Choosing the right New York Pass to make the most of your visit to New York can mean the difference between a good trip and a great one. So here's a comprehensive comparison of the different passes to find the one that's perfect for you.
New York Pass: to see it all while squeezing every minute of your trip to the max
When buying the New York Pass you should know that it is a day pass, and you pay according to the number of days of validity you choose. Beware, because they are not 24-hour days, but from the moment you activate the pass you have until midnight before it counts as a full day, and your pass goes away in the carriage like Cinderella (or simply stops working on the attractions).
The New York Pass includes 100 attractions, including the most popular in New York: Manhattan Sightseeing Bus, 9/11 Museum, Manhattan Cruise, Statue of Liberty, Madame Tussauds Museum, Empire State Building and Top of the Rock. You can choose a duration between one and ten days for this pass, but my recommendation is to avoid the single day pass, as it will most likely not work out for you.
More details: All about the New York Pass
- Travel guide in English
- Queue-free access to over 100 attractions and activities
- New York's top attractions
Practical information about New York
- Recommended if: you like to go all out on your trips and see a lot of things in one day
- Duration: from one to ten days
- Price: from $ 153.
- You will save up to: 450€ (on a 7-day pass)
New York CityPASS: to see the most important sights of New York slowly but surely
The New York CityPass includes three fixed attractions and three attractions of your choice, for a total of five attractions, which you can visit in a maximum of 9 days from the first use. It is the most popular pass among visitors to New York, as it includes tickets to the city's essential landmarks and its duration is adjusted to most trips.
Compared to buying individual tickets to each attraction, you can save up to 72€ with this pass, as well as skip the line to buy the ticket at each site you visit.
More details: Everything you need to know about the New York CityPass
- Tickets to the Empire State Building with audio guide, which will allow you to enter the building twice to experience the building during the day and at night.
- Tickets to the Museum of Natural History (although free, you are expected to leave a donation at the entrance and upon presentation of the CityPass no one will ask you to do so)
- Tickets to the 9/11 Memorial and the 9/11 Museum or the Interepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
- Tickets to the Top of the Rock or the Guggenheim Museum
- Ferry to the Statue of Liberty or a cruise around Manhattan
- Recommended if: you will be in New York for less than 10 days and want to see the main attractions.
- Number of attractions: 5 (New York's main attractions)
- Duration: 9 days from the moment of activation
- Price: from $ 139
- You will save up to: 72€
New York City Explorer Pass: if you are going to spend a long time in New York City
Purchasing the New York City Explorer Pass is a perfect option to personalize your New York City experience as much as possible, as you can choose 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 attractions and pay according to the number of attractions you choose. From the moment you activate the pass, you have a whole month to visit the attractions you have chosen, so you can take your trip easy.
If you want to get the most out of the New York Explorer Pass, I recommend you choose attractions that cost 25€ or more to maximize your savings. And again, if you want to save as much as possible, make a list of the places you want to visit and compare if you are better off buying tickets separately.
More details: All the details about the New York Explorer Pass
- Free choice of more than 100 activities and attractions
- Valid for 30 days
- Skip-the-line tickets at some attractions
- Top of the Rock
- Empire State Building
- The RIDE
- Clipper Sailing Cruise
- Luna Park Pass
- Big Bus Night Tour
- TV & Movie Bus Tour
- Hop On Hop Off
- Recommended if: You have a clear idea of what attractions you want to visit and you are going to be in New York for a couple of weeks.
- Number of attractions: 3, 4, 5, 5, 7 or 10
- Duration: 30 days from the moment of activation
- Price: from $ 79
- You will save up to: 150€ (on a 7-day pass)
New York Sightseeing Pass: the perfect option for those who have a clear itinerary for their trip
If you are going to buy the New York Sightseeing Pass you have two options: the Day option or the Flex option. The first one works for days and each day is valid from its activation until midnight. It has some differences like the other passes, such as including credit to spend on attractions and a free meal at the restaurant of your choice from a list of popular New York sites.
The Flex option allows you to pay according to the attractions you visit instead of per day. Otherwise, it includes the same as the regular version, except for admission to the Empire State Building. It is recommended if you are interested in the discounts offered by the pass but want to explore at your own pace without having to visit multiple attractions in the same day and you have 30 days to use it from the moment of activation.
- The only pass that includes the One World Observatory
- Lunch or dinner at a restaurant of your choice (from a list of selected restaurants)
- 40 credit (about $37) to spend on tours, attractions, Broadway shows and cruises
- Access to 115 attractions (includes One World Observatory, Top of the Rock, Madame Tussauds, Madison Square Garden Tour and Radio City Music Hall Tour)
- Recommended if: your second time in New York or if you are traveling on a budget.
