New York is a cosmopolitan and huge city full of places of interest that you won't want to miss, such as museums, landmark buildings and viewpoints. Some are free and others require an entrance fee, so if you are deciding what to do in New York you should know the advantages of buying a tourist card to better plan your trip.
Tourist cards are contracted for a certain number of attractions for a certain number of days or a more flexible time, so they can be adapted to different types of travel. They also include passes to tour buses, one of the most convenient ways to travel in one of the busiest cities in the world, and discounts on other activities, such as helicopter or boat tours. In this article I will answer some of the most frequently asked questions when choosing a tourist card.
When is it worth buying a New York City Sightseeing Card?
It is always useful to buy a tourist card, whether you plan to visit New York for a day, a week, a month or even longer, because even if you know few attractions, they allow you to save money, especially if it is the first time you visit NY and you want to see everything.
Tourist cards are a very good option, as they offer up to 70% discount on tickets to major paid tourist attractions in New York. They also include discounts in bars, stores, restaurants, and other activities, such as helicopter rides, boat rides, bike rentals or tours on NY's best sightseeing buses.
When you purchase the card, you can choose:
- Per number of days with unlimited attractions, or
- Per number of attractions with flexible time limit.
If you are visiting the city for the first time and want to see a lot in a short time, your best option is a per number of days card. On the other hand, if your pace is more relaxed, it is more convenient to buy a tourist card by number of attractions.
On the other hand, the list of attractions offered by the companies will allow you to better plan your trip, by presenting the most important places in NY that you cannot miss.
The best New York Sightseeing Passes
It is best to buy your sightseeing pass before you travel and see which sites are of most interest to you, especially if you are short on time, but you can also buy it when you arrive in New York. Even if you chose certain attractions before traveling, you can exchange them for others during your stay.
This article will help you choose the best New York City Sightseeing Card (comparison).
Advantages of buying the New York City Sightseeing Card
- You can choose the number of attractions you want from over 150 attractions in New York.
- You do not waste time waiting in line to buy tickets.
- You can choose a certain number of days or hire a more flexible time to visit the attractions at your own pace.
- The passes have discounts for children.
- Prices are reduced the more days or more attractions you hire.
- They include discounts in stores, restaurants, and activities such as boat or helicopter rides, bike rentals, etc..
- They include tours in tourist buses for a day or more.
Also keep in mind that most tourist cards include entrance tickets to well-known places such as the Empire State Building or the American Museum of Natural History, but not all of them to the Statue of Liberty, so it is best to plan in advance the places you want to visit, to choose the most convenient card for you.
On the other hand, some sites require you to book your ticket in advance, which you should consult the official pages of each card.
Is it worth buying a tourist card for a long trip?
If you plan to visit New York for 30, 60 or more days, the tourist card is very convenient. For example, you can buy 60-day flexi passes for 5 to 12 attractions that interest you, depending on the card you choose.
You can select the attractions you are interested in before traveling or choose them when you arrive in the city. You can also change attractions during the duration of your pass.
The good thing is that the card is activated when you visit the first attraction. From that moment on, the days or time you have contracted will begin to run, and not on a specific date. In addition, during the time your pass lasts you will have access to many discounts and benefits in bars, restaurants, stores and shows, as well as in tours or bike rides and tourist buses.
Another important fact is that the more attractions your pass includes, the greater the discounts. On the other hand, some cards offer discounts for family groups. Buying a tourist card is one of the most practical tips to visit New York and save money.
Top attractions in the Big Apple
- 9/11 Memorial
- South Street Seaport
- Rockefeller Center
- Statue of Liberty
- Ellis Island
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Times Square
- Central Park
- Rockefeller Center
- Empire State Building
- 5th Avenue
- Battery Park
- Diamond District
Is it worth buying a tourist card for a short trip?
Tourist passes usually include discounts for access to the main paid tourist attractions, which are the ones you would do on a first trip to New York. However, it is always good if you are only going for a few days to see beforehand which sites are of interest to you so that you can make the most of your stay, because it is likely that some sites are free and you will not need to buy a tourist card.
If your tour includes several paid sites, I recommend that you buy a tourist card per day, or Day Pass, for consecutive days. These cards offer you an unlimited number of attractions for each day you purchase. Don't forget to check ahead of time for sites that require you to reserve admission in advance to ensure you get in.
Guides to plan your trip to NY for a few days
- New York in 2 days: itinerary and essential tips
- New York in 3 days: practical guide to make the most of your trip
- New York in 4 days: updated itinerary and tips
- New York in 5 days: everything you need to know to make the most of them
- New York in 6 days: itinerary and tips for your trip
New York attractions to see in one day
- One World Observatory
- Food On Foot/ Midtown Mix Food
- Circle Line
- Madison Square Garden
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum
- Intrepit Sea, Air & Space Museum
- Madame Tussauds
- Statue of Liberty
Is it worth it if I just want to see the main attractions?
If on your trip to New York you prefer to visit the most important attractions of the city, and these are paid, it is very convenient to buy a tourist card, as most companies offer very interesting benefits that you can take advantage of throughout your trip, in addition to the tickets.
