New York City Bus Tours - Worth it?
When you live in NYC, you never imagine yourself on one of the bus tours. They look like a great deal for tourists though. I was very curious of how this experience is as I've come across such tours in many big cities but never actually took them.
So, I decided to experience the NYC Bus tour first hand to tell you if it's worth it!
I took a deal for three days from New York Sightseeing Company. There are many options such as Big Bus, Hop-on-Hop-off etc. They usually offer similar deals at same prices.
What I hated about these tours is that the sales people are not just pushy but they are scammers as hell! Just be cautious of who you are dealing with. Use your common sense so you don't get ripped off.
CONS OF THE TOUR:
Its super expensive for what it provides. It just lets you hop on and hop off at various tourist attractions in the city. You can buy a weekly unlimited metro / subway pass for quarter of its price and that works for full nights as well unlike the bus tour which stops around midnight.
The service is usually half an hour at every stop and you cannot go back on the route. You have to complete the full route even if you want to simply go to the previous location.
They tell you you get complementary bicycles at the Central Park but upon reaching there you will have to pay the usual rate and they will tell you some kind of story that it's written on the pamphlet. And you will feel scammed.
Brooklyn tour is only on bus, so you don't get to actually see the suburbs. It's only a driving tour.
Same goes for Bronx tour but I was unable to do it because it was some kind of holiday and I had no more time!
PROS OF THE TOUR:
The cruise that takes you to see Statue of Liberty goes really close to the monument which never happens on the Staten Island Ferry. I got some amazing picture on this cruise, so I liked it. But Staten Island Ferry is FREE 24X7 which is amazing. This decision can get confusing. LOL!
Someone who is completely new to the city, does not have a lot of time to explore and wants to check off the main tourist spots can use this. Also it is great for someone who is claustrophobic and hates crowds because NY Subway is all that - cramped and dingy!
The Night Tour of Manhattan Bridge - This was one of my most memorable experiences of the city as I did for my birthday and got an year older in the presence of my favourite city-skyline in the world. Luckily I got to do it twice as I negotiated with the sales person and he let me take the ride two times in the three day tour! Now this is amazing because the bus is open and you can enjoy the iconic NYC skyline in all its glory.
So, is the bus tour worth it? Well I didn't regret it because the cruise and midnight skyline tour were so breathtakingly beautiful. Other than that Subway Pass is a much more economical and better alternative.
Do I recommend it? Only for certain people as I mentioned above. But to all those who love this city like I do, who have grown up watching re-runs of FRIENDS, HIMYM, SATC and Gossip Girl like me - take the subway pass, explore the real side of New York City. You'll have an experience of a lifetime!!