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10 Things to Know BEFORE Booking a Harbor Cruise in New York City

10 Things to Know BEFORE Booking a Harbor Cruise in New York City

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New York City is full to the brim with things to do that it can be overwhelming to know where to start – especially if you have a limited amount of time to visit. But if you’re looking to make some unforgettable memories, we loved our experiences taking harbor cruises.

We were fortunate enough to spend 5 days in New York City on our most recent trip, and while we saw plenty of attractions while sightseeing in NYC, a highlight was definitely cruising on the harbor. We’ve taken a few different cruises to figure out which ones are the best. So we can confidently tell you what you need to know so you can skip the research and get right to soaking up those famous views of The Big Apple!

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family-friendly adventure, there are plenty of options from visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to enjoying luxurious dinner cruises. Regardless of what you choose, taking a harbor cruise should be at the top of your list whether you’re in NYC for one day or a whole week!

So let’s get started! Read on for our top 10 things to know when booking a harbor cruise in New York City.

Our Top Choices

If you don’t have time to read the full article, no worries! We’ve narrowed it down to our top two favorite choices for NYC harbor cruises.

For a date night or if just want to treat yourself, we recommend this luxury dinner cruise in New York City. This dinner cruise is on an all-glass boat and includes a delicious 3-course meal, live music, and unbelievable views. Prices range from $175-$265 USD per person, depending on the day and time of year.

For a more budget-friendly option, we enjoyed this Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour. This morning tour lasts 3 hours and includes priority ferry access and live narration about the history of these attractions. Our tour guides were very animated which made the experience even more fun. Prices start at $65 USD, and this tour is a great option for families or anyone interested in learning the history of this magical city.

1. Why book a Harbor Cruise in New York City?

Bailey looks out the window on the Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise and admires the view of the city skyline
So beautiful!

Of all the tours we took in New York during our stay, some of the most fun and memorable were the harbor cruises. This is because you get so much rolled into one package! 

The views of the skyline are some of the best from the water, especially at night! Being on a cruise gives you a unique look at some of New York’s most iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty or the Brooklyn Bridge that you can’t get anywhere else. You can see just how big this city is from the water and experience its wonder without having to deal with traffic!

Sightseeing tours cover a large area of the city and show you its many landmarks while teaching you its fascinating history. It’s one of the best ways to see and learn all about the city’s important places and their historical significance. Also, taking a cruise is the only way you can reach Liberty Island to visit the Statue of Liberty, and trust me, you don’t want to miss it!

Dinner and lunch cruises offer those same unforgettable views but with a delicious 3-course meal or buffet included! In fact, one of our favorite dinner cruises we’ve ever been on (the Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise) was here in New York. They’re just that good! It’s a fun and delicious way to see the city.

Cruises combine history, sightseeing, and convenience into one Big Apple bite-sized once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Related Read: If you want another tour with a more personal experience, check out our blog on the best private tours in New York City. Think limo rides, day trips to the Hamptons, or a trip around Central Park!

2. Where do Harbor Cruises in New York City go?

Our cruise on the Hudson River with views of the New York City Skyline in NYC
Manhattan!

Most of the cruises in New York City have a similar route. You start by going down the Hudson River where you’ll pass by Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty before turning up the East River to go under the Brooklyn Bridge on your return voyage.

In some cases, your tour will go all the way around Manhattan Island. That’s 3 different rivers, 7 iconic bridges, and one-of-a-kind views of the New York skyline! We recommend both the Architecture of New York Yacht Cruise and Complete Manhattan Island Cruise if this sounds like an experience you’re interested in. 

3. What are the highlights of a Harbor Cruise in New York City? 

Our cruise passes under the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City
Our cruise passes under the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City

Statue of Liberty 

One of the most iconic structures in America, the Statue of Liberty, or Lady Liberty, was the first thing immigrants saw when arriving by boat and holds as much significance now as it did then. It took 9 years for French architects to build and had to be completely disassembled before being shipped to the United States. It’s absolutely stunning to see her firsthand from the harbor both during the day and at night! 

