A New York institution, led by witty, informed guides (many are also actors), the Circle Line takes travelers round the harbor on 3-hour, 2-hour, and and 75-minute cruises , 60-minute cruises that simply cover the water at the downtown tip of Manhattan, and 50-minute “Express” ones that only zip out and back to the Statue of Liberty (and last 50 minutes). That last option seems like a bad value to us, considering that a public ferry trip to-and-from Staten Island would be free, and would also get within snapshot range of Lady Liberty. The longest makes a complete circle of Manhattan, but I’d recommend the 2-hour “semi-circle” cruise instead. You’ll miss Yankee Stadium and the view of the Palisades (the wooded cliffs of New Jersey) on that one, but all of the other highlights—the Statue of Liberty, the lower Manhattan skyline, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building—are included.

Unfortunately, the company recently changed its ticketing policy and now offers two tiers of seating, which makes it harder to snag good viewsseats without coughing up extra dough. In order to get the top views, you’ll have to pay more; and because the top-deck seats require climbing stairs, this is not an option for travelers with mobility impairments. Whichever tier of pricing you pick, try and sit on the right side of the boat, facing inward as you enter (that’s the side that faces Manhattan; ask the staff if you’re unclear). It can get very chilly on the water, so be sure to dress in layers, or take a seat inside.