Hop On Hop Off New York Night Tour

Watching New York's night glow is something you can't miss and touring the streets aboard a night tour bus will be the most relaxing way to end a tiring day.

María Cano

María Cano

9 min read

Hop On Hop Off New York Night Tour

New York Night | ©Davide Gabino

What better plan to end the day than to take a tour of New York's night tourist bus. A highly recommended option that will allow you to comfortably know the magic of the New York night, its lights and its unique and special atmosphere.

If you were thinking of getting on one of the best tourist buses in New York, consider also the option of doing it at night to enjoy the illumination of the Big Apple. After all, we are in the city that never sleeps, right?

The best option

New York Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

The lights of the city, from the tourist bus

The best option para seguir recorriendo la ciudad que nunca duerme cuando anochece. Disfruta de las principales calles, avenidas y plazas de la Gran Manzana a bordo de un autobús de dos pisos.

While the city by day offers hundreds of attractions, museums, tours and activities, the night in New York you will have to discover it on your own. That's why dedicating an evening to discovering the best of its streets aboard a tour bus will make your life easier.

After a long day walking around Manhattan or discovering its stores, corners and restaurants, letting yourself go while watching the city from the top of a double-decker bus will seem like the best way to end the day (and take amazing pictures!).

Recommended if... you feel like continuing to discover the city after dark. Especially recommended also if you are traveling with your family or in winter, when the cold lurks after sunset.

What you will see from the New York City Night Tour Bus

Night Tourist Bus at Time Square| ©Elliott Cowand
Night Tourist Bus at Time Square| ©Elliott Cowand

Unlike the daytime routes that have different modes and routes, the night tour bus route offers a single itinerary that passes through the most popular spots in New York City.

Even so, and even if you do not have the possibility to choose the route, it is usually the favorite of those who visit New York because it offers a totally different view of the city.

Main Stops

  • Times Square
  • Broadway
  • Grand Central Terminal
  • Chrysler Building
  • Empire State Building
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Fifth Avenue
  • Brooklyn Bridge

Book a night bus tour of Manhattan

Differences between taking the sightseeing bus during the day vs. at night

Tower Street tour bus stop| ©Matt Towe
Tower Street tour bus stop| ©Matt Towe

For many, succumbing to the comfort of a tour bus may seem like a "not so local" experience and as the name suggests, perhaps too touristy. But the truth is that well used it can become an ally during your trip.

What is the difference between taking the tourist bus during the day or at night? Let's take a look at the following

The schedules

While daytime tour buses usually have their last departure around 5:30pm, it is at this time that the night buses start running. Especially in winter, it gets dark early in New York, so if you want to see the city lit up, I recommend opting for the night bus. Approximately between 18:00 and 20:00 you will have departures every 20 minutes.

The stops

The tour buses that run during the day usually have several routes, but the night bus has a single route only longer and therefore with more stops.

The difference between day buses and night buses is that the former focus on the most touristic places of the city and the latter give priority to the illumination of places and buildings. Note that during the day you can make use of this service not only to contemplate the city, but also to move from one place to another, but at night the museums, for example, are closed so the trip is more focused on the views.


The ticket price is the same for the day bus as for the night bus. It is usually around 40 euros; the difference is that, for that price, during the day you will have the opportunity to get on the bus several times (since you will not only use it to tour the city and see the sights, but also to move from one place to another) and most likely at night for the price of the ticket you will only do the full tour once and not use it anymore.

Although the price of the bus tour is around 40 euros both day and night, during the day you can find combinations of the tourist bus ticket with different attractions of the city of New York with prices, yes, higher.

Different utilities

One of the main uses we can give to the tourist bus ticket during the day is to use it as a method of transportation to move between one attraction and another. The routes, as we have already seen, cover practically the entire city and take you to the main key points of the city (museums, viewpoints, squares, avenues, neighborhoods...).

During the night, on the other hand, the stops and routes are much more limited, so take it with the aim of doing a whole tour and enjoy the way, to comb the most relevant of the city and enjoy the lighting, without having to rely on the subway or take long walks at the end of the day.

How long is the complete tour of the sightseeing bus (day or night)

Park Ave Viaduct elevated bridge at Grand Central Terminal in New York City.| ©Kyle Ortiz
Park Ave Viaduct elevated bridge at Grand Central Terminal in New York City.| ©Kyle Ortiz

The night bus route can take twice as long as the day bus route. While daytime tour buses usually take between an hour and an hour and a half to complete a full tour, the night bus can take four hours (it will always depend on the company you choose; there are also two-hour routes).

Of course, it is always possible to interrupt the route at any time, but my recommendation is that you do it in its entirety because there is so much to see in New York at night that the four hours should not be too long.

How you can buy your ticket for the New York City Sightseeing Bus by night

Broodway, one of the night bus stops| ©Marcos Rivera
Broodway, one of the night bus stops| ©Marcos Rivera

The New York City night bus service is in high demand and ideally you should purchase your ticket online and in advance if you do not want to miss your visit. The ticket will be sent directly to your email and you just need to present it on the day and time indicated.