Brooklyn Bridge 

Opening in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world stretching over 1,595 feet (486 meters) across the East River. It was the first bridge to connect Manhattan to Brooklyn and is the centerpiece of the stunning Manhattan Skyline. Seeing this beautiful stone and steel bridge from the water and passing under it is an experience you are going to love!

Ellis Island 

Between 1892 and 1954, over 12 million people immigrated to America through the Great Hall of Ellis Island including Albert Einstein and TV personality Bob Hope. It’s a beautiful place to see from the water and you’ll love learning about the history and legacy of this island. You might even be able to trace back your family’s immigration here!

New York City Skyline 

The New York City Skyline is simply stunning and seeing the buildings that make this city iconic is best seen from the water. With structures such as the One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, and many more, this is a view you won’t want to miss. We especially recommend seeing the skyline at night. 

4. How long does a Harbor Cruise in New York City last?

The average cruise takes between 2-3 hours to complete which gives you plenty of time to take in the sights, snap some pictures, hear the history of New York, or enjoy a meal while you make your way through the harbor.

Tour operators ensure you get the most bang for your buck to guarantee an excellent experience! However, you will want to arrive at the docks at least 30-45 minutes early for check-in because they will leave promptly so you should factor this into the tour time.

5. What are the best Harbor Cruises in New York City?

Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise

Bailey enjoys her dinner with the Statue of Liberty in the background during the Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise in New York City
It was a gloomy and rainy day but magical on the water!
The band play music on the Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise
The band!

The Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise is easily the best cruise we did in New York. Seriously! As dinner cruise connoisseurs we can’t recommend it enough. We had an unforgettable evening aboard this all-glass boat that offers a 3-course meal, stunning views of New York City at night, and more. 

You set sail at 7 pm from Chelsea Piers, but we recommend arriving at 6:15 pm so you have time to look through the enticing menu offered that evening. Seating is pre-arranged, but all tables offer excellent visibility and service.

One of the many great things about our experience was seeing the lights of the city at night. Passing under the Brooklyn Bridge, taking in the skyline, and seeing the Statue of Liberty all lit up is amazing. Not to mention it’s accompanied by a live jazz band. Talk about atmosphere!

The food was everything you could want from a gourmet dining experience. An expertly crafted and diverse menu means there is something for everyone. Come hungry, they will give you a lot of food! But keep in mind that the first meal doesn’t start until 8 pm. 

It’s important to know that this is a semi-formal dinner cruise and a dress code is enforced. Leave the casual wear and sandals at the hotel for the night. Besides, it’s nice to have a reason to get fancy. 

Prices are between $175-$265 USD per person, which includes all of your meals and unlimited coffee, water, and soft drinks. You will need to pay for any alcoholic beverages yourself and remember to bring some cash to tip the staff! This 3-hour cruise runs almost every day weather permitting, but often sells out months in advance (yes, really!!) so we recommend booking your tickets early here.

New York City Harbor Lights Cruise

The city of New York at night as seen from a New York City dinner cruise
It’s a fantastic way to take in New York City without the hustle and bustle!

This New York City Harbor Lights Cruise is a beautiful, and budget-friendly way to see some of our favorite NYC landmarks at night! You’ll love this 2-hour experience down the Hudson River, getting some great photos, and hearing fantastic narration from the onboard guides. It’s a perfect way to end a day in the big city! 

We highly recommend booking your tickets online in advance so you can secure seats for the best views! We sat outside and found it to be perfect. It does get cold so dress warm!

If you don’t book in advance, you’ll want to arrive at Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises early since tickets are first-come first-serve. Arrive no later than 6:30 pm since you leave port at 7 pm, which gives you the chance to catch the sun setting over New York for some breathtaking views. 

