Is the New York Pass 2015 worth it? We review prices and value here

New York City is a place everyone should visit at least once in their life, and while it has a reputation for being expensive, it doesn’t have to be. Unfortunately, the best and most famous attractions in the city are, on average, the most expensive in the world. Walking through Central Park will cost you nothing, but all the wonderful museums and tours are pricey.

The New York City Pass is an ideal solution for many people, as it allows you entry into over 50 of the cities best attractions and tours for a single price. That price seems high at first, until you do the math to see what it includes and how much you can save.

Further down the page we’ll recommend who should get New York Passes and who’s better off without them, but first let’s look at the current prices for everything. If you want more information about specifics take a look at main New York City prices page to see what hotels, food, transportation, and attractions cost, shown in any currency you’d like, at today’s exchange rates. And check out our recommended New York hotels list for great choices that offer excellent value.

Note: This article was first published in 2011, and has been updated with new prices and details on a regular basis since then. Last updated September, 2015.

Price of the 2015 New York Pass

Adults (ages 13+)

  • 1-day: $90
  • 2-day: $140
  • 3-day: $180
  • 5-day: $239
  • 7-day: $279
  • 10-day: $329

Children (ages 4 – 12)

  • 1-day: $60
  • 2-day: $110
  • 3-day: $140
  • 5-day: $155
  • 7-day: $165
  • 10-day: $175

The New York Pass is good for one year so you can buy now and validate it anytime in the next 12 months.

Note: If you decide to purchase you can buy the New York Pass here at the lowest available price.

(Discounts are sometimes available on the New York Pass site, and the above link will show you the current lowest price.)

For the above prices you get a card with a magnetic strip, which you present at the Will Call window or entry door of most attractions, meaning you can usually skip the often-lengthy ticket lines themselves. You also get a guidebook with hours, location, and description of everything included, which will help you plan your visit more efficiently.

Most popular attractions included with the New York Pass

  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Ferry: $18
  • Empire State Building: $32
  • Circle Line harbor cruise: Up to $41
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: $25 (suggested)
  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA): $25
  • Guggenheim Museum: $25
  • American Museum of Natural History: $22
  • Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum: $24
  • Madam Tussauds Wax Museum: $37
  • NBC Studio Tour: $24
  • Top of the Rock observation deck: $30

Most of the other included attractions are at least a bit cheaper than those listed above, but these are the most popular (and expensive) ones that nearly everyone wants to visit. Interestingly, the New York Pass includes every one of the best attractions in the city. Most passes in other big cities don’t include at least one or two of the most popular sights, but this one is complete unless you want to do the Ground Zero Museum Workshop, which isn’t all that great anyway.

>>>Strategies for using the New York Pass

The New York Pass includes a free smart phone app that is very helpful

Any visitor to New York City might consider downloading the free New York Pass app for iPhone or Android. It’s well organized and a very comprehensive look at the most popular sights in New York City, complete with a map and the opening hours for each. I used the app on a visit in late 2014 and it was a great helper for using my New York Pass, but honestly it’s probably worth a free download even if you don’t buy a New York Pass.

The downside of the New York Pass

Of course the price itself seems like a lot of money all at once, so those on tight budgets might be ruled out altogether. Another thing to seriously consider before buying a New York Pass is that doing even 3 or 4 main sights in a day is going to be busy and probably frantic.

There are plenty of free and cheap things to do in New York City, so for many people they are better off visiting perhaps one major sight per day and then spending the rest of the day shopping or visiting neighborhoods or taking photos. A trip like that might be more memorable in the long run, and it will certainly be more unique than rushing from sight to sight. If you prefer a more relaxed sightseeing schedule, don’t buy the pass.

The advantage of the New York Pass

Not only are you very likely to save quite a bit of money if you plan your day well, but you’ll be skipping most of the longest lines at ticket booths, which means you’ll have time for at least one more sight per day than someone paying for each one separately.

And since New York City can be so expensive on a quick visit, locking in literally all of your sightseeing funds at once can help you worry less about the ever-mounting costs. It can be shocking and depressing when the day nears its end and you realize each person has spent $100 on admission fees.

Who SHOULD get the New York Pass?

  • Visitors who want to see the most things in a short time
  • Anyone who already plans on going to many of the most expensive attractions

Who SHOULD NOT get the New York Pass?

  • Backpackers or those on very tight budgets
  • Those who’ll be staying in New York City for over a week and would prefer to see sights at a slow pace

Should you get the hop-on, hop-off bus option?

The CitySights NY hop-on, hop-off bus tours in New York City are very popular and worthwhile for many visitors, but adding the bus package to your NYC Pass isn’t the best idea for everyone. Generally speaking, the HOHO bus packages are great for anyone who will be in New York City for perhaps 4 days or less because they allow you to get a quick look at most of the famous places in only a few hours. But if you are staying a week or more in NYC then you’ll probably end up seeing most everything just as part of your normal travel, so it may not be worth it to add the extra package.

Also, even though they are officially “hop-on, hop-off” buses, it’s really not advisable to try to use them as transportation between attractions. While they do come about every 15 minutes in Manhattan, they can get crowded and there are many stops where almost no one ever gets off. This means that you might wait 15 or 20 minutes for the next bus and then find that you’ll have to stand on the bottom floor (instead of the open deck on top), and you might have to squeeze in. My advice is to take each bus tour all the way around starting from one of the most popular stops, and then maybe ride it a bit more later if it looks to be convenient. That way you get the whole tour at once and if you use it again later it will just be a bonus. If you only need to go one or two stops to see your next attraction, it will be faster to walk. And if you need to go a longer distance you’ll find that the subway system is much faster and also very efficient. You’ll get more out of your New York Pass by moving quickly between attractions rather than waiting around for a tourist bus.

Is the bus package option a good deal?

The bus packages add between $30 and $40 to the price of your New York Pass, and the bus packages cost $49 if you buy them separately. In other words, if you think you’ll want to do at least one bus tour, then buying your bus package through the New York Pass will save you both time and money.

Short video showing New York Pass highlights

The bottom line

For the New York Pass, it’s actually a really good deal for many people. Honestly, the sights included are almost all very worth visiting, which isn’t true of the expensive sights in some other cities. For example when we investigated if the Paris Pass is worth it, the answer is no for most people. Our review of the London Pass shows that it’s actually very good value as long as you are interested in the famous attractions it includes rather than the many free museums.

On the other hand, New York City is a destination that many people will return to over and over, so you might consider pacing yourself on the major sights, only taking in a few on each trip.

It might also be worth considering getting only the 1-day or 2-day New York Pass, even if you are in town for much longer, and just planning on fitting as many things as possible into those days. It would be a mistake to try to see 4 major sights every day you are in NYC, so be sure to schedule some time to just wander around and take the city itself in.

Buy your New York Pass

If you decide to purchase you can buy The New York Pass here at the lowest price available.

135 Responses to “Is the New York Pass 2015 worth it? We review prices and value here”

Aharon S says:

Is it possible to buy the New York pass (with the bus option) here in Tel Aviv?

(Yes, you just buy it online and you can either pick it up for free when you arrive in New York, or pay US$20 to have it mailed to you in Israel or anywhere else in the world – Roger)

    Denny Sangiovanni says:

    If you going to specifics attractions do not buy the bus option. You’ll lose time and money. Use the public transportation. The best in the world. Ask MTA personnel about how to get where you want to go. They are trained to it..

    Denny Sangiovanni says:

    If you going to specifics attractions do not buy the bus option. You’ll lose time and money. Use the public transportation. The best in the world. Ask MTA personnel about how to get where you want to go. They are trained to it..

      Kathy says:

      thank so much for that info on the bus pass, was going to try to get it, but think I wont now. Thanks!

Karen says:

We found the NY Pass to be cost effective. We saw 3-4 places each day and still had time to do other things as well in early August- a very busy time. Be aware that when you get a timed pass you may have a 2-3 hour wait until you are admitted( Yankee Stadium picked up pass at noon and tour was 12:40, 911 Memorial picked up pass at noon- admitted at 4:00) Be sure to have plan B ready to take advantage of other attractions or sites nearby on these days. The Yankee Stadium Tour was a highlight for my son- better than the MSG tour in his opinion. Book is helpful in planning train trips and locations but some are not as detailed as they could be- We walked blocks on a few occasions with minutes to spare because the maps were not clear with all streets clearly marked ( or walking distance from the closest train)New Yorkers were very helpful when were looking for sites and attractions.
Traces was fabulous!!Try both the Empire State observatory and Top of the Rock at different times of the day/ night. We saw spectacular views on the 102 floor of ESB. We did Top of the Rock at night- I would probably do it opposite next time as you don’t get good pictures at night anyway. Top of the Rock is more open for viewing and picture taking. Terra Cotta Warriors was also a highlight. This is one that was not marked well in the book and we walked blocks trying to find it. Had less than an hour to see but was worth the walk…Amazing.
Plan what you can realistically do given time for train wait and transfers so you buy the number of days you will actually use the card. Enjoy your trip!

