Want to see an entire city in a single day?
Travel tip, we recommend being chauffeured by a hop-on hop-off double decker bus service.
I know, it sounds super cheesy and touristy, but it’s an affordable mode of transportation that stops at all the right places, gives great elevated views and offers a play by play of all the nitty gritty on the city in several different languages to boot.
Just yesterday my hygienist was raving about her double decker tour in LA and last month my cousins gave a great review of their bus tour in DC.
While we’ve yet to experience those particular excursions, our one-day city adventures through San Francisco, Rome and most recently New York City were pretty spectacular.
Our one day in The Empire kicked off with stops by the only two sights my grandmother was set on seeing, since we randomly woke up nearby in the business district.
First was the beautifully moving 9/11 Memorial.
Up next, le pièce de résistance, The Statue of Liberty!
Suffering from chronic sea sickness and therefore unable to take the ferry, I forewarned Nana of a fabulous viewing spot I’d scoped out but kept the details minimal. Unbeknownst to her, we had a MUCH closer glimpse of Miss Liberty in store than Nana anticipated.
Prior to leaving home my parents had asked me to arrange a helicopter tour for Nana that circled The Statue while we were in the city. Not a problem!
Since they knew we planned to take the bus and it was offered for a discount with the helicopter, Mom and Dad treated us to both tours! Both were exceptional experiences.
After watching a safety video about five times (boring), we were quickly loaded into the copter, lifted into the air, whisked above Governor’s Island, around The Statue, up the Hudson River and over the George Washington Bridge.
As we flew over the city, the pilot pointed out city highlights including The Empire State Building, Yankee Stadium, Central Park, the five boroughs, universities, cathedrals and more.
It was an amazing 15 minute journey right down to the very last second!Just over from the helicopter pier on Manhattan’s southern most tip, a more luscious sector of NYC boasts views of and ferry rides to Lady Liberty, the East Coast (Eagle) Memorial, a sprawling urban garden, a café complete with quaint patio and more.
The park is also a stop on many bus tours through the city. We were aiming for minimal walking so this is where we hopped on the bus.
We road until the tour reached Time Square. The stretch there from Battery Park ranked least favorite among the three bus tours we experienced that day. It may have been due to our first tour guide’s heavy, hard to understand accent or it could have been the comparably gifted guides who followed. Regardless, the sun was up and the weather was perfect for an open air ride.
There were still some great sights to be had including the United Nations Headquarters, Trump World Tower, Waldorf Astoria, gorgeous fountains, Robert Indiana‘s Love Sculpture, the Tourneau Store world clocks and the Empire State Building to name a few (from left to right above).
We hopped off the downtown bus in Time Square, grabbed a quick bite to eat (excellent eats list in the works!), then hopped on the next bus tour.
The uptown tour by an obviously native New Yorker was our second favorite tour. It took us around Central Park, winded through the Upper West and East Side, then on through Harlem.
The bus arrived back in Time Square right on time to catch the twilight Brooklyn tour, our final and favorite of the day. It rolled right through the parts of downtown we’d missed earlier, over the Brooklyn Bridge and through the iconic borough.
The tour turned back toward Time Square just as the sun was sinking behind the city.
Dinner was at a local staple recommended by the Brooklyn tour guide.
Tucked away on a side street near Time Square, this quaint place that originated in Brooklyn offers indoor/outdoor dining, lots of city classics on the menu and a huge dessert selection. It was an awesome way to wrap a day of running around the city that never sleeps.
We grabbed a cab back to the business district and on the way caught a glimpse of the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge lit up against the night sky. The view (below) was the cream that crowned our sunny day in the Big Apple!
Nana and I have already started planning our next exploration together. Cheers to adventuring at any age!