In 2016, New York City tourism hit a new milestone, reaching to over 60 million visitors in a single year. And it’s no secret that Manhattan is the central hub of New York in virtually every conceivable way, and especially in regard to tourist activities.
But although touring Manhattan is immensely popular, it also requires a little advance planning. Depending on the season, you may need to buy airline tickets far in advance, and booking ahead for your accommodations is wise, especially for those unfamiliar with the area.
There are a plethora of possible tourist stops in Manhattan, many of them iconic, true symbols of the city. But how do you know where to go with your limited time? And what is the best way to get around?
Touring on a Double Decker Bus
Looking for readily available tickets for a Manhattan tour? One of the best ways to see the city and its numerous cultural and historic sites is via a double decker bus tour.
Many start in Times Square and then wind through Manhattan on short point-to-point excursions. You then simply hop off and hop onto another bus and do it again, for as long as you want. There are 15 different stops, taking you past all the most popular sites. And you can even buy a full-day or multi-day pass.
Get a Bird’s Eye View of Manhattan
While bus tours are an ideal way to tour from the ground, there is no way to match the panoramic views of the city you can get from the air. A 15 to 20 minute helicopter tour can take you along the Manhattan skyline, up the Hudson, over Central Park, and even up close to the Statue of Liberty. You will see the city in a way not possible by any other mode of travel, and many helicopter tours use luxury level helicopters that are a truly unforgettable experience to ride in.
Take the Liberty Cruise
Water tours of Manhattan are also not to be overlooked, and there is no New York water cruise that can compare to a cruise out to Liberty Island to see in person that towering symbol of freedom you have so far only seen in pictures and movies.
And besides the Statue of Liberty herself and nearby Ellis Island, you will also see Battery Park, Wall Street (from a distance), Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, the World Trade Center, and more. This should really be the capstone of any thorough tour of Manhattan or of New York City as a whole.
Rent a Bike in Central Park
Finally, it should not go unmentioned that Central Park requires its own special strategy for the most effective touring. Simply walking works well for a while, but the park is too vast to explore in full on foot. And the famous horse and carriage rides should not be missed, but they are too restrictive for the one wishing to see the park in its entirety.
The best approach is to rent a bike, which can be done rather cheaply, and to peddle from one point of interest to the next, while enjoying the amazing scenery along the way. Points not to miss include the Central Park Zoo, the Strawberry Fields, Rat Rock, Cleopatra’s Needle, seven bodies of water, and numerous statues and memorials.
For a full tour of Manhattan, one that lets you get the most out of every hour you spend on the island, consider using multiple strategies to sight see the city or specific parts of it. If you only have time for a more limited tour, pick out just one strategy for the time being and do the rest the next time you visit!