Popular New York City day trips

New York City Excursions.

What excursions to visit on vacation in New York City and how much do they cost? 50 best tours in and around New York City with Russian speaking guides: 997 of the most interesting sights and attractions, 14 reliable tour operators and businesses with a guide price starting at $5!

PS: all the above prices are only valid at the time of writing this review.Enter your travel dates and get the hottest deals from Travelask!

Hi everyone, my name is Anya and I continue my exciting travels around the world. On my travels, I visit the most interesting places and try out exciting activities to share with you relevant information and real impressions about them. Today, along with the TravelAsk team, I’m going to help you choose the most-amazing excursions in New York City to make your trip unforgettable, too.

New York: what to do and see

I don’t think it’s necessary to tell at length why I decided to take a trip to New York: you can easily find more than a hundred reasons for doing so. I can’t say that I’ve always dreamt about New York, but I’ve always wanted to visit it. Thanks to the hundreds of movies in which it was the setting, New York City always seemed familiar and fabulous at the same time. Well, after a trip here, I can say that this is how it turned out in reality.

Excursions in the “Big Apple” offer a huge number of excursions. The most popular are sightseeing routes with visits to one or more areas of the city. The average cost – 25-50 dollars per person depending on the size of the group. There are also interesting themed tours – by subway, Central Park, water on the Hudson River and helicopter tours. If you have time, you can also go to other cities and natural attractions – from Niagara Falls to Washington, DC. Prices for field trips range from $60 to several hundred dollars.

Top 5 best excursions in New York City

I offer my ranking of the best excursions in New York City.

Day One: Top Sights.

As you already understand without me, New York is so huge that even with the tightest schedule possible, you can’t see all of its sights in one day. On the other hand, if time is limited, a sightseeing tour will allow you to see more than you would on your own. In addition, this way you can get oriented at least in some areas of the city, get a better idea of its history, and be able to ask the guide all the questions about the leisure time in the next days.

There are many sightseeing itineraries for the same reason – the sheer number of places of interest. In general, they are geographically grouped by neighborhoods and attractions that are easy to get to on foot or are just a short drive away. For the first day, I suggest you choose a sightseeing itinerary that includes the most famous locations and landmarks of New York City. The Statue of Liberty, Manhattan, Midtown, Downtown, and the Financial District.

You can start the tour by taking a ferry cruise on Hudson Bay to the Statue of Liberty. The boat ride will give you pleasant emotions and allow you to see the famous landmark from the best angles. Moreover, it is from the water that you can see those very cinematic panoramas of New York with the skyscrapers of the Financial District. And from the South Seaport there are great views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.

Then the tour moves to the mainland, to the very center of the city’s bustling life – Manhattan. Today, of course, it’s hard to believe it, looking at the skyscrapers, but this is the oldest part of New York City, which began to be settled by people in the first half of the 17th century. Now here you’ll see pictures you’ve seen hundreds of times on TV: Times Square and Fifth Avenue especially impressed me, of course. It’s just as you see it on TV and in the movies, just as noisy, just as bright, and just as wide awake even at night. By the way, separately, I advise to come back here in the dark to see these places in the light of illumination. Of the other famous streets you’ll walk are Park Avenue, Lexington Avenue, and of course, Wall Street. As you walk through the financial district you will see the world’s largest New York Stock Exchange, the oldest building in the city the Federal Hall and the beautiful New York Custom House building. And don’t forget the famous bull, the symbol of Wall Street.

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Wall Street, a small and narrow street in the world is associated with wealth, gambling and the place where the most important business transactions in the world take place.

What is most associated with Manhattan is, of course, the skyscrapers. During your walk you’ll see the Trump Building, where the Devil’s Advocate had his office, and the legendary Empire State Building, the skyscraper that King Kong climbed. Some of the most beautiful are the Flatiron Building, the Chrysler Building, the Helmsley Building, the Woolworth Building, and the tallest skyscraper in America, 432 Park Avenue. Also note the Seagram Building where you can find the Four Seasons restaurant where President Kennedy celebrated his birthday and where Marilyn Monroe sang his now legendary Happy Birthday to Mr. President. And, of course, Rockefeller Center, where the Rockefeller family office is still located today.

And there are many, many more sights that even those who have never been to New York before are included in this tour. In fact, the itinerary is not that large in size, but it is incredibly powerful in terms of the experience. Usually this tour lasts about 6-7 hours and sometimes includes a visit to Brooklyn. Get ready that by the end of it you will be very tired and very satisfied. You can choose from a variety of sightseeing tours of New York City on this page.