Mils says:

I travelled to New York in May 2013 and the New York pass was definitely worth it.
If you are going as a tourist who wants to her around easily the bus pass which is part of the New York pass is worth it. I didn’t have to take the underground / subway even once.

I Got a discount code today for 15% off .. It is 152014. Thought I would share it.

It says to use it at the bottom of the price page.

Only valid till 31 December 2013.


Elaine says:

Loved this article and tips within it, thanks. Can you please clarify why the New York Pass is not recommended for those who’ll be staying in New York City for over a week. We are staying for 8 days in December and have looked at the prices and think it will be great for us?? Thanks



    I’m glad you found the article useful. When I recommend that a New York Pass might not be ideal for those staying in New York City for more than a week, I’m really referring to people staying a long time who might prefer to spread their sightseeing out over a longer time. On an 8-day visit it still might make sense to concentrate your “big name sightseeing” into a New York Pass, and you’ll still have a few extra days to just wander around and enjoy the city. -Roger

anonymous says:

Thanks for a great review! Although, I have to say, I am a backpacker and think this is great value. For the price of 1 or 2 nights at a hotel, you can visit all the attractions you want for a whole week! :)

Galvin says:

Hey Roger,

Found your article about NYC Passes and its pretty informative.

I’m looking at a few areas of visit like the Statue, ESB & 9/11 Memorial.

For a tourist like me, would public transport or the NYC Pass BUS option be better?




    The hop-on, hop-off bus is great for sightseeing, but it’s not ideal for transportation between sights. I’d really recommend just using public transportation in New York City because you can get around very quickly and cheaply on the subway, and it’s quite easy to use once you see it in person. So if you want to do the bus option, I’d consider it mainly as a tour rather than an easy way to get around town. Have a great trip, whichever you decide. -Roger

Stephanie says:

Are there any time restrictions on the pass? We used a City Pass in Chicago and you couldn’t use it after 5 pm so I wanted to be sure that wasn’t the case here. Thanks!

Pertunia says:

Hi,I am coming to NY for 5nights&2night in Washington but not really sure what to go see,i`m looking at the 3days many shows or places can i go see in a day realistically? thanks,Tunes



    That’s a difficult question to answer. But in general terms, most visitors should be able to visit three of the bigger attractions each day, and with a New York Pass you can skip some of the longer queues, so four is very realistic if it’s a priority. Many of the top attractions are in the Midtown area, so it’s not difficult to visit several in a row just on foot. With a New York Pass it should be easy to plan an efficient route because it comes with a smart phone app (iPhone and Android) that shows all the included attractions, making it easy to find the ones that are close together.

    Whether you buy a New York Pass or not, you’ll see more if you get to know the subway system. It can seem intimidating at first, but it’s usually faster than even taxis during the day, and almost every attraction is within a short walk of a subway stop. Have fun and let me know if you have any more questions. -Roger

Loom says:

Hi. I see that the NYPASS allows the ticket holder to skip many long tines. Is that also true for holders of the Citypass? Thanks.

Coy says:

I found the site, article and comments very helpful. However, I’m still on the fence, mainly deciding between a 2 or 3 day pass. I’m taking my 12 yr old daughter for her first trip to NY. I’ve worked there for a short time and was sequestered to the lower Manhattan area so I’ll also be seeing the majority for the first time also. I’ve read you think we can hit 3 maybe 4 attractions in a day. I’m sure we should do the Statue of Liberty and maybe a water tour one day then the Empire State Bldg and surrounding area another. Yes? Any advice if on getting a 2 day vs a 3 day?



    The 2-hour Circle Line tour that is included is fantastic if you haven’t done it yet. I’ve taken it maybe 4 times and I enjoy it every time. It actually goes quite near the Statue of Liberty, and that is enough of a view for many people.

    So yes, I think 3 or 4 attractions per day should be pretty easy, especially since you already know how to get around quickly on the subway. You also get to skip some ticket queues, so you can cover more ground with a New York Pass than people who are paying cash can. If you think 2 days might be enough, I’d be tempted to recommend that, and just commit to seeing as much as possible on those two days. By the third day you’d start to get a bit worn out, so it would probably be the least productive sightseeing day anyway.

    On the other hand, if you buy when a promotion is on and there isn’t much difference between the prices of 2 and 3 days, it might be worth it for the longer one. In other words, it’s hard for me to confidently recommend one over the other without knowing which places you hope to see, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be happy with either one. Have a great visit. -Roger

Cesmon says:

Hello! My wife and I are going to NYC, staying at the Manhattan at times square! It is going to be our 1st time in NYC! 4 nights (3 dedicated to sight seeing). Do you recommend The New York Pass? I have heard that you need to get tickets at different locations from the actual sight (i don’t know what tour or pass this is). I imagine that the new york pass will let you in directly. should I also buy the bus pass, or the metro is better and cheaper? THANKS



    My recommendations for who should or should not get a New York Pass are all contained in the article above. But if you are planning on three fairly solid days of sightseeing then I think it’s probably a great choice for you. Once you have the New York Pass you can skip the ticket-buying queue for many of the top attractions, so it saves time and usually saves money as well. I’m not sure which thing you are referring to about getting tickets at another site, and I’ve not heard of that with any of the main attractions.

    As for the hop-on, hop-off bus packages, I am a fan of those as sightseeing methods, but I don’t recommend trying to use them for general transportation. As you mention, the subway/metro in New York City is cheap and generally much faster than a sightseeing bus for getting from one part of town to another. So it’s a tough call. The bus tours are good as tours, but not really as transport. Best of luck and have a great trip. -Roger

      Cesmon says:

      Thanks for the info!!! So the pass guarantees me direct entry into the sight? Here are some comments/reviews i was reading about the NY pass. Let me know if these hold true… THANKS!!!

      “Be careful that you dont have to pre-book your tickets ie Top of the Rock. The pass does not automatically give you access, you have to actually convert to paper tickets at the venue and these sell out.Empire State, pay the difference and get the upgrade to bypass the huge queues.”

      “DO NOT purchase this pass if you are limited in time … it was a game to redeem the coupons and secure the pass (go to Grand Central, walk 8 blocks to redemption center for pass, walk back 7 blocks to secure tour bus pass, walk back 6 blocks to board bus) … this was the scenario throughout the day … bottom line: we were unable to utilize most of the features due to lack of time .. the two features we did utilize briefly were great – be warned to prepare to walk to multiple locations to have your pass ‘enabled’ to secure the features and only purchase if you have 3+ days in NYC available … we encountered many other people with similar disappointments (we would’ve saved 50% if we had just gone to and paid the attractions individually).”



        Most of the New York Pass reviews I’ve read are very positive, and most people seem quite happy with their decision to buy. But of course other people are less organized and struggle to stay on schedule. As for those specific claims, you are better off contacting people at New York Pass directly. My only function is to help people decide if it might save them money based on the things they want to see. Good luck. -Roger

Jackie Butler says:

Can you get on both the Blue and Red tour buses with the New York Pass?



    If you go with the Hop-on Hop-off New York Bus Package with the New York Pass, it’s only good on the blue (City Sights NY) buses. I’m fairly sure that the buses of both companies do the same routes, and they come by frequently so it really shouldn’t be a problem. Best of luck. -Roger

      Viviane says:

      Love this article!! My husband and I and 16 year old son will be visiting NYC at the end of August. We have toured many European cities (Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Milan) but have never obtained any passes. We are power tourers (sp??) and do not usually visit museums. We like nice views, seeing the local architecture and prefer to walk (usually upwards of 20km per day). I’m overwhelmed by the number of passes available (NY Pass, NY Citypass, NY Explorer Pass, GO Select Pass). I’ve read your article and some details speak to me but still not convinced we would be getting our money’s worth. Hoping you can help me decide. Thank you.



        I’m glad you found the article helpful. As for which of the passes to get, they are all fairly similar (as you’ve noticed) and they are all legit. The New York Pass is the original of them, and the only one I’ve studied extensively, so I do recommend it for those who fit the goals I describe above. You might actually run into me on your trip because I’ll be using a New York Pass that same week to see some of the new attractions that have been added since I last lived there.

        My own travel style is similar to yours in that I tend to walk everywhere that I can, and I generally minimize time in museums. You’ve no doubt noticed that most of the attractions in the New York Pass are not museums, so it really comes in handy for the more adventurous attractions as well as the included tours. Speaking of tours, I highly recommend taking the Circle Line 2-hour cruise, which I’ve done at least 4 or 5 times myself. It’s by far the best way to see the city in a short time, and the narration is really interesting.