One of our favorite moments from that night was going under the Brooklyn Bridge. With the city and bridge both lit up, it made its iconic architecture all the more stunning. Speaking of stunning, you’ll also see the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan skyline, and New York Harbor in lights. Seeing the reflection of it all in the water was lovely. It’s such a treat!

Tickets are only $54 USD (or $49 USD in the winter) and it’s a great option for families! Snacks and drinks aren’t provided, but there is a concession stand along with a souvenir shop if you haven’t already picked up some novelty New York City swag. There is also an option to download the free Circle Line App so you can hear the tour in Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Italian, or Chinese. 

The cruise runs every day of the week and for the best seats you can book here beforehand.

Complete Manhattan Island Cruise

Views out the back of a cruise on a tour in New York City
The City That Never Sleeps!

The Complete Manhattan Island Cruise is a wonderful sightseeing experience that goes around the whole of Manhattan Island making it one of the most comprehensive cruises in all of New York! You’ll see countless landmarks over the 2.5 hours it takes to complete and with onboard narration you will come away with a new understanding of the city. 

Departure times vary depending on the season, and you will want to arrive 30 minutes early for boarding at the pier. There is seating indoors and outdoors, but if you prefer a more comfortable experience we recommend sitting inside the temperature-controlled cabin with cushioned seats!

Grab a snack and a drink from the concession stand as you begin your journey around Manhattan taking in popular sights up close like the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Brooklyn Bridge. If you haven’t been to these places independently already, you’ll definitely enjoy the entertaining and informative history about them from your host. 

Going down three different rivers for one-of-a-kind views of the city skyline, I think you will find the One World Trade Center’s height stunning. It is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere after all! You will also pass by the United Nations headquarters and Hudson Yard, New York’s new $25 billion neighborhood.

There are 2 ticket options for this experience. The Premiere Seating option is $77 USD and includes advanced boarding and VIP cushioned seats inside. Alternatively, standard seating is $52 USD and offers seating outside or inside the cabin. Either way, you will want to book your tickets here for this one-of-a-kind New York City cruise

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour

The Statue of Liberty as seen from a cruise in New York City
We loved the Statue of Liberty cruise on Viator!
Building on Ellis Island on tour in New York City
Ellis Island!

We believe that this Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour is a great way to see and learn about the history of two of New York’s most important landmarks. With round-trip ferry service and entrance to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island museum, this 3-hour tour is a fantastic option for the budget traveler who still wants a more personalized experience. 

You will meet your guide at 9 am at One Battery Park Plaza. Something we appreciated about this tour is that it has a maximum of 25 people so it isn’t too overwhelming. We even got to know some of the other people in our group pretty well throughout the morning!

With priority boarding, you will skip the lines onto the ferry as you make your way to the Statue of Liberty taking in views of the Manhattan skyline, Brooklyn Bridge, and New York Harbor. Once you arrive your guide will escort you around the island sharing lots of interesting stories and history with your group. Finishing your time in the museum you will get to see one of the original torches held by Lady Liberty up close! 

You will hop back on the ferry and over to Ellis Island for another fascinating and story-filled tour of the great hall where over 12 million immigrants passed through. You have the opportunity to trace back your family history here and see if you can find your ancestors! Pretty neat if you ask me.

The tour ends on Ellis Island, but you can stay as long as you want to explore or check out the gift shop. For only $65 USD a person, this tour is a complete steal! This tour runs on weekends during the winter but is available almost every day during the warmer months. We recommend booking your tickets here to reserve your spot in advance.

New York City Statue of Liberty Super Express Cruise

A close up of the Statue of Liberty as seen on a Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty Cruise in New York City
Lady Liberty!

For those of you who are trying to see more in less time, this Statue of Liberty Express Cruise is a great way to maximize your sightseeing during your visit! Take a small boat up close to the island for great shots before quickly returning 50 minutes later to continue your day. 