Day Two: The Most Interesting Neighborhoods

The so-called second day itinerary, which includes visits to many other interesting areas of the city except for Manhattan. I would call it a tour of contrasts, as in one day you will visit Russian Brighton Beach, African American Harlem, the beautiful Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, the “one-story America” neighborhood, and even the real ghettos.

The Bronx and Harlem are considered disadvantaged neighborhoods where African Americans have traditionally settled. Even today, tour guides advise against walking here alone in the evenings, but it’s safe as part of the tour. You can simply drive through the streets of these neighborhoods or choose a themed tour related to the hip-hop culture that originated here.

Brooklyn, a neighborhood of hipsters and other trendy youth, leaves a very different impression. Here you should definitely stroll through the Graffiti District, where street art, bright and juicy, is literally on every wall. In northwest Brooklyn is one of the most beautiful and prestigious neighborhoods in New York City, Brooklyn Heights. The houses here are made of dark sandstone, with tall porches leading up to them-just like in the movies.

I don’t think the Brighton neighborhood needs much introduction: it’s a small branch of the CIS on American soil. You can hear Russian speech here and there are signs in Russian. I also really liked the neighborhood with its cozy one-type houses, again just like in the movies. After them, the ghetto neighborhoods and Arab Street looked especially contrasting. During the tour you can also visit Coney Island, the Jewish Quarter and Chinatown, see the most informal church in the city, St. John’s Cathedral, Columbia University, the Verrazano and Queensboro Bridges.

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Historic Districts of New York City

But that’s not the end of the tour of New York City neighborhoods. On the third day, I suggest you take an easy stroll through the beautiful places with beautiful architecture – the downtown but residential areas of the city. It’s just amazing that not too far from Fifth Avenue goes a very different, quiet and measured life. The cobblestone streets are lined with people who walk with their dogs, sit in sidewalk cafes, and take their time.

One of the most famous and yet popular among tourists is Soho district, where there is a huge number of boutiques and bohemian spirit. A similar, but more youthful atmosphere in the East Village, where coffee shops and hipster bars predominate. But Little Italy and Greenwich Village seemed to me the most pleasant to live in: the first one has a lot of cozy family restaurants, the second has an air of respectability. As a final tip, I recommend the Meatpacking District, as it is home to some of the city’s best nightclubs. Historical excursions are collected here.

Long Island and the Hamptons: Land of Millionaires.

Long Island is a very special suburb that is so unlike the heart of the Big Apple, but so closely connected to it that it’s impossible to imagine one without the other. To make it immediately clear – this is such a New York Rublevka, only on a larger scale. Top managers from Wall Street and supermodels tend to come here at least for the vacations.

The rich and famous – Steven Spielberg, David Letterman, Calvin Klein, Paul McCartney, Sarah Jessica Parker – have homes here. You’ll even see some of them from afar on the tour. On Long Island, and especially in the Hamptons, everything just screams wealth, luxury and a whole other world. Here you can stroll down the famous Ocean Drive, and afterwards in Sag Harbor to admire the huge yachts. You will also see part of the coast, the so-called “Gold Coast,” which Fitzgerald described in The Great Gatsby. By the way, the mansions from that era have also been preserved. You can also see the 18th century lighthouse and Roosevelt’s cottage, and visit the local winery.

Walk in Central Park

Central Park is another symbol of New York City. If you want to learn more about how these green “lungs” appeared in the heart of the city, who historically inhabited the area, and why the park has not yet been cut down for the sake of the most expensive land, I suggest you take a guided walk through it.

In addition to the history of the place, you will learn about the most interesting locations in the park. I especially remember the John Lennon memorial, the ancient Egyptian obelisk, the literary alley and the cast-iron bow bridge.

You can also choose a more entertaining tour format: a film walk. A huge number of movies have been shot in Central Park. Our guide reported that she was able to find more than 150. It is very interesting that during the tour the guide shows the scenes from the movies on a tablet, in the places where they were filmed. Some of the most famous are “Home Alone 2,” “The Avengers,” “Vanilla Sky” and “Sex and the City.”

If you like museums.

Of museums, of course, I’d like to mention the Metropolitan. It’s one of the most visited museums in the world and has some of the most important cultural and art exhibits in the world. Collections focus on Ancient Egypt, European and American painting, African and Oriental cultures. It is simply huge, so it is best to go here with a guided tour in the company of a professional art historian. He will guide you through the optimal route, covering the most significant exhibits. By the way, the museum ticket is valid for two days. Therefore, you can go here with the art historian on the first day, and on the second day you can go on your own, using his recommendations. Find a guide to tour the museums here.

