New York City Explorer Pass

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Buy it Now

New York City is the cultural capital of the United States for plenty of reasons, not least of which is the fact that it’s chock full of amazing attractions like world-class art museums, prestigious scientific institutions, cruises with stunning skyline views, and thought-provoking memorials. While the costs can start to add up when visiting so many great attractions, the New York Explorer Pass from Smart Destinations is an excellent resource to help you save on admission to venues across the city. So explore your heart out in the Big Apple, and don’t forget that perfect souvenir!

Top Included New York Attractions

The Empire State Building
Statue of Liberty
Hop On/Hop Off Bus Tours
Museum of American Art
American Museum of Natural History
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Yankee Stadium Tour
9/11 Tribute Center & Tour
Top of the Rock Observation Deck
Intrepid Aircraft Carrier Museum

See the complete list of attractions and tours in the sidebar.

How it Works

The New York Explorer Pass is a flexible attractions pass that provides admission to a predetermined number of attractions, chosen from a selection of over 50 top museums, tours, cruises, and more. Choose 3, 5, 7, or 10 attractions, and you have 30 days to visit all of your chosen attractions after the first attraction visit.

What’s Good about the New York Explorer Pass?

The New York Explorer Pass is a good choice for visitors who want to be selective about their attraction visits, rather than seeing a little bit of everything on the list to maximize the value of the product. Essentially, it allows you to save on your terms.

Almost all of the attractions available on the Explorer Pass are accessible by public transportation, keeping transit and parking costs to a minimum.

Because each family member has his or her own card, families can split up to visit different attractions. This is an important element of flexibility in the event of bad weather or another change in plans, too.

The New York Explorer also offers extra special discounts on shopping, dining, and entertainment, as well as additional tours and attractions like Madame Tussauds or Central Park carriage rides.

The passes are also convenient and easy to use because of Smart Destinations’ exclusive digital delivery. Purchase the pass online and display it on a smartphone for admission. Travelers can also opt to print out the passes.

Lastly, the comprehensive guidebook included with the cards is an invaluable resource and can help visitors make the most out of their New York Explorer Pass and their vacations. It includes maps, directions, contact information, and even some basic information about local transportation options.

What Could get better?

You have to do a little research to make sure you’re getting the most for your money. On occasion, visiting attractions with lower admission prices will result in paying more for the card than you would have paid separately for admission to the attractions. Do a little math before purchasing based on what you know you want to see. In general, the Explorer Pass does not save you much if you just want to go to Museums. The bigger ticket items are the tours and skyscrapers like the Empire State Building.

While New York Explorer Pass covers all admission costs to an attraction, it doesn’t cover additional expenses like parking. However, visitors to New York are advised to take public transit anyway, so that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

A few tours and cruises are also offered on the card on an either/or basis, meaning you can only choose one tour from a particular company during the length of your card. This can be a little frustrating, but you’ll likely find other options you’re just as interested in. This includes all the bus tours like the Hop-on-Hop-off tours and all the boat tours by Circle Line. Don’t’ worry though, because there are many different included tour companies, it’s not hard to find more land and boat tours to take on your card.

Get Your Money’s Worth

Because many New York institutions often hold free admission days, it’s worth your time to scope out attractions in advance to see if any will be offering such promotions during your trip. If so, you may be able to purchase a smaller denomination of card. On the flip side, it can take a hour or more to get into the Museum of Modern Art during free hours and once you are in, it is very crowded.

While the Empire State Building has the more iconic reputation, the Top of the Rock actually offers a more unobstructed view (including a great view of the Empire State Building). Feel free to choose either one, but most people don’t feel the need to both.

Because the value of the card is based upon the gate prices of the attractions you visit, you can maximize the value of the product if you visit more expensive attractions, like full city bus tours and cruises.

Insider Tips

While you may be tempted to avoid using the card at donation-based attractions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it’s customary to make a donation to support the museum. The New York Explorer Pass covers the appropriate donation for your visit.

If you plan well and are aware of the included extras – at restaurants, for example – you can save a lot of money on dining. However, you should be aware that some places will scan your card in order to process the discount, which will activate the card, so be sure to use the card for discounts on days you will be visiting attractions.

Be sure to use the NYC subway system (or MTA) to get around the city, as it will save you a bunch of time and money. Take cabs only when necessary to avoid steep fees and heavy traffic. Note: It’s hard to get a cab during rush hour or when it is raining.

Coupon Codes

Buy the Pass Now

Get  $10 off your Go Card/Explorer Pass order over $20!  via coupon code:  JanuarySavings  .

The fine print: Limit 1 Coupon/Order; Must Be Redeemed Online. Book now to use the coupon. It should have expired by now but i just tested it and it still works. Does not work on build-your-own passes.

Where to Buy the New York Explorer Pass

The New York Explorer Pass is available at many outlets. You can buy it at travel or retail sites like Expedia, Costco, Orbitz or Travelocity. You can also opt to buy it at certain physical retailers once you get to New York, but those locations can occasionally be tricky to find and are occasionally out of the way.

The best place to buy the card is on the Smart Destinations website. They offer the most reasonable pricing and frequently have promotions that give you discounts on purchases over a certain amount. They also have a great return policy, allowing you to return unused cards for up to a year after purchase.

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