        Also, in New York City I’d skip the hop-on, hop-off bus tour, which is an add-on on the New York Pass. For one thing, it’s a slow and awkward method of transportation, so it’s really only good as a one-lap bus tour. If you only have maybe 2 days to see NYC, it’s a good tour to see a lot in a hurry, but if you’ll be there 3 or more days you’ll end up seeing most everything while on foot that you’d see from the bus. You’ll want to walk within and in between neighborhoods, and for longer journeys the subway is WAY faster than any bus, especially the tour buses. And the subway is quite easy to use once you’ve had a look at it (and it’s much safer than most people expect).

        If you have any specific questions I’ll be happy to try to answer them. Otherwise, you can consider the choices and hopefully find the one that will work best for you. The New York Pass is also 15% off until Monday, although all of these passes are on sale half the time, so look for a discount whichever you choose. -Roger

Kal says:

Thanks for the article.

I have a question about the duration of the pass. I plan on buying a one day pass. My intent is to activate the pass at around 11am the first day, and then see my last sights with the pass at 930/1030 the next morning. I’m wondering if I can use the pass like this, since It’ll be easier for me to see those sites the next morning, and it’s not after the “1-day” limit.

Alexa says:


Thank you for this article. This is my situation and I’m hoping you can help me by answering some of my questions and maybe offering some suggestions. We have never been to NY, my daughter has just asked me to take her for her birthday which I’m am considering, I would probably do NYC for a few days and take some type of transportation over to DC and from there we would fly back home

She wants to see the Statue of Liberty and the empire state building, (she’s 9 yrs old) O want to take advantage of the fact that we are there and get to see more. I’m thinking about the Niagara falls. maybe more of the city. Can you tell what the best way to accomplish this would be? maybe some suggestions on what to see where to go? where to fly into? In from California and clueless when it comes to this.

Thank you!!



    There are 3 airports in the New York City area (JFK, Laguardia, and Newark), and you should book tickets into the cheapest one for your particular dates. There isn’t much difference on getting from the airport into the city center, although Laguardia and JFK are a bit cheaper and easier than Newark is prices are the same.

    Niagara Falls is a LONG way from NYC, and it would take an entire day each way on the bus. It’s not really practical to visit both of them in just a few days.

    As for what to see, it’s tough for me to recommend anything because there are thousands of things to do and I don’t know anything about your tastes. To be honest, the Statue of Liberty is a bit dry for a child. Once they’ve seen it on the outside, they might be bored by seeing it up close or looking at the monument in the base. A visit to Ellis Island is also included in the boat price, and that would be even harder to handle for a kid. One thing to consider is taking the (free) Staten Island Ferry to Staten Island and back, which passes close to the Statue of Liberty and is a nice tour of the harbor.

    There are also loads of attractions in Times Square that are child friendly, including a Disney store and an M&Ms store and that sort of thing. That should be fun for a few hours at least.

    If you have more specific questions I might help with let me know. NYC is a pretty amazing place to visit and I’m sure you’ll have a great time. -Roger

Richard says:

Which transportation is most reliable to get to and from JFK to our hotel near Grand Central? Am considering using NYCairporter but abit concern.



    A taxi is the simplest and most reliable, for about US$60 for up to 4 people. A cheaper and still reliable option is the JFK AirTrain to Penn Station (in Manhattan) and then the “S” shuttle subway to Grand Central Station. There are also shuttle buses for a bit more, which will drop you near your hotel’s front door. -Roger

Richard says:

Thanks Roger.
We incl our 14yo daughter will be spending 4 days in NY early Oct. and have purchased a 3 days NY Pass including hop on off bus. We plan to visit at least 3 attractions a day. Places like Top of Rock, Madame Tussauds, Empire State, NY Skyride,Statue of Liberty, Little Italy/Chinatown, Brooklyn Bridge,Central Park, 9/11 Tribute Centre and Circle Line cruises. Please can you advise which sequence should we follow to achieve this so we don’t waste time going round in circles. Thanks for the feedback.

Richard says:

Thanks Roger.
We incl our 14yo daughter will be spending 4 days in NY early Oct. and have purchased a 3 days NY Pass including hop on off bus. We plan to visit at least 3 attractions a day. Places like Top of Rock, Madame Tussauds, Empire State, NY Skyride,Statue of Liberty, Little Italy/Chinatown, Brooklyn Bridge,Central Park, 9/11 Tribute Centre and Circle Line cruises. Please can you advise which sequence should we follow to achieve this so we don’t waste time going round in circles.

Calin says:

I saw that the pass includes empire state building tour till the observation deck. How much of a difference would I have to pay in order to go all the way up to the last floor? Thank you



    My understanding is that it’s an extra US$17 to get to the 102nd floor at the moment. But honestly, many people don’t find that to be worthwhile because the view is really the same. Either way, have a great trip. -Roger

Helen says:

Hi, can you do attractions more than once? I was thinking it might be nice to do the Empire State Building at night and during the day!?



    Unfortunately, I believe you only get one entry into each attraction. But in addition to the Empire State Building you also get entry into the Top of the Rock, which actually has even nicer views including Central Park. So do one of those in the day and the other in the evening. Have a great trip. -Roger

Helen says:

Follow up question, is it worth getting a couple of one day passes a few days apart and would that enable two trips up ESB? I will prob do the rock as well, I’m all about the views!!



    I think you’d actually be better off getting one longer New York Pass, and then if you want to do the Empire State Building another time, just pay for it separately. The shorter New York Passes aren’t cheap on a per-day basis, so it’s hard to imagine that it would save you money that way.

    The views from both are spectacular, and I was just up the Top of the Rock for the first time myself a month ago. Honestly, the views are pretty similar in general, but the Top of the Rock is actually better because you can see all of Central Park, while the ESB is mostly Midtown. So my recommendation is to buy one longer New York Pass for each person, and if you decide you want to do one of them twice (it might be the Top of the Rock), then buy that separately once you are there. -Roger

Helen says:

Ok, thank you very much for your suggestions Roger! I do indeed have plans to get a lovely shot of Central Park from the rock!! I go in May so I’m hoping to get some nice weather!

Elaine says:

Hi. Is there a discount code for Oct 2014? We are leaving on the 17th and cant wait!



    They don’t give me the schedule for discount codes, but in my own experience, you rarely have to wait more than a week for another one to come along. That cuts it close for you, I know, but best of luck. -Roger


very useful comments for planning the visit which we are planning in the next 3-4 days

Claire says:

Hi I see there’s currently $60 off the combined 7day pass, I’m not coming to NYC until March 2015. Don’t want to miss a good deal, but just wondering with your previous knowledge if this discount is a common one & do they often discount again after christmas? Obviously just trying to save the most money. Thanks & I enjoyed your article



    Hopefully you know that you can start using a New York Pass anytime within one year of purchase, so locking in a promotional price makes a lot of sense. Also, they typically raise prices around the beginning of February.

    But yes, the promotions that are running now are typical of what you see all year round. I don’t keep too close of a watch over it, but it seems that it’s rarely more than a week or two before another sale starts. Good luck and have a great trip. -Roger

Marison says:

Hi Roger,
Thank you for the article!
I will be staying in NY for 3 or 4 days in January.
What are the best attractions to see in winter?
Also, do you recommend short-term vacation rentals? Best, convenient place to stay?

Thank you in advance!



    It really depends on just what the weather is like in January when you get there. Most likely it will be cold, but as long as it isn’t snowing or raining, then nearly all the attractions are still great. The main one that might be lousy is the boat to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. To be honest, those islands aren’t all that interesting once you get there, unless you are particularly fascinated by the immigration situation at Ellis Island.

    The Circle Line 2-hour cruise goes right by both islands, and is great for photos. It’s even good in cold weather, so if you get a New York Pass I definitely recommend that.

    Even the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock observation decks should be good in any weather. Really, New York is mostly an indoor city with great museums and other fun attractions. You can enjoy a walk through Times Square in any weather as well. It’s always crowded with locals (and tourists) because it’s a major transit hub, no matter the weather.

    And yes, I do recommend short-term rentals such as with I did one for a week there just recently in the East Village and it was great value compared to hotels. Hotel rooms in NYC are almost all tiny, even at expensive places, so even a “small” apartment will give you much more room.

    The one area I recommend you do NOT stay is within 5 blocks or so of Times Square. It’s interesting to walk through, but everything close to there is very touristy and overpriced. You can get better deals at restaurants and shops pretty much everywhere else. Most of the interesting sights are in Midtown or Downtown Manhattan, so I’d recommend anything from about 50th street south to 14th Street, or even Greenwich Village (south of 14th Street and north of Houston Street). There are subway stops through the whole area, so it’s fast to get around if you are anywhere in that zone.

