Hop On Hop Off busses are common sights in most cities. It's a great way to get a lay of the land and leave the driving to someone else. When the weather is good, you can take a seat on the upper level and have a great view along the way.
There have been times when it seemed to take forever for the familiar red bus to show up and others when it did show up it was already packed full, like a can of sardines.
What experience have you had with these popular people movers?
I would say it really depends on the city. In a walkable city, or one where driving is slow it makes less sense. It also really depends on the quality of the commentary since that's the main differnece between a ho/ho and a city bus
I agree Phil2020, it really depends on the city. Also, the weather. If it's sunny and hot, I stay far away from those things, as the best seats are up top and on a sunny, hot day you'll roast like a pig on a spit.
They are best when several conditions apply - the things you want to see are spread out but covered by stops the service has; there is sufficient and predictable frequency of the service; and there is not an easy way to get to the locations you want via public transit.
Also know the hours of operation - I booked on a service last year that only functioned from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and had two hours in between the red buses. So while I had "unlimited" hop off privileges, that was really only good for three stops maximum. Not worth it, in my opinion.
My favorite story about a hop on hop off bus was in Barcelona. We rode them a lot in that city. We took the bus to Park Guell and decided to walk part way back to our hotel and then grab the bus. Well, the weather was so nice and the sights were awesome we walked the entire way back and saw some things we would have completely missed. It was about a 5 1/2 mile walk. I totally enjoyed it.
When we visit Honolulu we never rent a car we always buy a multi-line multi-day trolley pass. The trolley system there is hop on hop off and travels frequently. It’s a great system especially after you start to understand it.
One of the best, because it’s free, is the hop on hop off trolley in Miami Beach. Other than being free it’s not much different than others, but carry a route map so you can figure out which color line takes you where. The route maps are free on the trolley.
I've never taken these, I'd much rather take local transit: much cheaper, usually comes more often, more flexible, and you feel a tiny bit more local.