Is the New York Pass 2024 worth it? We review prices and value here

One thing that New York City is famous for is being expensive, and for good reason. It’s an amazing place with some of the world’s most famous attractions, but unfortunately they are almost all pricey. In fact, things like the Empire State Building, Hop-on, hop-off double-decker bus, Circle Line harbor cruise, and Madam Tussauds are all between $40 and $80 EACH! The New York Pass can be a great way to save money and time if you are someone who wants to see the top attractions during a visit of only a few days.

Below we review the New York Pass in full and provide tips for getting the most out of it along with recommendations of who should NOT get the New York Pass. The short version is that the New York Pass can definitely save you money if you are able to plan ahead and start early. New York City also tends to be crowded, but there are great included attractions that are not crowded in the mornings, and others that are open until 10 PM each day. Read on for our advice and feel free to ask questions in the comments at the bottom.

Note: This article was last updated February, 2024. This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, which helps keep this site going.

Price of the early 2024 New York Pass

Adults (ages 13+)

  • 1-day: $150
  • 2-day: $205
  • 3-day: $250
  • 4-day: $291
  • 5-day: $321
  • 6-day: $341
  • 7-day: $361
  • 10-day: $401

Children (ages 4 – 12)

  • 1-day: $110
  • 2-day: $135
  • 3-day: $170
  • 4-day: $191
  • 5-day: $211
  • 6-day: $231
  • 7-day: $256
  • 10-day: $288

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

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT for PriceOfTravel readers: Save 5% off all New York Passes using the link below and the promo code “GO5POT”. Look for “Have a promo code? Click here” in Review Your Order in the checkout process to enter the code. If a larger discount is available you’ll get the lowest price with the link.

Note: If you decide to purchase you can buy the New York Pass here at 5% off or the lowest available price.

As of 2024, the New York Pass is all online and downloadable instantly for free. You’ll download the New York Pass app and your purchase will activate the valid pass that you’ll show when you enter each attraction.

Most popular attractions included with the New York Pass

  • Big Bus Hop-on, Hop-off Double Decker Bus Tour: $80
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum: $33
  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Ferry: $24
  • Empire State Building: $51
  • Edge (new open-air glass platform 100 stories high): $50
  • Circle Line harbor cruise: Up to $49
  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA): $30
  • Guggenheim Museum: $30
  • American Museum of Natural History: $28
  • Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum: $33
  • Madame Tussauds + MARVEL Universe 4D: $48
  • Madison Square Garden All Access Tour: $37
  • Top of the Rock observation deck: $43
  • One World Observatory – New observation deck on the 102nd floor: $48
  • RiseNY – Simulated ride over New York’s rooftops and more: $42

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.

New for 2024: There are now FOUR observation decks included!

The Empire State Building and Top of the Rock observation decks have been included with the New York Pass for decades, but as of 2024 there are two new and very impressive observation decks in town and both of them are also included.

Edge, located in the new Hudson Yards complex might be the most impressive of all of them. It’s a huge glass deck on the 100th floor with views of all of Midtown Manhattan and the Hudson River, with only a glass retainer holding you back so you can get the best photos without all sorts of gates in the way.

One World Observatory is also new in the landmark building where the World Trade Center used to stand, so you’ll be passing by it for sure anyway.

These observation decks each cost around $45, which seems expensive, but isn’t so bad if you have the New York Pass and can literally do all of them in a day or two. Better still, all of them are open until at least 8 or 9 PM each evening, so it’s perfect to save at least one for after sunset. You’ll be tired and almost everything else will be closed for the day, but you don’t need much energy to hop on an elevator that takes you to an observation deck.

Recommended New York Pass attractions in brief

Hop-on, hop-off bus tour ($80)

New York is filled with famous sights and the best way to see most of the top sights in a short time is on the double-decker hop-on, hop-off bus. All two included routes (Downtown Loop and Uptown Loop) have convenient stops in or very near Times Square. I highly recommend taking the full Downtown Loop on your first full morning in town. The Downtown Loop is more interesting and runs more frequently (every 20 minutes compared to every 60 minutes). Both leave from the same place in Times Square, so you can easily jump on the next Uptown Loop after you finish Downtown. The Uptown Loop gives you a great tour of Central Park and Midtown Manhattan.

Circle Line Cruise ($41 to $49)

You’ll see more than half of the famous sights from the hop-on, hop-off bus, and you’ll see all the rest on these excellent Circle Line Cruises. Combine the cruise with one lap on the HOHO bus and you’ll feel like you’ve seen most of New York City in one day.

