Saying there’s so much to see and do in New York City is a massive understatement. It would take you weeks, perhaps even months, to experience everything in the Big Apple. To capitalize on your time in New York City, I would recommend reserving your seat on a tour (or two). However, do you know which New York City sightseeing tours are right for you?

As you might have guessed, you have a world of tours to choose from when traveling to NYC. Whether you prefer to walk around and soak up the culture, or sit back and listen to the tales of the city from your knowledgeable tour guide, there’s a tour for you.

NYC Bike Tours

Explore Central Park on a bike for an unforgettable tour.

Bike Tours

No need to give up your workout regimen when you come to New York City! For a great workout and a fantastic way to immerse yourself in all the city has to offer, choose one of the many bike tours available.

While you can explore everywhere from Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan via a bike, I suggest selecting a Central Park biking tour. Bike tours through the park pack in a lot of history. Plus, they’re simply stunning no matter the season.

Consider adding these NYC bike tours to your vacation itinerary:


With all the calories you’ll burn biking around NYC, go ahead and treat yourself to an extra slice of pizza. You deserve it.

New York City sightseeing tours - bus tours

The RIDE is an unparalleled bus tour experience offered in NYC.

Bus Tours

Those who would rather kick back and relax will love the assortment of bus tours offered in NYC. From the comfort of a double-decker bus, a state-of-the-art interactive tour vehicle, or a coach bus, you’ll sit in style while you visit New York City’s top landmarks and destinations.

A personal favorite is the Double Decker Bus Tours. You can purchase a pass for 2 days or 5 days and hop on or off at top destinations such as Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, and more. This gives you the freedom to tour and explore as you so choose!

For some of the best sights in NYC, check out these bus tours:


Don’t forget your camera. On double decker buses, you will have the perfect opportunity to capture lasting memories of your favorite NYC locations.

New York City sightseeing tours

Do you dare view the Big Apple from the seat of a helicopter?

Helicopter Tours

Perhaps you’re like me and prefer your New York City sightseeing tours to include a bit of adventure. If so, I highly suggest booking your seat on a helicopter tour! Imagine seeing the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and other iconic sites from high in the sky.

With Liberty Helicopter Tours, you can choose your adventure—soar high above the NY harbor or discover the Big Apple’s top landmarks, all from the sky. You’ll fly with professional helicopter pilots who know the city like the back of their hand.

Keep in mind that helicopter tours require advance reservations and adhere to strict safety, health, and operations guidelines. Follow all instructions provided to you by the tour company and pilot for a smooth flying and memorable tour.

NYC horse and carriage tours

Cozy up to your loved ones in a Central Park horse and carriage ride.

Horse and Carriage Tours

When thinking about New York City sightseeing tours, everyone recalls the quintessential horse-drawn carriage rides around the city. For a romantic ride in the Big Apple, this type of sightseeing tour is certainly an option!

Operated by Central Park Sightseeing Tours, the Central Park Horse and Carriage tour is a 15-20 minute or 40-45 minute ride around NYC’s legendary park. Cuddle up to the one you love or fit your 4-person family into a carriage for an unforgettable trot around Central Park.

NYC Sightseeing Cruises

Image credit: Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises / Facebook

Sightseeing Cruises

Perhaps you’re interested in a sightseeing cruise rather than a tour. Although New York City is known as the concrete jungle, cruising along the harbor and the Hudson River is an experience unlike any other.

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises offers a wide assortment of opportunities for those looking to see NYC’s top sites from out on the water. Choose from cruises including:

  • Liberty Cruise
  • The Beast
  • Landmarks Cruise
  • Landmarks and Brooklyn Cruise
  • Best of NYC Cruise
  • Harbor Lights Cruise


If you’re intending on booking a sightseeing cruise, I recommend bringing a light jacket, sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen (especially in the summer).

New York City sightseeing tours

When you visit NYC, you have to see Lady Liberty!

Statue of Liberty Tours

If you visited NYC for the first time and didn’t see the Statue of Liberty, did you really visit New York City at all? All first time NYC visitors need to experience the magnificence of Lady Liberty. The best way to do so is by reserving your spot on one of the many Statue of Liberty tours throughout NYC.

