Which NYC bus routes have the most to see?
January 31, 2008 8:46 AM   Subscribe

What New York City bus routes are the most scenic?

I thought it would be a nice idea to take some visiting family members on those big red tourist buses, but the price is too rich for my blood (it's more than $50 per person, if I remember correctly). It then occured to me that for the low price of a Metrocard, we could take public buses instead. So which bus lines should we ride to see all NYC has to offer? Manhattan preferred, but outer borough lines won't be ruled out.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (16 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure about the buses, though the red buses do run up 1st Ave by me which would be the M15, but I can't imagine it's that exciting. If you're looking for some cheap sight-seeing, I would recommend the free Staten Island Ferry. Statue of Liberty, Manhattan skyline, etc. And did I mention that it's free?
posted by Grither at 9:00 AM on January 31, 2008

Best answer: I've taken the M15 a few times when I was not in a rush. It runs the length of the island from the southern most tip up the east side past the UN through the UES and East Harlem and then back down. It is also a big loop so you can get on and off and the same stop or within a block or two.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:02 AM on January 31, 2008

I think the bus is fun so long as you get a seat by a window. And watch out to avoid the handicap courtesy seats, and the seats that fold up for wheelchairs. On the M15 the seats in the back are generally better for site seeing.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:04 AM on January 31, 2008

After I visit any of the Museum Mile museums I always enjoy taking a 5th Av bus down from the 80s to 14th St or so - park on one side, museums and mansions on the other, and then you go past the shiniest of midtown, the main library, heck, even the Apple store.
posted by moonmilk at 9:04 AM on January 31, 2008

Incidentally, the M15 is the busiest bus route in the US....so you shouldn't have to wait long to get on....
posted by Grither at 9:10 AM on January 31, 2008

Offrail: Grither, really? The busiest bus route? I'm curious - I take that bus pretty often - do you have any evidence?
posted by suedehead at 9:51 AM on January 31, 2008

I did this when a couple of friends visited me there and wanted to see Times Square, but I didn't want to have to walk through the Times Square craziness. So I'd recommend whichever bus goes down 7th Ave.
posted by MsMolly at 10:03 AM on January 31, 2008

If your family members are into glitz, go up Madison Avenue from the 30's to the 90's and come back down on Fifth.
(Madison Avenue bus every day.)
posted by redfisch at 10:05 AM on January 31, 2008

Take a few buses, mainly the north-south ones. If you take the M15, you're going to miss Museum Mile, Times Square, etc.

Depending on how long your route is, you may be able to freely transfer a few times, but the unlimited Metrocard would probably be best, since you can hop on/hop off/take a different line.

The bus map is over at:

posted by chengjih at 10:07 AM on January 31, 2008

Well, it's wikipedia, but it's the best I could find in a hurry:
Busiest Bus Route in the US
posted by Grither at 10:26 AM on January 31, 2008

The NYTimes' Billie Cohen recently praised the views from the X68 Express.
posted by saladin at 11:21 AM on January 31, 2008

Best answer: To get off Manhattan you could take the bus out the City Island. BxM7B - City Island - Midtown via 5 Av. And have a good seafood dinner while out there. (NB I've never taken it.)
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:50 AM on January 31, 2008

Best answer: The M9 would take you around Battery Park, up the East Side, through the South Street Seaport, and then into the East Village- that might be a nice alternative.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 12:31 PM on January 31, 2008

Lower lower lower east side that is, along the water- not the UES.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 12:31 PM on January 31, 2008

I saw quite a lot taking the Tremont bus from the zoo to Lehman...

But that's probably not what you are talking about. Maybe it is- NYC is a spectacle to outsiders, probably an afternoon zig-zagging around strategic sites would be a great time.

Oh, and the Staten Island ferry.
posted by gjc at 6:57 PM on January 31, 2008

Best answer: The M4 is famous for this! It takes you up Museum Mile and up Broadway to the Cloisters. You get to see a huge range of interesting architecture, different kinds of people, different neighborhoods... and then you end up in the Cloisters, maybe the most beautiful haven in Manhattan.
posted by sparrows at 2:27 AM on February 1, 2008

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