    Have a great trip, and let me know if you have other questions. -Roger

Helle says:

Hi Roger
A question about the New York pass and discounts.
If we by a 3 day pass and we want to get discounts for the helicopter tour and the Woodbury outlet, do we have to visit the outlet or fly the helicopter within the 3days the pass is valid? Or can we just by the trickets with discount within the 3 days, and Use them later?
Thanks for your very usefull informations



    Interesting question. I can’t be 100% sure about this, but I have a strong feeling that you can use those discounts at almost any time. All the attractions have an electronic scanner that is hooked up to the main New York Pass computer, but I doubt that is true of the discounted partners. So if you buy the helicopter ride and the bus ride to the outlets during the 3 days I’m 99.9% sure you can actually use those tickets on another day. And my best guess is that you could use the discounts at any time.

    It would be cruel of the New York Pass people to try to encourage people to burn through valid days on discounts. And to be honest, I think the companies offering discounts are just happy to be promoted to the relatively well-heeled visitors who buy New York Passes. So I’m sure you’ll be fine, especially if you buy the things within your valid days. -Roger

Susan says:

Hello, we are going to NYC for 2 weeks so I think we should just get a 7 day pass so we have enough time to see everything we want like 3 or 4 things a day…. Would u think that is a good idea?



    Yes, a 7-day New York Pass should be perfect for allowing you to see all of the main paid attractions in 7 days. And in your other 7 days you’ll still have plenty of free or cheap things to do that the pass doesn’t cover. New York is one of those cities where you never run out of things to do, and moving around quickly for 7 of those days should be all you’d want to do anyway. Have a great time and feel free to ask any other questions if you have them. -Roger

Susan says:

Thanks for the advice, also u mentioned that that there are some free or cheap things to do. We are traveling with 3 teenager and just wanted to see what else is inexpensive to do. Thanks again

Dominic says:

Hi Roger,

Great and informative article! Me & my partner are heading to NYC over new years for 7 days and are still undecided on whether to get a full 7days pass or possibly a 4or5 days and fit in all we want to do in those days?

We definitely want to visit the usual sights- ESB, Liberty, The Rock, 9/11 memorial, Circle Line tour etc. Do you have any recommendations for these trips over the days we are visiting as we imagine it can be quite hectic! Also, regarding NYE itself, we are not sold on the idea of going to the ball drop at Times Square so are open to suggestions?!

Any advice would be really appreciated!
Thanks in advance, Dominic.



    First off, I’d skip the NYE ball-drop if you are on the fence. You have to stand out there literally all day if you want to be anywhere near the ball, and if you go in the early evening you’ll be a LONG way away. And, it’s not that fun in general.

    Instead you’ll have loads of options, including a party at nearly every bar and restaurant in the city. The ball-drop crowd is mostly people from the surrounding areas, so the New York residents have plenty of other activities going.

    As for getting a 3 or 5 or 7-day New York Pass, it’s a tough call. I’d probably recommend getting the 7-day pass because it only costs a bit more than the others, and it will give you a lot more flexibility. In late December there might be a few cold days in NYC, or perhaps even a bit of rain or snow, and with a 7-day pass you can mix and match the indoor sights with the outdoor sights. For example, the Circle Line harbor cruise is really great, but it’s better on a sunny or at least dry day. And of course there are loads of museums and other indoor attractions that are great regardless of weather. -Roger


Hi Roger
Will be in NY mid December and thinking about the cold winter weather and temps, are hop on hop off buses cancelled often due to snow fall etc? Not sure whether to include them in my pass to see the sights. Also, the tours Ive looked at seem to all have open top coaches. Do you know of any that aren’t?

Appreciate your advice! Colleen



    I’m pretty sure that all the bus tour companies run enclosed buses in the cold weather. They are very popular all year round, and I’ve never seen one go by full of shivering tourists. I think they have attachable roofs to use during the winter, but they don’t put those photos on the websites because people love the open top when the weather is good.

    Also, snow accumulation in New York City is pretty rare. I lived there for many years, and here’s what happens…

    Maybe a few times per winter, there is a snow storm. Normally, the snow plows start right away, keeping all the major roads open the whole time. The side roads and in the outer boroughs can get snowed in for a day or two on the worst storm of the year, but generally all the main roads stay open, partly warmed by constant traffic. My guess would be that the hop-on, hop-off buses go every day of the year (because they only go on major streets), and maybe only have to cancel once every few years during one of those huge storms. New York City is always crowded and busy, so they do a great job of keeping everything moving. You’d be very unlucky to miss a day on those buses, and even if it happened I’m sure you’d get a refund or use on another day. Have a great trip. -Roger

UNO says:

hey roger..thanks for this post…ive leaned a lot for reading some of the inquiries and your answers. anyway. i need your help, i will be visiting new york for about 3 days in february 2015. this is my first time in new york. i will be with my 2 year old son and wife. do i need the new york pass if i want to enjoy my short trip in new york? after new york i will be visiting texas for about three days and california for about 5 days. thanks a lot.



    A New York Pass is a great tool for a first trip to NYC, but only for people who want to see the main sights in a short time. As you can see in the above article, the famous attractions in New York are generally quite expensive, and if you want to see at least 2 or 3 of them each day, a New York Pass should save you time and money.

    But, New York City is a fun and fascinating place even if you don’t see the famous attractions, or if you see only one per day and pay as you go. In general, it’s quite an expensive place so many people are happy to see a lot in a short trip and then move on. It’s really a personal decision, and I think you’ll be happy with the pass or without it. Bon voyage. -Roger

      UNO says:

      thanks a lot roger…its so amazing that you started this post year 2011 and up to now (2014) you still manage to give us your advises. more power.

Nate says:

Hi, does anyone know if the buses go one way on the route or both ways? Thanks!



    The hop-on, hop-off buses go one-way, in a loop. As I’ve mentioned before, they are quite a good way to see many things in a short amount of time, but they aren’t very handy for transportation between sights. Have a great trip. -Roger

Musthak says:

Hi Roger, I am visiting NY with my wife and two children (14yrs boy & 13yrs daughter) and staying in friend house in Avenel,New Jersey. Is it good idea to take 3 days pass for all of us and use rent a car and drive by own to visit the main attraction places. Please advice



    From Avenel you might drive a rental car to Jersey City or Hoboken to park, and then take a PATH train (the train that connects New Jersey with New York City) into Manhattan to do your sightseeing. Once in Manhattan you can walk to many attractions and take a subway or taxi to the rest. The main problem with driving around Manhattan is that parking is incredibly expensive and difficult to find. You can see a LOT on foot, and the PATH train from New Jersey is fast and cheap as well. Have a great trip. -Roger

Ais says:

Hello Roger,
I am planning to visit nyc on feb 5th. Looking at the benefits of the nypass i think it might be a great deal to get it for 1 day. Its the first time i m going there, do you think it will be possible to go to all this places in one day? Specifically in the order listed below.

Ferry to statue of liberty (getting there in the first ferry of the day at aprox 8.30)
interpid air sea and space
rockefeller center
top of the rock
Madame tussauds
empire state building
Ny skyride at the ESB

Thank you



    This would be a very busy day, obviously, but I think it could be done without a problem. You’d have to limit your time in the Intrepid, which should be simple enough and still worthwhile.

    One alternative would be to do the 1.5-hour Circle Line Liberty cruise instead of the Statue of Liberty ferry. Here’s the thing, if you make a reservation to go up into the statue itself (I’ve never done it), then it could be worthwhile. But Liberty Island itself is kind of a snooze. Most visitors are primarily interested in getting great photos of the statue, and that is best done from the water rather than the island. And believe it or not, the Circle Line cruise gets you in better positions for longer to see the thing and take great photos than the ferry. Also, the Circle Line cruise is an excellent attraction on its own, while the ferry is just a ferry. Lastly, the Statue Ferry also goes to Ellis Island, which is interesting for some people but quite dull for many others.

    The Circle Line boats leave from west 42nd street, just a short walk from the Intrepid. They don’t start quite so early, so you might be able to squeeze something else in during the morning hours. But again, if you have a reservation to go up into the Statue of Liberty, that might be fun. Otherwise I’d recommend the Circle Line instead for better views and much more. Have a great trip. -Roger

Ais says:

Thank you so much. Will search for it. Didnt know about the cruise line but it seems better than the ferry. Any other advices are welcome.

Ais says:

Just read some reviews that the skyride is not worth it. Do you agree?



    I skipped the Skyride last time I was there, and now I’m seeing those reviews and I see what you mean. It sounds like if you had to pay separately for it, it’s a rip-off. But if you are there already and it’s free, maybe it’s worth the time if the line isn’t too long? Fortunately, New York City is filled with worthwhile attractions so skipping that one could be a blessing. Have a great trip. -Roger

Patricia Montaván says:

Hi Roger, the article was very informative it cleared some questions I had about the NYPass, thank you about that!

I’m going to visit New York in a few months and I’m staying for six days. Do you think a three day pass would be helpful to visit the top ten attractions?.

Thank you for your help in advance!!