Many of these New York City sightseeing tours combine seeing the Statue of Liberty with other landmarks such as Ellis Island and One World Observatory. Choose the tour that suits your budget and schedule and go see the greatest landmark in all of NYC!

NYC walking tours

Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge or see iconic NYC landmarks in the walking tour of your choice.

Walking Tours

Sometimes the greatest way to experience a new destination is simply by walking around. In NYC, you can choose from a vast selection of walking tours. Lace up your shoes (make sure they’re sturdy and comfortable to walk in) and get ready to experience the NYC walking tour of your choice:


Of course, this list is only a handful of the captivating walking tours available in New York City. From food walking tours to walking through NYC’s booming art scene across the five boroughs, there is a walking tour for everyone and every interest.

New York City sightseeing tours

See where your favorite NYC movie and TV shows were filmed – including NBC studios!

Movie/TV Tours

Movie and television buffs flock to New York City for a reason. It’s the home of legendary television studios, film locations, and the backdrop to classic movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, King Kong, Annie Hall, and even Ghostbusters.

You can visit these iconic film landmarks and more on the many NYC movie and TV tours. Reserve your spot on one of these movie and TV tours around the Big Apple:


Not only will you visit these famous sites, you’ll hear stories about the film sets, stars, and crew!

Book Your New York City Sightseeing Tours Today

Whether you prefer to bike through the Big Apple or sail along the harbor on a sightseeing cruise, there are so many New York City sightseeing tours to choose from. There’s something for everyone in your travel party!

For easy tour reservations and excellent deals, browse the tours available on Reserve New York City today.

The minute you set foot in New York City, your adventure begins. As one of the greatest cities in the world (and of course, I’m a little biased as a former Northerner), there is so much to see and experience in the Big Apple. You can try a new type of cuisine, see your first Broadway show, and visit the top NYC landmarks all in one vacation.

The city is filled with historical buildings and iconic sights. When visiting NYC for the first time, be sure these landmarks are part of your itinerary.


The Empire State Building

As one of the most iconic NYC landmarks, a trip to the Empire State Building is a must. Be sure to take the elevator all the way to to the top of the building for some remarkable skyline views. All throughout the building, guests can learn about the Empire State Building’s rich history and its impact on the city.


The Statue of Liberty

If the Statue of Liberty isn’t on your list of NYC landmarks to see, you need to rethink your travel priorities! When you think of New York City, the first thing that comes to mind is the Statue of Liberty. Visitors can choose from several tours that bring guests out to and around the infamous Lady Liberty. Keep in mind that tours fill up quickly, especially during peak season. It is advantageous to reserve your spot for a Statue of Liberty tour as early as possible.


Rockefeller Center

For fans of Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, or The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, a visit to Rockefeller Center is a priority. While at Rockefeller Center, you can ice skate during the winter months, procure tickets to be part of a live studio audience, or experience the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. Plus, visitors can tour NBC Studios for a behind-the-scenes look at your favorite shows.


Times Square

Every first-time visitor needs to go to the brightest and boldest of NYC landmarks — Times Square. Filled with a billion lights, over-the-top stores, and more, it’s something everyone should experience at least once. A few bits of advice before you go:

  • Do not take a picture with the costumed characters. Trust me — that’s not the real Elmo.
  • Get a picture on the giant staircase for the best backdrop of Times Square.
  • Save your money and skip the restaurants in Times Square. The Olive Garden here is no different than the one in your town.




First time NYC visitors believe this legendary street only offers iconic plays and musicals. This is false. Broadway is a street that runs the entire length of Manhattan and into the Bronx. This inter-borough street also happens to be home to iconic attractions and other NYC landmarks including:

  • Multiple Historic Theaters
  • The Flatiron Building
  • Times Square
  • Tom’s Restaurant (from Seinfeld)


A stroll down iconic Broadway is worth every minute.


