Is the New York Pass 2022 worth it? We review prices and value here

New York City has a reputation for being expensive for tourists and it really does deserve that reputation. The best and most famous attractions in the city are, on average, the most expensive in the world. If you want to experience the Empire State Building and the 9/11 Memorial those things don’t come cheap. There are many experiences such as walking through Times Square or Central Park that are free, but the best tours and sights are very pricey. The good news is that the New York Pass can get you into all of the most famous (and most expensive) attractions for a flat price. It’s not for everyone, but if you are interested in experiencing the top sights in a short time the New York Pass can definitely save you time and money.

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. Prices in New York City in general are some of the highest in the world, but the thrills and sights are also among the world’s best. Buying a New York Pass can help you limit costs while still allowing you to do everything on your list. We will discuss who should consider the pass and who shouldn’t in the article below.

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 March, 2022. 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.

COVID Updates in 2022 for the NY Pass

As you would probably guess, many of the included attractions in the New York Pass have been closed off and on since March, 2020. Now that it’s 2022, things are looking up and it looks likely that vaccinated visitors will be able to explore New York City almost completely.

Even though many attractions have raised prices since early 2020, the New York Pass itself is now quite a bit cheaper than before. It’s a MUCH better deal than it used to be, at least for the time being.

New York Passes are good for two years from the date or purchase AND they will give a full refund of any unused passes for the first year. With that in mind, there isn’t much risk if you buy a New York Pass, and prices will probably go back up once things are closer to back to normal.

Price of the 2022 New York Pass

Adults (ages 13+)

  • 1-day: $129
  • 2-day: $174
  • 3-day: $199
  • 4-day: $229
  • 5-day: $259
  • 7-day: $299
  • 10-day: $339

Children (ages 4 – 12)

  • 1-day: $99
  • 2-day: $144
  • 3-day: $154
  • 4-day: $164
  • 5-day: $179
  • 7-day: $199
  • 10-day: $244

The attraction 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 10% off or the lowest available price.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT for PriceOfTravel readers: Save 10% off all New York Passes using the link above and the promo code “NYPOT10”. Look for “Promo code? Click here” in Step 4 of the checkout process to enter the code. If a larger discount is available you’ll get the lowest price with the link.

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

  • Big Bus Hop-on, Hop-off Double Decker Bus Tour: $59
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum: $28
  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Ferry: $24
  • Empire State Building: $45
  • The RIDE (interactive bus tour): $79
  • Circle Line harbor cruise: Up to $44
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: $25 (suggested)
  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA): $25
  • Guggenheim Museum: $25
  • American Museum of Natural History: $23
  • Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum: $33
  • Madame Tussauds Wax Museum: $40
  • Top of the Rock observation deck: $43

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.

BIG NEWS: Mobile ticket now available

You can get free and instant delivery of the New York Pass to your smart phone, rather than having to pick the tickets up in New York or paying $8 and up for delivery. The New York Pass has long had an excellent mobile app (iPhone and Android) that already serves as a helpful and free guidebook to New York’s most popular destinations, and now you can use that same app as your New York Pass after you purchase a mobile ticket.

Suggested itineraries for New York Passes to get the best value

Many people have asked me where they should go on their first New York City visit of only 1, 2, or 3 days using a New York Pass. Rather than answering each time, I wrote this article that many people should find helpful.

>>>Best New York Pass itineraries for 1, 2, and 3-day passes to get the most value

Recommended New York Pass attractions in brief

Hop-on, hop-off bus tour ($59)

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 three included routes have convenient stops in or very near Times Square.

Circle Line Cruise ($37 to $44)

You’ll see more than half of the famous sights from the HOHO 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.

Empire State Building and Top of the Rock Observation Deck ($45 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 Museum $40

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.

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 $300 for an adult, and a 2-day New York Pass is still under $200. 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.

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. 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.

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 10% off OR the lowest price available.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT for PriceOfTravel readers: Save 10% off all New York Passes using the link above and the promo code “NYPOT10”. Look for “Promo code? Click here” in Step 4 of the checkout process to enter the code. If a larger discount is available you’ll get the lowest price with the link.

Short video showing New York Pass highlights

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All Comments

  1. 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?

    1. Roger Wade says:

      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

  2. 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.

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Loom,

      I believe the New York CityPass does allow for queue skipping, although with far fewer attractions. -Roger

  3. 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

    1. Roger Wade says:

      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

  4. 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!

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Stephanie,

      Nope, there are no time restrictions on the New York Pass. Each valid day is good from open to close for everything. -Roger

  5. 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

    1. Roger Wade says:

      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

  6. 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! 🙂

  7. 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

    1. Roger Wade says:

      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

  8. 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!

    1. Caroline says:

      Where do i find a discount code for July 2014 for the new york pass

      1. Roger Wade says:

        At the moment, in Spring 2014, New York Pass isn’t running any discount codes. If they start them up again, I will have the discount code on this page. -Roger

  9. 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!

  10. 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)

    1. 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..

    2. 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..

      1. 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!