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. Sharon says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful and comprehensive reply – will definitely check out your suggestions.. re: timing and locations (not to mention MLS competition breakdown!). – thanks again!

  2. Sharon Guger says:

    Roger – Really appreciate the time and research put into this updated article. We will be visiting this Thursday – Sunday with our daughters (11 & 13)… I’m thinking the NY Pass is the best way for us to show them the city and hit the “biggies”. Any other advice given it’s the holiday season? Best times to go to Empire State, Landmarks cruise, Christmas markets? Also … sports restaurant recommendation to watch the MLS Cup Saturday afternoon? Sorry for extra questions… Thanks so much!

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Sharon,

      New York City is always crowded on weekends, and I’m sure the stores will be jammed this coming weekend, but I don’t think the main tourist sights will be overly full.

      The Empire State Building is open from 8am until 2am, and it’s quite busy from about 11am until 8pm, so if you can go before or after that you’ll have shorter queues. I also recommend trying to do one of those observation decks during the day and the other one (Top of the Rock) after dark because the city is so beautiful all lit up and the experiences are very different.

      I would also try to avoid spending much time in the Times Square area. It’s an amazing place to see and you definitely want to go through it at least once, but all of the businesses and restaurants in the area are almost completely focused on tourists, which means that they tend to be expensive and don’t care much about quality because they never get repeat business. Also, 34th Street is lined with large chain stores and they will be packed, so I would avoid that area (unless you want to do some shopping).

      The Circle Line Landmarks cruise only goes at 3:30pm each day in the colder months, so you won’t have a choice. Or you could do the Best of NYC cruise at noon each day. I’m a huge fan of the Circle Line cruises because New York looks so different from the water and you can actually see MUCH more than when you are among the tall buildings. Even the one-hour Liberty Cruise is really nice, and ALL of their cruises spend about 10 minutes in front of the Statue of Liberty so you can get the best photos.

      The evening Christmas markets in Bryant Park and in Union Square are the most centrally located ones, but there are a few others you might pass around town. Some of the big stores on Fifth Avenue near Rockefeller Center have famous holiday window displays that you might also look for.

      As for where to watch the MLS Cup final, I think you’ll be able to find it playing in many bars all over New York City. My favorite soccer bar in NYC was called Nevada Smith and it was a mad house for every game, but it’s now closed. The good news is that the match is on at 4:30pm on ESPN, and the only college football game that day is Army vs Navy. So just about any bar with two more more TVs would probably have the MLS game already on or would happily turn it on if you asked. Many pubs in NYC serve a full food menu and allow kids, so if that is what you have in mind you’ll just have to look around near your hotel or in whatever area you happen to be in. Personally, I would avoid any place in or very close to Times Square, although there are some good places on 9th Avenue just a block away. I prefer Greenwich Village for bars and restaurants. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

  3. Margaret says:

    Hi I am looking at arriving in newyork on 21/12 for 5 days, what is the best pass I can buy to visit the major attractions and do I need to buy a ticket to visit big apple and statue of liberty.

    Appreciate your input

    Thankyou Margaret

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Margaret,

      I’ll be happy to try to help. I’m not sure what you mean by a ticket to visit big apple. It’s just the nickname of the city. As for the Statue of Liberty, you can only visit the island on a ferry service that leaves southern Manhattan (and also New Jersey) and goes first to Ellis Island and then to Liberty Island. You have to reserve long in advance to be able to go up inside the statue. Visiting both islands is free after you pay for the ferry service, which is included in the New York Pass.

      Generally the New York Pass is the best one because it includes almost everything that people are interested in, as well as the hop-on, hop-off bus, and several choices of the famous Circle Line Cruises around Manhattan. To be honest, visiting Liberty Island is kind of boring and time consuming, plus you don’t get great photos from the base of it. And Ellis Island is interesting for people who know the story, but many people don’t seem to care much. You can get the best photos of the Statue of Liberty on the Circle Line Cruise boats, all of which spend 5 to 10 minutes facing the Statue of Liberty so everyone gets the perfect photos. Let me know if you have other questions. -Roger

  4. Heather Ferrigno says:

    Thank you for the advice, this is great!

  5. Heather Ferrigno says:

    Is it advisable o do the 2.5 circle line cruise for the best value and overall sightseeing?

    Any other great places to visit in NY with young children on the pass?

    Thanks!

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Heather,

      Actually, especially in your case when you’ll be a bit short on time, I’d recommend the 90-minute Landmarks Cruise, although if the 2.5 hour cruise has a better departure time that might be even better. The two cruises cover about 80% of the same sights, so in that extra hour of the longer one you only get a few more things and also some fairly long stretches with no narration as the boat goes around the northern tip of Manhattan. Personally, I’ve done them all and if I’m not in a hurry I enjoy the longer one, but I think children might get bored in that extra time. The longer one used to be 3 hours so evidently they go faster now, which is helpful and maybe it’s even a better choice.

      As for other things to do with younger children, the first thing that comes to mind is the Museum of Natural History, which is of course home to the Night at the Museum movies, as well as those famous dinosaur bones and many other animal displays. Madame Tussauds is near Times Square and it’s far more interesting than many people expect, and you can enjoy a great visit in an hour or so. But with a 3 and 5-year-old, they probably would have no idea who they are seeing so maybe not. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

  6. Heather Ferrigno says:

    Is the NY pass worth it for a 1 day trip with a group of 11 with 2 children (ages 3 and 5) if we do the 9/11 museum, circle line cruise, top of the rock during the day and empire state building at night? Or are those 4 things on one day not really feasible?

