When looking for things to do in New York City you may well come across THE RIDE as a possible attraction. This Bus Tour on steroids has earned some incredible acclaim being lorded in the press as a unique and spellbinding experience!
But really what is all the fuss about? There are endless tours around the City, what makes the Ride so special, and what makes it worth its rather hefty price tag? Is THE RIDE worth it? or is it an overrated waste of time and money? There is so much to see and do in this incredible city you can’t waste a minute on unworthy attractions. We take a ride on THE RIDE to bring you our THE RIDE New York Review to let you know exactly what to expect and to see if the attraction is worth its billing or a big load of fuss about nothing!
- Attraction: THE RIDE
- Attraction Type: – Interactive Bus Tour with Street Show Elements
- Cost – Standard: Adults: $69-$79 (Plus fees and Tax) – Live Prices
- Duration – 75 Mins (aprox)
- Location: 42nd Street Times Sqaure
- Landmarks: Times Sqaure, Columbus Circle, Central Park, 5th Av, Grand Central, Bryant Park, Emire State Bulding, Rockerfeller Center.
What is the Ride?
The ride is both at the same time really easy to explain and really difficult. It’s easy to get down on paper but the words do not really adequately explain the attraction. But let’s have a go.
In its simplest form, the Ride is a bus tour around some of Midtown’s most iconic sights. However, it is unlike any bus tour you have been on before. First off is the Bus. Instead of standard seating, the seats face sideways looking out the side of the bus, which has been converted into floor and ceiling windows giving you a full panoramic view out the side of the bus.
Next up, the tour is narrated by two, very energetic, tour guides who bring a heap of interaction comedy, and fun into the tour. They interact with you, each other, and even the outside world. They run a basic script with a load of improv and bounce of each other and the crowd in a really fun way.
On top of this, there are the Street Acts that pop up along the way. These are planted performers who mix among the crowd and suddenly erupt into a performance right on the street while real and ordinary people wander past quite befuddled by the goings-on.
There are Ballet Dancers, A Saxophonist with accompanying Volaist, a Freestyle Rapper, a Dancing Street Sweeper, and a Break Dancer.
That Just about sums it up but it really does not do it justice. We feel that description really misses some of the magic and sheer fun of The Ride. When we first experienced the attraction we have to say we went with much trepidation. It just all sounded a bit lame and “forced fun”. But we left really elated and had an amazing time, so let’s dig in a little deeper to show you what the ride is really like!
How Much is the Ride
While the Ride seems to offer a lot based on the above description it really out to as the price is, in our opinion, quite eyewatering for a glorified Bus Tour!
- The Ride – All Ages: $69 ($73 including Booking Fees) – Live Prices
- Front Row – All Ages: $79 ($84 including Booking Fees) – Live Prices
- Premium – All Ages: $89 ($94 including Booking Fees) – Live Prices
These are some pretty steep prices for a bus tour. But really a bus tour is not the way to look at the Ride. It’s more akin to a show, and when you get to witness all the separate moving parts and live actors that go into each “performance” the price really starts to make sense.
When you consider the price of other shows and attractions in New York it does begin to seem a bit more reasonable. It’s all it’It’s still a lot of money so we show you the best way to get cheaper tickets below.
It is worth saying we do not feel the Upgrades are really worth it. The Seating is Stadium style and you get a good view regardless of the seat position. Interaction with the Guides occurs on all rows and there is just no need to be front and center. Overall we are happier paying less and getting pretty much the exact same experience.
The Ride NYC Experience
After boarding the Bus you take your seats in either the front middle or back rows, all of which offer good views out the giant windows. Your hosts will then introduce themselves. You get two guides one at each side of the Bus.
The Hosts guide you along with the multimedia bus displays through the goings-on in New York. The host’s commentary leans very much towards the comedic. This is no serious tour, and no way to learn about the City. The TOur itself isn’t even that good you could walk the loop in less time and probably see more. But this just isn’t;y the point.
