New York CityPASS: Will it Save You Money?

I love traveling to New York City. There are so many amazing places to see: Museums, skyscrapers and historical sites. If you’re planning a trip to the Big Apple and have plans to visit some of the popular sites, you may want to consider grabbing a New York CityPASS.

Here’s a rundown of what you can visit with the CityPASS, along with a few tips on how to ensure you get the most out of your purchase.

Statue of Liberty selfie Carltonaut's Travel Tips

How to Make New York CityPASS Worth It

New York CityPASS offers you access to six different sites in the Big Apple for $126 ($104 for children, ages 6-17). If you were to add up the admissions for the six options, the cost is around $165. So the short answer to the initial question is… if you plan to visit at least five of the options, then go for CityPASS.

A New York CityPASS is good for nine consecutive days from the date the ticket is first used. During my recent visit to New York, I had two consecutive days to get the most out of my visit. Regardless of the fact that I walked 30 miles in those two days, I was able to take full advantage of my New York CityPASS.

With today’s technology, you have the tickets on your phone and scan a barcode at each of the venues. That makes it a lot easier than carrying around paper tickets. But be sure and have a phone charger with you if you plan to be out all day.

Here’s an overview of each of the individual options New York CityPASS provides you access to in the Big Apple.

Girl on top of the Empire State Building in New York City Carltonaut's Travel Tips

The Empire State Building

The New York CityPASS gives you access to the 86th floor observation deck at the Empire State Building. As a bonus, you get one daytime visit, and one nighttime visit on the same day.

Visiting the Empire State Building can be done late at night, after many of the museums or other options of CityPASS are closed for the day. During my last trip, I was at the top around midnight… in a rain storm… with low cloud cover. Not ideal, but still worth it.

American Museum of Natural History in New York City Carltonaut's Travel Tips

American Museum of Natural History

If you’ve seen the movie trilogy, Night at the Museum, you may be expecting certain things when you visit the American Museum of Natural History. However, things have changed since those movies were filmed. Either that or there is a big difference between what you see in the movie and what’s really at the museum.

There are a lot of things to see at the museum. The New York CityPASS provides admission to the museum, along with the Space Show or Giant Screen Film.

If you like looking at fossils, animals from around the world or outer space, you can likely spend several hours touring the museum.

Metropolitan Museum of Art piece from Africa in New York City Carltonaut's Travel Tips

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)

I love the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There are works of art from around the world and time periods. Roman statues, African art, Faberge eggs and medieval armor are scattered throughout the multiple floors.

There are so many things to see. In fact, a courtesy map has a red line marking the shortest route through the museum. That route allows you to get a taste of the art in the museum, without spending all day there.

The New York CityPASS provides admission and access to everything in the museum.

Top of the Rock or The Guggenheim Museum CityPASS New York City Carltonaut's Travel Tips

Top of the Rock OR The Guggenheim

Here’s the first choice you have to make as part of your New York CityPASS. Would you rather visit the art in The Guggenheim or get an amazing view of New York City from the Top of the Rock?

During my recent visit, the low cloud cover stopped me from going to Top of the Rock. My tight schedule didn’t allow me to get into The Guggenheim museum.

Luckily, because of inclement weather, Top of the Rock printed me out a ticket for a future visit. The caveat: I have to return within 365 days. That probably won’t happen, but I have the ticket just in case.

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island OR A Sightseeing Cruise

Another choice you will have to make is between taking a ferry out to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, or taking a sightseeing cruise.

I chose to ride the ferry out to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Since my time was limited, I didn’t spend a lot of time at either location. But you really don’t need to spend a lot of time either. I would plan on about 30 minutes at the Statue of Liberty and about an hour at Ellis Island.

If you choose the sightseeing cruise, you have a choice of four different cruise options: Landmark Cruise, Harbor Lights Cruise, or Liberty Cruise, or a ride on the BEAST (available May-September).

911 Museum or the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum in New York City Carltonaut's Travel Tips

9/11 Museum OR Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

I had a tough time choosing between these two options on the New York CityPASS. I really wanted to visit both museums.

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum was the most impactful museum I have ever visited. Walking through the events of that day, seeing artifacts of the tragedy and hearing the stories of those who lived through it first hand leaves an impression.

On the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, I loved seeing the Space Shuttle Enterprise up close. I also enjoyed exploring the massive ship and seeing the aircraft on the flight deck and hangar deck. There’s also an opportunity to tour a submarine – the USS Growler.

The Details

To recap the initial question: Does a New York CityPASS save you money? Yes… if you plan to visit at least five of the six sites you get access to with a CityPASS.

Purchase your New York CityPASS online and you’re ready to go when you land in the Big Apple.


New York CityPASS Save money Carltonaut's Travel Tips
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