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Advice Gratefully Received On Bus Tours/Subway

Scotland
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Advice Gratefully Received On Bus Tours/Subway

Thank you to those that advised me on restaurants near the Lincoln Centre before we see South Pacific. We've chosen Cafe Des Artistes for 1 night and Cafe Fiorello for the other.

We have 3 full days in NYC and want to see as much as possible without walking everywhere - we are both in our 50s and can't walk streets for more than half an hour a go!

We really fancied the open top Grayline bus tours with a 48 hour pass, but there are some bad reviews about them. The Metro Cards look extremely good value but of course you can't see what's passing by on a subway train.

It's our first time in NYC and we are very excited. However, we don't want to book the open top bus tours if we find when we hop off there isn't a bus to hop onto for hours and we end up using the subway anyway! We are going to be in NYC at the end of April. Has anyone here used the Grayline or know if it will be so busy we never get a top deck seat?

Many thanks all for the advice. This really is an invaluable Forum and the regulars who post advice couldn't be more helpful. Thanks all!

new york city
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1. Re: Advice Gratefully Received On Bus Tours/Subway

The idea of riding the subway or buses is not to see

everything from a distance but rather to get from

place to place. 50's that's a young couple. If you

do have problems with stairs the subway may be a

problem since some stations do not have escalators or

elevators. You do run the risk with the HOHO buses

that they will be less frequent than you would like and that you will not get a top view. One solution

would be to get on the HOHO and ride it around one

complete loop without getting off once you have

secured a good viewing spot. If you do that you

could opt for a one day pass unless you want to keep

the 2 day and hoho at the spots you picked out on the

first days ride around

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Advice Gratefully Received On Bus Tours/Subway

Take a look at this terrific piece from the NY Times. In addition to (or lieu of) a commercial HOHO tour, you can make your own hop-on/hop-off tour, using an unlimited ride Metrocard (public transit pass), with almost no transfers to a different bus route. And cover more ground/get to more sights than the commercial bus tours for far less money, walk as little or as much as you like en route & feel more like a native :-)

…nytimes.com/2008/11/23/travel/23weekend.html

Metrocard info here; rates, however, are likely to have risen somewhat by the time you get here in October:

http://www.mta.info/metrocard/mcgtreng.htm

Iowa
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3. Re: Advice Gratefully Received On Bus Tours/Subway

Well while I personally have not used the Grayline bus tours, my parents used this service three years ago, and a friend of mine used it last fall both were very happy with it and the sites in which it took them to. My parents visited in May and my friend visited in October, and neiter had any problems securing seats on the upper deck. They were each in the city for three nights 4 days, and both said they would have never been able to see all of these sights on foot. They both did the 48hrs hop on hop off. My husband and I are visiting New York May 8th-11th, and are planning on doing the Greyline bus tour for sure despite some of the negative reviews. I hope this helps you with your planning. Good Luck.

Maidstone, United...
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4. Re: Advice Gratefully Received On Bus Tours/Subway

Karen, thanks so much for that excellent link to the NY Times article. What a great idea! I might even try it myself if the old dogs start barking like they did on my last trip!

N Wales
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5. Re: Advice Gratefully Received On Bus Tours/Subway

We had the very same problem, I was worried about the bad reviews of the bus tours and really didn't fancy the idea of waiting around for a tour bus and getting stuck in traffic, but liked the idea of being able to see landmarks as you travelled.

Anyway due to excellent advice and links on this forum we opted for the metrocard which enabled us to travel on the subway and also the local buses. This worked brilliantly, we used the subway quite a lot, which was quick and easy and we got a couple of buses to see a little above ground. All in all we managed to get around and see everything we wanted to.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Advice Gratefully Received On Bus Tours/Subway

Can't take all the credit, Nic -- I think it was BrooklynMel who first posted it here, and I then bookmarked the article because I think it's wonderful... wish I had written it :-)

Manhattan
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7. Re: Advice Gratefully Received On Bus Tours/Subway

I work on the buses -- GET up early and use them for sightseeing IF the weather is nice - Don't buy your tickets til the last minute If you are here on a Sat, Sun, Mon, or Tues show up on my 8:30 AM uptown. If it's riding weather STILL get a per ride card as a backup so that when Grayline is not going where you are going you can get there like a New Yorker -- If the weather is lousy during your stay, buy day pass MetroCards and ride subways and buses to the places you want to visit.

Texas
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8. Re: Advice Gratefully Received On Bus Tours/Subway

When we are visiting a large city for the first time, we always take the HOHO bus tour to get an overview. I've done the Grayline in NYC with a group of four friends and recommend it. We took the uptown loop in the morning and downtown loop in the afternoon, stopping inbetween for lunch, but otherwise staying on the bus for the entire loop. We were there in October and the buses were never full and there was always space on the top level.

Great way to see the entire city.

Maidstone, United...
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9. Re: Advice Gratefully Received On Bus Tours/Subway

Well I'll thank Mel as well, the next time I see him!

Brandywine Valley...
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10. Re: Advice Gratefully Received On Bus Tours/Subway

We used to use the subways, but I can't do the stairs anymore so we've switched to the bus system. We actually enjoy it a lot more, even though it does take longer.

Last month we stayed near Carnegie Hall and wanted to visit The Cloisters. We took a crosstown bus to Madison, then took the M4 all the way up -- a wonderful view of parts of the city we'd never visited (and had missed seeing last time we went to The Cloisters -- via subway).

On the return trip, we got off at 178th St. and caught the M5, which travels quite a distance along Riverside Drive, another new part of town for us. It was a beautiful ride! We were in NYC six days, bought a 7-day card, and thought we got full value just on that one round trip, never mind the multiple other shorter bus rides.

The MTA bus map is really easy to use. I'm also impressed with the maps and timetables posted on the lamp posts at bus stops. When you get to the stop, you have at least some idea how long it might be before the next bus comes along, plus you can confirm which bus is going where you want to go.

I always enjoyed the subway, but now I'm a major MTA bus fan! I do advise avoiding bus travel during rush hour -- but that's no different than subways.