Central Park

Central Park is a notable NYC icon for multiple reasons. First, due to its vast history and sprawling green acres. Secondly, it serves as the backdrop for popular TV shows and Hollywood blockbusters such as:

  • Law and Order: SVU
  • August Rush
  • Eat Pray Love
  • Little Nicky
  • Home Alone 2 – Lost in New York
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s


The list goes on and on. Many first time visitors believe the myth that the opening credits to the hit TV show, Friends, was filmed at the Cherry Hill Park fountain in Central Park. Unfortunately, the scene was actually filmed at a movie studio lot in Los Angeles. Sorry.

Plus, Central Park is full of awesome activities and sights, such as:

  • The Central Park Zoo
  • The Alice in Wonderland Statues
  • Shakespeare Garden
  • The Carousel



The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Did you know that New York City is home to the largest art museum in the United States? The Metropolitan Museum of Art (often referred to as “The Met”) is one of the top visited museums in the city and showcases works of art by Van Gogh, Pollock, and Renoir, to name a few.

Your tour of NYC landmarks isn’t complete without time spent at the Met.


New York Public Library

A quick stroll through the New York Public Library will whisk you away to a world of wonder. With the aisles upon aisles of books and outstanding architecture, it’s a book lover’s dream come true. Founded in 1895, the New York Public Library also boasts extraordinary historical artifacts such as George Washington’s original Farewell Address.


St. Patrick’s Cathedral

While in Manhattan, make a quick stop at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to marvel at this architectural work of art. This magnificent cathedral opened its doors in 1879 and has been an NYC staple ever since. If you so choose, stay for one of the services and experience what makes this church so special.


Bryant Park

Central Park tends to hoard the spotlight when it comes to parks in NYC. However, Bryant Park is one of my favorite parks in the city. This small park in Manhattan is home to small shops, an ice skating rink in the winter, and plenty of free events throughout the year. As one of the lesser known NYC landmarks, Bryant Park is worth a visit.


Wall Street

This famous street is located in Manhattan’s financial district and draws an incredible amount of tourists each year. With a vast history, Wall Street is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the Federal Hall National Memorial, and multiple museums. Walking along this 0.7-mile road is quite the experience.


One World Observatory

A trip to NYC would not be complete without paying your respects at One World Observatory and the World Trade Center. One World Observatory honors the residents of New York City who worked hard to pick up the pieces and bounce back after the horrific attacks on 9/11. A visit to this NYC landmark is appropriate for all ages and is a great learning experience.


American Museum of Natural History

Fans of Ben Stiller and “Night at the Museum” (and fans of museums, in general) should race over to the American Museum of Natural History. You’ll be greeted by a gigantic dinosaur skeleton, a 94-foot-long model of a blue whale, and so much more. When it comes to visiting NYC landmarks, the American Museum of Natural History is one of my favorites.

Keep in mind that with so much to see and experience, it’s easy to spend an entire day at this iconic museum. Make sure you budget enough time in your itinerary to get the full museum experience! Also, due to the large size of the museum, it’s easy to get lost. (Been there, done that). It is best to keep an eye on children and wandering family members at all times.


Grand Central Terminal

If you’re taking a train into the city, you’ll start your tour of NYC landmarks at Grand Central Terminal. The first thing I tell visitors to do is to look at the details throughout the terminal. At Grand Central Terminal, you are surrounded by amazing artwork and architecture, from the ceiling to the floor.

The terminal also boasts a wide variety of restaurants, shops, events, and more. The dining concourse and main platform can be crowded so plan your visit or trip through Grand Central Terminal accordingly.

Visit the Greatest NYC Landmarks During Your Trip

Although many NYC landmarks are free for visitors, most require guests to pay for admission. If you’re looking to save money and make the most of your first time in NYC, trust Reserve New York City for discounted tickets and hotel rooms.

NYC Explorer PassDo you want to explore New York City, but aren’t sure where to start? With the NYC Explorer Pass, you’ll be able to visit the quintessential New York City attractions—all at a discount. Stroll around the Statue of Liberty, take a trip to the top of the Empire State Building, browse the collections at The Museum of Modern Art and more.

Using the NYC Explorer Pass

It’s easy to use the NYC Explorer Pass as it’s extremely flexible. Admissions come in bundles of 3, 5, 7 or 10 attractions, with over 50 options to choose from. Plus, the pass can be used up to 30 days so you’ll have plenty of time to sightsee without being rushed.

