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If you’re determined to see as much as humanly possible on your trip to the Big Apple, then having The New York Pass is a must!
With a New York Pass in hand, you’ll have access to over 100 attractions for up to 10 days. And we’re talking about New York’s must-see sights, like the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Yankee Stadium, and much, MUCH, more. You’ll even have access to tours all over the city – from walking tours, to bikes, buses, and even a cruise!
I hate to break it to you, but New York is an expensive city. So, buying a city attraction pass in NYC is one of the best ways to save money while sightseeing in NYC. The New York Pass is one of the best-known and most cost-effective options. Plus, the more you see, the more you save!
If you’ve always dreamed of traveling to New York and want to take in all that this amazing city has to offer, then it’s definitely worth considering the New York Pass! We’ll take you through all the ins and outs of this pass after using it on our most recent trip to New York.
1. What is the New York Pass?
The New York Pass is a sightseeing pass designed to save you money when visiting attractions in NYC. It covers all kinds of sights from famous landmarks like the Statue of Liberty to bus and walking tours of Manhattan, or entry to tons of museums. And since there’s sooo much to do in New York, buying a pass can definitely save you money.
The pass is valid for a set number of days, and you can visit as many attractions as you can during that time. You also get discounts at some of the gift shops, which is a nice bonus, especially if you’re planning on taking home some souvenirs.
The price of the New York Pass depends on the length of time that you choose. The options are as follows:
- $149 USD for 1 day
- $204 USD for 2 days
- $249 USD for 3 days
- $289 USD for 4 days
- $319 USD for 5 days
- $339 USD for 6 days
- $359 USD for 7 days
- $399 USD for 10 days
We used the New York Pass on our first visit to New York and it worked out really well for us. I liked the fact that I just had to pay one lump sum and then pretty much all of my sightseeing costs were covered! It made budgeting so much easier, which is a big bonus when you’re in an expensive city like New York.
I was in New York City for a week so I got a 6-day New York Pass, and I definitely felt that it was worth it.
2. How does the New York Pass work?
You can buy a New York Pass online, and it’s valid for a set amount of consecutive days. You can choose a 1-7 day pass, or a 10-day pass.
Once you have your pass, you get access to all of the 100+ attractions it covers. There’s no limit to how many attractions you can visit while your pass is valid, so you can visit as many as time allows.
Your pass will be delivered to your phone. It’s activated the first time you use it, and then valid for however many days you bought the pass for. When you arrive at one of your chosen attractions, all you need to do is show the pass on your phone to gain entry. It’s super easy!
The pass also comes with a free digital guide so you can check out all of the entry requirements for the attractions before you go, and make reservations if necessary. This is super handy, especially with activities like visiting the Statue of Liberty that tend to book up pretty far in advance.
Related Read: Treat yourself to a fantastic meal with a view on a New York City Dinner Cruise! It was one of our favorites memories from our trip.
3. New York Pass vs. CityPASS® NYC vs. Go City
There are so many different passes available in New York that it can be tough to choose. The biggest difference between the New York Pass and the CityPASS® NYC or Go City is that the other passes are based on a certain number of attractions, whereas the New York Pass is based on a certain number of days.
So with the CityPASS® NYC, you get access to five attractions in total for a set price of $138 USD. Two of those attractions are pre-selected: the Empire State Building Observation Deck, and the American Museum of Natural History. Then you get to choose three more attractions from a list of six options, which are:
- Ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- Top of the Rock Observation Deck
- A Circle Line sightseeing cruise
- 9/11 Memorial and Museum
- Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum
- The Guggenheim Museum
The CityPASS® NYC is valid for nine days after first use, so you don’t need to cram visits to all of these attractions into a couple of days. With that being said, there’s no limit on how many times you can use the pass in a single day, so you can make it work for your schedule!
Meanwhile, with the pass by Go City, you can choose a pass that covers between 2-10 attractions. You can choose from a list of over 40 attractions and tours. The price depends on how many choices you want. This one is valid for 60 days after you first activate it.
The pass by Go City is definitely a good option if you’ve got a few specific attractions or activities in mind. The price varies depending on how many attractions you want it to cover: it costs $79 USD for two attractions and up to $264 USD for 10.
We have a full breakdown here on the pass by Go City if you choose this option instead!
New York Pass
The New York Pass differs from the CityPASS® and passes by Go City because there’s no limit on the number of attractions you can visit. Instead, you choose how many days you want the pass to be valid for, and the price varies accordingly. Then, you can visit as many of the attractions that the pass covers as you can during that time.
The New York Pass is definitely a good option if you’ve got a ton of energy and want to see and do as much as you can while you’re in the city. If you use it several times a day for multiple days in a row, you’ll rack up some pretty significant savings!
4. What attractions can you visit with New York Pass?
The New York Pass covers a TON of different attractions! It includes many of the best and most famous things to do in New York City, like visiting the Empire State Building observation deck, taking the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, paying your respects at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and cycling around Central Park (either on your own or with a tour – the choice is yours!).
As well as the Empire State Building, you can also visit the city’s other awesome observation decks, including The Edge, the One World Observatory, and Top of the Rock. I actually only went to Top of the Rock because it was included in my New York Pass, and it ended up being one of my favorite experiences in the city.
Visiting observation decks in New York is a must-do, simply because there’s nothing like seeing the city’s famous skyline from above. Each one offers a different experience, so if you’ve booked the New York Pass, why not visit as many as you can?
