New York can be a bit of a chaotic city to visit. There is so much to see and do in New York that it is easy to get lost in the vastness of the Big Apple and end up not getting the most out of your trip. The New York Pass is a great way to save time and money on your trip.
New York is not a cheap city to travel to and especially the first time, when you want to get the most out of it by visiting as many attractions as possible. Luckily, there are some tricks to organize your trip in a simple way and save a lot of money, which translates into doing more things and enjoying more, for less. One of those tricks has a name: it's called New York Pass and you can get it From $ 146
New York's best attractions, at the lowest prices
If you want to access the best attractions in New York, get this day pass to access the ones you like the most during your trip. You'll save time and money.
Buying a NY Pass has several advantages: you save money if you make good use of it, you save time since you don't have to buy tickets at the box office for each place you visit (and in some cases, you won't have to wait in line), and it is also very convenient to have all your tickets in one place.
The New York Pass is a day pass, and you pay according to the number of days of validity you choose. You can choose between 1 and 10 days of validity so if your trip to New York is up to 10 days you can get a single pass. Be careful, because they are not 24-hour days, but from the moment of activation of the pass you have until midnight before it counts as a full day, and your pass leaves in the carriage like Cinderella (or simply stops working on the attractions). Be careful! If, for example, you are going to be 15 days in New York you can also combine several passes.
When you buy the NY Pass, all you have to do is directly download their app and have access to the pass immediately. From this moment on, you can go to the first attraction on your list and scan your pass at the entrance, at which point the pass starts to count.
However, for some activities it will be necessary to present your pass and obtain a ticket. This is the case for the Hop on Hop off bus tour, for which you will need to go to a Big Bus ticket booth. Another thing to keep in mind is that all New York City sightseeing passes allow you to enter a particular attraction only once (with some exceptions).
Why I like this option: One of the big advantages of the New York Pass is that it gives you queue-free entry to a number of selected attractions. This doesn't save you from waiting in line at certain attractions, and it doesn't save you from going through the security checks at the entrances, but at the end of your trip you will have saved a few hours of waiting in total.
How to choose between the New York Pass and other passes
It is true that in addition to the New York Pass, there are other New York tourist cards that are similar. Before we get into whether the New York Pass is the best option for you, the first thing you need to know is that there are two main types of passes:
Day Passes: these are passes whose price varies depending on the number of days of validity. You can choose if you want to hire it for 2, 3, 4 days, etc. and during that time you can visit any attraction included in its list, without limit. They are ideal if you want to go from one attraction to another and live your trip to New York without losing a minute. The New York Pass is one of them.
Attraction Passes: these are passes whose price varies depending on the number of attractions you want to visit. If you already know which places, museums, etc. you want to see, you will pay only for them and you will have more time to visit them. It is ideal if you want to enjoy New York quietly and get lost at your leisure.
Depending on the monuments you want to visit
The second thing to keep in mind is that the best way to decide on a sightseeing pass is to make a list of monuments and buildings you want to see and attractions you want to do in New York. If this is your first visit to New York you may not have a clear idea of everything the Big Apple has to offer, so below is a list of the highlights of the New York Pass. You can use it as a basis to start organizing your trip.
What's included in the New York Pass
The NY Pass includes skip-the-line access to some of New York's must-see experiences, and the app has an audio guide in English, a map with the featured attractions and practical information about each site. To give you an idea, among the more than 100 attractions and activities that you can access with the New York Pass, these are the highlights:
- Climb the Empire State Building - single ticket $46.00
- Climb to the Top of the Rock - single ticket $41.00
- Hop On Hop Off Big Bus Tour - single ticket $55
- Madame Tussauds tickets - single ticket $37
- Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Ferry - single ticket $18.50
- Tickets to the Museum of Modern Art - single ticket $25.00
- 9/11 Memorial and Museum tickets - single ticket $28.00
- Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises - single ticket $43.00
- THE RIDE - single ticket $69
- Marvel & DC Superheroes Tour - single admission $35
- Food On Foot Tours - single ticket $49
- Radio City Music Hall: Stage Door Tour - single ticket $31.00
- Madison Square Garden All Access Tour® - single ticket $35
- National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey - single ticket $43
- Harlem Jazz Series - single ticket $45
Top attractions included in the New York Pass
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is one of the icons of the New York skyline; the views from its observatory are undoubtedly one of the most impressive ways to see the city.
- Ticket prices to the Empire State: There are two types of tickets, the one that allows you a double access during the day and at night and a visit to the museum on the second floor (57€ adult/48€ child), and the single ticket with access to the observation deck and the museum on the second floor (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.
Top of the Rock
If you're passionate about photography, you'll be amazed at the photos you can take of this icon of New York architecture, especially if you go up to the Top of the Rock at sunset or on a foggy morning. As a bonus, you'll also be able to see the One World Observatory and the Statue of Liberty as if it were a toy.
- Ticket price to the Top of the Rock: 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 ticket 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.
Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus Tour
The Big Bus is one of the best sightseeing buses in the city, as it takes you around literally all of Manhattan showing you all of its points of interest.
The schedule of this tourist bus is from 9 am to 5 pm, hours of the first and last departure respectively. However, if you want to know more I leave you this article about touring New York at night by tourist bus.
The most famous wax museum in the world is based in New York. There is a lot to see in the wax museum and also this museum is much more than a place to take selfies with celebrities like Barack Obama, the Kardashian or the most famous actors and actresses in Hollywood. If you are going to go to New York with children this will surely be one of their favorite visits.
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Museum
To visit it, you will have to take a ferry from Battery Park and with the New York Pass you will not have to worry about the ticket, because it is included.
