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All aboard the Fun Bus Long Island tour in New York

Disclaimer:
Please note in the blog, I use Google Adsense to display a number of banners which I earn commission from. However, all of the recommendations and suggestions in the blog plus any recommendations I make are tours which I have tried myself and genuinely love. I never ever recommend anything which sucks  -those kinds of tours never make it onto my blog! The other suggestions I make are purely down to research and are not monetised at all.

 

New York City is like no other place on earth. The noise, colours, gigantic neon signs and the scent of street food hit you all at once.

There are a million things you can do in New York, but if your time is limited, then I recommend you hop aboard the fun bus long island tour in New York.

It will introduce you to some of the most awesome attractions you’re ever likely to see in the Big Apple.

What to see in the Big Apple

beautiful New York scenery on the fun bus long island tour

Most of us don’t have the luxury of spending more than a couple of weeks in New York. You might even have less time than that.

This blog is designed to help you make the most of what little time you’ve got.

clock gif, fun bus long island tour blog

As a hardcore backpacker that relishes in immersing myself in the raw adventures that different countries have to offer, I often hesitate to recommend tours or packages.

This is because I am evangelical about seeing the real side of the countries I am in and I have had way too many experiences where tour packages literally only give you a glimpse of each attraction.

Basically, they let you off to take a quick picture and then before your eyes have registered what you have seen, they whisk you away to another hotspot, where you can once again stay for 2 minutes.

So I don’t recommend tours like that.

shake head gif, fun bus long island tour blog

Of course, I’ll mention timeless classics such as the Statue of Liberty, and the Empire State building, but I’ll be focussing on some of the lesser-known attractions that allows you to see the other side of the city.

So without further ado, let’s deep dive into some of the best attractions that the Big Apple has to offer.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

New York, fun bus long island tour blog

No trip to New York would be complete without an obligatory detour to the iconic Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The statue is a symbol of enlightenment and freedom, values that are held so dearly in the US. As such, the Statue of Liberty is virtually interchangeable with America and it is no surprise that this attraction has been a big hit among tourists for decades.

After being gifted to the US by France in 1884, the statue was dedicated in the US as part of a ceremony presided over by President Cleveland in 1886.

It was designated as a National Monument in 1924. Employees of the National Park Service have been caring for the colossal copper statue since 1933.

To visit the Statue of Liberty, you’ll usually hop aboard a Staten Island cruise, which are organized by Statue Cruises, the official ferry service provider.

New York, fun bus long island tour blog

During the journey, you’ll make a stop to Ellis Island to visit the world-class Ellis Island Immigration Museum, The American Immigrant Wall of Honor, and the America Family Immigration History Center.

It has been estimated that nearly half of all Americans today can trace their family history to at least one person who passed through the Port of New York at Ellis Island.

You’ll then cruise by the Statue of Liberty, which sits on Liberty Island.

Brooklyn Bus tour

New York, fun bus long island tour blog

Brooklyn does not often appear on the top of the list when it comes to tourist attractions in New York. In many ways, it is still a little bit of an undiscovered gem nestled in the heart of the city.

In the 1600s, it was one of six villages founded by the Dutch and in the 1700s, it was colonised by the British until America’s Independence in 1776.

Brooklyn has historically been known as King’s County and at one time it was an independent city until its consolidation with New York City in 1898.

To this very day, Brooklyn continues to maintain a distinct culture, independent art scene, and unique architectural heritage. Many Brooklyn neighborhoods are ethnic enclaves where particular groups and cultures predominate.

Night view of Brooklyn, fun bus long island tour blog

There are so many ways to enjoy this wonderful borough, and one of the ways you can do that is by taking a hop on hop off fun bus long island tour.

The second time I visited Brooklyn, I went on a tour with a company called Big Bus tours, which takes visitors on a guided excursion through some of the main highlights in the borough.

The bus picked us up outside the Statue of Liberty and stopped outside the Barclays Center, Grand Army Plaza and the One World Observatory.

I got plenty of time to hop off and explore the various sites and sounds around Brooklyn. During this mini-adventure, I took the time to pop into several of the art galleries in DUMBO, a trendy art hotspot that used to be an industrial neighborhood. I also visited several independent stores at Brooklyn Flea, one of New York City’s premier flea markets.

New York, fun bus long island tour blog
DUMBO, New York

I ended up walking away with a ton of vintage clothing and souvenirs. I also got a chance to stop by Brooklyn Museum to see a little more of the art shows, before hopping back on the bus.

So if you’re looking for ideas, then those are a few you can try. If you have a little more time on your hands you might also want to take a short shopping trip to Williamsburg, an artistic, trendy neighborhood in Brooklyn, or you might want to head over to the Barge, one of New York’s only floating concert halls.

New York, fun bus long island tour blog
A concert at The Barge

The thing I love about Brooklyn is there’s always something you can do before rejoining the fun bus long island, tour.

You may wonder why I’m so keen to promote certain tours that I’ve been on? The answer is simple: when I find something that I love and felt I got value from, I believe it’s only right to share it with the world.

The fun bus was one of the best decisions I took while I was there because without Big Bus Tours and some of the other tour companies I shacked up with, my trip would have been much less fun.

Best of Brooklyn Walking Tour 

Brooklyn walking tour, fun bus long island tour blog

When I first wandered around the streets of Brooklyn in 2004, I was struck by how many beautiful parks and green spaces there were. I just kind of wandered around by myself before getting the subway back to Manhattan.

I didn’t realise how much I missed until I went back for a second time.

I went back on a Brooklyn Unplugged tour where I saw a few of the attractions but more than anything, I learned about some of the culture and controversy that still surrounds the borough.

So many walking tours will take you to the biggest and most obvious attractions.

But the great thing about the Brooklyn Unplugged – Best of Brooklyn Walking Tour, is that it offers a two hour guided walking experience by a local expert.

You’ll also learn about the cultural influence of immigrants and the gentrification of the borough. On this tour, you’ll also get to learn about the cool, creative businesses in Brooklyn that are setting trends across the globe.

You can gain free entry to the tour, with the Sightseeing Pass.

Luna Park Coney Island 

Luna Park, Coney Island, fun bus long island tour blog

Luna Park Coney Island is another thrilling stop on the fun bus long island tour. It is a relatively new amusement park that opened in 2010.

The amusement park comes complete with rides, roller coasters, games, an arcade, go-karts, restaurants, food stands and the historic Cyclone Roller Coaster.

You can spend the whole day there playing games, shopping and of course, going on rides. Some of the most popular rides include the Coney Island Cyclone, which features over 2,640 feet of track, 12 drops and 27 elevation changes.

It also features the Astro Tower, a 137 foot drop, and Steeplechase, a horse-themed rollercoaster.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, fun bus long island tour blog

If fast and furious roller coasters aren’t your thing, then why not immerse yourself in some natural scenery instead at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden?

The garden is a hotbed of meadows, flower beds and ponds that spreads over 50 acres. You’ll find several mini gardens, herb gardens, pavilions and workshops. If you’re travelling with children, then be sure to stop by the Discovery Garden, created especially for the youngest visitors.

It also has several workshops and educational activities throughout the month.

MoMA PS1

MoMA PS1 art exhibition, fun bus long island tour blog

MoMA PS1 is one of the oldest and largest nonprofit contemporary art institutions in Long Island. Here, you’ll witness some of the most experimental art displays you’re ever likely to see. Indeed it has been described as something of a laboratory where new innovations in the art world come alive in front of international audiences.

This space is a hotbed of new ideas, discourses, and trends in the art world. MoMA PS1 actively pursues emerging artists, new genres, and adventurous new work by recognized artists.

It was founded in 1971 by Alanna Heiss at the Institute for Art and Urban Resources Inc, which is an organization devoted to holding exhibitions in underutilized and abandoned spaces across New York City.

