickets

I hope you found a hop-on hop-off bus tour in NYC you’d like to do! One last thing I’ll mention is that we have a complete guide with tourist maps of NYC, so you can see the locations of all the attractions you’re most interested in.

Of course, don’t hesitate to leave me any questions or comments below. I’ll be happy to answer you! Until then, have a great time exploring New York City!


COFOUNDER & TRAVEL JUNKIE

Hi, I'm Ascen, a globetrotter based in Philadelphia, USA. I enjoy exploring new landscapes and creating in-depth travel guides for Capture the Atlas.

I have felt a special connection with nature and all the inhabitants of the planet since I was a kid. I am passionate about discovering new countries and especially their wildlife, but no matter how many places I visit, I will always belong to the remote beaches of Almería, in Southern Spain.

You can know a little more about me here.

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