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If you’re in New York with kids

The easiest recreational option is to visit the playgrounds, such as those in Central Park, Madison Square and Union Square. The most fun for kids is, of course, going trick-or-treating. For that, I recommend the fabulous sweet kingdom, the largest M&M’S World brand store in Times Square. Another is the FAO Schwarz toy store in NYC, where “Home Alone” was filmed. Of museums, of course, I would recommend the American Museum of Natural History, where Night at the Museum was filmed. Even without that, though, the collections are terrific and kids will love it. Another great place to visit is the Bronx Zoo, the city’s largest zoo with 4,000 animals. For cultural entertainment, there’s nothing better than Broadway shows. I suggest The Lion King and Spider-Man.

New York City Unusual Excursions

Unusual excursions in New York City are countless. Let’s start with unusual transportation. You can go on a cruise on the Hudson River, I especially liked the evening version with dinner. The cost is about $90. To see the city from another angle, again very cinematic, you can take a helicopter ride over downtown. This entertainment is already more expensive: about 220-320 dollars for 15 minutes.

Another unusual option is to take a ride on the New York subway. Movies usually show it dirty, full of homeless people and criminals. Yes, that’s here too, but you can find aesthetics in the subway. That’s what the guide shows during the tour. All the unusual tours are here.

If you want to get out of town.

The main out-of-town excursion is Niagara Falls, located on the U.S.-Canada border. The tour takes two days, but it is definitely worth it. In real life, the falls look even larger and even scarier than the videos and photos. In addition, the road will pass through several states, which will allow at least from afar to get acquainted with the life of not such touristy places like New York. So if time permits, I recommend making a trip here for sure.

If you want to see other cities

From New York City, you can visit other cities as part of a day trip. I liked Princeton in New Jersey, just an hour from New York City. It’s very small and cozy, yet it’s repeatedly ranked as one of the best in the country. Here the cobblestone streets and old buildings are in amazing harmony with the lively student atmosphere, as Princeton is home to one of America’s most famous universities. You can also go to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Boston, and Newport.

If you want to see the city at night

New York City offers sightseeing tours in the evening, during which you can see all the most iconic places that look especially spectacular in the light of illumination. I will share some of the locations. Of course, it’s worth seeing the Empire State Building and going to Times Square. It is the main and most recognizable square in the city, which is no darker at night than it is during the day because of the lights of the illumination. Be sure to check out the world’s largest advertising screen as tall as a 12-story building on the facade of the city’s largest hotel. And, of course, the Skyline – that’s where you get the best views of New York City from the observation deck. Click here for a selection of evening and night tours.

If you’re interested in shopping

Of course, the main shopping streets and boutiques are on Fifth Avenue and SoHo. But if you want something special, head to the second-hand and vintage stores of the Lower East Side and East Village. Here you can find unique pieces that were fashionable in the last 70-80 years. I especially liked the accessories and home decor items. There are also modern boutiques and stores by local designers with affordable prices. To visit the really interesting places, I suggest taking a guide for company. Also offer and classic shopping tours of the main shopping complexes of the city. Shopping tours can be found here.

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How to choose the right tour: tips and tricks

I tell you the tips and tricks, and just share observations that will help you to organize your leisure time more comfortably and save a little money.

  • If you don’t want to take a classic tour, but want to quickly see the main sights, choose a double-decker. So in New York, they call the double-decker buses with a single ticket, which is valid from one to several days. You can get off and on as many times as you want during the validity period of the ticket. Very convenient for independent travelers and a great time saver.
  • You can save a lot of money on museum tickets, because they have regular (once a week to once a month) free days. Also there is often an option to pay what you wish, or “pay what you want,” that is, you can buy a ticket for as much as you don’t regret. So before you visit museums, check their websites.
  • It is possible to find free guided tours of the city. It is more exact – conditionally free: it is desirable to leave a tip for the guide, usually about 10-20 dollars. Most of these proposals in English, but sometimes such tours and conduct Russian-speaking guides.
  • If you want a free boat ride, there’s a free ferry to Staten Island from Whitehall Terminal.
  • Near the Gershwin Theater, there are raffles to see musicals. Not for free admission, but for a discount, but a very good one: from the original $130 to the real $30. To do this a couple of hours in advance, come to the theater and throw a piece of paper with your name in the hat of the raffle organizer.
  • If you plan not just to walk around the city, but first of all to actively visit museums and attractions with paid admission, I advise you to buy NY City Pass.
  • It is advisable to book tours of New York City on booking services. Because there are so many proposals – from travel companies and private guides – it is possible to compare prices and routes, and read the real reviews on such services. There is such a service on our website, on this page.

