One of the world’s most popular and glamorous destinations, New York City is an international center of art, commerce, entertainment, and culture. People from all over the world have come to New York to start new lives and fulfill big dreams. Travelers who want to take a bite of the Big Apple without the Big Apple taking a bite out of their pocketbook should look no further than the New York CityPASS.
For nearly half off the regular admission price, visitors can see the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Empire State Building, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Modern Art. The pass also includes two choices for additional destinations: choose between a Circle Line sightseeing cruise or a trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and between the Guggenheim Museum or Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center.
The New York CityPASS is just $79 for adults and $59 for kids ages 6 to 17, a retail value of $144 and $108 respectively. In addition, the CityPASS lets ticket holders skip the line at most attractions, saving both time and money.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Met is one of the world’s greatest museums, with a collection that spans 5 millennia. It’s New York City’s most-visited attraction, where visitors can explore historic period rooms from different eras of American history, view masterpieces from Michelangelo to Picasso, ancient Egyptian treasures, and more. Although it’s easy to spend an entire day at the Met, your CityPASS also includes same-day admission to The Cloisters, a haven of art and architecture from medieval Europe in northern Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park. There you’ll find exquisite stained glass, manuscripts, and the world-renowned Unicorn Tapestries.
Empire State Building: Although it’s no longer the world’s tallest building, the Empire State Building is still a must-stop for New York visitors. It was here that Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr rendezvoused in the tear-jerker An Affair to Remember, and where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan finally connected in Sleepless in Seattle. The 86th-floor Observatory at this 1,050-foot-tall building makes for a romantic and panoramic vista, plus it’s open until 2 a.m. for a late night view of the city lights.
American Museum of Natural History: On the upper west side of Manhattan, the AMNH is one of the most memorable places in the city. Lifelike dioramas and breathtaking dinosaur skeletons are just a couple of the sights you’ll see. Don’t miss the 94-foot-long blue whale suspended from the ceiling. Your CityPASS also includes complimentary admission to the Hayden Planetarium space show.
Museum of Modern Art: MoMA was the country’s first museum dedicated to contemporary art, and the collection includes modern-day masterpieces from van Gogh’s Starry Night to Monet’s water lilies to Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans. From Picasso and Matisse to contemporary works from performance artist Marina Abramovich, MoMA showcases painters, photographers, sculptors, and more. The MoMA Design Store right across the street features unique jewelry, accessories, and home décor inspired by MoMA’s groundbreaking collection.
Option one: Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, or a Circle Line sightseeing cruise. Visitors who choose to tour the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will receive complimentary ferry rides and unlimited time to explore both sites. Ferries start running in the morning, and it’s recommended that you arrive early to see everything that both sites have to offer. A visit can easily take 4-5 hours. The elevator to reach the top of the Statue of Liberty is in service after a long period of repairs, and guests who book in advance (up to a year in advance at statuecruises.com) can have the bragging rights of saying they walked all 354 stairs to the top. For a shorter harbor tour, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises offer various cruises. The two-hour Semi-Circle or two-hour Harbor Lights sunset cruise both get close-up to the Statue of Liberty and offer sweeping views of the New York skyline. The 75-minute Liberty Cruise travels the Hudson River to see the NYC skyline. And the Beast Speedboat ride is for those who want maximum thrill and minimum time, with a 30-minute blast past the Statue of Liberty.
Option two: Guggenheim Museum or Top of the Rock. The Guggenheim Museum is one of the city’s architectural treasures. Frank Lloyd Wright’s circular building wraps one of the world’s finest modern collections—Chagall, Picasso, Kandinsky, and van Gogh, to name a few—up a grand ramp that is a work of art in itself. Daily free tours give an overview of the collection, and through September 6, you can view “Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance” featuring 100 works by 60 artists. Or take in the view from the observation deck at 30 Rockefeller Center. The “Top of the Rock” was closed for more than two decades before opening again in 2005 after a major renovation. The 70th-floor observation deck evokes the first-class deck of a 1930s ocean liner and offers gorgeous views of Central Park, the Hudson River, and the Empire State Building. You’ll also see Joie, a cascading chandelier made of more than 14,000 Swarovski crystals. Kids can get a taste of what it was like to work on the constructing of the Rockefeller Center by walking on a steel beam just like the construction workers would have done hundreds of feet in the sky.