What's the best Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour in New York City? Depends on what you're looking for. There are several tour bus companies in New York City - we've compared the differences between the two most popular hop-on hop-off bus tours to highlight the differences and help you choose the one that's right for you. We'll show the major differences between two companies, Big Bus New York vs. City Sightseeing, so you can choose which bus tour to do in New York City depending on what you want to see and do - and a few other factors.
The Basics & What's Included with Your Ticket
- Ranked #1 on TripAdvisor! Big Bus consistently ranks highest for customer satisfaction.
- Live narration: Big Bus is the only New York hop-on hop-off bus tour company with live, licensed tour guides on every bus who provide an interactive tour experience and point out all of the sights along the way, making sure you don't miss a thing.
- Languages available: All buses offer pre-recorded commentary in 10 languages.
- Trip-planning tools: All Big Bus hop-on hop-off tours come with access to a free mobile app that includes customizable maps, bus timetables, and information about the city's top sights.
- Ticket duration: Bus tour tickets are valid for one calendar day, unless activated after 3:00 pm, in which case they would be valid for a 24-hour period.
- Tour routes: Big Bus tours feature 3 routes with their standard tickets (Uptown, Downtown, and Midtown) with the opportunity to add the Brooklyn Tour or Night Tour at highly discounted rates.
- WiFi: Each bus features FREE WiFi onboard.
- Hours of operation: Buses run from 8:00 am - 6:00 pm every day.
City Sightseeing Tickets:
- Languages available: All buses offer pre-recorded commentary in 12 languages.
- Ticket duration: Standard City Sightseeing tickets are valid for 48 hours.
- Tour routes: Standard City Sightseeing tours feature 3 routes with their standard tickets (Uptown, Downtown, and Brooklyn).
- Extras: Each ticket includes a free 90-minute night tour on the bus, access to a 4-stop hop-on hop-off ferry tour, and a ticket to your choice of either the NYC Museum or the New York Historic Society.
- Hours of operation: Buses run from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm every day.
New York Bus Route Comparison
Big Bus New York City Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Route:
A Big Bus New York ticket gets you access to 3 routes
- Uptown: includes stops at Theater District, Columbus Circle, American Museum of Natural History, Lincoln Center Plaza, Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, The Frick Museum, and more.
- Downtown: includes stops at Times Square, Fifth Avenue, Empire State Building, Flat Iron District, Greenwich Village, SoHo, Chinatown, Little Italy, Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall, Lower East Side, United Nations, Rockefeller Plaza, Central Park, Battery Park (where you can get a ferry to the Statue of Liberty), and more.
- Midtown: includes stops at Times Square, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises in Hudson River Park, Madison Square Garden, Grand Central Terminal, and more.
A City Sightseeing ticket gets you access to 3 routes (+ a nighttime tour):
- Uptown: includes stops at Hell's Kitchen, Theater District, Columbus Circle, American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side, Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, and more.
- Downtown: includes stops at Times Square, Empire State Building, Flat Iron District, Greenwich Village, SoHo, Chinatown/Little Italy, Battery Park, Lower East Side, Rockefeller Plaza, Central Park, and more.
- Brooklyn: includes stops at Botanic Garden, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Antique Furniture District, Fulton Mall, The Brooklyn Museum, Grand Army Plaza, Cadman Plaza, The Brooklyn Public Library, and more.
- Night Tour: the night tour is not a hop-on hop-off tour but a way to see the sights at night.
Let's Recap Our NYC Bus Tour Comparison:
Overview: Both New York City hop-on hop-off bus tours provide an easy and convenient way to get a feel for the city, see some of the top sights, and learn a bit about the city's important history and culture. You'll get a comprehensive overview of the city and get a feel for the city layout. Both run on fairly frequent intervals, so hopping on or off is easy. Routes included: Big Bus includes a Midtown route, which covers Midtown Manhattan to the western side of the Manhattan peninsula, which City Sightseeing bus routes do not, while City Sightseeing bus routes include a route through Brooklyn, which Big Bus does not (though a Brooklyn route is available as an add-on at a significant discount for ticket holders). Hours of operation: City Sightseeing standard tickets allow you to hop-on and off for 48-hours while Big Bus standard tickets are 1 calendar day (unless you redeem your ticket after 3:00 pm, in which case it will be valid for 24-hours), but Big Bus' hours of operation are significantly longer than those of City Sightseeing's bus. Customer preference: Big Bus is the #1 ranked bus tour on both Viator and TripAdvisor. Ways to save on New York bus tour tickets: Both Big Bus and City Sightseeing New York bus tours are available attraction choices on New York sightseeing passes.
- Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour tickets are available on:
- New York Explorer Pass: a multi-attraction sightseeing pass that lets you choose how many attractions you want to visit from over 60 attraction options, including the Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour of New York City.
- The New York Pass: an all-inclusive pass that includes tickets to Big Bus York Hop-On Hop-Off Tours and admission to over 90 popular attractions.
- City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Tour tickets are available on:
- New York City SightSeeing Pass: an all-inclusive pass that includes tickets to the City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off bus tour and admission to other local attractions.