    I’m always happy to hear that these articles and advice are helpful. Yes, I think a 3-day New York Pass on a 6-day visit is a good idea. If you were to get one the longer ones you might be tempted to spend your whole 6 days just seeing the prepaid sights, rather than spending time absorbing the city and exploring Central Park etc. There is an endless list of things to do in NYC that is not covered by the New York Pass, but 3 days seeing the Top 10 famous attractions should be very enjoyable as well. Have a great trip. -Roger


Hi, i am going to new york for 4 days in september with my daughter and wondered if the 3 day new york pass was worth the money? we do want to see the most popular and well known sites and wondered if the extra costs to go to the 102nd floor empire state building & visit the crown of statue of liberty are worth it? Is there anything in particular we should visit? also is the bus a good buy? does anyone have a discount code and should i buy now or wait for best offers nearer the time? Thanks – Fiona



    Yes, I think the 3-day New York Pass is a great way to see the top attractions on a 4-day trip like yours. Personally, I don’t think the extra money to visit the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building is worth it. You can see mostly the same thing from the included 86th floor deck. However, I highly recommend ALSO going to the Top of the Rock observation deck, which is also included. From there you can see Central Park and many other things that are out of sight at the Empire State.

    The hop-on, hop-off bus tours are really good for people trying to see as much of the city as possible on only two days or so, and I don’t recommend trying to use them as transportation in general. They are really good overview tours and you see a lot, but in 4 days in NYC you’ll probably have time to see most of the interesting stuff up close and in person, so it’s really optional for a trip like yours.

    The New York Pass no longer does discount codes, but they have general discounts running every two weeks or so. At this moment they are doing a 20% discount, which is the highest I’ve ever seen. Just click on one of the links in the article and you’ll see the discount on top of the page. They do 10% discounts every other weekend or so.

    Oh, and I’ve never visited the crown of the Statue of Liberty, mostly because it’s been closed for most of the last 15 years or so. I’d imagine that it would be quite interesting, but it would also add an hour or two to your time on the island, and you might do something else interesting with that time instead. Best of luck with whatever you decide. -Roger


      Thanks for your help Roger. i have thoroughly enjoyed reading all your comments, it certainly has been helpful. i am going to purchase my 3 day ticket now as i think it will be worth the money. thanks again – Fiona

Loretta says:

We are heading to NYC in June for 10 days. If we purchase the pass for 3 days can we use it whenever we want. If we use it Sunday can we use it Tuesday and then maybe Friday? Just making sure it is not 3 days in a row.



    Unfortunately, the New York Pass must be used on consecutive days. The good news is that they are running a big sale on all of the 3-day and longer passes right now, so you should be able to afford a longer one for the same price. Have a great trip. -Roger

Anthony says:

Hi Roger I have a three day pass but i am staying for six days,i will activate in the middle,my question is i hope to go shopping and maybe visit restaurants on the days either side of pass days could i still use the card for shopping discounts and food discounts on the non attraction days or is it void.if it is it does not seem could value wandering round shops using card for shopping discounts on my three days of pass use



    My understanding is that the discounts that are tied to the New York Pass are good even after your days have expired, but I’m not 100% sure that is true with all of them. Unlike the included attractions where you have to scan the New York Pass as admission, the discounts are typically available just by showing the card. Just like you, I can’t find that exact language on their website, but I know that’s the way it’s worked in the past and I haven’t heard that it has changed. Have a great visit. -Roger

Mary says:

How do I use the NYP for a river cruise? Do we just turn up at the pier and hope there’s room on the boat? I can’t seem to se a way of reserving tickets in advance on the Circle Line site, using the NYP numbers.



    First off, the Circle Line sightseeing cruises are my favorite thing on the New York Pass and I’m sure you’ll love it. The New York Pass provides “Fast Track Entry” for the Circle Line, which means that you can go to the Will Call booth instead of the main ticket booth with the long queue. In any event, the boats are large and I don’t think they sell out often, if at all. It’s more a matter of maybe having to wait up to an hour in line if you don’t have a New York Pass. I’ve done the Circle Line about 5 or 6 times (on different routes) and I’ve never seen a sell out. Also, there are several of each cruises going each day, so even if you miss one you can catch the next one.

    If you want to be sure, I’m certain you can go to the pier the day before you want to go, and get tickets for the sailing you want. My guess is that the reason they don’t have an online reservation system is that the boats are big enough for everyone who shows up on time in person. Have a great trip. -Roger

      Mary says:

      Thank you so much for your prompt reply, Roger. We are travelling ito NY next Sunday from the UK and the weather forecast is looking good! Really looking forward to the trip.

Ian says:

Hi Roger

Thanks for the article. I just stumbled upon this as I have a 4 day to NYC booked for early June. I am going to get the 3 day pass as that seems like great value for money and includes many of the things I was looking to do.

Cristina L. says:


I will be in NY in 3 days and i am excited about it.

I am studying this NY pass issue and i am not sure what to do. It is my first time in NY and i want to see as many places as i can. At least, the main attractions. So far, for my case NY pass is the solutions. But then again, i have read that the hop on hop off tours get so crowded, you have to wait hours to get into one.

And where can i see what are the attractions included in a 2 day pass? And which are free entirely and which only offer discounts based on NY pass?

And what do you recommend? Because i will not stay 2 full days there, i will get in NY at noon, 12:00 PM with a big luggage which i have to drop off where i will be staying and i will leave on the 3rd at 4 or 5 PM. So, added up, it more like a day and 2-3 hours.



    Cristina L.,

    All of the attractions listed on the main “Attractions” page on the New York Pass website are free for pass holders. The discounted things are on the “Special Offers” tab on that same page, and they are almost all shopping discounts and small discounts off of specialty tours. All of the famous attractions will be free.

    You are in a tricky spot when it comes to the hop-on, hop-off bus tour. I don’t recommend them for transportation to get from one attraction to another, mostly because the subway tends to be much faster and the buses can be very crowded at peak times. BUT, I do recommend the hop-on, hop-off buses as a quick tour of most of the city’s most famous buildings and neighborhoods. In other words, I recommend doing one loop around the city on the bus as a way of seeing a lot in a short time and also getting helpful commentary. They are especially helpful for people on short visits like yours. The Circle Line boat tours are also an excellent way to see the main highlights of New York City, with unobstructed views from the water.

    I think if your top priority is to see as many of the best attractions as possible in a short time, then the 1-day or 2-day New York Pass will be very helpful, partly because it lets you skip most of the longer queues so you can actually see more things in a day. The HOHO bus might also be good, but it could also cut into your other sightseeing time.

    By the way, many of the top attractions are open well into the evening, so you could still see a lot on that arrival day. For example, the Top of the Rock observation deck is open until midnight, and in some ways it’s even more impressive at night. Madam Tussaud’s as another example allows visitors in up until 8pm on weeknights and 10pm on weekends. So if you want to see a lot, you’ll still have 8 good hours on that first day, and obviously the whole day on the following day. Have a great trip with whatever you decide. -Roger

Carisma says:

Is entry to the Hayden Planetarium include in the ticket for the American Museum of Natural History on the New York Pass?



    Yes, the New York Pass does include entry to that. The Hayden Planetarium is part of the Rose Center for Earth and Space, which is part of the museum itself. This is what it says on the New York Pass site:

    “The New York Pass grants you free admission to the Museum and Rose Center. Tickets to the Space Show are available at a reduced rate.”

    So you can enter the Rose Center and Hayden Planetarium for free with the New York Pass, but it costs extra for the scheduled shows. Have a great visit. -Roger

Chris says:

Hi, can you actually walk straight in to attractions or do you have to collect tickets at desks and how do you get a time for top of rock timed entry?



    Most attractions have a ticket queue and an entrance queue, and with the New York Pass you can go directly into the entrance queue, which is usually much shorter or just a person who will let you right in. As for Top of the Rock, I went there last year and went straight into the special New York Pass queue and then into the elevator. I’m not sure you can do a timed entry, and I’m not sure you need it if you have a New York Pass. In other words, I think you can pretty much always go when you want and it only takes a few minutes to be headed into the elevator. Have a great trip. -Roger

Trevor Stanbridge says:


I’m flying in soon for 4 nights. Can I get a 3 day attractions pass direct to my android phone with the app? I’m coming from the UK, so want to book in advance & avoid waiting for documentation. The only other alternative is printing the online booking & take it with me. Not quite sure how it works really!

Thanks in advance,



    At this point the New York Pass is still only a physical product (a magnetic card) plus a guidebook and a few other things to help. Your best and only option is to buy it online and pick it up in person once you get to NYC. There are several locations for this, 3 of which are in or near the Times Square area so even if you aren’t staying near there, you’ll be nearby for many of the better included attractions. Best of luck with it. -Roger

      Trevor Stanbridge says:

      Hello Roger,

      Thank you for the heads up and specifically the pick up points which is very helpful.