Better still, they all spend 10 minutes right in front of the Statue of Liberty, so this is the best way to see it up close and to take the best photos. When I lived in NYC I would always take the Circle Line cruise with every visitor who came to town, so I’ve done it at least 6 or 7 times now. It’s a bit of a hassle getting to the dock, but once onboard it’s WAY better than anyone expects.

Empire State Building and Top of the Rock Observation Deck (about $50 each)

Manhattan looks impressive from the ground, and even more impressive from the observation decks on the tops of these buildings near Midtown. Do one during the day and the other at night for the best combination.

Madame Tussauds + MARVEL Universe 4D $48

If you’ve never been in one of these wax museums, you’ll honestly be amazed. You can be in and out in an hour or so, and since it’s included with the New York Pass and located in the heart of Times Square, it’s a quick thrill and excellent value. The attraction now includes a “4D” cinema experience featuring various characters from the Marvel Universe.

Here's a great way to build an itinerary for 2 or 3 days with a New York Pass

If you are like most others, your visit to New York City will be 4 days or fewer and the 2-day or 3-day New York Pass will be all the time you have. If this is the case you can maximize your time AND see the most memorable sights by starting with an itinerary like this.

Day 1: Hop-on, hop-off bus tour, Empire State Building (daytime), Madame Tussauds, and one other attraction of your choice

Day 2: Circle Line Cruise, 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Met Museum (or something else), and Top of the Rock observation deck at night.

Even if you only have two sightseeing days in New York City, you can do the attractions above quite easily in two days. Altogether they would cost around $350 for an adult, and a 2-day New York Pass is still under $200 (using a discount). If you have a third sightseeing day you can usually get a 3-day New York Pass for only a bit more because there are often promotional prices, and you’ll still have another full day to get value and see the things that interest you most.

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 2018 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 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 $150 on admission fees. Once you download the New York Pass app, which you can do for free before buying, you’ll see that more and more attractions require an advance reservation. You can make most of those reservations in the app as well, so it saves time before you even get there..

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.

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

Important advice: Start early and plan ahead

Once in a while I’ll get a message from someone who bought the New York Pass and didn’t feel like it was good value. I’ve noticed that these unfortunate visitors tend to make two major mistakes, and if you can avoid them you should be very happy with your purchase.

1. Start early in the day, around 9am if possible

Believe it or not, even New York City’s top attractions tend to be somewhat uncrowded in the morning, so getting an early start is essential. If you can leave your hotel by around 9am you’ll have time for two popular attractions before lunch, and then time for two or three more before dinner. You’ll still have the whole evening open for dinner and other fun, or you can visit the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock observation decks for amazing views as they are at least as impressive at night and you should plan on doing at least one of them after dark. But if you don’t get out until almost noon, you’ll feel rushed and behind schedule all day because every place you go will be crowded.

2. Plan your route ahead of time

Many of NYC’s top attractions are clustered together, so if you plan ahead you can see a few things in a short time on foot. The New York Pass comes with a free and handy smart phone app (you can download it before you even buy a NY Pass), and it has all the included attractions on one map, with the hours and description for each just one click away. If you plan your route before you leave in the morning you can see a lot, but if you only plan one thing at a time you’ll quickly get frustrated.

About the hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus that is included

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.

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. On this latest update in early 2024 we noticed that prices of MOST of the top attractions have gone up by around $5 each in the second half of 2023. The New York Pass price went up a bit as well, but it’s still now an even better deal for those who want to see the most famous attractions on their visit.

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

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT for PriceOfTravel readers: Save 5% off all New York Passes using the link below and the promo code “GO5POT”. Look for “Have a promo code? Click here” in Review Your Order in the checkout process to enter the code. If a larger discount is available you’ll get the lowest price with the link.

Note: If you decide to purchase you can buy the New York Pass here at 5% off or the lowest available price.

Short video showing New York Pass highlights

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  1. Vicki says:

    Comment*today is 4/22/22, I’m trying to use the GOPOT10 discount code & it says it is invalid or expired. Your site claims that the discount is available until 12/31/22. Please advise if there is a new code for savings!

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Vicki,

      Sorry about that. This program had been somewhat dormant for most of the last two years and it sounds like they are having problems getting everything organized again. My contact there is out until next week and their backup hasn’t gotten back to me. Hopefully by the time you read this the discount will be working properly again. -Roger