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 money?
POST UPDATED ON JULY 2019
What’s included in the New York Pass?
With the New York Pass you have access to more than 100 city attractions, tours and museums. You can see the complete list of attractions included here. Along with the pass, you will receive a guidebook with information about all the attractions included.
A positive thing about buying the New York Pass is that you can skip the lines at most attractions which will allow you to save a lot of time during busy periods. 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.
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 automatically activated when you visit the first attraction and stops working automatically at the end of the chosen duration.
On average you will visit 2 or 3 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 two museums + an observatory. Other days you might visit fewer places, for example the day you choose to go to the Statue of Liberty.
It is important to organize your days and visit the attractions that are located in the same area in order to take advantage of the pass.
Are you looking for a place to stay in NY? Check out this list of cheap hotels in New York with great location.
Free museums in new York
Some of the museums included in the NY Pass, have free or pay as you wish access once a week without the need to buy any pass. Keep in mind that these days, there will be a lot more people visiting the museums so consider arriving early.
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. If you’re a student, you can also get a discount in some museums.
Below you will see the price comparison between the NY Pass and without the NY Pass. You will see three prices: 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.
New York Pass (see complete list of attractions)
- Empire State Observation Deck
- Top of the Rock
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- American Museum of Natural History
- Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- Guggenheim Museum
- Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
- Madison Square Garden, All Access Tour
- Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour
- Whitney Museum of American Art
- Lincoln Center Tour
- Madame Tussauds
- The MET: Cloisters
- Central Park Sightseeing Bike Tours & Rentals
- Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
New York Pass Price for adults (updated July 2019):
- 1 day $134
- 2 days $199
- 3 days $274
- 4 days $299
- 5 days $339
- 7 days $379
- 10 days $469
You can check out the updated prices on New York Pass website. Sometimes you can get a great offer and the price is much lower.
Price without New York Pass (main attractions):
- Empire State observation Deck: $57 (Floors 86 and 102)
- Top of the Rock: $38
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum: $41, $35 students, Free on Tuesday 5-8 pm
- Metropolitan Museum of Art: $25, $12 students
- American Museum of Natural history: $3 Pay as you wish
- MoMA: $25, $14 students, Free on Friday 4-8 PM
- Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island: $18.5
- Guggenheim Museum: $25, $18 students Saturdays Pay as you wish 5:45-7:45 pm
TOTAL: $232.5 / $195.5 Students / $141.5 visiting museums on free entrance days
Let’s suppose you decide to visit only the attractions on this list. In order to visit these 8 attractions you will need 3 or 4 days at least. If you look at the price of the NY pass, you will see that in this case the pass is not worth it.
- 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
- Madame Tussauds: $29
- The Met cloisters: $0 (entry included with the Met entrance)
- 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. 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). The idea is that you choose the attractions you would like to visit and add the value to the total price of the main attractions list.
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 the following 6 attractions for a lower price:
- 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: $132 / Total price without the CityPASS: $182.5 (paying $3 at the American Museum of Natural History)
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 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.
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