Before I traveled to New York City, a lot of people told me about the wonderful service provided by the hop-on hop-off bus companies that are in operation. These are not only great value, but also super fun, making them the only way to travel around this amazing city.
On practically every street corner in New York there are men trying to show you maps and sell you tickets for their open-top bus companies which operate on a hop-on hop-off system. The main 2 seemed to be Gray Line (who ironically have red buses) and the one we chose, City Sights (blue and yellow buses).
They are a reasonable price anyway, but my advice would be, once you have decided who to go with (I highly recommend City Sights) walk away from the salespeople and they will chase you and throw in a load of extras. We paid $54 and got 3 days worth of hopping on and off, free entry to several museums, a night tour including Brooklyn (which is epic because you go over the bridge in the dark and get to see Manhattan all lit up) and boat trip. There are 3 main bus loops which you can hop on and off as many times as you need to over the set time. There is the downtown one covering Manhattan, where the buses are super regular, the uptown one round Central Park and visiting Harlem and the Brooklyn one. The things I liked the most about these buses were how easy they were to navigate (compared to the complex tube system!) and the excellent tour guide provided on all services. Obviously it is a bit of a bummer if you end up doing the same section of the downtown tour 6 or 7 times but the range of tour guides all add their own slant and I swear on the last trip there were things I had missed on the previous 5! I loved being on the bus, taking photos of the buildings and learning about the city and I know that in NYC, this is the best way to travel.
Bonus – when it rains you get a free yellow poncho so you don’t have to go indoors!