You can take this boat from Pier 16 on the hour from 11 am onward, but you need to arrive early and purchase tickets in advance. They leave promptly on the hour and won’t wait for you so leave yourself enough time to find parking or take the subway. If you go during the winter, dress warm and be ready for a couple of splashes from the waves. Like we said, it’s a small and fast-moving boat. 

You won’t have the opportunity to get off to explore the island, but that doesn’t stop your captain from giving a few history lessons along the way! Enjoy stories of Lady Liberty as you get up close for those perfect photographs to take back home. 

This tour is perfect for those who have limited time in the city and for only $29 USD per person, it’s the best budget option for sure! It runs Thursday through Sunday in the cooler months, and daily with more time slots outside of winter. Time slots book out quickly so get your tickets in advance here!

Manhattan Architecture Yacht Cruise

Classic Harbor Line NYC cruise at sunset in New York City
Photo credit: Classic Harbor Line NYC cruise

If you love architecture then this Manhattan Architecture Yacht Cruise is going to be one of the highlights of your trip. Narrated by a member of the American Institute of Architects, enjoy a 3-hour journey that circles the entirety of Manhattan Island and gives you deep insight into some of New York’s most beloved landmarks.

Climb aboard a gorgeous 1920s-style yacht and have a seat at your private table where you have the choice of a complimentary glass of wine or beer before you set off. If you do come hungry not to worry! Food is available to purchase during your voyage.

We heard a lot about the different architecture of New York, but this tour gave us a whole new perspective on the city! The guides are as knowledgeable as they are passionate, and we guarantee you will walk away with lots of trivia for the people you inevitably tell about this tour.

We found the Woolworth Building especially interesting since it held the record for being the tallest building in the world from 1913 to 1930! Another bonus of this tour is the unique skylines of Manhattan Island you see while you travel around it. You’ll pass under a total of 18 bridges and get a history of the city many tours don’t offer!

We think this cruise is worth every penny for only $112 USD a person, but you do need a minimum of 2 people to book. It’s more catered towards adults since it’s a narration-heavy setting so children under 12 are not permitted.

This tour sets off at multiple times throughout the day from Chelsea Piers and returns with plenty of time for you to keep exploring the city. It does have limited availability and time slots sell out very fast so be sure to book your tickets online here.

New York Dinner Cruise

Pasta starter on the Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise in New York City
Mmm, pasta!
Bailey poses for a photo at night on a dinner cruise in New York City on the front deck with the city in the background
So beautiful!

We found this New York Dinner Cruise to be a fantastic way to get out and enjoy an upbeat buffet dinner in the New York Harbor at night. With a live DJ and interactive games, you’re sure to have an entertaining evening!

Unlike the Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise, this dinner cruise is more laid back and family-friendly. It still offers amazing night views of New York City, delicious food, and great music, but overall is less of a romantic atmosphere and more of a party! 

You’ll board at Pier 61 Chelsea Piers and set off at 7 pm down the Hudson River. Enjoy the skyline from inside the dining hall or step out on the deck to watch the Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State Building go by. One of the best parts of a dinner cruise is seeing the city at night. The Brooklyn Bridge lit up is one of our favorite views of the city!

We found the fresh buffet menu exceptional and the wait staff was incredibly friendly. The menu changes from time to time, but you can expect things like pasta, salads, roasted chicken, salmon, and of course dessert! Coffee, water, and soft drinks are complimentary, but you will have to pay for any alcoholic beverages. Be sure to bring cash for a tip!

The DJ played everything from the latest hits to some older classics that got several groups on the dance floor! Providing good music, fun games, tasty food, and astounding views, we think the 2.5 hours aboard is enjoyable from start to finish. 

This is a super popular dinner cruise and prices range from $133-$235 USD per adult. Personally, we think this cruise is totally worth it! Spots can fill up well in advance so book your tickets now.