In addition, it also includes the ferry to Ellis Island, where you can visit the Immigration Museum and explore an exhibition about the times when New York became a place of welcome for immigrants from all over the world in search of a better future. Note that all passes include a ferry to Liberty Island (where the Statue of Liberty is located) and some to Ellis Island and the Immigration Museum, but none include access to the pedestal or crown of the Statue of Liberty.
Because of this, it is often better to buy tickets to the Statue of Liberty directly, or to book a tour of Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty. In short: this is the "weakest" experience among the New York passes.
- Price to visit the Statue of Liberty: The entrance with access to the pedestal costs 24€ per adult and 15€ per child. The ticket with access to the crown costs 28€ per adult and 22€ per child. Please note that it is limited to 4 tickets per person and are non-transferable, as you have to put them in your name and present them in person.
- How the pass works: You don't need to buy a ticket, so go directly to the security checkpoint and wait for the ferry to arrive.
- About the attraction: You can go to the Statue of Liberty from 9:30 a.m. to 5:25 p.m. The typical visit lasts about 4 to 5 hours.
MoMA (Museum of Modern Art)
MoMA is a must-see museum in New York if you want to see with your own eyes an extraordinary exhibition of artworks that have defined the last century. You can enjoy works of art such as the famous 'Starry Night' by Van Gogh, as well as paintings by Monet, Pollock, Mondrian, Hellen Frankenthaler and Andy Warhol among others.
- MOMA prices: Admission for adults is 23€. Children 12 and under are free. Free admission to the museum is available on Fridays after 4:00 pm.
- How the pass works: Simply present your pass at the security line and you can enter the museum.
- MOMA Hours: Open from 12:00 to 18:00 every day, and as for the visiting time is usually two and a half hours on average (although this depends entirely on what kind of visit you want to do).
9/11 Memorial and Museum
If you buy tickets to the 9/11 memorial and museum you will delve deeper into the history of the 9/11 Twin Towers attacks. This is a very interesting visit as it will add some historical depth to your trip to New York, and although this experience is not for everyone, it will give you a context about the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers that you may not otherwise have, substantially changing your perspective on New York City.
- Price: The 9/11 Memorial is free and open to the public. A ticket with tour of the 9/11 Museum costs €42.50 per adult and between €32-37 per child, again depending on age.
- How the pass works: Skip the ticket line, go directly to the security checkpoint and present your pass for direct access to the 9/11 Museum.
- About the attraction: Open from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and until 9:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Most people take a 2-hour tour.
Other attractions included in the New York Pass
- Circle Line Cruise. Choose from four different New York City boat tours with the New York Pass:
- The Ride. The Ride is a 75-minute Manhattan sight seeing tour on a bus with an interactive experience and a panoramic window to experience the city in a different way, where comedy, dance and music accompany you throughout the ride.
- Marvel & DC Superheroes Tour. A perfect tour for fans of superheroes, especially Marvel as you will be able to visit real-life locations that are relevant to the plots of Spiderman or Avengers.
- Food On Foot Tours. This gastronomic tour will give you a taste of the diverse elements that make up New York cuisine, an amalgam of cuisines from various parts of the world, in local restaurants and bars away from the tourist traps.
- Radio City Music Hall: Stage Door Tour. It is one of the most famous stages in the United States. Some of its most famous events are the Grammy's or the Rockettes show, and on this tour you can explore the venue in depth and learn about its history.
- Madison Square Garden All Access Tour®. Whatever your sport, you'll want to step onto the court where so many historic New York Knicks games have been played, and the venue that has hosted some of the city's biggest concerts. On this tour, you'll gain access to exclusive backstage areas of Madison Square Garden, such as the locker rooms and VIP area.
- National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey. The New York Pass includes admission to this virtual experience of the underwater world, composed of videos and interactive displays produced by National Geographic photographers and cameramen, who tell their stories about the most breathtaking places on Earth.
- Harlem Jazz Series. At the Harlem Jazz Series you can listen to jazz artists perform classics by Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald or Miles Davis in a local Harlem church. If you like the experience, I invite you to do some research about the best places to hear music in Harlem and about the best churches to go to a gospel mass in Harlem.
What you should know before you buy
Now that you know what's included in the New York Pass and what the benefits are, here's a summary to help you make your decision. The New York Pass is for you if:
- You want to get the most out of New York and spend all day sightseeing
- You will be in New York for up to 10 days
- It's your first time in New York
- New York's most expensive attractions are on your must-see list
- You are going to take the Hop on Hop off bus tour if you want to
- You don't want to waste any of your travel time waiting in line to get into places.
Recommendations on which New York Pass to choose
You can choose a duration of between one and ten days for this pass, but my recommendation is to avoid the one-day pass, as it will most likely not work out for you. It is best to select three, five or seven days, which at a rate of 4 or 5 attractions per day will save you quite a bit of money.
Finally, a reminder of my most important recommendation: enjoy your visit to New York! It's easy to forget that you're in a city full of life and things to discover when you have a list of things to do and just focus on checking them off, which can be the danger of buying a tourist pass.
New York Pass prices for children
Children under the age of 3 will likely not pay at most attractions in New York, so there is no need to buy a pass for them. However, children from 3 to 12 years old can buy their New York Pass at a reduced price: between 35 and 140 euros cheaper than the adult pass (from 12 years old) depending on the days you choose.
Other passes to discover New York
If you have not yet decided on the New York Pass and you prefer to explore in detail what are the alternative tourist cards that exist, I leave you a list with the practical guides I have prepared on each pass and the comparative article where you can see the advantages and disadvantages of each one: