Planning a trip to New York City, but feeling a little overwhelmed by what sights and attractions to see with your kids? For families, organized NYC city tours are the way to go. But which do you choose? We’ve rounded up the best city tours, bus tours, walking tours, and boat tours NYC has to offer.

photo: Richardjo53 via Flickr 

Best Boat Tours NYC

Circle Line

Eric Kilby via Flickr

The classic and probably best-known boat tour of NYC is the Circle Line. They’ve been in business for seventy years, and have a variety of cruise options to choose from. One, two, or three-hour cruises that take you everywhere you want to go in NYC by boat.

Pier 83, W 42nd St. or Pier 16, South Street Seaport
New York, NY 10036
Circle Line hours: vary, depending on the cruise you choose
Circle Line cost: $26-$69

Classic Harbor Line

Courtesy of Classic Harbor Line

If you’re looking for a NYC boat tour during the holiday season, consider Classic Harbor Line’s Cocoa & Carols Holiday Cruise. While they do offer sightseeing cruises on their classic vessels year-round, there’s something particularly special about seeing the NYC lights during this magical time of year. Cookies, cocoa, and even champagne for the adults are included with your ticket.

Pier 62 & W 22nd St.
New York, NY 10011
Classic Harbor Line hours: 2 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
Classic Harbor Line cost: $84

Statue of Liberty Cruise

Henry Wang via Flickr

The only way to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is through Statue Cruises. It’s the only authorized outlet for tickets. (Beware of street vendors telling you otherwise). Each ticket choice for the Statue of Liberty Cruise has a different level of access to the statue and museum, so there’s something for every attention span.

Castle Clinton National Monument
Battery Park
New York NY 10004
Statue of Liberty Cruise hours: 8:30 a.m.- 7 p.m.
Statue of Liberty Cruise cost: $9-$21.50

Staten Island Ferry

Phil Dolby via Flickr

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider the Staten Island Ferry. Yes, it’s a commuter ferry, but those in the know (like you) know it’s a great choice for Statue of Liberty photo ops and views of downtown Manhattan. And the best part? It’s free.

4 South Street
New York, NY 10004
Staten Island Ferry hours: 6 a.m.-8 p.m.
Staten Island Ferry cost: Free

Best Walking Tours NYC

Free Tours By Foot

aylamillerntor via Flickr

The name really says it all, doesn’t it? They specialize in NYC walking tours and it’s all pay-what-you-wish. No cost to book and you determine what the tour was worth after you take it. With a plethora of neighborhoods to pick from, you can even take food-centric tours of the city for an added twist on typical tourist spots. (Note: the food isn’t free).

Locations vary depending on the tour you pick.
Free Tours By Foot hours: vary, but tours are approximately two hours long.
Free Tours By Foot cost: Pay-what-you-wish

Sugartooth Tours

Jenna Pinchbeck

Combining history and desserts, this NYC walking tour sure is a sweet deal. Designed to feature some of the best sweet treats NYC has to offer, choose from their popular ice cream tour, cupcakes, Broadway bites, or you can create your own custom tour. Be sure to pack your sweet tooth!

Locations vary depending on the tour you pick.
Sugartooth Tours hours: vary depends on tour you choose.
Sugartooth Tours cost: $55 (includes food)

Central Park Discovery Tours

Henry Wang via Flickr

Central Park isn’t just a stop on this city walking tour—it’s the star. Explore the natural wonder and see some sights inside the park like Belvedere Castle, Strawberry Fields, Bethesda Fountain, and much more. It’s suggested you book in advance as this walking tour is very popular.

W 57th St. and 7th Ave.
Central Park Discovery Tours hours: vary depending on the tour you choose.
Central Park Discovery Tours cost: $40-$50

Best Bus Tours NYC

City Sights NY

Mark Hougaard Jensen

Bus tours in New York are the most common way to see the most of the city and City Sights NY is one of the biggest. Choose from the standard guided tours or customize your own with their Hop On, Hop Off tours. They also offer packages that include admission to some of NYC’s top attractions, and even tours around places from your fave TV shows filmed in NYC!

777 8th Ave.
New York, NY 10036
City Sights NY hours: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
City Sights NY cost: $19-$173

Big Bus New York

Kirill Zakharin via Flickr

The typical NYC bus tour gets a modern boost with Big Bus New York. Use their free app and free onboard Wi-Fi to have all of the NYC bus routes, landmarks, and tour times right in your hand. Plus the Big Bus New York tickets include additional features like a bike rental offer, night tours, entry to the Empire State Building, and more.

Locations vary depending on tour chosen.
Big Bus New York hours: vary
Big Bus New York cost: $49.50-$99

The Ride

Courtesy of The Ride

If you want to take your bus tour of NYC to the next level, consider The Ride. Definitely unique, The Ride includes all the standard sightseeing with added street performances—making it truly interactive experience. And don’t worry if the weather takes a turn; the double-decker Ride is fully enclosed. That means you’re protected from all of the elements.

Locations vary.
212- 221-0853
The Ride hours: 9 a.m.–11 p.m.
The Ride cost: $35-$119

—– Jesseca Stenson

featured image:  Richardjo53 via Flickr




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