New York Sunset Schooner Cruise on the Hudson River

Statue of Liberty on a sunset cruise in New York City
Statue of Liberty on a sunset cruise in New York City

There are a lot of ways to see the sunset in New York City, but we think this Sunset Schooner Cruise is probably one of the cooler ways to do it! Enjoy an epic evening and take in iconic sites from the deck of a traditional 2-masted sailboat.  

Make your way to 62 Chelsea Piers a little early for your evening launch, meet the captain, and settle in as you get ready for departure. The size of the boat gives it an intimate feel you don’t normally get on other sunset cruises. It is possible to book a private tour of this experience for you and your friends and family if you so desire.

We loved the wind on our faces and listening to the sails overhead as we began our journey. The sun setting and reflecting off the buildings in the Manhattan skyline was magical as we watched the city start lighting up as night came. It can get cold (even during the summer in NYC!) so we recommend you bring enough layers to stay warm during its 2-hour duration. 

Included with this experience is a complimentary drink which is a lovely addition. You can’t beat a glass of bubbles while watching a New York sunset from a sailboat! We were fortunate to have perfect weather on our trip, and the colors of the sky were beyond amazing.

Once you return, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy New York at night! This tour is only available on Saturdays and times book up months in advance. We highly recommend this experience and for $108 USD a person, we think it’s definitely worth the trip. It has very limited availability and is likely to sell out so book in advance here.

New York City Sunset Cruise on Yacht Manhattan

New York City skyline at sunset as seen from a New York City cruise
New York City skyline at sunset as seen from a New York City cruise

If you want to experience a New York sunset in style there is no better way to do it than this Sunset Cruise on Yacht Manhattan. Board a 1920s-style yacht as you make your way down the Hudson River for an unforgettable sunset experience. 

Depending on what time of year you take this cruise your start time will change, but arrive a half-hour early at 62 Chelsea Piers to check in and find your table. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available depending on your preference. Regardless of where you sit, you will have incredible views of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island as the sun sets over New York Harbor.

The yacht is clean and comfortable with a teak wood interior and large windows great for viewing. You are going to love the vibe of this boat the moment you step on! Its size and limited guest seating mean it’s never too loud or crowded which can be an issue on larger sunset cruises.

One complimentary beverage of your choice is included and more can be purchased along with several food options. A cocktail on a yacht? Yes, please!

Classy and affordable, this 1.5-hour cruise is only $78-$94 USD a person with prices lowering the larger your group is. There is a minimum of 2 travelers, so keep that in mind when booking. This cruise operates almost every day of the week but it’s popular and sells out quickly so book in advance now

New York Lunch Cruise 

Bailey poses for a photo on our cruise in New York city

If you already have plans in the city for the evening or can’t take one of the dinner cruises we’ve listed here, don’t worry! This New York Lunch Cruise is our choice for a perfect middle-of-the-day food cruise experience in New York Harbor. It takes 2 hours and is a great way to recharge for an evening out.

Make your way to Chelsea Piers a half hour before your departure time. Staff will seat you at your reserved table and you can look through the different delicious all-you-can-eat buffet options available that day. Feeling a little tired from morning tours in New York? Coffee, hot tea, and iced tea are complimentary! You can also purchase alcoholic beverages if you would like. 

This lunch cruise is lively with a DJ, a dance floor, and a rooftop lounge you can use to take in the views or mingle with other passengers. It offers great views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and the Manhattan skyline. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get some pictures while you wait for your food!

We think this cruise is an excellent deal at $118 USD per person, and offers plenty of entertainment while you enjoy views of the city from the water, have a nice lunch, and take a break from a full day of activities. This lunch cruise runs almost exclusively on Saturdays so be sure to book in advance here to secure your spot.

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

6. Should you do more than one cruise in New York City?

New York City skyline from a cruise in New York City
New York City skyline from a cruise in New York City

Absolutely! We did multiple cruises to find the best ones to tell you about and loved them all. They are such a great way to experience the city and you won’t be disappointed. We recommend first doing a tour of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to learn about the history and importance of the landmarks you see along the way. 

