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Insiders Guide to Uptown Manhattan

Insider's Guide to Uptown Manhattan

New York City

Spend a day exploring all that Uptown Manhattan has to offer! Using the Uptown Hop-on Hop-off bus loop as a guide, this insider’s itinerary will help you make the best decisions about where to go and what to see in this historic and beautiful part of the city.

Times Square

You’ll start in Times Square - the heart of New York City! If you’ve been here before, hop on the Uptown Tour bus and get your day started. If it’s your first time seeing Times Square in person, start by looking straight up! If you’re in front of One Times Square, you’ll catch a glimpse of the New Year’s Eve ball.

There are plenty of photo ops here too - get a picture with Lady Liberty, Elmo, or even Spongebob Squarepants. You can sing along with the Naked Cowboy, shop for souvenirs, and if you have kids, be sure to stop in at Gullivers Gate, Ripley’s Believe It or Not or M&M World.
When you’ve had your fill of Times Square, it’s time to hop on board the Uptown Bus Tour.

Time Square at 42nd Street

To Find the Stop: Walk over to the Hell’s Kitchen stop (42nd Street & 8th Avenue) from Times Square

If the weather is beautiful, nice, or even just bearable, be sure to sit on the upper deck of the bus. Unobstructed views of some of Uptown Manhattan’s greatest highlights, are visible from the comfort of your seat. Your Uptown Bus tour will pass by Central Park, Museum of Natural History, Columbus Circle, Lincoln Center, the Apollo Theater, and other famous sites. Knowledgeable tour guides will share the rich history and stories of all the famous sights along the way.

Shopping / Retail Therapy

Hop off at: The Columbus Circle Stop

What you’ll find: The Shops at Columbus Circle

The Shops is a prime NYC shopping destination and offers a traditional shopping mall experience. Browse through stores like H&M, Cole Haan, Hugo Boss, J. Crew, Michael Kors, MAC Cosmetics, Sephora, Swarovski and other famous brands to take care of all your shopping needs.

When your retail therapy is complete, hop back on at the same stop you hopped off, and take the bus two stops down to get to our next destination: Central Park.

Central Park

Central Park

Hop off at: The Dakota/Strawberry Fields Stop

Did you know that Central Park is America’s first ever man made public park? It is the shining example of urban planning. This 843-acre lush green historic park sits right between the Upper West Side and Upper East Side. Central Park is popular with locals and tourists alike since it offers refuge from the concrete jungle. There are a wide variety of ways to spend time in the park. Some of our favorites include:

Conservatory Garden – This beautiful six-acre secret garden is located in the northeast corner of Central Park. There are entrances to the Conservatory Garden from both the north and south sides at 5th Avenue and 105th Street. You can also enter through the impressive Vanderbilt Gate if you’re enjoying the museums on 5th Avenue. The Garden is made up of smaller gardens – Italian, French and English, that host pristine green lawns, jetted fountains, flower beds, and beautiful sculptures!

Central Park Rowboat Rental – If you’re visiting during summer months, an enjoyable row on the lake is certainly worth experiencing. Enjoy a quick bite at the Loeb Boathouse Lakeside Restaurant before you begin your rowing adventure. Row under the stunning Bow Bridge and along shorelines that open onto coves, peninsulas, and bays. Every bend offers new views for you to enjoy. Tip: being on the lake amidst the foliage and skyscrapers makes a perfect backdrop for pictures!

Central Park Zoo – This mini zoo is very popular with kids. The focal point of the Zoo is the sea lion exhibit. Also of note, grizzly bears, red pandas, and snow leopards exhibits. There’s also a petting zoo that kids adore! (Note: if you want to go to the Zoo, hop back on the Uptown Tour -- it has its own stop further down!)

Other popular spots – Belvedere Castle, the Bethesda Terrace, and Strawberry Fields – a John Lennon memorial.

After you’ve had your fill of this urban park, get back on the bus at the Dakota/Strawberry Fields stop.

Upper West Side

Hop off at: The American Museum of Natural History Stop

The American Museum of Natural History is a favorite of those young and old.

If you’re out with younger kids who are ready to run free, The Diana Ross Playground is located across the street from the American Museum of Natural History just inside Central Park at West 81st Street and Central Park West. It’s a gated playground where you’ll see lots of local kids and their nannies.

