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New York Explorer Pass

If you're thinking of buying the Explorer Pass, I'll tell you how to use it, how much it costs and whether it's worth it or not. Read on!

Alex Grande

Alex Grande

8 min read

New York Explorer Pass

Views of Manhattan from The Edge | ©Hellotickets

In case you are planning a trip to New York, the New York Explorer Pass is an option you should definitely consider to save a lot on your visit so you can do more things. Read on and I'll tell you why!

Tourist card

New York City Explorer Pass

Choose from over 100 activities and attractions

If you are going to be in New York for several weeks, this pass allows you to choose how many attractions you want to visit and gives you the opportunity to do so for 30 days. It is the pass with the longest duration in the city.

The Explorer Pass, From $ 71, is a tourist card that, when purchased, gives you access to the number of attractions of your choice at a reduced price. In addition to the savings, you also save time during your trip, since you don't have to buy tickets at the ticket office for each place you visit.

The Explorer Pass is a pass that you pay for based on the number of attractions you want to visit. This means that it is perfect for personalizing your New York experience to the maximum, as you can choose 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 attractions and pay according to the amount you choose. From the moment you activate the pass, you have a full month to visit the attractions you have chosen, so you can take your trip at your leisure.

You can choose to receive it in your email or directly on your smartphone (the most convenient way), have it delivered to your home, or pick it up at one of the distribution points around New York. In addition, with your New York Explorer Pass you will receive a New York City guide that will show you the most efficient way to visit the attractions you have selected.

When you use it for the first time, the pass will start counting and will be valid for 30 days, an advantage over other passes that are usually valid for much less time. If you want to get the most out of the New York Explorer Pass, I recommend that you choose the most expensive attractions to maximize savings (avoid attractions under 20 Euros). Make a list of the places you want to visit and compare if you are better off buying tickets separately.

Why I like this option: besides allowing you to pay only for the number of attractions you want to visit, it gives you a margin of up to 30 days to do so, which makes it the perfect pass if your trip is going to be a long one.

What is included in the Explorer Pass

Views of the Statue of Liberty from the ferryboat| ©Hellotickets
Views of the Statue of Liberty from the ferryboat| ©Hellotickets
  • Free choice of 3, 4, 5, 5, 7 or 10 products from over 100 activities and attractions
  • Valid for 30 days
  • Skip-the-line entry at select attractions
  • New York travel guide to your selected attractions
  • Discounts at stores, restaurants and shows

Recommended activities

Views from the Top of the Rock| ©Hellotickets
Views from the Top of the Rock| ©Hellotickets

The New York Explorer Pass is perfect for a comprehensive tour of New York, as it allows you to save as much as possible on the most expensive attractions so you can do the rest on your own. So, I've done the math for you and found the two best combinations of attractions for the Explorer Pass to make it as cost-effective as possible. As a general rule, if with the pass you can get each ticket for 25 Euros, you are on the right track.

The best combination if you want 3 activities

  • Top of the Rock - single ticket costs 38 Euros
  • Ripley's Believe or Not - single ticket costs 30 Euros
  • NYC TV & Movie Sites - single ticket costs 43 Euros

The best combination if you want 7 activities

  • Hop On Hop Off Big Bus: Classic New York Tour - single ticket costs 45 Euros
  • Big Bus Night Tour: Big Bus Night Tour - single ticket costs 47 Euros
  • Top of the Rock - single ticket costs 38 Euros
  • Empire State Building - single ticket costs 35 Euros
  • NYC TV & Movie Bus Tour - single ticket costs 50 Euros
  • Luna Park 24 Ride Pass - single ticket costs 58 Euros
  • Clipper City Sailing Cruise - single ticket costs 43 Euros

Book the New York Explorer Pass

Included Attractions

The tour bus passing through Times Square| ©Hellotickets
The tour bus passing through Times Square| ©Hellotickets

Classic Sightseeing Bus

The Big Bus Classic Hop On Hop Off bus tour lasts one day and is a perfect way to explore Manhattan in its entirety. With stops from Battery Park (south of the island) to Central Park, you can hop on the bus and use it as a form of transportation to visit New York's main points of interest, or hop on at the end of your trip to see it all one last time.

Night Sightseeing Bus

Exploring the City That Never Sleeps at night is an experience that, as you can imagine, is not to be missed. What makes this tour so special is that you get to ride through Times Square when all the displays are illuminated, plus the Empire State Building and One World Observatory are illuminated.

Top of the Rock

The Top of the Rock has for me the best views of New York: not only will you see the most famous skyscrapers of Manhattan, but you will see from the heights a wonderful panoramic view of Central Park guarded by the new skyscrapers that are being built in the Big Apple.

