Exploring New York City By Hop-on Hop-off Bus

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Travel writers having fun in NYC

Are you a baby boomer traveler who’s explored the cities of Europe by hop-on hop-off bus? I’ll admit that I was a newbie to this type of touring until earlier this month. While attending the Travel Blog Exchange conference in New York City, CitySights NY offered press passes for the Shop, Hop and Top (4-day value package) ($110 retail value) to try out their double-decker bus tour. The tickets were good for 96 hours and included the Downtown Tour, Uptown & Harlem Tour, Night Tour and Brooklyn Tour. Admission to the Museum of the City of New York, a cruise around the city’s harbor on Circle Line, entrance to an observation deck at the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock, and round-trip bus ride to Woodbury Common’s Premium Outlets were also part of this value package.

Baby Boomer Travel Tip 1: Purchase your ticket at the CitySights NY website for a discounted price.

I joined travel writers and bloggers, Jennifer Miner of The Vacation Gals, Nancy D. Brown from What A Trip and Trisha Miller of Travel Writers Exchange for a two-plus hour tour of the must-see stops in New York City. To pick up our tickets, we met at CitySights NY Visitors Center in the heart of Times Square, inside the lobby of Madame Tussauds (234 W. 42nd Street, between 7th & 8th Avenues). The subway ride from my accommodations at Chelsea Pines Inn in Chelsea proved to be quick and convenient.

Baby Boomer Travel Tip 2: Save money by purchasing a subway pass for your time in New York City.

By 10:00 a.m. a line already snaked down the sidewalk at Madame Tussauds.

Baby Boomer Travel Tip 3: Arrive early and be prepared to stand in line.

After claiming our tour tickets at the desk in the lobby, we walked around the corner to wait at the bus stop for the CitySights hop-on hop-off bus.

Baby Boomer Travel Tip 4: Confirm that you are standing at the correct stop. CitySights NY staff members are available to answer any questions.

The CitySights NY bus pulled up within about 5 to 10 minutes. The first bus that arrived looked too crowded but it wasn’t long before another bus with more room pulled up to the stop. Once we were seated on the upper deck of the bus, the streets of New York City spread out in front of us. Sun glinted from the windows along a long corridor of New York City skyscrapers. Cars honked and engines revved as the bus drove from one red light to the next, while a tour guide offered a running commentary on the sites we were passing.

Flat Iron Building

Baby Boomer Travel Tip 5: Sit up towards the front of the bus if you want to hear the commentary.

Of course, the best thing about the CitySights NY bus tour was our ability to hop off the bus and then hop back on, allowing an individualized day of exploring New York City that met our needs.

Baby Boomer Travel Tip 6: Study a New York City map the night before to know exactly what you want to see.

After experiencing CitySights NY hop-on/hop-off bus, I understand why my cruising friends swear by these types of tours on visits to European ports. Alan and I will be riding hop-on hop-off buses again this fall when our Seabourn cruise stops in Marseilles, Barcelona and Lisbon.

Would you rather walk instead? I enjoyed an impromptu walking tour of Greenwich Village. For expert advice, be sure to read Terry Trucco’s guest post on New York City walks.

Are you a fan of hop-on hop-off bus tours? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email to ask a question or share your experience.

Disclosure: CitySights NY provided a complementary pass for my tour on their hop-on hop-off bus.

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