How much does the New York City Sightseeing Night Bus cost?

The night bus that runs through New York has a closed price of around 40 euros. If you have used the tourist bus in the past, you will know that sometimes the day pass for it is combined with the entrance to other attractions and therefore the price may vary; in the night bus the price is always the same since it can not be combined with other visits.

Night Sightseeing Bus schedules

Empire State Building in New York at night| ©George Bakos
Empire State Building in New York at night| ©George Bakos

You can take the night bus from 5:30 p.m. until approximately 8:00 p.m. at any of the stops along the route. If you choose to make the most of the day of sightseeing in New York and get on the tourist bus at the last minute, I recommend you to go to the stop thirty minutes before the last departure time to avoid running out of room.

Advantages of using the New York sightseeing bus by night

Brooklyn Bridge at night| ©Anders Hakstun
Brooklyn Bridge at night| ©Anders Hakstun

Choosing to take a night sightseeing tour of New York has great advantages. Here are the main ones:

1. Take advantage of the night to get to know the city when everything closes

From 18:00-19:00 in the evening, most of the attractions and museums are closed in the New York City. Therefore, there are few options open to you, but a night tour is ideal to continue taking advantage of the day and soak up even more of New York's culture.

2. Get a different and unique view of New York City

One thing you must see before returning from New York is the city at night. New York is known as the city that never sleeps and it really is spectacular to see after dark.

The traffic and chaos of Manhattan at rush hour, when the sun goes down and the New Yorkers go home looks much better carefree on the second floor of the night tour bus. Trust me!

3. Protect yourself from the cold in winter

Traveling to New York in winter is a dream: the Christmas lights, the skating rinks.... You'll think you're in a movie set! However, if you visit the city in December, January or February, temperatures are likely to be very low, especially at night.

When you feel that the fatigue of long walks no longer allows you to fight the cold, the tourist bus is a great option to continue seeing the city, warm.

4. Rest while still enjoying the sights

After a long day of sightseeing, it is normal to be tired and it is difficult to take advantage of any plan, unless it is a very comfortable plan and what better plan than a tour that takes us where we can rest while getting to know the city in more detail thanks to expert local guides.

5. Enjoy the night with your family

If you are traveling to New York with children this is a great way to make the most of their last hours of energy before they fall asleep in the hotel, they will love to enjoy the city sitting on the bus!

6. Take amazing photos

New York is photogenic at any time of day, but at night it is especially striking. Get your camera out and take advantage of the major stops (and traffic lights!) to take the best photos of the trip.

Other options to enjoy New York's nightlife

Night cruise on the Hudson River| ©Tony Fischer
Night cruise on the Hudson River| ©Tony Fischer

Although many of the attractions and museums begin to close in the middle of the afternoon, New York has a lot to offer during the night: observation decks, rooftops, cruises... don't be tempted to return to your accommodation when the sun goes down because you still have a lot of plans to do!

Take a dinner cruise on the Hudson

It is the ultimate expression of romanticism in the city: a dinner cruise in New York will be the finishing touch to end the day with the best taste in your mouth.

You'll cruise the waters of the Hudson with live music in the background while you enjoy an elegant dinner and see the Manhattan and Brooklyn skyline illuminated. Can you think of anything better? Fortunately there are tours, menus and boats to suit all tastes and budgets, so keep that in mind!

Have a cocktail at the city's best rooftops

One of the essential plans in New York is to know its skyscrapers from the top of one of them, and if it is having a cocktail, even better. Many hotels, restaurants and skyscrapers have spectacular views of the city.

New Yorkers and tourists gather there every night to close the day with jazz and a few drinks to warm up. Here is a list of the best rooftops in New York to enjoy the night like a New Yorker.

Climb the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock

If you prefer to skip the hustle and bustle of the rooftops and climb a legendary skyscraper in the city to contemplate the views of Manhattan in peace and quiet, you should know that the Empire State and Top of the Rock are open late, so you can visit them after dinner.

Also, if you were already considering going up at least one of them, you should know that the night is one of the best times to do it, as there are usually fewer people.

Go to a Broadway musical

Another great plan that makes New York unique is the amount of shows offered in its mythical Broadway avenue. Seeing a musical is one of the most typical things you can not miss on your trip and also the billboard is endless: you will have plenty to choose from.

If you don't know where to start, you can take a look at this article with the best Broadway musicals and let the show begin!

Don't miss the NBA live

If you are traveling between October and April, chances are that there will be an NBA regular season game in New York, either Knicks at Madison Square Garden or at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where the Nets play.

Whether you like basketball or not, attending a live NBA game is something you should do once in a lifetime: the pre-game show, the celebrities in the front row, the world basketball stars playing live and the atmosphere of the crowd going wild will give you a memory to remember forever.