  • Price when purchased separately: The entrance to the Top of the Rock costs 35 € (adults) and 30 € (children). Children under 6 years old get in for free.
  • How the pass works: You can use your pass to get an online ticket with a set schedule, or present the pass at the box office to have your ticket validated.
  • About the attraction: Opening hours are from 8:00 until midnight (last elevator up is at 23:00). The average visit is usually one hour, but how long you want to stay on the observation deck is up to you.

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is one of the icons of the New York skyline and a true time capsule, with its stunning art deco interior and museum dedicated to the building's construction that will transport you back to the 1930s. However, the main reason all visitors to New York go to the Empire State is for the views from its observatory, which are undoubtedly one of the most impressive ways to see the city. Put this visit at the top of your list of things to see in the Big Apple!

  • Price when purchased separately: There are two types of tickets, one that allows you double access for day and night and a visit to the second floor museum (57€ adult/48€ child), and the single ticket with access to the observation deck and the second floor museum (39€ adult/33€ child).
  • How the pass works: Skip the line to buy tickets and go directly to the queue for the security check, where you can show your pass and they will let you through. Please note that the CityPass includes two entrances at different times to the Empire State Building.
  • About the attraction: Open from 8:00 to 2:00, and a typical visit lasts 2 hours.

NYC TV & Movie Bus Tour

It's no wonder New York has served as the setting for a million movies and series, and on this tour you'll visit more than 60 locations that have served as the backdrop for them. To name a few, you'll see the apartment from 'Friends', Washington Square Park (you'll know it if you're a fan of 'Girls'), the hotels from 'Home Alone 2' and 'Ocean's 8', and filming locations from 'Avengers: Endgame', 'Mr. Robot', and 'Modern Family'.

Luna Park 24 Ride Pass

Luna Park is a waterfront amusement park located on Coney Island, south of Brookyln, with a somewhat decadent, vintage, fairground-like style. With this pass, you can access 24 different rides such as a roller coaster or a merry-go-round. In my opinion, the rides are not impressive at all, so visiting Luna Park is more worthwhile for its retro atmosphere.

Clipper City Sailing Cruise

This is a Manhattan cruise...but on a sailboat! It's a great way to do an activity that I highly recommend taking advantage of your New York Explorer Pass. Don't be fooled by how tacky it may seem to ride a sailboat when you could do a normal cruise, because it has a huge advantage: you will enjoy a much quieter experience, without crowds, avoiding most tourists.

Ripley's Believe it or Not

This famous museum with locations all over the world is a must-see if you visit New York with children. You will find rare artifacts and devices, and curiosities, as well as interactive experiences such as a medieval torture chamber or a simulation of a black hole.

Before You Buy

The Empire State Building| ©Hellotickets
The Empire State Building| ©Hellotickets

After such a deluge of information, you're bound to be a little dazed. Choosing the perfect sightseeing pass for your trip to New York isn't easy, but in a nutshell, here's what you need to consider. The New York Explorer Pass is for you if:

  • Plan your trips in advance
  • You want to go to the most important attractions in New York City
  • You don't mind seeing a lot of things in one day
  • You have a tight budget for your trip
  • You are going on a long trip to New York

The Explorer Kids

Children between 3 and 12 years old have their own Explorer Pass at a reduced price. Normally the price difference is between 20 and 50 euros less than the adult pass.

What if I don't want to choose?

The Empire State Observatory| ©Hellotickets
The Empire State Observatory| ©Hellotickets

You may already know that New York is one of the most demanded cities by tourists around the world, and as such, there are quite a few types of passes available for all kinds of tastes. If what you prefer is to have unlimited access to as many attractions as possible (an open bar of attractions), I recommend the New York Pass (you can read my practical guide about the card here: New York Pass).

The New York Pass is booked (and paid for) according to the days you want to use it and while the card is active, you can visit all the attractions you want within the list of 100 available attractions.

Latest tips

Views of Manhattan from the Hudson| ©Hellotickets
Views of Manhattan from the Hudson| ©Hellotickets

The good thing about the New York Explorer Pass, as you know, is that it is valid for 30 days from its first use, so if you are going to make a long trip to New York you can take it easy... as long as you don't choose 10 attractions and you are going to spend 3 days in the city, in that case you will have to run!

Finally, I would like to remind you of my most important recommendation: enjoy your visit to New York! Although the New York Explorer Pass requires you to visit as many attractions as possible to maximize savings, remember to leave a little time each day of your trip to get lost in the streets of the Big Apple and see what you discover on your own.

Sunset in New York
Sunset in New York

Other tourist cards available

The Vessel| ©Hellotickets
The Vessel| ©Hellotickets

In case the New York Explorer Pass doesn't convince you, don't worry because there are other passes available for New York and maybe one of them fits better to the trip you are planning. To make it easier for you to choose, here are the practical guides I have written about other passes available and a comparative compilation of all of them: