Whether it’s your first time in the Big Apple or you’re a frequent visitor, the New York CityPASS lets you pay one discount price and get vouchers for five major attractions, including several world-class museums. You can save 40% off standard admission prices, which means you’ll have more money left in your vacation budget for splurging at New York’s incredible restaurants and shopping districts.
The City Pass includes tickets to the Empire State Building, the American Museum of Natural History You can also pick three extra attractions: choose between the Guggenheim Museum or Top of the Rock, and between a Circle Line sightseeing cruise or Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Many of the attractions could be a full day of sightseeing on their own, so fortunately the CityPASS gives you 9 full days to use all of the passes.
Choose 5 Top New York Attractions
Empire State Building Observatory
American Museum of Natural History
Top of the Rock Observation Deck OR Guggenheim Museum
Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island OR Circle Line SightseeingCruises
9/11 Memorial & Museum OR Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
What’s Good about the New York CityPASS?
The New York CityPASS is especially good for museumgoers. Each of the four museums can easily be an entire day’s visit. The Met pass includes same-day admission to The Cloisters (8 miles north in Fort Tryon Park), and the MoMA pass includes admission to the MoMA PS1 Contemporary Art Center in Queens any time in the next 30 days.
The sightseeing cruise option includes a few different kinds of tours: a 2-hour cruise down the Hudson, a 2-hour harbor lights cruise, a 75-minute highlights tour, or, in the summer, a 30-minute speedboat ride past the Statue of Liberty. For only $4, City Pass holders can upgrade to the 3-hour cruise that completely circumnavigates Manhattan.
Some of the added free bonus features of the New York CityPASS
- Empire State Building – Bonus same-night General Admission
- American Museum of Natural History – Admission to all special exhibits and films
- Guggenheim Museum – General Admission plus special exhibits
What Could get better?
If you’re not especially interested in museums, the CityPASS really only has three attractions for you: the Empire State Building, the Top of the Rock option, and either the Statue of Liberty or the sightseeing cruise. And while the views from the Empire State building and the Top of the Rock are impressive, the buildings are barely a mile away from each other, so you may not feel the need to visit both locations.
And 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.
The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island option is only good for the ferry ride to and between each island. It does not include access to the statue’s crown (these tickets sell out months in advance and are only available in combination with a ferry ticket), the museum in the pedestal, or the audio guide.
Luckily there are many options for Tourist Passes in NYC. The NY Explorer Pass offers a much bigger lineup while letting you choose how many NY attractions you want to visit. The New York Pass is all-inclusive and let you go to as many places as you can in a set number of days.
Get Your Money’s Worth with New York CityPASS
Careful timing is the best way to get your money’s worth from the New York CityPASS. Museums all have different days of the week that they’re closed and days that they’re open late, so plan accordingly and leave plenty of time to take breaks and grab a bite to eat.
If you want to really spend time at Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty, but don’t care about visiting the museum or going to the top of the statue’s crown, then choose that option with your pass. But if you don’t want to spend all day there or pay additional museum admission, the Circle Lines cruises offer great views and picture-taking opportunities with less waiting and fewer lines.
The Met is open until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, so if you start at The Cloisters in the morning, you can easily spend the entire day and evening enjoying the Met’s two locations. Depending on your museum-going stamina, you can also stop at the Guggenheim in the same day. It’s just 6 blocks north of the Met. Another option for a very full day would be to combine the Met and the American Museum of Natural History—they’re a mile apart on opposite sides of Central Park.
At the Museum of Modern Art, your admission includes any film screenings that day, so check to see what’s on the schedule and you can extend your visit. Taking a break for a movie is also a great way to relax and reenergize for more sightseeing.
Definitely take advantage of the free Hayden Planetarium show at the American Museum of Natural History. It’s usually an additional $8 on top of gallery admission.
New York CityPASS Insider Tips
You can bypass the ticket line at the Empire State Building, but all visitors need to pass through a security line and then wait for a high-speed elevator. For an additional $25, CityPASS holders can purchase an Express Pass and move to the front of all lines. You can visit as late as 1:15 a.m., so it’s a romantic way to cap off an evening out.
All bags must be searched and checked at coat check when visiting the Met. You can avoid these lines by leaving bags at home or the hotel. If you have an e-pass, you must redeem it at the Met for same-day admission to The Cloisters, but if you have a ticket booklet, you can visit The Cloisters first.
Expect airport-level security at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. If you want to see both islands, make sure to get on a ferry before 2 p.m. If you have a car, you’ll find shorter lines and plenty of free parking at the Liberty State Park ferry launch in Jersey City, New Jersey, instead of the Battery Park ferry launch in Manhattan.
There are no current coupons for New York CityPASS. Check back again as we are constantly updating the site with new coupons.
Where to Buy the New York CityPASS
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 CityPASS website. Buy with confidence from the official site.
This post is also available in: German