On the other hand, tourist cards usually include passes for tourist buses for a day or more, which will facilitate the transfer from one attraction to another, which is very important in a city with chaotic traffic like New York.
With a tourist card you will have discounts to enter the unmissable viewpoints of NY as the Empire State Building or take advantage of the best price to visit the Statue of Liberty. Keep in mind that not all tourist cards include the Statue of Liberty or the entrance to the crown, which is sold out months in advance.
Here are some of the attractions that you can include in your tourist card.
Attractions of interest in NY
- Top of the Rock Overlook
- Guggenheim Museum
- Statue of Liberty
- Ellis Island
- Circle Line sightseeing cruise
- 9/11 Memorial and Museum
- Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
- Central Park Bike Rental
Is it worth it if I am traveling with children?
If you choose a New York City Sightseeing Card, you can organize your trip with fun attractions for the little ones. A tourist card is ideal for you to know the best things to do in New York with children.
I recommend that you buy tourist passes per attraction, not per day, as children may prefer to stay longer at one attraction instead of going to several in the same day. Also, if you choose by attraction, you will be able to change it for another one in case of any inconvenience or last minute change of plans.
In New York, there are a lot of attractions for the little ones that you can't miss. I recommend that you make a list of the best kid-friendly destinations and then plan each day combining the kid-friendly attractions with the adult attractions.
Here is a list of the most popular attractions for kids.
New York attractions for kids
- American Museum of Natural History
- Central Park Bike Rental
- Intrepid Museum of Sea, Air and Space
- Luna Park
- National Geographic Encounter Virtual Aquarium
- Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
- Staten Island Children's Museum
- Madison Square Garden Tour
- Planet Hollywood
Is it worth it if I go to New York in the summer?
New York is known around the world as the city that never sleeps and this is because there are fabulous activities all year round, especially in the summer. Undoubtedly, the tourist card will allow you to fully enjoy the summer in New York, saving money.
It is very convenient to buy tourist passes if you visit the city in summer to make the most of all the attractions without delay to buy tickets. Summer is the time when New York receives the largest number of visitors and prices increase almost twice as much.
One of the most popular attractions to visit in the summer is Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn. This coastal area offers many paid attractions, so it is recommended that you buy a tourist pass to enjoy them without spending so much money.
Visiting the islands of New York is also a great option for the summer, as there you will find festivals, public swimming pools and various events. Summer is the best time to take a cruise on the Hudson in Manhattan.
In the Big Apple you can also practice very interesting water sports, such as kayaking. Tourist cards include discounts that you can take advantage of if you decide to practice any of these sports. Summer is also an ideal time for bike tours, which are also often included in the tourist cards.
New York attractions in summer
- Brooklyn Bridge Park, public pools, Skyline in Manhattan
- Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Astoria Pool, public pool
- Central Park
- Hudson River
- Coney Island
- Governors Island
- Randall's Island
- Liberty Island
Is it worth it if I go to New York in winter?
Winter in New York lasts from January until approximately the end of March. This is a time when you can take advantage to see interesting shows like the NYC musicals at Broadway Week, or watch an NBA game that takes place in winter. Ice skating in Bryant Park is also something you can do in winter in New York.
Traveling in winter has many advantages, as the costs of tourist attractions are reduced by less than half, and also their bars and restaurants lower their prices. In addition, during the winter season the streets are quieter and other famous events begin, such as Valentine's Day celebrations, which if you travel to New York in February are not to be missed.
Among the most striking attractions of the winter season are the New York Fashion Week, a symbol of fashion in the city. It is also an ideal time to visit its museums, such as the Transit Annex Museum, where you will marvel at the exhibition of miniature trains.
Is it worth it if I am going to visit the city on a weekend?
The city that never sleeps offers many attractions every day of the year, except for holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving. That's why, whenever you are interested in visiting paying places, and if you are going to New York for a weekend, the best thing to do is to choose a tourist card per day with the best companies in the city.
I recommend that before traveling you select the places you don't want to miss and then choose the best tourist card to visit them. This article will help you choose the best New York City sightseeing card (comparison).
If you don't know which attractions to choose, the companies even recommend package options for a weekend. Also keep in mind that the tourist cards include at least one day of sightseeing bus, with which you can tour the city more comfortably and in less time.
Is it worth buying the tourist card if I want to see the museums in New York?
New York is home to some of the most interesting museums in the world. Undoubtedly, the tourist cards allow you to put together a pack of the best museums in New York and take advantage of discounts. You can visit museums in both summer and winter, but it is ideal in the cold season, when prices are reduced to less than half.
The city of New York has more than 100 museums, among which you will surely find many of your interest. Among them, the Natural History Museum, the largest in the city, the Metropolitan Museum, Guggenheim, the 9/11 Memorial or the Museum of the Sea, which is also interesting for children.
In most museums admission prices are low, and in some the entrance is free. You can also take advantage of the tourist bus to go from one museum to another more comfortably. Ideally, you should combine your visit to museums with a visit to other attractions in New York to take advantage of everything included in the tourist cards.