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New York City - Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour or Do it Ourself?

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Oct 17th, 2013, 10:48 PM
  #1
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New York City - Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour or Do it Ourself?

Just wondering you opinion on the above topic - Did you find the Hop on Hop Off (HOHO) informative? and worth the money? (+-$45 pp) or a few forums say just go with local transport - subway/buses for (+-$2) and do it ourselves?

I thought for first timers in NYC the HOHO bus might be good insight on day 1/2. Then go back and explore anything of interest by ourselves.

But i'm not up for wasting money that could be better spent on food and wine
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Oct 18th, 2013, 02:26 AM
  #2
 
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I have used HOHO in London and Paris and think it is a good way to see the sights and worth the $$ You get dropped off at all the "must sees." I have never done it in NYC since that city is in my back yard so to speak.
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Oct 18th, 2013, 05:54 AM
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"a few forums say just go with local transport - subway/buses for (+-$2) and do it ourselves?"

Yes, and this is one of those forums.
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Oct 18th, 2013, 05:56 AM
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As many people know, I don't think the HOHO buses in NYC are a good deal for most travelers. If you are capable of walking and taking the subway and buses, you can see a LOT more on your own. A better investment is a walking tour or even a guidebook or (ideally) both.

But there are two mitigating factors. If you have mobility issues and just want to see the city (i.e., not get off), then the HOHO bus is a good alternative, albeit an expensive one. But if you are coming around the Christmas holiday period from late November through the end of the year, you should absolutely NOT take a HOHO bus under any circumstances. You will spend the majority if your time stuck in traffic and will not see much of anything.

Despite the fact that these buses work well in other destinations, I just don't think they add much to the NYC experience, and they do it at an exorbitant price.

I would never take a HOHO bus in either London or Paris, either, so please keep that in mind. Cities that have excellent public transit and that are good walking cities make the worst destinations for HOHO buses.
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Oct 18th, 2013, 06:18 AM
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Frankly I think HoHo buses are a wsste of time and money anywhere. But when I go to a new place I have already picked out many things I want to see and do. And I have found (very limited exeprience) that the "guide" provides nothing more than in a very basic guide book.

You also have traffic (awful at the best of times) and weather to contend with - since you can really see anything only from the top of the bus. I much prefer to visit the inside of sights than just get a quick view of the outside froma semi-moving vehicle.

As for the On and Off part - they run rarely - perhaps 30 minutes in between - and may already be full when they pull into your stop (versus every 5 minutes or so for city buses and subways).
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Oct 18th, 2013, 08:22 AM
  #6
 
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Another New Yorker weighing in on the "don't do it" side. I think you'd waste your money AND your time. I see lines of people in front of my office building waiting and waiting for buses - sometimes they can't all fit on the one that finally arrives and have to keep waiting for the next one. There is no protection from the elements while you're waiting. Plus, as mentioned above, once you get on a bus you'll most likely spend a lot of time stuck in traffic.
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Oct 18th, 2013, 08:43 AM
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A bus tour in NYC? Never. Take about 5 hours to go 10 blocks in midtown traffic (timing may be slightly overestimated, traffic suck level is accurate).
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Oct 18th, 2013, 09:13 AM
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At busy times walking is faster than taking a bus in midtown Manhattan.

And I don;t see the attraction of watching me and my neighbors go to the bank or the drugstore (yes the HoHos are up at 96th and Broadway - god knows why - with people snapping away nothing of any possible interest).

Also - they don't mention - but there are a lot of places the HoHos can't go since they are too large - including Central Park and some of the cuter residential areas - like the Village.
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Oct 18th, 2013, 11:01 AM
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Even though I just did one in Philly and really enjoyed it, I agree with the nots here. NYC is just too large of an area while Philly is a lot more condensed with less traffic. Its easier to go from Pt A to PT B on your own. Just do research and have a plan ahead of time.
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Oct 18th, 2013, 11:59 AM
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HOHO are good some places but not in NYC due to traffic. Same for Chicago.
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Oct 18th, 2013, 05:03 PM
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We did one the first time we went to NYC and enjoyed it, this was the up town loop that went through Harlem. We also did the Brookyn loop but nearly froze to death.( It was early April), and took forever because of the traffic.
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Oct 18th, 2013, 05:09 PM
  #12
 
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I think if you want an overview, a tour that is not hoho like onboardtours.com or the bus tour from freetoursbyfoot.com are better, especially as the weather gets colder. (Hoho buses a open top) Realnewyorktours.com using subway and walking to take you around, is another good option.
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Oct 20th, 2013, 08:25 PM
  #13
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As always useful and informative replies. Thank you for your time. I have taken all onboard and as 2 couples early 40's with no mobility problems and still 5 months to plan. I think we will go it alone. I will look into the suggested walking tour sites though, as from experience I think its important to try and learn a bit of history about the area/attraction/country you visit. Thanks Again.
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Oct 21st, 2013, 01:11 AM
  #14
 
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I would not use them as a way of getting around but I find them very useful in working out how a city looks from a different perspective. It gives you a good idea on how each of the areas look.
I just did one in Paris & I found it a good way to get my bearings. after that I used the metro.

when I was in NYC i did not do it, but on my next trip I will. just for one day & i find them great when trying to shake jet lag.
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Oct 28th, 2013, 03:25 PM
  #15
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Thanks jen13ln - I am a procrastinator from way back so 6 months out from the trip I definately have not made up my mind And I have 3 others with me so I am just gathering all info and majority will rule. Thanks for adding your opinion I am still exploring all options and will check out your suggestion too.
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Oct 28th, 2013, 03:56 PM
  #16
 
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You really need to understand that you will spend a lot of time sitting in traffic, especially on cross town streets.
And you wouldn't want to miss Greenwich Village by going on a bus tour.
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Oct 28th, 2013, 05:12 PM
  #17
 
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Well for someone who doesn;t like to walk - the HoHos may make sense. However, by not walking you are missing much of the flavor of the City. And, as a native New Yorker, walking is the best was to see any city. When we go to europe we plan on walking 6 to 10 miles per day - depending on what we are doing that day.

(This is one of the reasons that NY has a much lower percentage of overweight people than most places - all the walking everyone does in their everyday life.)
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Oct 29th, 2013, 07:14 AM
  #18
 
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I think HOHO is a great way to get an overall feel for NY. I love to walk and still loved HOHO to get a feel and orientation for NY. We then went back to the places that we wanted to spend time. For me - well worth it!
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Nov 7th, 2013, 06:17 PM
  #19
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We were in NY just a month ago and the downtown tour wasn't good due to all of the traffic. Our ticket included the uptown tour which we did the next day and I have to say that was very pleasant. Next time I'm in NY I will not do this again, it's so easy and cheap to get around on the subway.
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Nov 8th, 2013, 06:31 AM
  #20
 
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We were just there and we did not do it. I will say this: because there's now a variety of competing HOHO buses, there's hawkers all over Time Square with coupons for discounts (about -$10) for them.

Because we had my mom who is 85 and while mobile and spirited, this may have been an option because she found it pretty hard going up and down all the stairs in the subway. Subways are not the most ADA friendly. I also had issues since I recently busted up my knee.

But when push came to shove, most of the time we walked as much as we could, then took cabs.

I didn't see the HOHO bus go anywhere near the 911 Memorial -- a place we wanted to go to but had not seen. So keep that in mind as well.
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