Then take a dinner or sunset cruise for an entirely unique and incredible experience. There is something so magical about seeing the city lit up at night, and the ambiance of these cruises is truly unmatched! It is a fantastic way to round off your time in New York City. 

Money Saving Tip – Some of NYC’s best attractions unfortunately aren’t free. But that doesn’t mean you have to blow your budget to see them! We purchased a New York City attraction pass during our visit and it helped us save 30-40% on admission fees to top attractions like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. There are a few different options, but the top three are the New York CityPASS®, the New York Pass, and the New York Explorer Pass by Go City.

Related Read: If you’re looking for another way to experience New York City, take to the sky! Be sure to read our guide on things to know before booking a helicopter ride in NYC.

7. What should you wear on a Harbor Cruise in New York City?

Depending on the cruise you’re taking you will want to dress accordingly. For sightseeing tours to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, wear comfortable shoes and clothes, and bring layers. Keep in mind that you will be outside for part of the tour and walking to multiple locations, so comfort is key.

The dinner and lunch cruises are a more luxurious experience so it’s a great reason to dress up! Plus, when you’re going by the Brooklyn Bridge you can get a picture in that nice shirt or dress you brought just for the occasion. Semi-casual is usually just fine, but some dinner cruises do enforce a dress code so you will want to pack accordingly or do a little shopping beforehand. After all, there are plenty of places to shop in New York City.

8. Are Harbor Cruises in New York City suitable for children?

Bailey on the front deck on the Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise

They certainly are! Depending on the age, different cruises may be more suitable than others, but the below are cruises we would recommend for families with little ones. 

New York City Harbor Lights Cruise

This 2-hour tour offers sunset and evening views of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and more. It gives you and your family excellent opportunities to get some great pictures and learn along the way. Live commentary, comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, and an onboard concessions stand mean you and your family will enjoy every moment of this New York Harbor cruise.

You can book tickets for the whole family online here. Children under 3 are free, but you’ll need to grab a free ticket for them at the box office when you check-in.

New York Dinner Cruise

This family-friendly buffet dinner cruise is a great way to see the city at night and eat some delicious food along the way! With a live DJ, dance floor, and onboard games there is plenty for your family to do. Meals, coffee, tea, and water are included. You can reserve tickets here and you’ll need to reserve a free ticket for infants age 2 and under and note that a meal isn’t included for them.

New York City Statue of Liberty Super Express Cruise

This express cruise is a great option for families to see the Statue of Liberty without taking a long tour. Affordable and quick you can zip out on a small boat for some pictures of Lady Liberty and be back in under 50 minutes. With hourly departures, it’s flexible and will allow you to make the most of your day. You can book your tickets here in advance and it’s the cheapest tour on our list at $29 USD per adult and $24 USD for kids.

9. Are the Harbor Cruises in New York City wheelchair accessible?

Many of the harbor cruises offer wheelchair access. Actually, of all the tours we have listed above, there are only three that are not wheelchair accessible. They are the Sunset Cruise on Yacht ManhattanSunset Schooner Cruise, and Manhattan Architecture Yacht Cruise. Every other tour listed is wheelchair accessible so you still have lots of great options!

10. Is a Harbor Cruise in New York City worth it?

The dining hall on the Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise
Yes!

It sure is! The best experience we had in NYC was a cruise and we can’t recommend them enough. The unique views you get of iconic sights, the history, and the delicious food they offer are just amazing! We also think they’re a great choice for people who are trying to figure out how to spend a few days in New York.

We’re sure it will be the highlight of your trip. We can’t wait to go back so we can go on our favorite cruises and experience it all over again. Regardless of the weather or time of year, a cruise in New York is a fantastic addition to your trip! 

Related Read: If you fancy getting out of the city for the day, be sure to check out our picks for the best Niagara Falls tours from New York City. You don’t want to miss visiting this natural wonder!