    Also, if we have the pass and get to skip the line will we be able to go into the attraction right then or do we receive a ticket to come back at a specific time?

    Thanks, Heather

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Heather,

      It looks like the total price of those 4 attractions is $133 for an adult, and of course a 1-day New York Pass is $109 so it does look like it would save you money. You should also be able to save time as well, at least at Top of the Rock since it has a Fast-Track entry line. And the convenience of being able to just show the passes at the other attractions rather than having to fumble with cash or credit cards is also a benefit. At Top of the Rock you can almost always just go right up once you have your ticket. They only load so many people in the elevators at the bottom, and the elevators coming down are usually full as well. If you go in the morning to Top of the Rock you shouldn’t have to wait long to be up top. In the afternoon it can be busier, but since it’s open from 8am to midnight, it rarely gets overloaded.

      As for doing all four of those on one day, you can do it for sure, as long as you start early and plan well. Saving one of the observation decks for the evening is very wise, as the view at night is obviously very different from the day. The Circle Line Cruises are 2 to 3 hours depending on the one you choose, so you’ll have plenty of time for the 9/11 Memorial and Top of the Rock during the day as well. All of these things are less crowded early and more crowded later, so if you can do two of them before lunch and one after you’ll be able to pace yourself well. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

  7. Andrew says:

    Hi I’m going to new York for 7 nights at the beginning of September. I have purchased 5 day passes. We were planning to take a trip to Coney Island. Would you recommend? How long would we need a full day or would a half day be sufficient?

    Thanks.

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Andrew,

      Coney Island is an interesting place, but it’s not really like a proper theme park. One of the challenges is that it takes quite some time to get down there. It takes about an hour to get there by subway from Manhattan. Depending on traffic you might get there in 40 to 50 minutes by taxi or Uber, or maybe a bit quicker if you went fairly early in the morning. At this point it’s really just an old-timey amusement park and I’d think that 2 or 3 hours there would be enough for most people. It’s not like, say, Great Adventure, which is the biggest nearby theme park that people typically spend a full day in. I hope this answer helps. -Roger

  8. Anastasia says:

    Hi, Roger!
    I’m coming to NYC on June,12 and I have 2 full days and 3 nights there . I was planning to buy NY pass for 1 day. I’m planning to pick it up in the morning and than go straight to Top of the Rock, after that just a quick stop at Grand Central Station ( to take some gossip girl pictures lol) and after that I was planning to go to Pier 79 and take a water taxi. It lets people hop on and off and I thought that it would be a nice way to travel to 9/11 memorial and take a look at Wall Street and after that to hop on water taxi again and travel close to the Statue of Liberty. If I got it right they do swim near the Statue of Liberty, don’t they? What do you think ? Is it an “ok” route ? And with that water taxi we could go back to Pier 79 and visit something else – Times Square, for example. And Empire State Building in the evening )

    And the second day will be mostly free attractions – Brooklyn bridge in the morning, Brooklyn Heights with nice views of Mangattan , Carrie Bradshaw apt and Central Park . I know we will me overwhelmed by so many places to see, but I want to make the most out of this trip 🙂

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Anastasia,

      This sounds like a really fun trip with the TV sights and all. I love doing that sort of thing myself. It looks like the New York Water Taxi has expanded their route since the last time I’ve ridden it a few years ago. It looks like you are exactly right in that they make a special visit to the prime photo and viewing position for the Statue of Liberty. I’m very fond of the Circle Line Tours since they do the same thing and also include an interesting tour, but it appears that the Water Taxi is now quite similar so I’ve a feeling it will be almost as good, plus it makes those extra stops.

      Times Square is definitely worth walking through at least once, and I also like the idea of doing the other skyscraper at night because the views and feeling are so different. I think your plan looks great and you should have enough time to do at least one more included thing with the New York Pass as well. Madame Tussauds is near the southern tip of Times Square, and those places are far more entertaining than you might expect. If the queue isn’t too long, you could even pop in for 30 minutes or so because it’s free/included. Have a great trip and let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

  9. David says:

    I will be visiting new york for 7 days. May27-Jun3. Its just me and my wife(both 21 and over) dont like museums. Reading thru the article i suggest a 5 day pass should do. There is multipe passes to choose from, what would you recommend? New york pass or city pass?

    1. Roger Wade says:

      David,

      The City Pass focuses more on museums, and to be honest, one of the included attractions (the Metropolitan Museum of Art) is a “suggested” donation rather than a fixed entry fee. The New York Pass, on the other hand, includes dozens of non-museum attractions, including nearly all of the blockbusters such as the Circle Line Tour, the hop-on, hop-off bus tour, the Empire State Building AND the Top of the Rock, and Madame Tussauds (far better than you’d expect) just to name a few. On a 5-day Pass with the current discount, it’s $50 per day, and you can easily get close to $100 per day in value out of it. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

  10. Fernando says:

    Currently there is a 20% discount to buy online. I’m going to New York in October. Do you think until the date of my trip I will find an equal discount or is it better to buy now?

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Fernando,

      The 20% discount has been the biggest discount since I’ve been tracking this, which is about 5 years now. They seem to offer the 20% at least once a month, although in past years they’ve offered smaller discounts in the summer months. So if you keep watching you’ll probably see 20% again, but nothing more, and it’s even a bit uncertain. Best of luck with this. -Roger