USA: Hopping Off & Hopping On With Big Bus Tours in New York

USA: Hopping Off & Hopping On With Big Bus Tours in New York

New York is a big city, 468.9 sq miles to be precise, and there is so much to see. If you are only visiting for a few days the likelihood is you will want to see as much as possible during your stay, especially the iconic buildings that litter the New York skyline. There are a number of ways you can get around the city and during our recent visit we tried a number of them. We walked, in fact we walked over 60 miles in 6 days and our feet are still paying the price now. We took taxis, even though they are metered so the drivers cannot charge more than they should, the cost of using them soon mounts up, especially if you take numerous journeys. We tried the subway once, and once was enough, the ride we took was fine but I really didn’t like being underground and not seeing the amazing things above me. And finally we took the Big Bus Tours hop on hop off bus, which was our favourite mode of transport by far and here are the reasons why…

Easy to use and frequent

Mr ESLT snapping on Big Bus Tours New York

The Big Bus Tour representatives can be found everywhere, especially near big hotels and major tourist sites and are easy to spot in their distinctive uniform. There is also a Big Bus Tours Welcome Centre which is located on 7th Avenue, right near Times Square. You can buy your ticket from any of the representatives or at the Welcome Centre. We picked our tickets up from the Welcome Centre where we had the opportunity to ask questions and also check out what other tours and packages Big Bus Tours offered. Once on the tour we found that the buses where extremely easy to use. As we approached a stop we were notified and asked if we wanted to get off. On the main loops, Downtown Loop and Uptown Loop the buses run every 20 minutes, which meant we were never waiting too long to hop back on.

Value for money

Times Square from Big Bus Tours, New York

Big Bus Tours offer a number of different tickets to buy depending on your specific requirements and what you actually want to see. We received the Classic – 1-Day Tour tickets (valid for 24 hours) which are priced at $50 each. We took full advantage of the tickets by catching the first bus in the morning and returned on the last one of the evening. The distance we travelled that day simply could not have been done on foot and would have cost a fortune in taxis between the attractions. We use hop on hop off buses all over the world and having used the Big Bus Tours ones previously in Hong Kong and Dubai, we find them to be the best with regards to value for money because of the distance they cover and the things you get to see, even if you don’t hop off.

See a lot in a short space of time

The Flatiron Building from Big Bus Tours, New York

Within one day we saw so much, so if you only have a limited time to explore The Big Apple then the Big Bus Tours hop on hop off bus is perfect for you. During our time on the bus we saw many of the major attractions without even having to step foot off the bus including Central Park, the Empire State Building, the Flatiron Building, the Charging Bull and many, many more, in fact too many to list. The buses are open top so we got great views of the building and attractions which meant we could snap away to our hearts content. We even braved the morning rain to do so.

Live commentary

The Freedom Tower from Big Bus Tours, New York

As I mentioned above, we love using hop on hop off buses when travelling but we found the Big Bus Tours ones in New York went the extra mile with actual people proving the commentary throughout. We had the pleasure of Jovial commentating during our uptown loop and Anina on the downtown loop. Both of whom are New Yorkers and had lots of interesting knowledge to share and great stories to tell about the city. They even pointed out places that they like to visit restaurants, parks etc which added a great and entertaining personal touch. Pre-recorded commentary was also available for non-English speakers. We find the commentary on Big Bus Tours great, not only did we just see buildings, landmarks, neighbourhoods and attractions but we learnt about them too.


New York Public Library from Big Bus Tours

Firstly, the tickets are flexible, even if you buy one and decide not to use it that day, then not to worry, they are valid for 6 months. Meaning if you are like me and like to plan your trip exactly before taking it, you can even buy the in advance directly from the Big Bus Tours website. And secondly, with 35 stops you have the flexibility to hop on and hop off wherever you like depending on what you want to see or visit not at fixed points like on many tours.

There are loads of different options with regards to the tours offered. We loved using the bus for a day however, if you have longer in the city I would personally recommend pushing the boat out and spending the extra few dollars by getting a 2 or even a 3 day pass as you can experience more loops and added extras.

  • Our tickets were provided by Big Bus Tours on a complimentary basis in exchange for review. However, even if they hadn’t been we would have bought them anyway! Highly recommended.


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  1. February 10, 2017 / 8:35 am

    Oh this is a good idea. We will do this when we get to NYC again later this year…at some point! lol

    • February 10, 2017 / 12:11 pm

      We love using them, hope you have a great experience if you chose to use one too. I love being outside so being able to sit on the open top really worked for me and saved my feet from the agony of even more blisters 🙂

      • February 10, 2017 / 12:46 pm

        Yes we did the same in Busan last November. Sure beats trying to look at the map on the phone while searching for the attractions!

  2. February 10, 2017 / 11:57 am

    Great post! Tried it, many years ago. Brings back good memories. Absolutely agree that they are great transport for going through New York City.

    • February 10, 2017 / 12:08 pm

      Thank you. I just love being able to see everything and hear about the buildings as you pass them. Although I believe New York is currently in the midst of snow storms so I guess the upper open top decks would be out of action this week 🙂

      • February 10, 2017 / 12:11 pm

        Excellent reminder! ? Snowfall in New York can be extreme!

        • February 10, 2017 / 12:16 pm

          It certainly can. I can’t believe just a week and a half ago when we were there it was glorious sunshine with bright blue skies! I think we were very lucky!

          • February 10, 2017 / 12:19 pm

            Yep! Very lucky. Years back, when we were living there, I remember it was like blizzard of the century. So mega that there were no crimes committed during the blizzard. ?

          • February 10, 2017 / 12:21 pm

            Every cloud has a silver lining! ? gosh I bet everything just grinds to a halt?!

          • February 10, 2017 / 12:32 pm

            The cinemas & supermarkets were working. We were the only ones crazy enough to trudge through the snow for a movie! ??

  3. February 10, 2017 / 5:20 pm

    60 miles in 6 days! That’s nuts! Thanks for sharing this bit of advice – I’ll try to keep it in mind when I find myself in New York one of these days…

    • February 10, 2017 / 5:22 pm

      We were lucky to have great weather but it really did take its toll on our poor feet! We had blisters on blisters ? looking back we should have bought a 2 or 3 day bus ticket! Hope you get to visit soon!

  4. AlicevstheWorld
    February 11, 2017 / 5:01 pm

    This sounds like a really great way to explore New York! I’ve always been curious about the tour buses in Cambridge in London, but have yet to actually hop on one so far!

    • February 19, 2017 / 3:05 pm

      We use them all the time, yet have never used one in England and I don’t know why. We live near York and I know they have one. We’re going to give that one a go next time we visit. I imagine the one in London is great as well, especially in Summer. We always use the tube when we are there which defeats the object of visiting really as there is so much to see above ground level.