The Guides are really funny and are excellent at padding which is really essential in New Yorks Traffic. The listed time of the tour is 75 mins but this can easily run over as traffic grinds to a halt. We have been on the bus in the same position for around 10 mins hardly moving before. There is strong crowd interaction throughout the Tour and you can participate as much or as little as you please.
The Route varies but always takes in the most important sights
- Times Square (Several Times)
- Columbus Circle
- Billionaires Row
- Sixth Ave
- Radio City Hall
- Central Park South
- Fith Ave
- Rockefeller Center
- Grand Central Termius
- New York Public Library
- Bryant Park
- Empire State Building
The Ride uses multimedia displays to help provide information about the sights and help keep the tour flowing nicely, The Ride bus is introduced as a character and plays along as a third host. (Note – There is a DJ hidden behind a curtain that controls the “Ride Bus”).
The Ride has external Speakers and can interact with the outside world so a lot of time is spent waiting at tourists (New Yorkers don’t wave back and generally interact with the outside world) It really is a whole lot of fun and the performance of the hosts really is what makes the ride special. It is really just a fun and family-friendly comedy performance by the really energetic hosts. You are pretty much guaranteed to come away smiling and happy.
The Icing on the Cake is the variety of Staged Street Acts that pop up along the way. Performers are sent out, dressed as tourists or buskers or city workers to blend into the CityScape and suddenly burst forth with a dance, a song, or a rap right in the street amongst the unsuspecting onlookers.
The experience is Loud, Brash, Hysterical, and full of surprises. The live interaction means no tour is ever the same and the Hosts are kings of improv and thinking on their feet. The patter between hosts is fantastic and there is just enough crowd participation to keep everyone engaged.
Is the Ride Worth It?
We said at the beginning we were very skeptical of the Ride when the concept first came up. The concert just felt really corny and forced fun, something we detest. We first took “The Ride” after a late arrival into the City to keep us awake and combat the Jet Lag. We came away utterly sold and pretty much besotted with The Ride. It takes a lot to stand out in New York and really the Ride has managed it perfectly.
It’s fun, engaging, and Utterly Unique. The Hosts really are Stars and we hope they all get their shots at what they really dream of doing, which is clearly Broadway and not working on a Bus, They certainly deserve it.
So there are really two sides to the question of is it worth it! There are two currencies in New York, Money and Time!
On the time front, the Ride is definitely worth it. Really for all, we have said it’s far better than we can express in words. We just have so much fun on the short jaunt around the city and keep coming back for more. It’s the sort of really unique experience so many people are looking for. New York is a bit of a serious City and it’s great to really let your hair down for a short while.
However, it is still a large amount of money, and while we think it is still worth the cost it’s always going to be better if you can get the same experience AND save a bit of money. The simple truth is we would NEVER spend $70+ per person on the Ride, for the simple reason that you just don’t have to!
Save Money with an Attractions Pass!
The Ride is included on several of New York’s Top attraction Passes. These handly little passes allow you to visit a number of different attractions all for a set fee that is much lower than the individual attraction prices.
Some Passe allows you to save upwards of 50% off attractions. We use them all the time in New York as you are often visiting multiple paid attractions such as the observation decks, Bus Tours, Museums, Cruises, etc… There is so much to see and do in New York and most often it is paid! The passes just make sense.
The key is getting the right one to suit your trip, and we have put together our New York Pass Comparison Guide to help you do just that.
- THE NEW YORK PASS – Review
- New York Explorer Pass – Review
Booking The Ride
It is essential you book the Ride ahead of time. There are no options for walk-ups and only booked tours will be allowed to go ahead. Whether you are using a Pass or not you still need to book.
When the city is Busy the Ride can sell out quite early. It’s important to get your Tour booked in quite early and then plan your Intanry around that!
Or if you have a Pass then you can book your reservation for free here
Have Your Say
Have you taken a trip on The Ride? What did you think of the Tour/Show? How did it compare to your expectations? Were you blown away or let down by the experience? Let us know in the comments below and if you have any questions just fire away.