Other Things to do While You’re in New York City

Daniel with his pizza at the Chelsea Market on our food tour
This was one of the best slices we tried in NYC!
bailey walks along the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City
A must-do!

As the biggest city in the USA, there is no shortage of things to do in New York! I mean, you could spend weeks here and still not see a fraction of what the Big Apple has to offer. But if you only have a few days in NYC and want to see the highlights, these are other activities we highly recommend checking out.  

  • Eat pizza! – New York was home to the first pizzeria in the US way back in the early 1900s, and it’s still something this city is known for. I dare say the pizza here is legendary! Top pizza joints include John’s of Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, Prince Street Pizza in Nolita, and we also loved 2 Bros Pizza. You can even eat pizza (and lots of other treats!) on a food tour of Chelsea Market, which is a foodie’s paradise!
  • Visit Central Park – Likely you’ve seen this famous park in movies, so it’s a must while you’re here. Central Park is huge, with great spots like a historic carousel, Belvedere Castle, and even a skating rink in the winter. Feel like you’re starring in a rom-com with this horse and carriage ride. It’s 45 minutes around Central Park and a fantastic way to cover more ground in style.

Where to Stay in New York City

Bailey with her luggage in New york City
Ready to check in!

New York City is huge – there is just no other way to put it! Even Manhattan (the area you’ll want to base yourself in) is a lot bigger than you think. That’s why choosing the right hotel in the right location is so important during your stay in New York.

Below, we’ve simplified it all for you by choosing a couple of the very best hotels available in the city. All three of these options have ideal locations close to attractions and the subway system. They all have amazing reviews, too, so just choose the one in your budget category and you’ll be ready to pack your bags!

Motto by Hilton – $$$

Motto by Hilton is a gorgeous hotel located in the Chelsea neighborhood only 600 meters from the Flatiron Building. The hotel features modern decor that has “speakeasy vibes.” In fact, they have a beautiful bar onsite that looks like the perfect place to sip an Old Fashioned. There are a variety of rooms on offer including some that are a little more budget-friendly, and some that are pure luxury with city views!

Prices start from about $400 USD per night plus tax. You can check prices and availability for Motto by Hilton online here!

Delta Hotels by Marriott New York Times Square – $$

Delta Hotels by Marriott New York Times Square is where we stayed the last time we visited New York, and honestly, we loved it! This hotel is the perfect combination of comfort and value for money. It was clean, modern, and our room had all of the amenities we needed for an enjoyable stay (air conditioning, k-cup coffee maker, steamer, large shower, big windows, etc). Plus, the location is ideal – it’s only a couple blocks from Times Square!

Prices do range, but they do go as low as $200 USD per night plus tax depending on the time of year and day of the week. You can check prices and book online here!

Nap York Central Park Sleep Station – $

For those traveling on a tight budget, Nap York is a budget hostel that’s an ideal choice. Although affordable, this property is immaculate and offers a ton of amenities for a great stay including air conditioning and a shared kitchen. The rooms are modern and the location is about as central as it gets! This property only offers dorm rooms, but they are affordable at as little as $100 USD per night.

You can check prices and book Nap York online on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie onboard the Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise
Thanks for reading!

We hope this list has helped you plan your next harbor cruise in beautiful New York City! Whether you’re up for a quick historical tour or want to enjoy a fancy dinner, a harbor cruise is definitely worth your time. We’ve been on plenty of cruises all over the world, and we just know you’re going to love it here in NYC!

If you’re looking to travel to New York soon, be sure to check out some of our other blogs. We’ve traveled all over the United States, so we’d love to share our experiences with you! We’ve included some blogs that we think you’ll enjoy below.

BEST New York City Attraction Pass – Comparison of the Best NYC Passes

The BEST Christmas Tours in New York City to Truly Capture the Christmas Spirit!

25 BEST Things to do in New York City when it Rains