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 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 the New York Pass and who’s better off without it, 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.
Price of the 2015 New York Pass
(New York Pass prices usually go up in January or February, but passes bought soon are valid for 12 months)
Adults (ages 13+)
- 1-day: $85
- 2-day: $130
- 3-day: $180
- 5-day: $210
- 7-day: $230
Children (ages 4 – 12)
- 1-day: $60
- 2-day: $110
- 3-day: $140
- 5-day: $155
- 7-day: $165
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: $29
- Circle Line harbor cruise: Up to $40
- Metropolitan Museum of Art: $25 (suggested)
- Museum of Modern Art (MOMA): $25
- Guggenheim Museum: $22
- American Museum of Natural History: $22
- Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum: $24
- Madam Tussauds Wax Museum: $39
- NBC Studio Tour: $24
- Top of the Rock observation deck: $29
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.
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
Note for visitors from May through October
The queues for attractions tend to be very long from June through September, and they can be ridiculous during July and August. Being able to skip a 2-hour ticket-buying line twice a day could be worth a LOT during busy months. Combined with the outdoor heat, the ability to walk straight into the top attractions could really enhance your entire visit. If you are otherwise on the fence then you should really consider getting the pass during summer visits.
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.