To use the Explorer Pass, you’ll first need to decide which pass is right for you. For my recent trip, I opted for the Pick 5 Pass as I would only be in the city for an extended weekend. It gave me the maximum benefit at a minimum cost, saving me over 35% off of gate price. I knew in advance I wanted to visit the State of Liberty, Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and go on the Circle Line Harbor Lights Cruise. However, you can choose which attractions to visit on-the-go too.

View from Top of the Rock

View from Top of the Rock

You can receive your pass one of three ways:

  • Instantly on your mobile device and via email. Just print out your pass or display it right on your mobile device.
  • Via mail.
  • Pick it up at one of our in-city pickup locations. Pick up locations include Central Park Sightseeing, Citysights (Inside Planet Hollywood), Discovery Times Square Exposition, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge Sightseeing, NYWT/Circleline Downtown, and Hudson River Sightseeing.


The first option is the best in my opinion as it’s the most versatile. I like being able to flash the pass on my phone. That way, if for some reason I leave the Explorer Pass at the hotel by accident I won’t be in a fix.

How Does the NYC Explorer Pass Work?

It’s super easy. The pass is activated at the first attraction you visit. Some activities, like Central Park Bike Tours, require a separate reservation. For most, however, you’ll simply need to present your pass at included attractions for admission. Pay nothing at the gate, plus get VIP front of the line privileges at the following:

  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • Whitney Museum of Art
  • Cloisters Museum
  • Best Speedboat Cruise
  • Harbor Lights Cruise



Statue of Liberty

A Sample NYC Explorer Pass Itinerary

I used my NYC Explorer Pass to create an on-the-go itinerary with wiggle room for spur-of-the-moment sightseeing. On the first day, I skipped the lines at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, leisurely took in awe-inspiring Rembrandts and Monet’s, hopped over to ancient Egypt to learn about the Old Kingdom then strolled through stunning sculpture displays I had only previously seen in art books. As The Met is located on Museum Mile, near Central Park, I added a stop inside this city sanctuary. Each section of this 843-acre park is beautiful, but I personally love the Bow Bridge at Mid-Park at 74th Street west of Bethesda Terrace. The scene is straight out of a movie and perfect for picture taking.

That night, I waited until dusk to rise to the Top of the Rock. This is an enchanting hour, when day fades to night, bringing hues of pink and orange to the sky, before night falls and the city becomes a glow with lights. (Note: I recommend that you bring your pass to Top of the Rock in advance or early in the morning to reserve your ideal day and time for your visit.)

rsz_dscf6069_The Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The next day, I headed out early to tour the Statue of Liberty. At this attraction, you’ll need to present your New York Explorer Pass at one of the Statue Cruises ticket counters inside Castle Clinton at Battery Park. Once you have obtained your Ferry Ticket from Castle Clinton you must wait in the security line before boarding. The Ferry requires airport-level security, so be prepared for a long wait. The earlier you arrive, the shorter the wait so even though you’re on vacation I recommend arriving by 9am at the latest.

After a tour of this iconic site, I kept the history lesson going by eating at Lombardi’s. Located on 34 Spring Street in Nolita, Lombardi’s is known as the oldest pizzeria in America. Their pies are made the old-fashioned way, with a crisp yet chewy crust baked in a coal oven, then topped with a rich sauce and toppings of your choice. Keep it simple and go for the margherita or pepperoni pizza—delicious! Just be sure to bring cash as they don’t accept debit or credit cards.

Enjoy views atop the Empire State Building

Enjoy views atop the Empire State Building

A full belly helps me explore, so I took my NYC Explorer Pass to the Empire State Building next. During the day, the 86th floor observatory provides an unobstructed showcase of the City with an endless sea of roads, bridges and buildings comingling to create “The City That Never Sleeps.” Of course, while you’re at the Empire State Building take in the history of the building as well as its gorgeous art-deco design. Also, allow an hour or so wait to get to the top.

