New York City Explorer Pass: Review and Coupon Codes

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There are more things to see and do in New York City than anyone can get to in a lifetime, but Smart Destinations New York Explorer Pass is a good start. This customizable pass lets you choose any 3, 5, 7, or 10 attractions from a list of more than 40, and the best part is that you can visit them any time within a 30-day period so there’s no need to rush to get your money’s worth.

Start with a walking, bus, boat, or bike tour, and move on to one of the world’s greatest museums including the Met, MoMA, or the Guggenheim. Kids love the American Museum of Natural History and everyone likes hobnobbing with celebrities at Madame Tussaud’s. From the Statue of Liberty to a Sex and the City Location Tour, there’s something for every visitor to the Big Apple.

Coupon Codes

Buy the Pass Now

Get the best prices on a All-Inclusive Go Card or Explorer Pass! Exclusively through the buy it now button  .

The fine print: Limit 1 Coupon/Order; Must Be Redeemed Online through our link. Book now for the discount. Does not work on build-your-own passes. Hurry, Offer expires on June 30th

Purchase the card at the Smart Destinations Website

Top Included New York Attractions

CitySights Hop-On Hop-Off Downtown Tour
Empire State Building Observatory
Radio City Music Hall Tour
NBC Studio Tour
Top of the Rock Observation Deck
Metropolitan Museum of Art
American Museum of Natural History
Guggenheim Museum
Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum

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

What’s Good?

Explorer Passes are a good pick for visitors who don’t want to spend their whole vacation sightseeing; by not purchasing an all-inclusive pass, you don’t feel the pressure to do everything on the list. Explorer Passes are also a great way to explore your own city at a discount, since you have a month to use all of the admissions.

Almost all of the attractions available on the Explorer Pass are accessible by public transportation.

Each card can be purchased separately for separate attractions, so families can split up for the day and pursue different interests if they choose.

The full-color guidebook included with the passes is an invaluable resource and can help visitors get the most out of their New York Explorer Pass and their visit.

What Could get better?

If you have the flexibility, you can visit most of the museums for free without any pass. MoMA is free from 4 to 8 p.m. on Fridays. Admission to the galleries at the Met and the American Museum of Natural History is always by recommended voluntary donation rather than a required fee.

You have to do a little research to make sure you’re getting the most for your money. Using museums as an example again, adult admission to the Met, MoMA, and the Guggenheim is only $58 total, whereas a 3-attraction adult pass is $69.99, which would cost more.

Parking is very expensive, especially in Manhattan, and isn’t included in the admission price of most attractions. Fortunately New York City has extensive public transportation options.

Get Your Money’s Worth

Make a list of all of your family’s favorite attractions, and then check each attraction’s web page to look for any days or times that they have free admission or other specials. If your vacation time is flexible, you may find that you don’t need the 10-attraction pass because three of your chosen attractions offer better discounts or free days. Or you can add on three different attractions you might not have otherwise chosen.

Most visitors find that they don’t need to see both the Empire State Building observation deck and the Top of the Rock observation deck. Both skyscrapers are only about a mile apart and offer similar views, so choose one based on other nearby attractions you plan to visit or for the extras, like audio tours.

Purchase the card at the Smart Destinations Website

Insider Tips

Buy it NowLook for the Smart Destinations logo or VIP lines where you can bypass the admission desk at many attractions.

Picking up tickets for the Ellis Island ferry is a bit of a complicated process. Ellis Island ferry tickets must be picked up at the City Sights Ticket Desk at Madame Tussaud’s in Times Square (year round) or at Bike and Roll in Battery Park (April 1–October 31). After you have that ticket, you can present it to request a monument pass from the State Cruises ticket booth at Battery Park. These monument passes are good for admission to the base of the Statue of Liberty, but are first-come, first-served and only a limited number of passes are available each day. Since they can’t be reserved, it’s best to try to get an early ferry to the islands.

Your New York Explorer Pass is activated by the first attraction you visit. Your consecutive day passes are not counted in 24-hour increments. For example, if you activate your card at 4 pm, that counts as day one on 30-day length of your card.

Where to Buy It

The card is available at many outlets. You can buy it at Expedia, Orbitz or Travelocity or you can buy it once you get to New York but these are not great options as you may pay more. The best place the buy the card is at the Smart Destinations website. The cards frequently go on sale. They also have a great return policy. If you are pressed for time, use the voucher option.