Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit New York City: Gray Line New York City Hop On Hop Off Tours: All Loops NYC Double Decker Tour




July 10, 2012

Visit New York City: Gray Line New York City Hop On Hop Off Tours: All Loops NYC Double Decker Tour

Most folks visiting New York City will not rent a car. Parking is expensive, hard to find, and driving in NYC can be quite intimidating. So what's the best way to see the city when you don't have your own wheels? The Gray Line Double Decker Bus Tours!

Gray Line has many double decker bus tours to choose from. Some tours consist of just the bus rides, some tours are coupled with tickets to popular attractions such as the Empire State Building Observatory or the Ferry to the Statute of Liberty/Ellis Island. Most tours have hop on/off privileges, meaning you can hop off at any stop, and hop back on any Gray Line bus at the same stop, or a different stop.

We decided to take the 48 Hour "All Loops" tour during the first two days of our trip. We figured touring the city on the double decker bus would give us a good overview of the city, and if there is anything in particular that caught our eye, we could visit it later on during our trip. The All Loops tour gave us riding privileges on the Downtown Loop, Uptown Loop, Brooklyn Loop, and the Night Tour. Unfortunately we were only able to experience the Downtown Loop and Uptown Loop. We tried to get on the Night Tour bus, but we got on the wrong bus (thanks to one of the employees on the street who directed us onto the wrong bus) and ended up repeating the Downtown Loop.

Here's a map of the routes for the different tours. It comes in handy so be sure to pick one up before you embark on your adventure.

The Gray Line Visitors Center - the departure point for most tours/loops. We came here first to exchange our voucher for tickets.

Thankfully all of these people were waiting for a different tour. Be sure to ask one of the employees which line to stand in, otherwise you may end up waiting in the wrong line. The ticket agents are quick and work like clockwork.

After we got our tickets, we boarded the bus across the street. The Gray Line buses are hard to miss - they are big, red, and all over the city.

One of the nice things about touring the city on a double decker bus is you get a vantage point that you don't get from a taxi or by walking.

You also get to see more than you could ever see by walking or taking the Subway.

Hearst Tower

Time Warner Center (this is why our cable bill is so high)

The city is filled with beautiful architecture

Walkway to President Grant's Tomb

Empire State Building

Central Park on the right, high rent condos on the left (many famous people live in these condos)

The infamous Apollo Theater

The James Farley Post Office - up until 2009 it was open 24 hours a day. Now it is open until 10:00 pm on weekdays (Sat until 9pm, Sun until 7pm).

Macy's New York - it occupies one entire block.

Wall Street
NY teachers protesting for a new contract (Hawaii teachers aren't alone!)

As we were sitting on the bus waiting for the people down below to board, I noticed this street lamp that had a bunch of gum and coins glued to it. Now that's something that you would only get to see on the double decker bus. I wish I had some chewing gum so that I could leave my mark in NYC.

Each bus is equipped with a headphone system and a tour guide. Some guides are better than others, and the better your tour guide, the more you'll learn about city, the history, the landmarks, and the people. On one of the buses we boarded, the tour guide did not say a word, which was quite a disappointment.

The tours aren't perfect - in addition to the sub-par performance of some of its guides, you may also encounter problems boarding a bus because it's full (therefore you you have to wait for the next one to come around and hope it's not full) or delays due to traffic or mechanical problems.

But overall, it's a great way to see and learn about NYC, which is rich in culture and history.

Gray Line New York
777 8th Avenue (between 47th and 48th Street)
(800) 669-0051

Mahalo to the sponsor for providing complimentary vouchers for the tour.

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