Circle Line NYC FB

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises/Facebook

Up next was a Harbor Lights Cruise courtesy of Circle Light Sightseeing Cruises. I knew I had front-of-the-line privileges for the cruise, but I still arrived 45 minutes prior to departure. I didn’t want to miss the boat! Once I presented my Explorer Pass at the Circle Line ticket window, I received my boarding voucher. It was a smooth process, and before I knew it boarding began. The 1.5 hour narrated Harbor Lights Cruise tour departs just as the sun sets and the skyline comes alive at night. The Hudson River cruise provides a host of iconic, New York City skyline views including the Brooklyn Bridge, USS Intrepid, Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building and more. It ended up being one of the most memorable parts of the trip! Be sure to bring your camera to capture all of the stunning sights.

Create-Your-Own Adventure

This is just one way to use your NYC Explorer Pass. You can create-your-own adventure with this flexible pass, letting you design the vacation you want. No matter which attractions you visit, or how many, you can rest assured you’ll be exploring as a pro with the NYC Explorer Pass.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting New York City to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Signature to the New York City skyline, the Empire State Building is one of the most popular attractions in Manhattan. If you’re a tourist in New York City, it’s bound to be on your itinerary – it’s almost sacrilege for it not to be. The iconic landmark has sweeping views of the city, easily providing the quintessential New York moment. Get ready to discover everything you need to know about an Empire State Building tour, from reserving tickets to when to visit.

p1080793 Empire State Building tour

Before You Go

Why are the views atop the Empire State Building so grand? With a location at 34th and 5th, the skyscraper is squarely in the middle of it all. Empire State Building observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors place you high above the spectacular sprawl of the island. And people love it! Which is why you can expect crowds and lines at the attraction. Purchase tickets in advance for your Empire State Building tour. You’ll avoid the lines at the ticket area and be able to go directly to the security line. If you want to bypass all of the lines (except security), purchase an Express ticket ($50). Depending on the time you visit, it can be worth it.

An audio tour, free with Empire State Building tickets, will describe various parts of the museum you queue through. If you don’t purchase the Express pass, the audio tour is a helpful way to pass time in line.

p1080789 Empire State Building tour

Views for Days

The 86th floor observatory, at a height of 1,050 feet, is reached by a lightning-fast elevator ride. A glass enclosed area is where you arrive, but the main attraction is outside. Even during the winter months, you’ll want to brave the wind and cold for the views from this perch. No matter what time you go, there are crowds. Each time I’ve been, though, everyone has been rather polite (shocking, I know) regarding viewing space and picture taking. For an even higher look at the city, purchase Empire State Building tour tickets that include access to the 102nd floor. Not only are the views more dramatic, there are less people and better photo opportunities.

new_york_city_445 Empire State Building tour

When to Visit

For my money, the best time for an Empire State Building tour is at dusk. Watching the sun set over the city is magical. Pink and orange hues paint the sky, turning amber in their boldness before dark overtakes them. City lights sparkle against the sight, turning brighter as night finally sets in. The glow of the city is mesmerizing; it’s the stuff movies are made of, literally. You can easily see why romance and this landmark go hand-in-hand, which is why gazing at the city with your sweetheart by your side is definitely recommended. Once at the top, you can stay for as long as you like. In fact, the Empire State Building prides itself on staying open late. So, visitors can take in views of the city that never sleeps as late as 2:00am. (The last elevator up is at 1:15am.)

p1080478_001 Empire State Building tour
Once you’re finished with the panoramic vista from the top, be sure to admire the Empire State Building from the ground. During the day, the steely art-deco architecture beams against the skyline. At night the top 30 floors illuminate the black night. Since 1976, the colors have changed to mark holidays, special events, and organizations.

How to Get There

You can’t miss the Empire State Building. Make your way towards midtown Manhattan via the B, D, F, M, N, Q, or R train to 34th street. From there, all you need to do is look up and you’ll find your way.

Address: 350 Fifth Ave at 34th Street
Subway: B, D, F, M, N, Q, R to 34th Street-Herald Square
Operating Hours: 8:00am-2:00am; last elevator up at 1:15am
Price: 86th Floor observation deck: Adult $27/Child $21, with 102nd deck: Adult $44/Child $38

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting New York City to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

I moved to Tennessee three years ago. When my new friends and acquaintances found out that I’m from the North, they always ask the same questions. What is New York City like? What’s your favorite Broadway show? What NYC borough is best? While I gladly answer their questions, my answer is always the same — you have to experience the city to understand the city. And the best way for first-time visitors to experience the city is with NYC Big Bus Tours.

