Hop On Hop Off New York Night Tour

Watching New York's night glow is a must-see, and cruising 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 way to end the day than by taking the New York Night Bus Tour. A highly recommended option that will allow you to comfortably experience 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 tour 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, you'll have to discover New York at night on your own. That's why dedicating an evening to discovering the best of its streets aboard a sightseeing bus will make your life easier.

After a long day of walking around Manhattan or discovering its shops, nooks and crannies and restaurants, letting yourself go as you look out over the city from the top of a double-decker bus will seem like the best way to end the day (and take some amazing pictures!).

Recommended if... you feel like continuing to discover the city after dark. Especially recommended if you're travelling with your family or in winter, when the cold is lurking after sunset.

What you'll see from the New York City Night Sightseeing Bus

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

Unlike the daytime bus tours, which have different routes and itineraries, the Night Bus Tour offers a single itinerary that passes through the most popular spots in New York City.

However, even if you don't have a choice, it's usually the preferred route for visitors to New York City as it offers a completely 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 Manhattan Night Bus Tour

Differences between taking the sightseeing bus by day vs. by night

Tower Street Tourist Bus Stop| ©Matt Towe
Tower Street Tourist Bus Stop| ©Matt Towe

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

What's the difference between taking a sightseeing bus during the day or at night? We look at it below


While daytime tour buses usually have their last departure time around 17:30 in the evening, it is at this time that 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. Between approximately 18:00 and 20:00 you'll have departures every 20 minutes.

The stops

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 day buses focus on the most touristic places in the city and night buses prioritise the illumination of places and buildings. Note that during the day you can use this service not only to see 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 sights.


The ticket price is the same for the day bus as for the night bus. The difference is that, for this price, during the day you will have the opportunity to get on the bus several times (as 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 you will only go once for the price of the ticket and you will not use it any more.

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

Different uses

One of the main uses of the sightseeing bus ticket during the day is to use it as a method of transport to move from one attraction to 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, neighbourhoods...).

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

How long the whole tour bus tour lasts (day or night)

Park Ave Viaduct overpass at Grand Central Terminal in New York.| ©Kyle Ortiz
Park Ave Viaduct overpass at Grand Central Terminal in New York.| ©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 up to four hours (depending on the company you choose, there are also two-hour routes).

Of course, it's always possible to cut the tour short at any time, but my recommendation is to do the whole tour because there's so much to see in New York at night that the four hours won't be too long.

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

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

The New York City night bus service is in high demand and ideally you should buy your ticket online in advance if you don't want to miss your visit. Your 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 Night Sightseeing Bus cost?

The night bus tour of New York has a fixed price of around 40 euros. If you have used the sightseeing bus in the past, you will know that sometimes the day pass for the bus is combined with entry to other attractions and therefore the price may vary; on the night bus the price is always the same as it cannot 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 5:30pm until approximately 8:00pm at any of the stops along the route. If you choose to make the most of your day of sightseeing in New York and get on the tour bus at the last minute, I recommend going to the stop thirty minutes before the last departure time to avoid being left without a seat.

Advantages of using the New York City Night Sightseeing Bus

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

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

1. Take advantage of the night to see more of the city after dark

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

2. Get a unique and different 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 New Yorkers go home, is best seen carefree on the first floor of the night tour bus. Trust me!

3. Protect yourself from the cold in winter

Travelling 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 cold, especially at night.

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

4. Rest while still taking in the sights

After a long day of sightseeing, it's normal to be tired and it's hard to make the most of any plan, unless it's a very comfortable plan, and what better plan than a tour where you can rest and get to know the city in more detail thanks to expert local guides.

5. Enjoy the night with your family

If you're travelling to New York with kids, this is a great way to make the most of their last few hours of energy before they fall asleep at the hotel - they'll love enjoying the city sitting on the bus!

6. Take amazing photos

New York is photogenic at any time of day, but at night it's 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 start to close in the middle of the afternoon, New York has a lot to offer at night: observation decks, rooftops, cruises... don't be tempted to go back to your accommodation when the sun goes down because there are still plenty of things to do!

Take a dinner cruise on the Hudson

It's the ultimate expression of romance in the city: a dinner cruise in New York will be the perfect way to end the day with the best taste in your mouth.

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

Have a cocktail at the city's best rooftops

One of the must-do things to do in New York is to see the skyscrapers from the top of one of them, and if it's over a cocktail, all the better. Many hotels, restaurants and skyscrapers have spectacular views of the city.

New Yorkers and tourists gather there every night to end the day with jazz and a few drinks to warm up. Here's 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'd rather skip the hustle and bustle of the rooftops and head up to one of the city's legendary skyscrapers to take in the views of Manhattan in peace and quiet, the Empire State Building and the 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 nighttime is one of the best times to do it, as it's usually much less crowded.

See a Broadway musical

Another great thing that makes New York unique is the number of shows offered on its legendary Broadway avenue. Seeing a musical is one of the most typical things you can't miss on your trip, and what's more, the bill is endless: you'll be spoilt for choice.

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're travelling between October and April, chances are 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 on the front row, the world basketball stars playing live and the atmosphere of the wild crowd will give you a memory to remember forever.