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To say that there’s a lot to see in New York City would be the understatement of the century! There are a ton of things to do in NYC, and it’s not known for being a cheap place to visit, so the costs can quickly add up.
That’s why when we were planning our first visit we started looking into the types of sightseeing passes in New York. For us, one of the top choices is the New York Explorer Pass by Go City because it’s a way to save money and still get to experience all of New York City’s top attractions.
From walking tours to museum tickets, the pass by Go City covers a ton of the best things to do in New York and it also gives you a lot of flexibility. You can even use it to go up the Empire State Building or take the ferry to visit the Statue of Liberty!
So if you’re wondering whether the Go City New York Explorer pass is worth it, we’ve put together this guide to help you decide and fill you in on everything you should know before you buy one!
1. What is the Go City New York Explorer Pass?
Go City New York is a pass that covers a ton of New York’s most popular attractions to help you save money on your trip.
You get to choose how many attractions you would like the pass to cover, from 2 to 10, so it’s a nice and flexible option. It’s also ideal if you’ve been to the city before and don’t want to repeat a lot of what you’ve already done!
With the Go City New York Pass, you get the freedom to build your own itinerary and decide which attractions you want to see. Over 40 attractions and activities are covered by the pass, and you get up to 60 days to use it, so New York City really is your oyster.
The prices for the Go City NY are as follows:
- $79 USD for 2 attractions
- $107 USD for 3 attractions
- $137 USD for 4 attractions
- $164 USD for 5 attractions
- $184 USD for 6 attractions
- $204 USD for 7 attractions
- $264 USD for 10 attractions
So if you get the 2-choice pass, you’re paying $39.50 USD per attraction, whereas, with the 10-choice pass, you pay just $26.40 USD per activity. We definitely think it’s worth it to opt for a bigger pass if you’re in the city for a few days since it covers so many fantastic attractions. Basically, it just makes sightseeing in New York City a whole lot cheaper!
2. How does the Go City New York Explorer Pass work?
Go City’s New York Explorer Pass bundles together different sightseeing attractions to help you save money when you visit the Big Apple.
It’s basically a DIY kind of pass so you can pick and choose exactly what you want it to include! You can select how many attractions you want the pass to cover with the basic pass including two top sights or opt for a pass that includes up to 10.
You buy the Pass by Go City online and then it’s delivered to your phone, along with a digital guide that helps you to check entry requirements and open times, and make bookings using the pass.
Whatever level of pass you get, you’ll then be able to use it on your choice of 42 New York attractions. So, for example, if you pick a 3-choice pass, you could use it to go up the Empire State Building, visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and rent a bicycle in Central Park. Or, you could redeem it on an entirely different set of activities!
Some of the activities covered by the pass still need reservations, but as we said, it comes with a handy digital guide that tells you exactly how to book tickets using the pass and when all the attractions are open. You’ll get your reservations delivered straight to your phone, and then you can show them at the entrance to your chosen attraction.
And for the attractions that you don’t need to book in advance, you can just show your Go City Explorer Pass when you arrive.
Your pass is valid for 60 days, starting from the date you visit your first attraction. We think this is a really great bonus because it means you don’t have to try to cram everything into a day or two. So if you’re planning a day trip to Niagara Falls from New York or will be returning to New York later on in your trip, the pass doesn’t expire right away.
It’s that flexibility to enjoy sightseeing at your own pace that really drew us in!
3. Go City vs. New York Pass vs. CityPASS® NYC
As you might expect, there are quite a few different passes available in New York, what with it being one of the most visited cities in the world and all!
Each of the passes is different, so we think it’s worth checking them all out and seeing which one suits you best. We’ll go through a quick breakdown here!
Go City vs. New York Pass
The New York Pass is a multi-day pass that covers over 100 attractions. There are different durations available, from one to 10 days. There’s no limit to the number of attractions you can visit in that time so it has a bit of an all-inclusive feel!
Prices for the pass by Go City range from $79 USD for the 2-choice pass to $264 USD for the 10-choice pass.
Meanwhile, prices for The New York Pass range from $149 USD for one day to $399 USD for 10 days. It’s more expensive, but you might be able to visit more attractions this way. The most cost-effective option for you depends on how much you want to see and how much time you have to do it!
When I went to New York, I used The New York Pass to see as much as I could. We actually have a full review on The New York Pass if you go with this option. But the next time I go to NYC, I will probably use the Go City NY pass to tick off the attractions I didn’t get around to visiting and go back to my favorites!
Go City vs. CityPASS® NYC
Then, you get to choose three more attractions out of a total of six. These are:
- Top of the Rock Observation Deck
- Ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- 9/11 Memorial and Museum
- A Circle Line sightseeing cruise
- Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum
- The Guggenheim Museum
We like the fact that the CityPASS® NYC makes planning your trip really simple. When you’re looking at a long list of dozens of attractions, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but using the CityPASS® helps you to narrow it down.
On the other hand, Go City allows you to choose the number of attractions you want to visit and gives you a much broader choice. It’s also valid for up to 60 days, whereas the CityPASS® is only valid for nine, so it’s a good choice if you’ll be in New York for a while.
In terms of price, the CityPASS® NYC costs $138 USD per person, which covers five attractions. Meanwhile, the 5-choice option for the Go City costs $159 USD, so it’s slightly more expensive. Still, there’s a much bigger list of attractions to choose from, so that extra $21 USD might be worth it!
4. What attractions can you visit with the New York Explorer Pass by Go City?
A better question would be “what attractions CAN’T you visit with the Go City New York pass?” Honestly, this pass gives you so much choice that it’s hard to know where to start! But with that said, we’ve narrowed it down to some of the highlights.
One of the best things to do in New York City is admire its world-famous skyline from above. Therefore, a visit to at least one observation deck is a must, although we’d recommend doing more if you can!
The GPass by Go City covers four out of five of New York’s observation decks, including the iconic Empire State Building, which had been on our bucket lists for a while. It was easily one of the top things we did in the city and it was handy to have the experience already paid for as part of a pass.
New York is home to a ton of great museums and lots of them are covered by the pass by Go City.
You can check out art at the Guggenheim or the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), find out if you’ve got what it takes to be a spy at Spyscape or learn something new at the American Museum of Natural History.
You can also use the pass by Go City New York to visit the poignant 9/11 Memorial and Museum. This really is a must while you’re in New York, as the 9/11 terror attacks deeply affected not only the city of New York, but the entire world. It’s one of those events that you can place the exact moment you heard about it – both of us have vivid memories of that.
The pass also covers the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and Fotografiska New York where you can see photography exhibitions from some of the world’s best-known photographers.
Any New Yorker will tell you that New York is a super walkable city, and walking tours are a fantastic way to get to know the different characters of New York’s distinct and varied neighborhoods.
You can use the pass by Go City to take walking tours of famous areas like Broadway, Greenwich Village, Chinatown, Wall Street, and Little Italy. You can also tour Chelsea Market and the Meatpacking District and take a guided walk over the Highline, which we absolutely loved doing when we visited New York!
And if you need a break from walking, you can also use the pass to rent a bike and explore Central Park or enjoy a Big Bus tour of either uptown or downtown NYC. We did both routes of the bus tour when we were here and really enjoyed them!
You can also book an awesome “On Location” movie tour using the pass, during which you’ll see tons of famous sights from iconic TV shows and films, including Friends, When Harry Met Sally, Gossip Girl, Oceans 8, Homeland, and soooo many more.
If that’s not enough, this pass also covers tours to iconic NYC landmarks like the Yankee Stadium or Rockefeller Center!
The pass by Go City is a must if you’re keen to do lots of guided tours in the city, as it can save you so much money.
There are also some very kid-friendly activities included in the pass by Go City, so we think it’s a great option for families. You can use the pass to visit the Legoland Discovery Center in Winchester, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, or the Escape Virtuality Museum which is a lot of fun for kids and adults alike.
5. Is the Go City New York Explorer Pass worth it?
Yes, it can really save you a lot of money!
Let’s say you visited the Empire State Building observation deck, the Edge, and the 9/11 Museum (which just so happen to be three of the best things we did while in NYC). If you bought the tickets separately, they would cost you approximately $124 USD. However, if you purchased the 3-choice pass by Go City, you would only pay $107 USD, saving you $17 USD.
And the more attractions you visit using the pass, the more money you save. So if you added a visit to the MoMA and a movie sightseeing tour of the city, the “would-be” total comes to $210 USD. However, with the 5-choice pass by Go City, you’d only pay $164 USD.
You could put that almost $50 USD you saved towards a nice meal in the city, some cocktails at one of NYC’s awesome speakeasies, or just save it for another trip!
So in short, yes, the pass is definitely worth it because it’s a fantastic way to save money. And it’s also super easy to use and make reservations with, so there’s no real downside! It’s just as easy to use the pass as it is to book tickets separately, and it’s definitely cheaper.
Other Things to do While You’re in New York City
While a pass by Go City helps you get into some of the best attractions in the city, there’s no shortage of things to do in New York! I mean you could spend weeks here and still not see a fraction of what the Big Apple has to offer. But if you only have a few days and want some ideas of other must-do activities, here are our recommendations:
- Eat pizza! – New York was home to the first pizzeria in the US way back in the early 1900s and it’s still something this city is known for. I dare say the pizza here is legendary! Top pizza joints include John’s of Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village and we loved 2 Bros Pizza. Since not many food tours are included in a pass by Go City make sure to book a food tour of Chelsea Market to try lots of treats!
- Visit Central Park – This park is basically a movie star! Central Park is huge with great spots like a historic carousel, Belvedere Castle, and even a skating rink in the winter. While Go City includes bike rentals, you can feel like you’re starring in a rom-com aboard this horse and carriage ride. It’s 45 minutes around Central Park and a fantastic way to travel in style.
- Fly above NYC – Exploring on the ground is fun, but to truly appreciate the New York skyline, take to the air! Joining a helicopter flight in NYC gives you a front-row seat (or hopefully a window seat!) to all the iconic sights like the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty. We chose this 15-minute helicopter flight that flew over Manhattan and it was a highlight, if not THE highlight of our whole trip!
- Cross the Brooklyn Bridge – New York can be expensive, but strolling over the Brooklyn Bridge is completely free! The views of the skyline are stellar and there are lots of vendors if you get hungry. We recommend walking all the way across to Brooklyn Bridge Park for the best views of Manhattan.
- Take a day trip – Not only is NYC full of fun, but it’s close to other amazing destinations you can visit for a day! Head to Washington, DC to check out the White House, try some amazing Philly Cheesesteak and see the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, or take a tour from New York to Niagara Falls.
Where to Stay in New York City
New York City is huge – there is just no other way to put it! Even Manhattan (the area you’ll want to base yourself in) is a lot bigger than you think. That’s why choosing the right hotel in the right location is so important during your stay in New York.
Below, we’ve simplified it all for you by choosing a couple of the very best hotels available in the city. All three of these options have ideal locations close to attractions and the subway system. They all have amazing reviews, too, so just choose the one in your budget category and you’ll be ready to pack your bags!
Motto by Hilton – $$$
Motto by Hilton is a gorgeous hotel located in the Chelsea neighborhood only 600 meters from the Flatiron Building. The hotel features modern decor that has “speakeasy vibes”. In fact, they have a beautiful bar onsite that looks like the perfect place to sip an Old Fashioned. There are a variety of rooms on offer including some that are a little more budget-friendly, and some that are pure luxury with city views!
Prices start from about $400 USD per night plus tax. You can check prices and availability for Motto by Hilton online here!
TBA Times Square – $$
TBA Times Square is where we stayed the last time we visited New York, and honestly, we loved it! This hotel is the perfect combination of comfort and value for money. It was clean, modern, and our room had all of the amenities we needed for an enjoyable stay (air conditioning, k-cup coffee maker, steamer, large shower, big windows, etc). Plus, the location is ideal, it’s only a couple blocks from Times Square!
Prices do range, but they do go as low as $200 USD per night plus tax depending on the time of year and day of the week. You can check prices and book the TBA Times Square online here!
Nap York Central Park Sleep Station – $
For those traveling on a tight budget, Nap York is a budget hostel that’s an ideal choice. Although affordable, this property is immaculate and offers a ton of amenities for a great stay including air conditioning and a shared kitchen. The rooms are modern and the location is about as central as it gets! This property only offers dorm rooms, but they are affordable at as little as $150 USD per night.
Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!
We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.
They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!
Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)
Thanks for reading!
While you’re planning a trip to New York, the New York Explorer Pass by Go City is a great choice to consider for your first visit or a returning trip! The biggest advantage to us is that you can pick and choose which attractions to include to make your own agenda of must-do things. It’s a way to save money and see exactly what you came to the city for. If you’re set on buying your own pass, you can purchase a pass by Go City here!
Hopefully, this guide has helped you prepare for your own trip to the City that Never Sleeps. If you’re in the midst of trip planning, have a look through our other blogs about the USA. We also write a ton about traveling in Canada if you’re headed that way soon. Here are a few related blogs I think you might like!