New York City is home to some of the best museums in the USA, so you’ve got to check out at least one of them while you’re here! There really is a museum for everyone in New York, whether you want to learn about history, art, science, nature, architecture, or even spies!
The New York Pass grants you entry to a ton of museums, including:
- The Museum of Modern Art
- The American Museum of Natural History
- The Guggenheim
- Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
- Museum of Sex
- Museum of Arts and Design
- Museum of Chinese in America
- South Street Seaport Museum
- International Center of Photography Museum
- Museum of Jewish Heritage
- New York Hall of Science
- El Museo del Barrio
- Skyscraper Museum
- Staten Island Children’s Museum
- Fotografiska New York
- Artechouse NYC
- New York Historical Society Museum
- Whitney Museum of American Art
Another thing we really like about the New York Pass is that it gives you access to a ton of walking tours. Walking tours are a great way to get to know any city, but especially New York, which is famously one of the most walkable cities in the US.
So if you want to pound the pavement like a true New Yorker, you can use the pass to take a walking tour of the following areas:
- Chelsea, the Meatpacking District, and the High Line
- Dumbo and the Brooklyn Bridge
- Broadway and Times Square
- Wall Street
- Marvel and DC superhero filming locations
- Little Italy
- Central Park movie locations
You really do get so much more out of a trip to New York by taking a walking tour versus just wandering around these neighborhoods on your own. We definitely felt like we got our money’s worth having a local guide show us around so we found the best spots and could return to our favorites on our own! It’s such a bonus that so many walking tours are included in the pass.
Bus and Attraction Tours
The New York Pass also includes a 1-day Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off tour, which is such a great way to get around town. It helps you get your bearings in this HUGE city and cover a lot of ground if you’re not here for long.
We used our New York Passes to do both the uptown and downtown bus circuits when we were in New York and had such a great time. The commentary you get along the way is super interesting, and it was nice not to have to walk in the heat!
You can also use the pass to book a bus tour that takes you to Williamsburg, the Bronx, and Queens to learn more about the less touristy parts of New York that have become cultural powerhouses.
Or, you can opt for The Ride bus tour, which is basically like a Broadway show on wheels! There are lots of surprise performances at the stops along the way, ranging from ballet dancing to rapping. Meanwhile, on board the bus there are floor-to-ceiling glass windows so you get a first class view of the city as you cruise around!
You can also use the pass to take tours of iconic NYC buildings including Yankee Stadium, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Rockefeller Center.
If you want to get some exercise in (and burn off the calories from all that New York pizza!), there’s also the option to take a cycling tour of Harlem or Central Park.
Or if you’re anything like me and want to get out on the water, there’s the option to take a Circle Line cruise to admire the skyline. I highly recommend going for the sunset cruise if you can as the golden light reflecting off the buildings is amazing!
Basically, the New York Pass is like an all-access, all-inclusive ticket to the Big Apple!
Related Read: While the New York Pass includes so much, it doesn’t include a food tour! In a city known for tasty treats, make sure to book one of the best New York City food tours so you don’t miss out.
5. Is the New York Pass worth it?
Yes! The New York Pass saves you a ton of money when you’re doing a lot of sightseeing. I got a 6-day pass and I’m pretty sure it saved me a couple hundred dollars or more!
For example, over the course of three days in New York you might do the following:
- Buy a 1-day hop-on hop-off bus ticket – $72 USD
- Visit the Empire State Building Observation Deck – $48 USD
- Take a cycling tour of Central Park – $49 USD
- See the 9/11 Memorial and Museum – $33 USD
- Go up to the One World Observatory – $48 USD
- Take a Circle Line Cruise – $49 USD
- Take the Ferry to the Statue of Liberty – $25 USD
- Visit the Museum of Modern Art – $25 USD
These activities would cost you $349 USD if you booked them all separately, but a 3-day New York Pass costs $249, saving you $100 USD, so it’s definitely worth it.
Of course, that is just a sample itinerary but all of these attractions are super popular things to do in New York. In fact, we did almost all of them while we were in the city.
You could potentially fit even more into three days, and if you choose a pass with a longer duration, you would save even more money. As I said earlier, I’m pretty sure our 6-day passes saved us at least $200 USD each!
Plus, having a New York Pass even motivated me to try some new things while I was in the city. For example, I probably wouldn’t have bothered with Madame Tussauds, but I ended up having a blast! And I also took a Circle Line Cruise and went to the Top of the Rock because I had the pass, which were both awesome experiences.
Other Things to do While You’re in New York City
While a New York Pass 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. Food tours aren’t included in a New York Pass, so 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 a New York Pass includes a bike tour or 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.
Related Read: Visiting the Big Apple during the holiday season? Read our list of the best Christmas tours in New York City to get you in that Christmas spirit.
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!
If you’re planning a trip to NYC, especially for the first time, The New York Pass is totally worth it! It gives you the freedom to set your own agenda with over 100 top sights and experiences to choose from. It’s definitely a money-saver and a way to see as much of NYC as you can. We don’t regret buying our passes at all, so if you’re interested you can grab your New York Pass here!
We hope this guide has made planning for your trip to New York a bit easier. For more travel inspiration, have a look at our other blogs about the USA. We also tons of blogs on traveling in Canada. Here are some links to get you started!