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Sightseeing NYC: The Best Tours for Short Trips

If you’re only going to be in New York City for a quick trip, we've got some tips for seeing a lot with only a little time. Trying to take the city by foot is nearly impossible, considering there’s just so much to cover! Fortunately, these five awesome city tours offer complete and immersive experiences that allow you to take in every square inch and beloved landmark of this ever-evolving city in as little as 15 minutes. Whether you prefer to see the sights by land, air, or sea, there’s a sightseeing option here that’s sure to excite you.

Best of NYC Tours: Air

helicopter flight services lower manhattan

Is there really any greater way to see NYC than by air? Check out Helicopter Flight Services for a mesmerizing bird’s-eye view of the city that never sleeps. Choose one of  four tours—the New Yorker Tour (12-15 mins.), the Ultimate Tour (18-20 mins.), the Deluxe Tour (28-30 mins.), or the VIP Air & Sea Tour (12-15 mins., plus the Statue of Liberty by water)—and experience the beauty of Central Park, the Hudson River, and New York Harbor as few ever see them. Call 212-355-0801 for reservations or visit heliny.com

Best of NYC Tours: Land

The RIDE

The All Around Town 48 Hour Tour offered by Gray Line New York is a two-day deal, allowing for plenty of time to see all of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. Pass holders can hop-on and hop-off the buses at their own leisure, taking in the sights and sounds of New York City by bus and foot. Times Square, Central Park, One World Trade Center, and the Brooklyn Bridge are just a handful of the many attractions you’ll see while touring with Gray Line. 1-800-472-9546, grayline.com

If you’re less interested in hopping-on and hopping-off, THE TOUR offered by THE RIDE navigates a 90 minute bus route around New York City. What makes it so great? Passengers are seated in tiered chairs that face large windows on one side of the bus. See Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Bryant Park, and over 10 NYC neighborhoods from a new perspective on this trending bus tour. 212-221-0853, experiencetheride.com

Best of NYC Tours: Sea

Circle Line Sightseeing

The Best of NYC Cruise offered by Circle Line Sightseeing is the ultimate way to experience New York City via the water. Cruise highlights include the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Gracie Mansion, the United Nations, Harlem, Yankee Stadium, Grant’s Tomb, Intrepid, and Columbia University. Take in the facts from famous guides and enjoy freshly prepared foods and beverages as you cruise around the island of Manhattan. 212-563-3200, circleline42.com

To see the city by night, the Statue by Night Cruise offered by New York Water Taxi is a romantic and breathtaking option that will leave even the most jaded tourists feeling inspired. This cruise offers a rare evening tour of NYC’s most celebrated landmarks, towers, and memorials, including the Statue of Liberty. The cherry on top? A complimentary champagne toast for of-age riders. 212-742-1969, nywatertaxi.com

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