New York CityPASS: The best attractions at a great price

New York is an amazing city.

While there are a vast amount of things to do in New York City, there are certain attractions that really need to be experienced every so often by anyone visiting New York. Lady Liberty. The 9/11 Memorial. The Met. They’re iconic. They’re historic. They’re so New York.

As with everything in the Big Apple, they can be expensive to visit. The solution: New York CityPASS, offering discounts to the most visited attractions in the city.

New York CityPASS attraction: Metropolitan Museum of Art
CityPass attraction in New York City: Metropolitan Museum of Art Great Hall
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Save with New York CityPASS

New York CityPASS can really save you a lot of money and, in some locations, quite a bit of time. The CityPASS attractions include:

  • Empire State Building Experience  – Adult 86th floor admission $32 + late night re-entry (re-entry package not priced by Empire State Building Experience – CityPASS places a total value of ticket at $47)
  • American Museum of Natural History – Adult Plus 1 package admission $27
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art – Adult admission $25
  • Choice of Top of the Rock Observation Deck – Adult admission $32 or the Guggenheim Museum – Adult admission $25
  • Choice of Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island – Adult admission $18 or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises – Adult admission $37
  • Choice of Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum – Adult admission $24 or 9/11 Memorial Museum – Adult admission $24

For the optional tickets, we selected Top of The Rock Observation Deck, Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island, and Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, which placed a value of the attractions admissions we visited in New York City at $173.

With New York CityPASS priced at $116 – that’s a 33% savings from purchasing the tickets individually from the attractions. Making CityPASS even more enticing, at some locations you speed through the fast lane, bypassing the general admission line. The result – you save time and money.

New York CityPASS Attractions

Empire State Building Experience

New York CityPASS attraction: Empire State Building
CityPASS attraction: Empire State Building
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Empire State Building Experience is a chance to step into history while enjoying 360° unobstructed views of New York City and beyond.

With CityPASS, visit during the 86th floor observatory during the day, then return for a late night view as the city sparkles against the night sky (May-August between 10pm-closing, September-April between 8pm-closing). A complimentary audio tour can be obtained by presenting the CityPASS booklet on at the 2nd floor kiosk. While there is a CityPASS fast lane, it wasn’t open when we visited. However, the regular admission line wasn’t too long of wait and we reached the top in about 30 minutes.

American Museum of Natural History

New York CityPASSattraction: American Museum of Natural History
CityPASS attraction: American Museum of Natural History
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

The museum the world fell in love with after the movie Night at the Museum was released, the American Museum of Natural History is an incredible opportunity to explore over 32 million specimens of nature. Highlights include a 94-foot-long blue whale model, one of the greatest dinosaur fossil collections in the world, and one of the museum’s most popular annual seasonal exhibitions, The Butterfly Conservatory.

New York CityPASS includes general admission to the museum and admission to a 3D movie in the LeFrak IMAX theater.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York CityPASS attraction: Metropolitan Museum of Art
CityPASS attraction: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

The largest museum in the United States, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, generally referred to as The Met, has over two million works of art spanning more than 5,000 years. With collections ranging from Arms and Armor, to one of the largest compilations of American art in existence, to an entire wing devoted to Asian art, it has something for every interest.

A clearly-marked CityPASS line is available at the entrance, which enabled us to skip the main ticket line, which was long. Our New York CityPASS admission included general admission and entry to all exhibitions at The Met. Be sure and grab a floor plan on the way in and download The Met’s audio guide app on your smartphone (and take your earbuds). It’s free and very well done.

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

New York CityPASS attraction: Statue of Liberty
CityPASS attraction: Statue of Liberty
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

For the first of our attraction options, we had to decide between the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island or the Circle Line Cruise. The Circle Line Cruise looked like fun, but it had been years since we’d been out to visit Lady Liberty, so we decided to pay her a call.

The CityPASS booklet contains all of the attraction vouchers and they don’t have to be used in any specific order, just sometime within 9 days of their first use. The Statue of Liberty is a good example of why this is important. The weather forecast for the three days we were in New York City was rainy on day 1, sunny on day 2 and partly sunny on day 3. So, we visited the museums on day 1 while it rained and, as the blue sky in the image above illustrates, our day 2 began with the Statue of Liberty under gorgeous New York skies.

Leaving from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, our CityPASS included a Statue Cruises ferry ride with stops at Liberty Island and Ellis Island, plus an audio tour on each island and Ellis Island Immigration Museum admission.

New York CityPASS attraction: Statue Cruises
CityPASS attraction: Statue Cruises
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Top of the Rock Observation Deck or the Guggenheim Museum

New York CityPASS attraction: Guggenheim Museum
CityPASS attraction: Guggenheim Museum
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

The next option was Top of Rock Observation Deck or the Guggenheim Museum. After visiting The Empire State Building from late afternoon to twilight, we considered using the same-day late-entry pass to re-enter the Empire State Building for night photos and then visiting the Guggenheim the following day. Instead, we opted for Top of the Rock Observation Deck to photograph at night getting a different vantage point. That said, if you haven’t ever been to Guggenheim, it is a fabulous museum.

Showing the CityPASS booklet as we approached on the street, the man at the door waved us through, telling us to skip the upstairs line and proceed downstairs to the ticket counter. There you exchange your CityPASS ticket for the next time-available Top of the Rock general admission ticket which, in our case, was a couple of hours later. We wanted to do the experience at night, so that worked fine for us. At the scheduled time, you return and head through security.

The Top of Rock Observation Deck is actually three floors of 360º viewing at the top of Rockefeller Center. On the 67th & 69th floors, views are through glass panels that have small gaps, which is why the people in the photo below are spaced out as they are. The 70th floor is open, with unobstructed views.

New York CityPASS attraction: 69th floor at Top of the Rock Observation Deck
CityPASS attraction: 69th floor at Top of the Rock Observation Deck
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum or 9/11 Memorial Museum

New York CityPASS attraction: 9/11 Memorial & Museum
CityPASS attraction: 9/11 Memorial & Museum
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

We were staying in Lower Manhattan during our visit and walked over to the 9/11 Memorial the first night after dinner. It is truly stunning.

We’d already discussed which attractions we’d visit at dinner and decided on the Intrepid, so we were actually going to purchase tickets to the 9/11 Museum so we could visit both, but we arrived too late and the museum was closing. It is definitely on our “next time” list.

Our day 3 agenda included a tour of the Intrepid. There was no wait in the CityPASS line and we received general admission tickets and quickly made our way to the ship. Launched in 1943, the former aircraft carrier survived five kamikaze attacks and one torpedo strike during World War II, then went on to serve throughout the Vietnam War. Decommissioned in 1974, the ship nows serves as the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, with numerous exhibits and one of the most varied aircraft collections on the east coast. In addition to the Intrepid, the museum is also home to the American guided missile submarine Growler.

New York CityPASS attraction: Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
CityPASS attraction: Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Is CityPASS New York right for you?

If you plan to visit more than two museums and/or attractions while visiting New York City, you should definitely look into getting a CityPASS. It’s easy to obtain, saves you money and time, and includes the must-visit attractions.

Learn more on the New York CityPASS website.

Related

Do you ♥ love New York?
Travel tip: Get CityPASS – It’s a great deal

Lower Manhattan, New York City, New York
Lower Manhattan, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Disclosure & disclaimer: We received complimentary New York CityPASS booklets for this review. The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used. Some posts on this website may contain links to our partners’ websites and Chasing Light Media may be compensated by those partners.