If you are planning a trip to New York, it is very likely that you are wondering: is the New York pass worth it? You have probably heard about this card that allows you to access many of the city’s attractions and save money but it is worth the monye? Should you buy other tourist pass instead? Read my honest New York Pass review to learn if this sightseeing card is a good fit for your NY travel plans.
POST UPDATED ON DECEMBER 2020
In this post you will find:
What’s included in the New York Pass?
Along with the pass, you will receive a guidebook with information about all the attractions included. Once you have the card, you simply go to the attractions and enter showing the card. You don’t need to book tickets for each attraction.
A great thing about buying the New York Pass is that you can skip the lines at most attractions as there are is fast track entry at selected attractions. This willl allow you to save a lot of time, especially during busy periods like summer season.
In addition to the attractions, the NY Pass includes access to Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour for the duration of the New York Pass which you can use to get around the city and save money instead of paying for a regular bus or subway.
How to get the New York Pass
You can purchase the New York Pass at one of their locations in New York. However I strongly recommend you buy the pass online at www.newyorkpass.com, as it is free and you can get great online discounts.
Online payment can be made with debit, credit cards and via PayPal. Once you buy the pass, you will receive a confirmation email. There are different ways to get your New York Pass, which are:
- Pick up the pass in New York for free once you get there. Their office is located at 234 West 42nd Street, next to Madame Tussauds Museum and opens everyday from 8am to 5pm.
- Download your mobile pass on the New York Pass app for free.
- Get the pass delivered to your house. The delivery of the pass costs around USD$30.
Which New York Pass should you get?
You can buy the New York Pass with durations of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 days. The pass is valid for consecutive days. The pass is automatically activated when you visit the first attraction and stops working automatically at the end of the chosen duration.
You can visit each attraction just once with the New York Pass and you can visit as many attractions as you want, there is no day limit.
On average you will visit 3 or 4 attractions per day, so choose the duration of the pass considering this and plan in advance your itinerary. In one day you can combine your visit to 2 museums + an observation deck. Other days you might visit fewer places, for example the day you choose to go to the Statue of Liberty, which takes quite a few hours.
For the pass to be worth it, it is important to plan your days and visit the attractions that are located in the same area on the same day.
New York Pass prices (updated on December 2020):
|Pass duration||Regular adult price||SALE adult price|
As you see, there are two prices: the regular price for adults and the discounted price for the pass. I’ve included this second price because the New York Pass often goes on SALE, so I recommend you regularly check out the New York Pass website for great prices.
Because of COVID-19, The New York Pass is now valid for 24 months. So if you’re planning a trip to New York but you don’t know when you will be able to travel, you can buy the pass and use it within 2 years.
Are you looking for a place to stay in NYC? Check out my list of cheap hotels in New York with great location
Free museums in New York
When thinking about buying any sightseeing pass, you need to consider that some of the museums in New York city have free or pay as you wish access once a week without the need to buy any pass.
However, keep in mind that during these days, the museums usually get super crowded and you have to queue for a long time.
Some museums, like the American Museum of Natural History, have a Pay as you wish entrance. This means that each visitor can choose the price. You can choose to pay only USD$1 if you want.
If you’re a student, you can also get a discount in some museums.
New York Pass price comparison
Below you will see the price comparison between the New York Pass and without the NY Pass. You will see three prices which are: Full price (without NY Pass), Price for students, and the price if you visit the museums on free admission days.
I have included only the main and most popular attractions, but keep in mind that I will be leaving out many places that are also worth visiting.
Click here to see the complete list of attractions included in the New York Pass.
|ATTRACTION||New York Pass||Full Price||Student Price||Price visiting museums with free admission|
|Top of the Rock||✓||USD$41.37||✘||✘|
|One World Observatory||✓||USD$35||✘||✘|
|9/11 Memorial&Museum||✓||USD$26||USD$20||✓ tuesdays 5-8 pm|
|MET Museum||✓ fast track entry||USD$25||USD$12||✘|
|American Museum of Natural History||✓||USD$23||USD$18||Pay as you wish $3|
|MoMA||✓ fast track entry||USD$25||USD$14||✓ fridays 4-8 pm|
|Liberty Statue & Ellis Island||✓||USD$19.25||✘||✘|
|Guggenheim Museum||✓||USD$25||USD$18||Pay as you wish $3 saturdays 5:45-7:45 pm|
|Madame Tussauds Museum||✓ fast track entry||USD$37||✘||✘|
Let’s suppose you decide to visit only the attractions on this list. In order to visit these 10 attractions you will need at least 3 or 4 days. The 3-day pass price is USD$204 (on sale) or USD$276 (regular price) and the 4-day pass price is USD$233 (on sale) and USD$304 (regular price).
In conclusion: if you buy the New York Pass when it’s on sale it is definitely worth buying it. If you can’t buy it with a discount, then it is still worth it compared to buying all the individual tickets for these attractions at a full price.
There is not a big difference compared with the price for students, althought it’s still worth it. But as you can see there is a big difference compared to the price of visiting museums on their free admission days and paying just USD$3 on those with pay as you wish entry. However you need to consider the crowds at museums if visiting on that days. With the New York Pass you can skip the line at many attractions and you will save a lot of time, so you need to take that into account when considering if it’s worth it.
Other attractions included in the New York Pass:
- Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum: $33
- Madison Square Garden, All Access Tour: $28
- Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour: $30, $26 students
- Whitney Museum of American Art: $25, $18 students, Free on Friday 7-9:30 PM
- Lincoln Center Tour: $25, $20 students
- Central Park Sightseeing Bike Tours & Rentals $45
- Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises $42
If you also want to visit some of the attractions listed above, the New York Pass is worth it (even if you buy tickets with student price or access museums on free admission days).
You will see that in general, if you pay the full price for an entrance without taking advantage of the free museum days, the NY Pass is the cheapest and most comfortable option (remember you can skip the lines at some attractions). With this list you can choose the attractions you would like to visit and sum up the price of them.
New York CityPASS – The alternative to New York Pass
For those who are not planning on visiting many attractions, a great alternative is the New York CityPASS. This pass includes admission to 6 attractions and is valid for 9 consecutive days.
Attractions included on the New York CityPASS:
- Empire State Building
- American Museum of Natural History (Pay as you wish every day)
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Top of the Rock or Guggenheim observatory
- Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- Memorial and Museum of the 9/11 or Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
CityPASS Price: $136
Total price without the CityPASS: $162.35 (paying $3 at the American Museum of Natural History).
There are other passes for New York attractions, if you want to know which is the best for you read: New York attraction passes comparison
Conclusion – Is the New York Pass worth it?
If it is the first time you visit New York and are planning on visiting many attractions, the New York Pass is totally worth it. My recommendation is to get the 3, 4 or 5 day pass and plan your days in advance so you visit as many places as possible.
Leave the museums that have a Pay as you wish admission for the days that you will not have the New York pass activated. Although the price of the pass is pretty high, the company usually offers big disscounts on the New York Pass website. If you buy the pass in advance you are most likely to get a much lower price.
If you’ve been to the city several times, or you’re thinking of visiting less attractions the best alternative is to get the New York CityPASS. Lastly if you don’t mind waiting in line, you can visit museums on the days when admission is free, paying only the entrance to attractions that don’t have disscounts such as observatories.
I hope my New York Pass review has been useful for deciding whether the pass suits your travel plans or not.
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