In a little less than three hours, the CitySights NY Uptown Treasures & Harlem tour offers a snapshot of nearly all of the most notable sights in Manhattan north of 42nd Street. The double-decker bus route provides 18 different stops where customers can hop off and explore the attractions on their own before getting on the next CitySights bus that comes through. The landmarks, which include Lincoln Center, Central Park, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and the mansions and museums of Fifth Ave., represent well over a century of New York history.
The hop-off, hop-on nature of the tour serves a two-fold purpose; it’s both a convenient route to many of upper Manhattan’s most frequented tourist destinations and an ideal way to learn interesting facts about the history and architecture of the city. And it’s fun: the knowledgeable CitySights guides are known for their entertaining patter and dry wit. As of April 1, 2013, pre-recorded narration is also available in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Mandarin, Russian, Japanese, Korean and Hebrew.
The double-decker bus allows riders to take in the sights from higher ground, offering an excellent vantage point for observing some of New York’s most noteworthy architecture. Religious institutions represent some of the highlights of the tour; including the majestic Cathedral of St. John the Devine (the Harlem jewel with three-ton bronze doors), Riverside Church (the tallest church in the United States) and Temple Emanu-el (the largest synagogue in the world).
The tour returns along the section of 5th Ave. known as Museum Mile, passing nine museums, including the beaux-arts Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick and the Guggenheim (Frank Lloyd Wright’s only building in New York, and one of his last). The guide will fill you in on the many grand mansions that previously lined the block, as well as those that remain, many of which are now museums or cultural institutions that serve as living reminders of an era when wealthy industrials like Andrew Carnegie made their homes across from Central Park. The park itself features prominently in the tour, as the route takes you past famous sections like Strawberry Fields, the Conservatory Gardens and Columbus Circle.
The information provided by the guides isn’t limited to historical details; celebrities and pop culture references are on the menu as well. Expect some dish about well-known residential buildings where celebrities like Dustin Hoffman, Harrison Ford, Yoko Ono and Stephen Spielberg have homes, in addition to interesting location details, like the spot where Rosemary’s Baby
was filmed and where John Lennon was shot.
The tour kicks off at 8th Ave. and 42nd street, and transfers are available to the corresponding CitySights NY downtown tour at the last few stops (57th St. and Seventh Ave.; 50th St. and Seventh Ave). The buses run frequently between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm.
Approximately 2.5 hours
Did you know?
Central Park took almost 20 years to complete and contains 36 bridges and arches, 18 entrances, and 24,000 trees.
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Amsterdam Ave. is the fourth largest Christian church in the world
The New York Historical Society on Fifth Ave. is the oldest museum in New York
Uptown Treasures and Harlem Tour Pickup Hours and Location Information