In 1976, it opened the first major exhibition in its permanent location in Long Island City, Queens, with the seminal Rooms exhibition.

New York Aquarium

New York Aquarium, fun bus long island tour blog

Another stop on the fun bus long island tour is the New York Aquarium. Here you can take a walk on the wild side and chill with otters, rays, turtles and sharks at the aquarium.

It is the oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States, having opened in Castle Garden in Battery Park, Manhattan in 1896.

Now it serves as a home to more than 8,000 animals. It is hard to resist the playful charm of the seals, sea lions and walruses that live there!

Brooklyn Historical Society

Brooklyn Historical Society, fun bus long island tour

If you want a taste of the culture and history of Long Island, then be sure to drop by the Brooklyn Historical Society.

The society connects the past to the present by holding a series of exhibitions, workshops and events dedicated to celebrating Brooklyn’s diverse communities.

It is essentially a museum, gallery, gift shop and library all rolled into one. So if you’re a little short on time and you want to immerse yourself in a variety of different experiences, then be sure to put this on your list.

Are you planning a trip to New York sometime soon?

My top picks

Below, I’ve listed my top 3 recommended tour providers. I took a look at some of the reviews on Tripadvisor and Trust Pilot and put together a list of the pros and cons.

Big Bus Tours

Big Bus Tours New York, Big Bus Tours, fun bus long island tour blog

Big Bus Tours offer sightseeing trips in America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. They offer tours across some of the major cities in the world, which include most of the main attractions in the cities they operate in. Tours start from $48 and include a sightseeing cruise.

5 star ratingBrilliant Paul.S is an absolute credit to your company! What a trip we had!! And full of knowledge and stories, brilliant!! When i visit again i hope to board his bus again, without a doubt, of all the cities ive been too (theres a lot) this bus tour was by far the best!!! Thanks paul and joseph!!!

511kimberleyr Avatar
511kimberleyr
1/23/2019

4 star ratingEasy to find This is one of the big tour companies - driving is horrendous and there are many long waits in traffic but the narrators give lots of fun information that you can hear by using headphones. Easy on and off for wherever you want to be!

baseballmom11_10 Avatar
baseballmom11_10
1/25/2019

5 star ratingFunny and interesting tour we have been lucky to have Richard as guide. He has been very funny and gave us a lot of interesting information

Gabrylove94 Avatar
Gabrylove94
1/25/2019

Pros

  • Multiple ticket options help you to customize a tour that is right for you
  • The night time bus tour helps you to enjoy the city at night
  • The hop on hop off gives you the flexibility to enjoy the city at your own pace
  • According to the reviews, the guides are knowledgeable, friendly and helpful
  • The bus tour is convenient and ideal when you do not know where you are going
  • Temperature control ensures that the buses are comfortable no matter what the weather
  • Visitors get a unique opportunity to ask the guides plenty of questions
  • You’ll get access to information and history that you would not otherwise have access to

Cons

  • The traffic in New York can be pretty hectic at times so in some locations it may be quicker to take a walking tour
  • The heavy traffic means that sometimes you may be waiting around for a bus to arrive
  • Sometimes the bus timings aren’t always as accurate as they could be

Sightseeing Pass

The Sightseeing Pass, Sightseeing Pass, fun bus long island tour blogThe Sightseeing Pass gives visitors access to more than 300 attractions across America. Its destinations include: New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Nashville, Miami, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Key West, Orlando and Puerto Rico.

The Sightseeing Pass is valid in 12 destinations across the USA and gives tourists access to historical landmarks, national wonders and world famous museums. It also includes hop-on hop-off bus tours, flights, cruises, entertainment and dining options.

4 star ratingInteresting Good way to travel and orientate your way around the city. Narrator was very knowledgeable and friendly.