If you are lucky enough to be in the neighborhood on a Sunday, visit the Grand Bazaar NYC flea market for unique finds and treasures. Located on the corner of Columbus and Amsterdam, this open-air flea market is the largest curated market of it’s kind in New York City.

When you’ve had your fill of dinosaurs and trinkets, hop back on the bus.

Upper West Side


Hop off at: Apollo Theater Stop

Known for its jazz clubs, soul food joints and African-American heritage, Harlem draws a diverse crowd of both locals and visitors alike. In the early 1900s, Harlem was the backdrop for African-American-led movements in music, literature, dance and art—more popularly known as the Harlem Renaissance. That legacy is still visible today, especially along 125th Street, home to the iconic Apollo Theater, as well as stores and restaurants. Some of the best places to visit:

Apollo Theater – The concert hall, which opened its doors back in 1934, has helped introduce the world to artists such as Aretha Franklin, James Brown, The Jackson 5, Ella Fitzgerald and Patti LaBelle. The theater remains a continuous source of local and national pride and a showcase for up and coming talent.

Gospel Tour – For those interested in Harlem’s history, we would highly recommend taking a Harlem Gospel tour to learn in greater depth about the rich African-American history and culture. This tour passes by famous sights and landmarks such as the St. John the Divine, Columbia University, City College, Morning Side Heights, the Apollo Theater, and the Schomburg Center for research in Black Culture. The tour also lets you experience the soul stirring power of Gospel music.

Ready for lunch? Try Sylvia’s Restaurant – If you’re in Harlem around lunch time – or anytime really – visit Sylvia’s Restaurant for some authentic soul food. Their menu is extensive and appeals to many different palates. Nothing beats their Home fried chicken and waffles!

After exploring Harlem, hop back on the Bus to continue your Uptown adventure.

Museum Mile

Hop off at: Smithsonian Museum of Design/Jewish Museum Stop

“Museum Mile” is a collection of nine famous museums that can be found on the mile long stretch of Fifth Avenue between 82nd and 110th streets. The vast richness and cultural diversity packed into this single mile is the densest display of culture in New York City. You could spend a week (or more) just exploring this one mile of uptown and still not see it all.

If it’s your first time in New York City, we’d recommend checking out at least one of the two most famous museums in the are: the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum or Metropolitan Museum of Art. Or, if you’re looking for something a little different, try The Jewish Museum or El Museo del Barrio -- they will not disappoint!

The Theater District

If you’ve put in a full day exploring Uptown, it’s probably late afternoon by now. Hopefully you have made plans and purchased tickets to a Broadway Show. Seeing a Broadway play in New York City’s Theater District is truly an unforgettable experience. Some of the most famous shows currently running include Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, The Lion King, Hamilton, and more. If you didn’t plan ahead, it’s just a short, five-minute walk down Broadway to the TKTS Booth, the standard destination for discounted same-day tickets to Broadway shows, most at 50% off.

If you’ll be having dinner in the area, we recommend that you dine at one of the many restaurants in the Theater District that make up “Restaurant Row”. Enjoy a diverse collection of culinary options from around the world, including Italy, Japan, Brazil, and America. Restaurant Row is especially ideal for the pre- and post-theater crowd since it’s conveniently located on West 46th Street between 8th and 9th Aves.

Our top restaurant picks: Barbetta, the oldest running family restaurant in NYC (112 years old to be exact); Becco, for its unlimited pasta specials and $25 bottle of wines; Bourbon Street Bar and Grille for its Cajun delicacies!

Broadway on 42nd Street

The Grand Finale

Head on foot to: Top of the Rock

From the Theater Stop, walk over to 30 Rockefeller Plaza to get in some quality sightseeing. The Top of the Rock Observation Deck is more than a great way to view the city! Atop the 67th, 69th and 70th floors you’ll get to enjoy miles of unobstructed views of New York City’s concrete jungle. Some iconic sites you’ll get to see are the Chrysler Building, Central Park, the Hudson River, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Time Square. And since it’s open till 12 AM every night, get mesmerizing views of New York City twinkle and shine at night - a great way to end your evening!

Tip: No matter your sightseeing budget, an All-Around Town, Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Ticket is a great investment. You'll get the Uptown, Downtown & Brooklyn Tour Loops ...PLUS amazing Bonus inclusions! Try the 48-hour Tour or the 72-hour Tour.