This is a question we receive from our customers a lot and the simple answer is…well there is no simple answer! Depending on your budget, the length of your stay and what you want to see, different New York attraction passes for different trips could be the best one for you.
A great way to start deciding which New York attraction pass is for you is to decide which of the dozens of attractions in New York are an absolute must-do on your trip, before you look at the cards available. For example, if you’re first timers, you’ll probably want to visit The Empire State Building, see the view from the Top of the Rock and visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island at the very least, so make sure the attraction card you choose includes these three New York highlights. If you love museums, write the museums down that you’d like to visit by order of importance and pick a card which fulfils as many of your picks as possible.
Now you have your list of must-dos, check out this helpful infographic below on each card’s exclusions and inclusions. This is not a full list of everything some of the tickets cover but a list of the main attractions you are likely to want to see. If there is an attraction you want to see that isn't included on this list, be sure to check the 'attractions' tab of the tickets you choose first.
Next, you should decide if it's feasible to see all these attractions in the time you have in New York. Below is a rough guide of how long you may wish to spend at each attraction.
How long do you need at each New York attraction?
Empire State Building - 1 hour - 1 hour 30 minutes
Top of the Rock - 1 hour
Museum of Modern Art - 1 - 4 hours
Metropolitan Museum of Art - 1 - 4 hours
American Museum of Natural History - 1 hour - 2 hours 30 minutes
Guggenheim Museum - 1 - 2 hours
9/11 Memorial Museum - 2 hours
9/11 Tribute Center - 1 hour 30 minutes
Radio City Music Hall Tour - 1 hour 30 minutes
Madame Tussauds - 1 hour 30 minutes - 2 hours
Audio Tour Grand Central - 30 minutes - 1 hour
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour - 3 - 4 hours
As you don't want to feel rushed on your holiday, it's important to be realistic about how many attractions you can see. This should then have an effect on which New York attraction ticket you purchase - there's no point buying a ticket with more inclusions if you won't have time to use it!
So...which travel style does each New York attraction pass suit?
Short weekend break, wants to see only the highlights...
Go for the New York CityPASS, which includes 6 of the most visited attractions in New York and has more than enough options to keep you entertained over 2-3 days. This is one of the best value cards and allows you to see 6 attractions out of a choice of 9, all New York classics.
Short weekend break, wants to go more off the beaten path...
Go for the New York Freestyle Pass. The pass lasts 3 days and includes the Hop on Hop Off Bus and plenty of other options outside the New York classics! Benefit from the variety and choose 5 attractions from the long list to enjoy over 3 days. Plus, you'll get plenty of choice for your money.
Has a week - 10 days in New York and wants to see 7 attractions or less (add them up first!)...
Go for the Go New York Explorer Pass 7 attraction ticket. The Go New York Explorer Pass covers all the main NYC attractions including the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, MOMA, The Met, American Museum of Natural History, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Cruise and also gives you access to the Hop on Hop Off Bus, which could save you money on transport. Best of all, the pass lasts 30 days so you don't need to use it within a limited time frame.
The Go New York Explorer Pass is also available for instant download so you can purchase it while you're there.
Has 2-7 days but wants to see as much as possible in that time...
Go for the New York Pass. This is the Godfather of all the New York City passes because there are absolutely no limits on the number of attractions you can see on your card, just a time frame you must see them in (although you'd have to be superhuman to see them all in 2 days!). This is a great card to choose if you're staying centrally and you know you'll have plenty of time to check out all the amazing attractions New York has to offer.
The most important thing is to be realistic about how many attractions you will want to see and have the time for. Once you have figured this out, it should be easy to pick from the passes and you're bound to find one that fits your travel style.
To browse all of these tickets and more, head to our New York destination pages for the best value New York attraction tickets!
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