We have the grandkids in New York City for one day; we would like to see the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. Should we take a bus tour?
–Vicki, Cape Coral, Fla.
Because the Statue of Liberty is on an island in the harbor, it is inaccessible by bus. For that, you'll need to hop on the Ellis Island ferry, which you can take from Battery Park. Entrance to Liberty Island is free, but adult tickets for the ferry to get there are $12 (senior citizens pay $10, and kids 4-12, $5). To get more information, go to the official ticketing and information site.
That said, a bus tour isn't a terrible way to spend at least part of your day in New York. When you're considering which bus company to choose, make sure that whichever one you choose has a hop-on, hop-off policy. This way, you can get off the bus and explore areas you like further and get back on the bus when you're ready to move on.
One option is IneTours.com's tours, which feature a variety of thematic and location options. Visit this site for more information.
Another option that could work for you might be the venerable Gray Line. It, too, has various tour options, but its classic "All Loops Tour" has more than 50 stops through Manhattan and Brooklyn and is hop-on, hop-off. You can find more information on this site.
Finally, CitySightsNY has an almost dizzying set of tours, nearly all of which are hop-on, hop-off. Not only are Manhattan and Brooklyn available, but the company also offers day-trips to Boston and Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Nighttime tours are also available. For more information, visit this site.