What can I say, New York is definitely worth all the money and time spent on it. It is one of those cities that is a must-visit.

Great Escapes: travel close to home with these day trips from New York City

A girl and her dog playing on the beach at Sandy Hook

Disclaimer: While some of these places may be temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s likely that you’ll be able to see most of them soon – and since many of us are understandably concerned about international travel in the coming months, there has never been a better time to explore our own backyard.

Sometimes you need a day trip from New York City. The city can be overwhelming. It’s a fuzzy patch of cabs, trucks, school buses, delivery drivers, joggers, hot dog vendors and impatient commuters that can take your breath away. Fortunately, there are plenty of day trips and excursions to New York City to choose from.

Do you want to rekindle your love of the ocean, head for the hills, or see city life in a different way? Here are a few ways to break free from the great Granny Smith known as the Big Apple and get back in time. Evening Show.

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Experience day trips to New York City in cities close to New York City

There’s nowhere quite like New York City, but still try other places – bless them. If you’re a self-proclaimed urban dude, there are several cities near New York City that you can visit for a change of scenery.

1. Philadelphia A day trip from New York City

View from the rocky staircase to the Philadelphia Museum of Art

From New York to Philadelphia by car: Approx. 1 hour 10 minutes From New York to Philadelphia by bus: Approx. 2 hrs. 10 min. By train from New York to Philadelphia: Approx. 2 hrs. 15 min.

In terms of major cities near New York City, Philadelphia is a tried and trusted day trip to New York City. With quick and easy transportation, you can leave at a reasonable hour and be there well before lunchtime. Philly cheesesteak, anyone?

There’s plenty to do, even with a busy schedule. Run up the famous Rocky Steps, and once you get your breath back, head inside the Philadelphia Museum of Art for some cultural viewing.

Immerse yourself in colonial and revolutionary history by visiting the Liberty Bell in Independence Hall or exploring the Museum of the American Revolution. They are just steps away from each other, making them ideal for day trips from New York City.

If you want to immerse yourself in the proud traditions of the City of Brotherly Love, consider squeezing in a tour. If you’re a foodie (aren’t we all?), Don’t miss the 9th Street Italian Market tour to explore Philly favorites. For a comprehensive trip, try History in HD: A walking tour of Philadelphia to see the landmarks that shaped America with a local historian.

2. a day trip to Atlantic City from New York City.

From New York to Atlantic City by car: Approx. 2 hr. 15 min. By bus from New York to Atlantic City: Approx. 2 hr. 35 minutes.

People on the beach in Atlantic City between 1900-1020

Unless your name is Clark Kent, Las Vegas won’t be on your list of day trips from New York City. But did you know there’s a super alternative just a couple of hours away?

Atlantic City, New Jersey, also known as Little Las Vegas, has attracted day-trippers from New York and elsewhere since the 19th century. In its heyday, it was a permanent haven for the likes of Marilyn Monroe, who should have been wearing jeans. Even though times have gotten tougher in recent years, its famous four-mile promenade still attracts millions of people every year.

It’s not just the casinos. The soft sands of Atlantic City’s clean and expansive beach make it a real beach. The boardwalk takes us back to the holidays that preceded affordable air travel. Think amusement park-style games, family-friendly piers, bars, restaurants and salty sea air.

At the north end of the promenade, you’ll see the black and white Absecon Lighthouse. Be sure to climb its 228 steps for a magnificent view of the Atlantic City skyline. And check out the attached museum to learn the history of one of the nation’s tallest lighthouses.

While both cities may not be far from New York City, we rated Washington, D.C. and Boston to be too far and too expensive for a day trip. These are options if:

  1. You don’t mind the travel time. , Amtrak’s Acela high-speed trains make both cities accessible in one day, but tickets are not cheap.

Get a breath of fresh air on day trips from New York City

It’s easy to choke on the smog, skyscrapers and expensive coffee of New York City. Admittedly, New York City has some beautiful man-made parks, but if that’s not enough for you, there are plenty of options for hiking near New York City.

1. Staten Island Greenbelt, NYC.

By car: 25 minutes from Lower Manhattan By bus: 44 minutes from Lower Manhattan

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