Is the New York Pass 2014 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 our New York City attraction prices page, and also be sure to check the 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.

Price of the 2014 New York Pass

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: $17
  • Empire State Building: $27
  • Circle Line harbor cruise: Up to $38
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: $25 (suggested)
  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA): $25
  • Guggenheim Museum: $22
  • Whitney Museum of American Art: $20
  • American Museum of Natural History: $22
  • Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum: $29
  • Madam Tussauds Wax Museum: $39
  • NBC Studio Tour: $24
  • Top of the Rock observation deck: $27

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 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?

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

Who SHOULD NOT get the New York Pass?

  1. Backpackers or those on very tight budgets
  2. 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.



24 Responses to “Is the New York Pass 2014 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..

     
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.

Enjoy!

 
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

 

    Elaine,

    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?

Rgds,
Galvin

 

    Galvin,

    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 pass.how many shows or places can i go see in a day realistically? thanks,Tunes

 

    Pertunia,

    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?

 

    Coy,

    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

 

    Cesmon,

    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).”

       

        Cesmon,

        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

         

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