Mary says:

Thanks for a great article and useful advice. My 22 year old daughter and I will be visiting next week and have already purchased the 5 day pass with the 3 day HOHO bus option. (Wish I had seen this site earlier) At any rate, how would you suggest that we maximize the usefulness of the 3 day HOHO bus? Do we go see the popular sites early, then sit on one of the loops of the bus for a rest and informative tour? Or do we use our HOHO bus days early in the trip to get the lay of the land? Also, is a trip to Coney Island worth it? How about to Atlantic City (we are not gamblers, so it would be for site seeing purposes only). Thanks in advance!



    Thank you. As I’ve mentioned before, I think the HOHO buses are excellent for general sightseeing, but usually not great for transportation between sights. Since you have the 3-day option you’ll be able to do a full loop of each route and then use it for some short hops as transportation in some cases. But generally speaking the New York subway is the fastest way between most places and it’s easy to use once you’ve done it once. So I’d recommend just staying on the bus for the full loop on each tour, and only hop off near the end if it takes you to a place you want to visit. Otherwise you might be waiting longer than you had hoped for the next one. And yes, I’d do the HOHO early in your trip because they are a great way of getting your bearings. Also do the Circle Line boat tour, which will give you another great perspective of the area, and very interesting commentary.

    I’ve only been to Coney Island once and I don’t think it’s worth it. It’s really not all that special, and it’s really more of a nostalgia thing for people who grew up in the area. The main problem is that it’s a LONG subway ride to get there, and it’s not near anything else interesting.

    Atlantic City is similar in a way. The boardwalk area is kitchy and kind of fun for a short time, but the rest of the city is pretty much a nightmare, and it takes a long time to get there. If you were a gambler or if you had a special place in your heart for an old-timey New Jersey boardwalk, it might be worth it. Otherwise, it’s just not special enough to justify the long travel time, and there are better things closer to NYC. Have a great trip. -Roger

Abid says:

Hi Roger,

Your article is really informative. I need your suggestion for below:

We will be in NYC from Sep 13-16 We are 3 adults + 1 infant and going to purchase 3 day pass. Our Stay will be in times square area.

My mother uses wheel chair for long distance walk (she can walk short distance only as her foot get numb). Please advise what is best way of moving around in between attraction in this case.



    I’m not an expert on this, but I believe it’s fairly easy to book a taxi cab that can carry a wheel chair. New York City is loaded with taxi cabs that are vans, and many of them are equipped for chairs.

    Once you get to the various attractions I believe that all of them are set up for wheelchair visitors if needed. Also, many (but not all) of the busiest subway stations have elevators for this reason. Have a great trip. -Roger

Chris Maynard says:

Hi roger,we are visiting NYC on march 14th next year for 4 days. Was planning to get a 3 day pass with hoho bus pass as recommended by a work colleague. Im still undecided,would it be worth it? Also do you have to pre book tickets for the 9/11 memorial and museum even with the pass or just turn up?



    As I’ve mentioned above, I think the New York Pass is an ideal tool for people who want to see the famous highlights in a short amount of time. As for the HOHO bus, I also think that is very worthwhile, but only as a tour and not as transportation between sights. The thing is, the bus can get crowded and it stops at all the major attractions, so it’s usually inconvenient and slow as a way of getting from one attraction to another.

    I’m not sure about the 9/11 Memorial in particular but in general the New York Pass allows users to skip the ticket queue and go straight to the entry door. If there are special requirements at one place I’m sure you’d see it on the page on the New York Pass website. Also, you can download the free New York Pass smartphone app, even right now, and it will show you all of the info you need on each place. Have a great trip. -Roger

Nishtha says:

Hi Roger,

Your site is very informative. I have taken New York pass for 2 days with hop on hop off bus. I will be arriving NYC on 4th July with my husband and will leave on 6th July morning. We can start our trip at 10:00 AM. Along with the attractions we want to go to see firework.
We are planning to visit ESB and TOTR. Which one should I visit in day and which one in night time. Could you please suggest what would be best way to visit NYC.



    I’m always happy to hear that people find this information useful. As for the Empire State Building vs. the Top of the Rock, I think I’d do the Empire State during the day and the Rock in the evening. Both are amazing day or night. The main difference is that the ESB has great views of the Financial District (where the World Trade Center used to be and its replacement now stands), and Top of the Rock has better views of Midtown and also of Central Park. It’s the Central Park part that I think looks so stunning at night.

    As for as the “best way to visit NYC” what I’d recommend is to do the HOHO bus early on your first day, and stay on it the whole way around. It’s an excellent way to get oriented in the city and see most of the attractions from the street, but it’s not great as efficient transportation between attractions. Once you are done with a bus tour you should take the subway to get from one attraction to another, although you’ll find that many of them are close together so you can see many things in the same neighborhood. In some cases you might be near a HOHO stop and another sight you want to visit is not far away along the route. In that case you might just wait at the stop and then hop aboard the bus. Once you do the whole tour on the first day you’ll have a good idea of where everything is and if that might work for you.

    Also, I’d highly recommend downloading the free New York Pass iPhone or Android app before you go. With that you’ll see all of the included attractions on an interactive map, along with the opening hours and description of each place. In some cases you might find yourself a short walk from something interesting that you had never heard of. Since it’s included free with the New York Pass, it can be fun to just pop into any attraction and give it a look. Have a great trip and let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Nishtha says:

Thank you Roger for your quick and helpful response.
Could you please suggest if I should go to see fireworks (If yes, any recommendations) or should stick to exploring NYC as I am on short trip.



    The NYC fireworks display is out over the East River, and there aren’t too many easy-to-reach vantage points except for Battery Park in the south of Manhattan. It’s a huge show and worth a look, and it doesn’t start until 9:20pm so you’ll be done sightseeing by then. Your hotel will probably be able to suggest a possible viewing spot. Some buildings in Manhattan have a great view, while most will have no view. Good luck and have a great trip. -Roger

Erlyn says:

For the City pass. My friend said you still need to check if the time slot is open? Or can You just walk in and say I have a ticket? With City pass, do you just show up if the place is open or you still need to confirm a specific time?



    I’m not sure what you mean. It sounds like you are referring to the New York CityPASS rather than the New York Pass discussed above. But they both work essentially the same way in that you can skip the ticket queue for the big attractions and just get in the entrance queue. I’ve not heard of a system where you have to make a reservation in advance. I hope this helps. -Roger

janet says:

when are the summer school holidays? ive booked for 20-27 june 2016 – will I manage to avoid the crowds during this week? also ive found conflicting info on how much museums are – some say they are around 20 dollars and other say there is a suggested amount,but ultimately you choose how much to pay?
thanks in advance :)



    The summer school holidays in the United States are basically from early June through the first weekend in September, give or take a week depending on the area. In other words, late June is high season and New York City will be packed.

    Most of the big museums in New York City charge between US$20 and US$25 for admission. The only exception is the Metropolitan Museum (NYC’s largest and most famous museum), which has a “suggested” admission charge of US$25, but it’s true that you can pay as little as your conscience will allow. Strangely enough, almost 100% of visitors pay the full amount, especially tourists. But personally when I lived in NYC and I had guests in town there were two times that I paid US$5 (back when the suggestion was US$20) to get in because we would only be there for maybe 30 minutes to look around.

    So as far as I’ve seen, there are some locals who visit the museum regularly who pay only a small amount, but it’s a far smaller number than you might expect under the circumstances. In other words, you can stand in the line and hand them even US$1 and walk in, although you might feel a bit cheap (rightly or wrongly) about it. All of the other museums in NYC have a firm admission charge. You can see some of the top museum prices on our general New York City prices page. Have a great trip. -Roger

Daniel Sweanepoel says:

IN General the NY pass is worth the money, but be aware that if you enter the intrepid museum you will not be able to see the space shuttle. False advertising on the side of NY pass

Danny says:

Hi Roger,
This is an excellent forum!
My Family of 6 (children aged 10-17)will be visiting NY from Australia from Dec 28th 2015 to 1st Jan 2016 (3 full days 29th, 30th and 31st Dec). Will the attractions be very busy on these days? I see that the fast track passes are only on limited attractions. We would definitely like to see the following if time permits. ESB, Boat to see statue of liberty, Top of Rock, Madam Tussauds, Central Park (Maybe Bicycle or is it too cold or frozen?), 9/11 Memorial, Times Square, Macys and perhaps some other shopping (Briefly), The other ones I am not sure of are the Brooklyn Bridge, Yankee Stadium and Wall Street. We are staying at the Roosevelt Hotel, which I think is fairly central. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated Roger.
Kind Regards Danny



    I’m always happy to hear that this information is helpful. Yes, the Roosevelt Hotel is just a few blocks from Times Square so you’ll be spending a bit of time there whether you like it or not. Also, I hope you are aware of the traditional Ball Drop in Times Square on New Years Eve. The streets for several blocks in all directions are closed off to traffic to accommodate the million or so people who go there. I don’t recommend joining that crowd, by the way, and it should help lighten crowds at attractions outside of Times Square.