- Duration: from one to ten days
- Price: from $ 159
- You will save up to: 390€ (on a 10-day pass)
We compare all options
- New York Pass
- From 153
- For intense trips
- Passes from 1 to 10 days
- More than 100 attractions to see as much as you can see
- The best: You can see everything if you make the most of your time
- The worst: You'll have to plan your trip very well
- Book now
- New York CityPASS®
- From 139
- The intermediate option
- Valid for 9 days
- 5 attractions (2 fixed and 3 to choose from 6 options)
- The best: covers the essentials
- Worst: many activities are left out
- Book now
- Go City: New York City Explorer Pass - Choose 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 attractions
- From 79
- For those who take it easy
- Valid for 60 days
- From 2 to 10 attractions among more than 100 options
- The best: you only pay for what you want to see
- The worst: only worth it if you stay in NYC for a long period of time
- Book now
- New York City Sightseeing FLEX Pass
- From $ 79
- For detailed itineraries
- Valid for 60 days
- From 2 to 12 attractions among more than 100 options (Day option)
- Best: fully customizable
- Worst: does not include bus tours and other activities
- Book now
Why it's worth buying a New York City Sightseeing Card
Buying a tourist card has several advantages, above all, saving money (they allow you to enter the main attractions at a flat or reduced rate) and saving time, as most sights have a special queue for holders of these passes.
All passes give you access to its main monuments, buildings and points of interest. What varies between passes is their duration and the number of attractions you have access to. It will be much easier to choose a pass if you make a list in advance of the attractions you want to visit.
What do the passes usually include?
- Access to a sightseeing bus around the main areas of New York City
- A ferry to Liberty Island, where the Statue of Liberty is located
- Tickets to the Top of the Rock, the Empire State or One World Observatory
- Tickets to the 9/11 Memorial and the 9/11 Museum
- Tickets for the Natural History Museum
- MoMA tickets
- Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum tickets
- Metropolitan Museum of Art Tickets
- Madame Tussauds New York Tickets
How to choose between the four passes?
Depending on what you prefer to pay
Before going on, the most important thing to note is that there are two types of New York Passes: by number of days, and by number of attractions.
- Passes by attractions: You pay only for the number of attractions you want to see. 2. Day Passes: You pay for days and during those days, you can enjoy New York to the fullest with an open bar of attractions.
Depending on the type of traveler you are
Finding the perfect pass for you depends entirely on the type of trip you are taking to New York. This is very important, as you will avoid buying a pass that is too big for your stay in New York, or worse, too small. Depending on how long you are going to be in New York and the type of traveler you are, I recommend one New York Pass or another.
Ok, but... which pass should I buy?
- New York Pass If you are an all-terrain traveler who doesn't want to leave anything untouched and you don't get tired of going all out during your trip, take advantage of this "open bar" format pass for attractions.
- New York CityPass If it's your first time in New York and you're going for less than ten days. It includes the city's main attractions, is easy to use and will save you money and time compared to buying individual tickets for each site.
- New York Sightseeing Pass If you have already been to New York and want to see new things. This New York Pass includes the One World Observatory, plus some great discounts throughout the city and tickets to alternative New York points of interest.
- New York Explorer Pass If you are going to be in New York for more than ten days. This pass is perfect for eating up the city. You can choose up to ten attractions from a list of ninety, and the pass is valid for up to 30 days from the time you activate it.
What you should know before you book
Which passes include fast-track access?
All passes have fast-track access at select attractions. The CityPass includes fast-track access at 5 of its 9 attractions, while the New York Pass has it at 11 out of 100 and the Sightseeing Pass (in its two versions) at 10 out of 115. However, the fact that they have fast-track access does not exempt you from passing security checks.
Which attractions have free access for children?
I recommend that you first check the specific policy of each site. Generally, most children under the age of 3 get free admission to all New York attractions. If your children get free admission to most of the attractions you plan to visit, don't buy them a pass!
How do I buy my pass?
You can purchase any of the passes conveniently online and receive all the corresponding information in your email. There are usually two options: have your pass sent to your home or pick it up at one of the tourist offices in New York.
How do I activate my pass?
Generally, by using it at any attraction included in the pass. From that first use, the pass will start to count and at 12 midnight that same day you will be considered to have used the pass for one day, and so on.
Buying a New York Pass, in most cases, means organizing your trip in a very specific way. Plan very well what you want to see, what day, and at what time. If you are the type of person who travels in a more spontaneous and improvised way, I recommend that you do not buy a pass.
So far, the comparison between the different New York Passes you can choose for your trip to New York. Now, let's eat the Big Apple!