New York City isn’t somewhere you can just hear about. You have to visit in order to fully understand the wonder that the city holds within five magnificent boroughs. NYC Big Bus Tours allow visitors to see top attractions, experience iconic landmarks, and maximize their vacation in the Big Apple.

NYC Big Bus Tours

How Do NYC Big Bus Tours Work?

First, purchase your NYC Big Bus Tours ticket from Reserve New York City. You can choose from the following tour loops:

  • Uptown Loop
  • Downtown Loop
  • Brooklyn Tour
  • Night Tour
  • Multiple Day and Loop Packages


Once you have your e-Ticket, you can redeem it and begin your hop-on/hop-off tour experience at either stop:

  • The M&M World Stop (Stop 1) at 48th Street and 7th Ave. in Times Square
  • The Welcome Center inside BB King’s at 237 West 42nd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.


From here, enjoy your ride! Tours run every 20-30 minutes, allowing you plenty of time to explore and discover the NYC landmarks you desire.


What Does Hop-On, Hop-Off Mean?

NYC Big Bus Tours offer guests the freedom to explore any of the attractions or sites visited on the tour. For instance, if you want to experience the Empire State Building, simply hop-off when the tour arrives at the building. When you’re done, hop back on!

What Do NYC Big Bus Tours Provide?

An NYC Big Bus Tour provides visitors with:

  • A local knowledge of the city
  • Complimentary headphones with 10 audio languages available for commentary
  • Rain ponchos (if necessary — tours operate rain or shine!)
  • A phenomenal view of all 30+ NYC sites
  • A map and phone app to help plan your day


You’ll have everything you need to see the city and explore some of the greatest attractions in the Tri-State area, such as:


Instead of walking all over the city trying to fit everything into one vacation, you’ll zoom from one landmark to another – all with the freedom to get on and off the bus as you wish!

NYC Big Bus Tours 2

Tips for Enjoying Your NYC Big Bus Tour

As with every NYC tour experience, a few words of advice can go a long way. To have the ultimate NYC Big Bus Tours adventure, use our tips:

Rise and Shine
If you plan on doing more than one tour loop and hopping off at various attractions, plan to rise early and spend your whole day on the tour(s). Or, purchase a multiple day tour ticket from Reserve New York City.

Enjoy the Views
Try to get an upper-deck, outdoor seat. These seats provide the best views of the city, landmarks, and sites. Perfect for taking phenomenal photos of the city, landscape, and landmarks!

Take Your Time
Tours run every 20-30 minutes, so take your time and go at your own pace. NYC moves fast, but there’s no need to rush! The Uptown and Downtown loops take approximately 2.5 hours each to complete – meaning you’ve got time to explore; especially if you’ve purchased a multi-day tour pass (highly recommended).

Perfect for NYC Beginners
If you’re a bit nervous about exploring NYC on your own, NYC Big Bus Tours are perfect for you. You can see the iconic landmarks, bypass walking all over the city, and enjoy the convenience of a guided tour all in one experience.

Experience a Night Tour
Want to see the city light up at night? (The correct answer is, yes!) If so, then purchase your ticket for a night tour. You can see all of the famous landmarks glow and experience the buzz of the Big Apple at night.

Use Your Map
Don’t forget to use the provided map. This resource will help you identify other attractions along the way, find your tour stops, and plan the rest of your NYC vacation.

Bring Water and Snacks
Since the best way to experience an NYC Big Bus Tour is to take your time, it is important that you bring water and snacks along for the ride. Keep in mind that some attractions may not allow food or beverages inside. However, you’ll have plenty of time to purchase additional beverages or snacks before hopping back on the bus.


Purchase Your Tickets for NYC Big Bus Tours Today

Ready to discover the Big Apple with NYC Big Bus Tours? Get your tour tickets from Reserve New York City today.


When you visit Top of the Rock Observation Deck, it’s all about the views.  With that in mind, here are some stunning photos that have been snapped during visits to the top. The true highlight of the view is the Empire State Building, standing strong against the New York City skyline. The city sprawl gives way to iconic landmarks such as the Chrysler Building and Brooklyn Bridge contrasted against the never-ending meadows of Central Park.

At the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, a picture really is worth a thousand words. The Rockefeller Center location affords views from 70 floors above the hustle and bustle of the city. These 360-degree views can’t be beat. In every direction, there is a sight that’ll keep you snapping photo after photo.

Top of the Rock Observation Deck is open daily from 8am – Midnight. Keep in mind, the last ticket is sold at 11pm and the last elevator goes up at 11:15pm.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting New York City to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

One of the best NYC sightseeing spots is atop the Empire State Building. The iconic skyscraper is an architectural marvel, built in just 13 months during of all times the Great Depression. It’s a famous New York City landmark, and one of the most popular things for vacationers to do while in the City. To get an inside look at what to expect during your visit, click through these Empire State Building pictures. My photo tour provides a first-hand look at the stunning sights you’ll see from the Empire State Building Observation Deck. Once you see the views, you’ll be convinced this NYC attraction should be on your vacation itinerary.

A few tips to keep in mind: Take time to look around the Art-Deco lobby, the historical Dare To Dream Exhibit, and follow along with an interactive audio device to gain extra insight into the Empire State Building. There are plenty of snap-worthy Empire State Building pictures in these areas too, including artistic murals and jaw-dropping photographs of the constructions of the building. 

Do you have any Empire State Building pictures to share? Post them on our Reserve New York City Facebook page.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting New York City to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Its spire rises prominently towards the New York City sky, creating a towering skyscraper known the world over. The Empire State Building is synonymous with the Big Apple, not only for its exceptional views but for its historic and pop culture lore. It’s a can’t miss American Architectural marvel.

p1080768Why is this landmark so remarkable? Read these Empire State Building facts to find out. 

It was built in just 410 days during the Great Depression, at a cost of $41 million. More than seven million hours of labor went into the construction.

Over 10 million bricks, 6,400 windows and 328,000 square feet of marble were used.

The 102 story, 1,472 feet high Empire State Building has been open since 1931.

p1080789The top 30 floors of the building glow with different colors to honor holidays, special occasions, causes and organizations.

An antenna at the top of the Empire State Building was originally crafted as a mooring mast for ziplines.

The landmark has been featured in more than 250 Hollywood films, including favorites such as Sleepless in Seattle and King Kong.

new_york_city_459 (1)On a clear day, you can see as far as 80 miles from the observation decks.

You can views the city that never sleeps late – the Empire State Building doesn’t close until 2:00am.

The limestone, art deco designed skyscraper is the second tallest in New York – coming in second to One World Trade Center.

To really understand why the Empire State Building is so remarkable, you need to see it for yourself. Stand outside in awe of its presence, then gape at the unparalleled, panoramic views of New York City from the 86th and 102nd floor observatories. With an Empire State Building ticket, you’re given access to history, scenery and an unforgettable vacation moment.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting New York City to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Iconic the world over, the Statue of Liberty has captivated travelers for over 100 years. For millions of immigrants it was the first signal of America, standing as a beacon of promise of a new life. In the modern era, the Statue of Liberty is one of New York City’s most popular attractions. Still a shining symbol of America, Lady Liberty instills a sense of wonder to those that stand at her feet and view her standing watch over not only Liberty Island but New York City and America. If you want to be one of the huddled masses who have seen the Statue in person, add a day with her to your New York City itinerary.

rsz_p1090149Book Your Tickets

For many, a trip to New York City isn’t complete without a trip to Lady Liberty. I know it was first to do on my itinerary. Making plans for your tour is essential, as only 3,000 visitors are permitted per day. I’m a planner, so I like to have my tickets booked well in advance. If you’re more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type, you’ll still need to reserve your tickets at least three days in advance to ensure admission. This is especially true if you want to reserve a Pedestal Pass, which allows access to the monument’s pedestal and museum. Now, the really coveted ticket is the Crown Pass. After a renovation in 2009, the crown opened to visitors once again and, with only 240 people allowed daily, has quickly been a sell-out. To purchase these tickets, you’ll need to reserve months in advance. They’re well worth the planning though, as you’re rewarded with exceptional, once-in-a-lifetime views of the New York City skyline. Crown access tickets are only $3 more than regular access, which are $18, a veritable value for the experience. Just be prepared to climb a lot – 393 stairs – to be exact.