Cherie E Avatar
Cherie E
1/20/2019

4 star ratingEasy to find This is one of the big tour companies - driving is horrendous and there are many long waits in traffic but the narrators give lots of fun information that you can hear by using headphones. Easy on and off for wherever you want to be!

baseballmom11_10 Avatar
baseballmom11_10
1/25/2019

5 star ratingBrilliant Paul.S is an absolute credit to your company! What a trip we had!! And full of knowledge and stories, brilliant!! When i visit again i hope to board his bus again, without a doubt, of all the cities ive been too (theres a lot) this bus tour was by far the best!!! Thanks paul and joseph!!!

511kimberleyr Avatar
511kimberleyr
1/23/2019

Pros

  • It takes the stress out of trying to decide which attractions to see, as it gives you the flexibility to visit dozens of attractions in the city
  • It gives you discounted access to bus passes, walking tours, attractions and cruises
  • Includes a guide book to some of the main attractions in the city
  • It includes access to all of the most popular attractions
  • The Sightseeing Pass helps visitors save money by giving them access to hundreds of destinations for set prices

Cons

  • The Sightseeing Pass has to be validated
  • Some reviewers have complained that the validation process can take a while

New York Sightseeing Pass (NYC Tours)

New York City, fun bus long island tour blog

NYC Tours provide bus trips across New York. It also offers sightseeing cruises and walking tours across the city.

2 star ratingI felt I was ripped off by Big Bus Tour Guide I bought 2 tickets for $179 dollars each and I was told that they should be $189 dollars each, so got a $20 dollar discount, or so I thought, as I was told the pass was for 3 days entrance and hop on hop off bus. BUT beware as i only got to use the entrance for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, as on the 3rd day when I tried to get into Rockerfeller Centre, the people of the gate told me it had expired at midnight the night before, so I had only got entrance for 1 day as the other days were for the hop on hop off bus, so I went to the ticket office to complain and they were most unhelpful, and said the woman who sold it to me (cant remember the name) as I was so disappointed and angry that I had been ripped off I was told to ring the main office to complain but no-one gave me a telephone number, so after 3 hrs of trying to get some help, I went back to the ticket office and asked them to phone the main office, but like myself could not get through to anyone after 30 minutes of trying!!!! The 2 people on the office desk actually said the woman who sold the tickets to me had made a mistake by processing them on the 1st day, and should not have done that as that made the day start at 4:00 in the afternoon so the first day was finished by midnight, and I was told that was the reason it wasnt letting me use it for a 3rd day!!! So didnt get anywhere with this, so when I got back to England I tried to get a refund for the 3rd day and the extra $39 dollars each it cost to get into Rockerfeller Centre, but I was told that I could not get a refund as my pass was only for 2 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so very ripped off, so make sure you pay for what you are getting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

glenda422 Avatar
glenda422
1/21/2019

4 star ratingEasy to find This is one of the big tour companies - driving is horrendous and there are many long waits in traffic but the narrators give lots of fun information that you can hear by using headphones. Easy on and off for wherever you want to be!

baseballmom11_10 Avatar
baseballmom11_10
1/25/2019

4 star ratingA first look at NYC from the Big Bus How to get an Manhatten overview if it's your first time in the States? For us the Big Bus was a good option to understand what we can see and find. Thanks to our guide Paul S., who gave us lots of useful information we got a first impression of this incredible city. We enjoyed this trip and, by the way, we'll be back this year 😉

Ralf_Hamburg76 Avatar
Ralf_Hamburg76
1/21/2019

Pros

  • Helpful, informative guides
  • Offers both popular tours and those off the beaten track
  • Helps you to learn more about the city than you otherwise would by yourself
  • The tours give you a great introduction to many of the main attractions in New York

Cons

  • These tours are specific to New York so it does not offer you the flexibility of other tours
  • Some people have complained that the tours are a little too long-winded and have used up too much time that could otherwise be spent on other attractions
  • Other reviewers have complained that there is too much history and not enough sightseeing on the tour
  • Prices are expensive when compared to similar tours that include more destinations
  • The refund policy is inflexible

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