    New York City does get busy on those days, but again, I think most of the attractions away from Times Square might not be overly crowded. You’ll be walking distance to the Empire State Building and also Top of the Rock, and both of those are fantastic. I’d recommend doing one during the day and the other in the evening because the city looks very different in light and dark. Madam Tussaud’s is in Times Square, so plan on seeing that on one of your first two full days.

    For the Statue of Liberty I highly recommend the 2-hour Circle Line boat tour, which is also included in the New York Pass. It goes right next to the statue for excellent photo opportunities, but it doesn’t stop at the island. The island itself is a bit boring, to be honest, so this is better, especially if it’s cold out.

    The Fact Track feature is available on most of the attractions that get the longest queues, so it works really well.

    Wall Street is worth a look and it’s very close to the 9/11 Memorial. The whole south part of Manhattan is really interesting and unlike the rest of the island, so you could take a subway down there and see those things, and then walk over to the Fulton Fish Market area, which also has a few other things that are included in the New York Pass.

    On the Circle Line boat tour you’ll get the best views of the Brooklyn Bridge (and a couple others) and that is by far the best way to see it and all of the architecture around it. I wouldn’t bother with Yankee Stadium in the winter. It’s a long way from Midtown Manhattan and there isn’t much to see since there are no games that time of year.

    Let me know if you have other questions and I’m sure you’ll have a great trip. -Roger

      Danny says:

      Thanks Roger,
      Would bicycle’s through Central Park be an option as a way to see it?



        I’d say that during summer cycling through Central Park would be very nice, so it would depend on the weather around New Years. As you have probably learned, temperatures a bit below freezing are not uncommon that time of year, so I’d think that riding a bicycle wouldn’t be too enjoyable in that case. But you might get days as high as 8C that time of year, and if so it could be good.

        And I’m not sure about this part, but I believe that bicycles are supposed to stay on the bike paths in Central Park, which are specific lanes and areas, many of which are commuting cyclists going quickly. In other words, I don’t think you can just ride a bike around all of the footpaths and lawn areas. Lastly, Central Park is gorgeous in summer but less so in winter. Pretty much all of it is brown and leafless. But there is the ice rink and a few other nice things that go in winter, so it’s still fun to explore in the area just north of 59th Street (Central Park South). -Roger

Nick says:

Rober, this is a great forum. I’ve read most posts – we are staying at the times sqr first week of august, assuming we buy 3 day pass with the HOHO, could you help us with what to see each day to maximise our value? (2 adults, boys 13 and 9) many many thanks



    I’m glad that you are finding the information on this page useful. But it would be very difficult for me to confidently recommend what you should see and do without knowing your interests and such. The New York Pass covers nearly all of the top attractions in the city, so just scanning their information should give you many options to consider. Specifically, I highly recommend the Circle Line boat tours, the Empire State Building AND the Top of the Rock observation deck. Aside from those, it’s mostly personal preference. You might hate some museums I like or vice-versa. If you have questions about specific things I’ll be happy to try to help you sort them out. Have a great trip. -Roger

Gaurav Sinha says:

I want to activate my 2 day pass on Saturday 1st August 2015 to 2nd August 2015 mid night. Question: As I reach on Friday, 31 July 2015 by 10PM. I wanted to do Empire State building at 12 15 AM (technically Saturday)- Would this be considered Saturday or Friday? Neither the New York Pass nor the Empire State building is giving me a straight answer. I have the pass already and as its a short trip I wanted to make use of the Friday after midnight view!!! please help!!!



    I see what you are trying to do there, but I’m thinking it probably won’t work. I’m not an official of any kind, and I just try to help people with questions I can answer and give advice when I can. Since the admission computer probably counts their whole day as a calendar day, my guess is that going after midnight on Friday would still count as Friday. I’m pretty sure the ESB is the only attraction that is open after midnight on the New York Pass, so I doubt they would adjust their software for that. On the other hand, if that is true then you could visit after midnight on Sunday and it would still count as Sunday.

    So long story short, I don’t know either. Best of luck with this. -Roger

divya says:

hi Roger,
really great info u r giving..
i with my hubby and 2 yr old will be in NY in mid august for 5 days 4 nights..i hv some questions if you can help
if i stay in staten island and take ferry to commute every day..whats your suggestion for a family
can i buy a 24 hour hop on hop off bus tour, for the first day and cover all loops (uptown,downtown,brooklyn and night tour) without hopping off in between to have overall sightseeing from the bus itself.
i plan to visit all major attractions on foot and subway on other days
my child has birthday on the last day, and he enjoys amusement park and beach a lot, shall i go to coney island or i have some other option as well..



    Yes, you could do all of those bus loops in one day, although I’m not sure you’ll want to once you are halfway in. The Uptown and Downtown loops are all loaded with highlights. I haven’t done the Brooklyn one, although I did live in Brooklyn for a couple years. The sights in Brooklyn will mostly be lesser sights and also fairly spread out, so you might not want to do that one if you are tired from the others. The night bus tour could be fun, but again, it might be covering areas that you’ve already seen, and they don’t look all that different at night.

    So after you get off the Staten Island Ferry you could hop on the South bus, but for general sightseeing you’ll want to take the subway.

    I actually haven’t been to Coney Island in about 5 years, and back then it was still partially closed down. Just recently I read something about it being MUCH nicer than it used to be so maybe it would be fun for your child, as long as the weather is nice that day. It’s a long way from everything so it will take you at least an hour to get there on the subway, although the subway goes right there so at least getting there is cheap and easy.

    Let me know if you have other questions and have a great trip. -Roger

Chris says:

Hi, this seems to be a helpful forum. My girlfriend and I will be visiting NYC for 4 days in September for my birthday treat. We’d like to include a helicopter ride in our plans and have seen that the pass gives discounts on helicopter rides. Is it advised to book the pass and then turn up at the helicopter when we want to book, or book it online once we have the pass? Also, is collecting the pass at the collection points reliable? Is it worthwhile getting a 3-day pass or would a 2-day pass suffice to see the main attractions?




    I’ve not done the helicopter ride, but it looks like the sort of thing where an advanced reservation seems wise just in case they get a group just ahead of your or something. So I’d buy the New York Pass and after you get the online confirmation I’d email them for a reservation. They will probably ask for your confirmation number by email and definitely in person in order to get the discount.

    The in-person collection points for the New York Pass are very reliable so I wouldn’t worry about them. There are 5 of them and they are spread around the main hotel and attraction districts near Midtown, so one of them will probably be a short walk from your hotel. Also, the New York Pass is very popular in general and it’s a pretty big business, so it’s not like some obscure discount card where half the attractions don’t even know what it is. In fact, for the popular attractions there is usually a separate line for New York Pass people to get a ticket or just walk straight in.

    As for the 3 days versus 2 day pass, that would depend on how many of the high-price attractions that really appeal to you. The price difference is US$40 per person and it covers many attractions that charge even more than that, so you’d only need to do 1 or 2 things on that third day in order to get value out of it. The Circle Line cruise alone is $40, and I highly recommend that one. And the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock (both great) are around $30 each plus you get to skip the ticket line, so it’s very easy to get at least $40 value out of that third day, even on the top attractions. But that said, if you look at the list of attractions and only see 5 or so that interest you, then you should have no trouble doing those in 2 days. Best of luck and let me know if you have other questions. -Roger

      Chris says:


      Thanks very much for taking the time to reply.
      What a great site and very informative, reading through all the comments from yourself and all the enquirers.
      Keep up the great work, much appreciated!

      2 weeks and counting till NEW YORK!!

Danny says:

Hi Roger,

I think we have worked out list of things we would like to see and do over our 3 days in New York (29th – 31st Dec). Can you please let me know your thoughts for the following
Tues 29th Dec- 8am – Top of Rock, 10am – On Locations Movie and TV sites movie tour. The one included on the NY Pass only runs Thursday. So we will probably buy this extra) Wander around Times Square, Discovery Times Square, Macys, 8pm -NY Skyride (If possible), 9pm or later – Empire State Building.
Wed 30th Dec – early – 9/11 Memorial, 9/11 Museum, 12pm – SOHO Little Italy china town walking tour, Wall Street and Financial District.
Thurs 31st Dec – Central Park, American Museum Natural History, 3:30pm – Circle Landmark Cruise.

If time permits will fit in somewhere – Grand Central Station, Carnegie Hall, Madam Tousaads.

Do you think the Circle line cruise will be busy or booked out 3:30pm New Years Eve? What about other attractions after lunch on New Years eve?
Will the 9/11 Museum be booked out online prior to us visiting?
Would there be anything else that might be booked out with timed ticketing.
Sorry for all the questions. Just noticed the 20% discount is back on.

