Hop On Hop Off Bus Tours New York

By Steffen, 9. March 2017
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Taking a taxi or the subway around the city to get every attraction you want to visit, is not only expensive but you don’t end up seeing much of New York City itself. Hop-on Hop-off bus tours are great for exactly this reason, you can jump on or off whenever you want to. This way you discover the city from a completely new perspective, while getting where you want to go. 

Taking a tour on a Hop-on hop-off bus in New York ensures that you see all the parts of the city and is because of this, ideal for first-time visitors. Even when traveling as a family, the bus tours are a great way to discover the city – you can sit back, relax and learn about New York through the narration provided. You can also plan your day to fit your schedule. There are various departure times, stations and things to see along the way.

You can check out which sights and attractions you will drive by clicking here.

Steffen on a NYC Bus Tour

Different kinds of Hop-on Hop-off bus tours in NYC

There are four different operators of Hop-on Hop-off tours in New York. The most popular ones are the hop on hop off tours by Gray Line (operate the bright red busses) and the new provider Big Bus (which use the dark red busses). These two providers have the largest fleet of buses and drive the routes at regular intervals. While these two operators do have slightly more busses meaning that you won’t have to wait as long at the stops, all of the hop on hop off bus tours on offer drive the same route and are very similar overall.

Gray Line Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

Tour operators:

Hop on Hop off Bus Tour New York City Grey Line

Hop on Hop off Bus Tour New York City Big Bus


  • Modern busses
  • High frequency
  • Very popular
  • New busses
  • High frequency
  • Less busy


Ticket pickup:

At the welcome center or at the manned stops

No pickup needed. You can get in at any stop


Times Square 

Empire State Building

World Trade Center/City Hall

Rockefeller Center

SoHo/Little Italy

High Line

Flatiron Distric

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Union Square

Madison Square Garden

Central Park and Columbus Circle

American Museum of Natural History

The Guggenheim Museum


Korea Town

Hop on hop off bus tours New York – Details & Routes

Both of the operators of the Hop-on-Hop-off tours are fairly comparable, the only difference bing the higher popularity of the Gray Line tours. All hop-on hop-off tours providers offer the same loops: Downtown, Uptown, Bronx, Brooklyn, and the evening/night tour.

Summary of the five hop on hop off loops

With the one or two day passes, you can ride on all of the five loops. Tours are also called “loops” because the routes always start and end at the same point. 

The most popular tour is the Downtown loop (duration: 2 hours). This tour includes sights such as Times Square, Madison Square Garden, the Empire State Building, SoHo, Battery Park, Radio City Music Hall, Little Italy, Wall Street, the Financial District, Lower East Side, the United Nations Building, Rockefeller Center, Carnegie Hall and many more. You can get tickets here.

The Uptown loop (duration: 2 hours) takes you to the north of Manhattan. You will cross famous 5th Avenue, drive along Central Park in the direction of Harlem, and will see many other attractions on this tour including Lincoln Center, American Museum of Natural History, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Grant’s Tomb, Apollo Theater, Harlem Market, The Museum Mile, the Guggenheim, and the Metropolitan Museum. Tickets for this tour are available here.

You can check out the Uptown and Downtown loops plotted on the map below. This way you can check what attractions along the way you want to see along with where you might want to stop to explore.

The third option is the Brooklyn Loop (duration: 2 hours). On this route you will see the best spots of this beloved borough, for example the Botanical Garden, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Antique Furniture District, Fulton Mall, the Brooklyn Museum, and many others. The new departure point for the tour is Old Fulton Street by Prospect Street in Brooklyn. It no longer connects to any loops in Manhattan. Tickets are available here.

The fourth tour is the Evening/Night Tour (duration: 2.5 hours). This hop-on hop-off bus tour through NYC is also very popular because seeing New York at twilight and at night is truly something special. You will drive by all relevant attractions: you will have a chance to see Times Square and its nighttime glow, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Greenwich Village, SoHo, Chinatown, and Little Italy. Tickets are available here.

You can also take the Harlem/Bronx Tour (duration: 1.5 hours). This tour will take you way up to the northern part of New York City and covers such great sights as the Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market, Sylvia’s & Red Rooster Lenox Lounge, the Harlem neighbourhoods, and the Yankee Stadium. Tickets are available here.

Tickets for hop-on hop-off bus tours in NYC

Below we have detailed how buy tickets for the bus tours . Also, everything else you need to know about buying tickets can be found in the following segments:

1. Types of hop-on hop-off tickets

There are three different types of tickets: a 1-day ticket, a 2-day ticket (48 hours), and a 3-day ticket (72 hours). If you buy the 1-day ticket, you can only do the Downtown Tour. This tour is a great choice for first-time visitors to New York who want to get a quick overview of the City.

If you buy one of the other tickets, you can also use the other four loops: Uptown, Brooklyn, Harlem, and the evening tour in addition to the Downtown tour. So, if you want to do all the tours, it is worth getting the longer-duration tickets.

2. Where can I get a good deal on NYC Hop-on Hop-off tickets?

It is best to buy tickets online. They are cheaper if you buy them online in comparison to at the ticket counter (this is due to the fact that if you buy in advance, the operator can plan ahead). Buying tickets online is secure and fast. First, you choose the date you want to take a tour, and how many people will be on the tour. Then you choose which route you would like to book. You will be sent a voucher that you can redeem at any of the bus stops to hop on the bus.

3. Free hop-on hop-off bus tour tickets?

New York hop on hop off bus tour tickets are included in a New York pass. Purchasing a New York pass allows you to enjoy more than 80 attractions, sights and tours as well as the the hop-on hop-off bus tours, during your time in New York.

4. Are there also other tickets?

You may also book these tickets as part of a combo package. For example, you can book an additional harbor cruise to explore New York from the water. Tickets available here.

Combining the hop on hop of tour with a boat ride to the Statue of Liberty is very popular. Tickets available here.

My tip! Hop on hop off tickets are included in the following New York sightseeing passes:

Up to 80 attractions and tours are included in the price of a New York sightseeing pass. Learn more about the passes here:

New York Pass 180px     Explorer Pass

Compare Passes Now

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