rsz_1p1090178All Aboard for Liberty Island

The Statue of Liberty ticket you purchase is valid for a departure time from either Battery Park or Liberty State Park in Jersey City. I picked an early departure time of 9am to try to beat the notorious lines you’ll find at Battery Park. With airport style security, ferry lines are long. The earlier you schedule your ticket also allows for more time exploring Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Generally, the last departure ferry from Liberty and Ellis Island leaves around 5pm (schedules are seasonal), so plan accordingly.

A 10-15 minute ferry ride sweeps you across the bay to Liberty Island. Choose from enclosed or open-air seating. I think the open-air top deck is the primo place to gaze at the statue as you approach the island, but if it’s wintry an actual seat inside is hard to beat. Concessions are open on board, with standard fare like hot dogs and soft pretzels served.

Cruising to Liberty Island is certainly part of the appeal of the Statue of Liberty tour. Somewhere in the middle of the bay a sense of awe filled me. In one direction there was the stunning skyline of the greatest city in the world. In the other there was more than a mint-hued monument, there was a powerful, stately symbol of America on the horizon, filling me with pride. Of course, I snapped an endless supply of photos of the moment – a theme that continued throughout the day. Seriously, I’m not sure the camera was never not in my hand.

rsz_p1090214Touring the Statue of Liberty

My actual day spent with the Statue of Liberty was entertaining and informative. I had purchased the Pedestal Pass (didn’t score a Crown pass unfortunately), so the museum was my first stop. Compact yet interesting, the museum houses the original flame, full-scale replicas of Lady Liberty’s feet and face (very cool to see), original designs and numerous examples of her influence. Up next was the pedestal, which I’m so glad I reserved! Standing on the pedestal to liberty, looking across the harbor, was one of my “I Heart NYC” moments. I made sure to put my camera down for a moment and mentally take a picture instead.

The picture taking quickly resumed once I started walking the island. Every angle of the statue is striking, and of course, you need several of you posing in front of the statue. One smiling, one recreating her pose, one with your friends or family. Continually crowded, it’s hard to get that perfect shot but oh-so fun trying!

Ellis Island

After a 10 minute ferry ride from Liberty Island, I arrived at Ellis Island. I had worked up a bit of an appetite, so a coke and soft pretzel (with cheese, please!) on the shores of the island fit the scene pretty well. If you need more than a snack during your day, I recommend getting a full lunch at the Crown Café on Liberty Island before departing for Ellis Island.

rsz_1img_1201I’d plan on spending at least an hour (if not two) in order to browse the galleries and rooms at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Walk through the Great Hall, once filled with lines of immigrants speaking an array of languages awaiting registration to the United States. Imagine it as it once was. Immigration history, as well as America’s history, is chronicled throughout the museum. If you’re limited on time, as I was, I recommend viewing the “Peopling of America” and “Through America’s Gate” exhibit. Stop by the kissing post, too, a column outside the registry room. The spot is famous for kissing, as millions of immigrants were reunited here with family. Unique, poignant stories are shared, new opportunities given voice and a courage is witnessed throughout the museum. Although galleries feel modern and interesting, the building still poses its history upon you – and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Leaving History

A quick-moving line made boarding the ferry, which leaves every 20 minutes, easy. Soon enough (about 10 minutes), I was back in lower Manhattan. With the Statue of Liberty watching over, I continued my tour of New York City with a better understanding of the history of this iconic destination. And the pictures to prove it.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting New York City to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

In a city that never sleeps, Times Square is the bright spectacle striving to keep you awake.  No matter what time of day, this bustling city center is jam-packed with tourists, roving characters and eye-boggling billboards.  Browse through my Times Square New York City photo tour and see why it’s one of the most visited places in the world.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.