Being a true New Yorker, I couldn’t wrap my head around such a good deal, so they offered to let me try it. Thus, on a Saturday morning, my family and I made our way to see New York as tourists.
Normally, when you book the $10.00 tour you have the option to be picked up at two locations: the Sheraton Hilton in Flushing, Queens or in Chinatown. The agency arranged for us to have a van pick us up at our apartment building, and though a lovely gesture and one that we truly appreciated as the day progressed, that type of tour (known as a private tour) costs about $400-$500. So, I cannot speak to the experience of actually taking the tour bus.
I did do some research though and some of the feedback I read, with regards to the tour bus “audience” being mostly Asian makes complete sense. Both Flushing and Chinatown, the two pick up locations are primarily Asian neighborhoods of New York. Both our driver and tour guide, Dorothy, were also Asian. I would expect that those on the tour would be, in their majority, of Asian descent because of the pick up points. Now, I mention this only because it seems that this is the biggest complaint most people who have posted reviews about Tours4Fun have had.
For us however, having a Chinese tour guide, who speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, French, and of course, English, was not at all a problem because Dorothy was articulate, professional, and full of knowledge…so much so that I walked away from our tour having learned more from her than I knew in all my years living here. And chances are, dear friends, that any tour you take in New York City, is going to be full of many people from other countries.
Because we live Uptown, our tour started a little differently, but had the same stops as the $10 tour would. Our first being a brief stop at the United Nations (UN). This particular tour doesn’t allow for time to enter the UN, though if there are any specific places you would like to arrange to stop into, the Customer Service representative for Tours4Fun would be able to accommodate you. We stopped, took a few pictures, Dorothy pointed out some important features, and took a family picture.
From there we moved on to Rockefeller Center. We could’ve taken as much as 40 minutes to walk around, take pictures, enter the GE Building, walk through the lower level of Rockefeller Center, enter the NBC Store, etc., but we have visited the location so often, we opted for 20 minutes instead.
Next was Times Square. This was what I would call the first “official” drop off in the tour for us. We were left to our own devices for an hour and a half, which we used to visit the M&M Store and have brunch at Junior’s. It was early enough in the day that the weather was still not too hot, though the sun was bright. Because of scheduled events throughout the city, including the Revlon Run/Walk, Times Square was empty, and thus nice to walk through. Plus, BRUNCH At Junior’s was amazing!
Our driver and tour guide were always prompt and ready for us when we arrived to our assigned pick up destination. Such drop off and pick ups are something to expect on the $10 tours as well.
After Times Square, we headed over to The Intrepid Museum. I absolutely love this museum, especially for my boys. The space is awesome for all my kids, from big to small, and after walking on the upper level of the ship to look at the collection of fighter planes and helicopter, one can enter the many compartments of the massive ship and explore, touch, play, and learn. We were here for about an hour and a half as well. Our tour guide handled all the tickets, which she handed to us, and we bypassed the lines to get in.
We then went a bit further down 12th Avenue, to the NY Waterway tour. This 90 minute water tour along the Hudson river passes by (and under) some of my favorite NYC spots such as The South Street Seaport, The Brooklyn Bridge, and very, very close to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
Now some people have asked me about going to the Statue of Liberty. You catch the ferry at Battery Park, which is all the way downtown. It is best to get there early, as lines, especially during the warmer months, tend to get very, very long. In total to and from there is about 3 to 4 hours. Tickets for the Statue of Liberty, should you decide to go on your own are about $13.00 to $5.00. Visit their site for more information.
For us, traveling with little ones, and taking advantage of a one-day tour option, not going into all of the attractions, especially one as heavily visited as the Statue of Liberty, was fine with us. I first visited the area when I was 5 years old, and I remember it very well because, even though as an adult I love visiting the area, as a 5 year old I hated it and was tired and bored after the long lines and ferry ride to the statue alone! So my advice, hold off on visiting there if you can when traveling with little ones.
The Waterway tour was perfect. The kids walked around, got snacks, looked out the window, when outside to the front of the boat, waved at passing sailboats. It was a lot of fun and the 90 minutes were just enough for them and for us!
From the dock we were whisked away to The Empire State Building. Dorothy informed us that on a the bus tour this would be the very first stop in the morning. They do it this way because the lines can get so incredibly long. She went in and checked to see if that was the case for us (as we were arriving at 3pm). She assured us that if the lines were too long, and we didn’t want to wait, we could use our passes (which were pre-purchased) at a later date as they were good for a year. But we lucked out because the lines were long at all. 15 minutes and we were on the observatory! We think this had everything to do with the fact that there were so many things going on that day.
The observatory was really great. The views are amazing, and the kids were really in awe of it all. This is wonderful stop, and if you can get there early enough, and avoid the lines, it’s a definite must.
An hour later we made our way to the Wall Street area. Did you know that Wall Street actually had a wall run through it, thus the name? I didn’t! I even got to see where the wall once stood! Pretty cool I have to say. Normally, after hours and on weekends, Wall Street is pretty desolate. But on this particular day, the Romanian Street Festival was taking place and so as we walked past the oldest church in America, Trinity Church, and the famous charging bull, we also enjoyed some of the sounds, smells, and treats of the festival.
We could have made it to Ground Zero and also into Chinatown for dinner, but at that point the little ones were exhausted! And honestly, so were we.
Depending on the age of your kids, a one-day tour might just be the right amount of sightseeing, and for $10 it’s definitely a great price. Other tours, such as the hop on, hop off tours of City Sights NY cost about $39 for adults and $29 for kids.
So things to know about the $10 tour:
- The $10 tour is a group tour conducted in a tour bus that can accommodate 50-60 people with a fixed time schedule.
- The tickets for admission to optional sites that are not a part of the tour like the Empire State Building, Waterway Cruise, and Intrepid Museum, are to be purchased from the tour guide. The tour guide arranges for tickets beforehand and schedules the drop-off and pick-up times for these sites.
- Guests are given an hour to explore the sites. If the guests do not choose to purchase the admission package, they are free to explore the surrounding areas where the bus has stopped and return at the designated time (1 hour) and location.
- Tours4Fun is open to customizing their tours based on travelers’ needs and preferences. It is best to touch with their Customer Service Department if you wish to customize a specific tour. Although, they don’t offer customization for their $10 NYC tour, they have various One-Day New York Getaways that cost less than $75, and meet diverse preferences of their travelers. You will find more information about these tours under “N.Y.C Tours $75 & Under” section on the bottom right on this link: http://www.tours4fun.com/promotions/all-day-newyork-tour.html
You will also find very interesting and cost-effective One-Day New York Getaways with Tours4Fun here.
In short, this package from Tours4Fun really caters to the frugal traveler by offering cost-effective NYC tours that give him/her an opportunity to experience NYC in a way that is truly wonderful. I fell in love with my city all over again. Learning all the little tidbits from our guide was really eye-opening for me, and even the kids enjoyed a day out in their city. Whether you are visiting the city, or live here, this is a great way to explore it and even learn a bit more about the history of this wonderful city.
PLEASE NOTE: This tour is NOT A SERVICE PROVIDED BY GIRLGONETRAVEL.COM. For more information about Tours4Fun, specific tour destinations, fees, tour prices, pick up locations and other questions you may have about you desired tour with Tours4Fun please visit their website here.
See all the pictures of our day as tourists here!
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Complimentary tour and attractions admissions were provided courtesy of Tour4Fun. The views and opinions expressed here are strictly my own. For more information please refer to the disclosure page here.