PS I guess The Ride would probably be out of the question this time of the year with the pass.

Thanks again,




    I think your plan looks really well put together. It’s a busy schedule but I think you’ll be able to fit all of it in, or at least as much as you want to do while you are actually there.

    I’d be extremely surprised if any of the main attractions was really full on New Year’s Eve, including the Circle Line. It’s true that the city is very crowded that day, but pretty much everyone who comes in special for those days will be doing it for the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration. Anyone who wants to be within the main part of Times Square will have to be in place before noon, so those people obviously won’t be doing the other attractions that day. So as long as you aren’t planning on anything in or near Times Square on NYE, you should be fine. Have a great trip. -Roger

Rahul says:

Hi Roger,

I’m planning on visiting New York City for the long weekend, and have gotten the New York pass for 2 days (Sept 6 & 7th).
Here’s what I have planned. Can you please advise on the feasibility and any recommendations you may have?

Day 1
– Empire State Building
– New York Skyride
– Hop on Hop off Tour
– Times Square sightseeing
– Planet Hollywood
– The Ride
– Madam Tussauds Wax Museum

Day 2
– New York Water Taxi to Battery Park
– Statue of Liberty?. Ferry from Battery Park. Pick up ticket early
– 9/11 Memorial
– 2 hour Circle Line Harbour Cruise
– Central Park
– Top of the Rock Observation Deck at end of the day




    I think your plan looks really well thought out. You’ve done a great job of bunching the attractions together so you can do them efficiently.

    The only thing I’ll mention is that if you are feeling a bit tired on the second day you might actually skip the Statue of Liberty visit. Unless you’ve reserved a spot to go up into the statue, then there isn’t much to see or do on the island itself. And honestly, most people seem to be mainly interested in getting good views of the statue and some nice photos. You’ll get excellent views on the Circle Line boat, so if that is your main goal you could substitute something else for the island visit. There are a few included New York Pass attractions near the Fulton Fish Market area, which is a short walk from the Wall Street area, and it’s a nice place with some good food options as well. Have a great trip. -Roger

Alejandro Perez says:

Hi Roger. I have read all the posts and answers, and they are very interesting. Congratulations!!

I have some questions. We will be visiting New York next week, from 14 to 18 Sept. We will buy the New York Pass for 3 days.

The attractions that we will be visiting are:

* Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
* 911 Memorial and Museum
* 911 Tribute Center
* One World Observatory
* Intrepid sea, air and space museum
* American Museum of Natural History
* Madame Tussauds
* Circle Line Cruise (Full Island Cruise)
* Top of the Rock

1.- I have checked the official pages and some of them require reservation (or preferable), what do you think? Is it necesary?

2.- What about some parts / areas of the attractions that “probably” are not included? I don’t know and that’s why I am asking. For example at the Intrepid Museum, the area with the Space Shuttle and the Concorde airplane. Or at the American Museum of Natural History, the planetarium, IMAEX or 3D projections. Are they included with the NY Pass?

Thanks for your answer and help!!!!

By the way. I know that the One World Observatory is not included with the NY Pass.

And I want to clarify, If I need to do a reservation on some attractions, how can I do it?, because I can´t find the area at the corresponding web site, indicating that I am a NY Pass holder.

Thanks again!



    1. I’m not really sure about which places say they require reservations. I’ve been to most of the attractions on your list using a New York Pass and in all cases I just walked up and looked for the entry queue or in some cases they have a special NY Pass queue. Maybe the Circle Line cruise recommends reservations because there are a fixed number of seats on each boat, but in my experience (and I’ve done the Circle Line about 5 or 6 times because I love it), there is always room. In other words, the boat might hold, say, 600 people, and maybe on the busiest days of the year they get more than that so they have to put the overflow on the next cruise. But the last time I did it was in late August last year and the boat was maybe half full. The cruises are popular, but the boats are big.

    The same is sort of true on the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ferries. They go every 15 minutes or so and those do fill up, but you can just get in line and go on the next one after the full ones. Since you are outside of July and August, the crowds should be down a bit, so it won’t take too long. But still, for that one I recommend going as early in the day as possible because the line builds all day and if you get there early you can just go right on board.

    2. I’m not sure about those additional things that are normally extra fees once you are inside the main attraction. In my past research and experience they are NOT included with the normal New York Pass entry. I’m pretty sure the IMAX thing requires a separate admission, as you’d expect, but I’m not 100% sure.

    What I’d recommend if you have a smart phone would be to download the free New York Pass app (iPhone and Android) and go through the attractions on that. It gives you all the hours and details and everything you need, and it’s very handy once you are in NYC as well. Have a great trip and let me know if you have other questions.


Beth NeeSmith says:

How does New York pass verify if a child is under 13 years old?



    I don’t work for New York Pass, but I have used them several times and also lived in New York so I try to answer questions about them. On this question I really have no idea, though I assume that child ages are on the honor system, which is the norm in the United States. They know that most US residents under the age of 16 won’t have a verified photo ID, so they really have no choice but to trust the parents. I hope that helps. -Roger

Tina Kendal says:

Hi Roger
We’re a mid 40’s couple from Australia and will be in NYC for 2 weeks in mid-Nov this year. We would like to walk around the city as much as possible, but obviously still want to see all the main attractions. The thing is, I don’t want our holiday to be manic as we still like to have some downtime each day. Rather than buying a 10 day pass, would you recommend a 5, or 7 day pass? I believe our hotel is very close to Times Square, which is fine, but wasn’t sure whether buying a pass and taking a (fairy) leisurely approach means we would save real $$.



    I know exactly what you mean about not wanting to feel rushed, and I could really go either way on this answer. On one hand, the 10-day New York Pass is only a bit more expensive than the 7-day version, and it usually has deeper discounts, so the price per day becomes quite low. With that in mind you shouldn’t feel so rushed, and you could even have a couple days where you do one or zero attractions and still get good value. If it were me, I think that’s the way I’d go.

    On the other hand, it’s natural to feel like you have to squeeze out as much value as possible from these city cards, so getting a shorter pass would allow you to have more days where the pressure is totally off. If you are staying for about 14 days, then even with the 10-day pass you’d obviously have 4 days with no pressure to do structured sightseeing. If you buy the 10-day Pass at a big discount then hopefully you’d be able to space out your sightseeing on those days and still get good value.

    So again, there isn’t a clear answer for this, and it mostly comes down to how you’d deal with the longer pass. New York City is huge and packed with worthwhile attractions, but still you’ll almost certainly be able to see the main famous ones in 5 days. Is it worth the extra money to allow yourself to do it all at a more leisurely pace? That’s up to you. Either way, I’m sure you’ll enjoy your visit and that the New York Pass will come in very handy. Good luck. -Roger

Sarah bird says:

Hi Roger
I have followed this advice page for a few months now. I get married on Christmas Eve and we are honeymooning from 27th to 4th January staying in times square for the ball drop (childhood dream for us both)
We are buying the pass and are really looking forward to our first visit to the city together. I haven’t managed to find any info on the helicopter trip, do you happen to know what I can search on the pass website to find info on this trip please? Also, we intend to take full advantage of the pass and see as much as we can during our time. Are there any places/tours that you’re aware of that won’t be operating during the festive period? We are slowly building our itinerary, we don’t want to rush it and miss key elements so are slowly ploughing through info and positioning our days to get the most out of them without tiring ourselves out for the evenings. I am really excited about going on “the ride” which looks an amazing bus tour, full of interactive play. That in itself is a huge saving when put against its stand alone price.
Look forward to hearing some top tips for winter, particularly new year travel from you.
Best wishes
Sarah and James



    Here is the page about the 15% discount on the helicopter ride.

    I agree that “The Ride” looks pretty amazing. The only thing I know about it is that the NY Pass seats fill up quickly so you’ll want to go to the box office in the morning. You might even have to try a couple times, so I’d do that as early in the trip as possible.

    Aside from that, I don’t think you’ll have a problem doing what you want to during that period. Obviously NYC is very popular for New Years visits, but the majority of people only come into town for a couple days so the crowds at the beginning and end of your stay shouldn’t be bad. It will probably be cold, but hopefully not below freezing, at least during the day. Some of the walking tours might not be much fun on very cold days, so if you are going to do one of those it’s probably best to schedule it for a warmer day. The weather forecast there is pretty reliable, so you should know what to expect for your whole stay before you even arrive.

    And I always say this, but I’m a big fan of the Circle Line boat tour, even when you have to stay on the indoor part of the boat. It should be great as long as it isn’t raining at the time, and it offers the best views of the Statue of Liberty. Most of the famous attractions in NYC are indoors, and the subway always moves quickly even if it’s cold or snowy outside, so you should be able to see everything on your list. I can’t really think of any other winter tips, but feel free to ask other questions if you have them. Congrats and have a great trip. -Roger


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