Best New York attraction passes – Comparison

por Postcards from IvI

 New York is a city with thousands of activities, tours and attractions to visit. Many of its most visited places are totally free, but there are also many paid attractions with very expensive tickets. That is why there are several tourist cards that allow you to visit NY attractions for a lower price. In this post I will review the best New York attraction passes and help you find the one that fits your trip.

This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read more about it here.

*this article was updated on June 2020

Is it worth buying a tourist card in New York? 

 The different tourist or attraction passes allow you to save some money but their prices are high. That’s why it’s important to evaluate which card is the one for you according to what you want to visit and what your priorities are. In general, if you want to visit several attractions we can say that it is worth buying a tourist card.

If it’s your first time in New York, buying a tourist card is definitely worth it. There are many things to do in New York and it’s your first time in the city you’ll probably want to see everything. 

In addition, some tourist cards allow you not only to save money but also time, since you get skip the ticket line entry to some of the attractions.

 

Comparison of the best New York attraction passes

 Among all the New York tourist cards or passes, there are two broad categories: passes sold by the number of days (and unlimited attractions) and cards by the number of attractions. I will explain how each card works and what are the main differences between them.

CARDS BY NUMBER OF DAYS:

  • New York Pass

The New York Pass is one of the most complete passes to see New York. This card allows you to entry more than 100 attractions in the city including tours, museums, buildings and more. 

Best New York attraction passes - Comparison

The New York Pass is available with durations of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 days. The pass is valid for consecutive days. Within the duration of the pass you can visit all the attractions you want, without daily limit. You can visit each attraction just once.

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.

I particularly already used the New York Pass on two visits to New York and it was totally worth it. For more information read my exclusive review of this pass: Is the New York Pass worth it?

They regularly offer big discounts on The New York Pass website so I strongly recommend to buy the pass online:

  • Sightseeing DAY Pass

The New York Sightseeing Day Pass is a pass which price depends on the number of days you choose to use it, just like the New York Pass. You can buy the pass for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 days.

NYC Sightseeing Pass New York Tourist Cards - Comparison

It allows you to access more than 100 attractions and tours in New York and you have the possibility of accessing with a fast track entry in some of them. Sightseeing DAY pass is different from the Sightseeing FLEX pass, which I will review later in this article. 

The best thing about the Sightseeing Day Pass is that it is the only pass that includes access to Edge, the newest observatory in the city which opened on March 11. It’s also one of the few attraction cards that includes access to the One World Observatory.

 

New York Pass vs Sightseeing Day Pass

The New York Pass and the Sightseeing Day Pass are very similar, but they vary a bit in terms of the attractions that each card includes. In the following table you can see the comparison:

*Prices updated in June 2020.

 New York PassSightseeing Day Pass
 New York Pass websiteSightseeing Day Pass website
PriceUSD$134 – $490USD$129 – $359
Duration1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 days1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 days
Attractions included:+100 +100
Empire state
Top of the Rock
9/11 Memorial & museum
MET✓ fast track entry✓ fast track entry
MoMA✓ fast track entry
American Museum of Natural History
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
Guggenheim museum
Madame Tussauds Museum✓ fast track entry✓ fast track entry
Hop-on Hop-off Bus✓ only one day✓ every day 
Bicycle rental
One World Observatory
Edge Observatory

These are just some of the attractions included in the passes which I selected to compare them. You can see the complete list of tours and attractions included in each card here: list of attractions included in the New York Pass or list of attractions included in Sightseeing Day Pass.

The New York Pass and Sightseeing Day Pass are convenient for you if:

You plan to visit many attractions

It is your first time in NYC
✓You have energy to visit several attractions in one day. This is needed to take advantage of these type of cards. It is best to plan your itinerary so you can see the most number of attractions while you have the pass.

 

CARDS BY NUMBER OF ATTRACTIONS:

 These type of cards allow you to see a certain number of attractions for a lower price, and the duration of the passes is longer, thus allowing you to explore the city at your own pace. 

  • New York CityPASS

The New York CityPASS is a good alternative for those who don’t plan to visit too many attractions. This pass includes only the entrance to 6 attractions and is valid for 9 consecutive days.

New York tourist cards - CityPASS

The attractions included in New York CityPASS are: Empire State, American Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Top of the Rock Observatory or Guggenheim Museum, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island or Circle Line Cruise, 9/11 Memorial & Museum or Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. 

Find more information about the pass here

 

  • New York C3 by CityPASS

The New York C3 card is from the same company as the CityPASS. It includes only 3 attractions (being able to choose between 12) and is valid for 9 consecutive days.

Best New York attraction passes - Comparison

It is a good alternative for those who have previously visited New York and only want to see 3 of the main attractions.

  • Sightseeing Flex Pass

The Sightseeing Flex Pass card allows you to select the number of attractions you are going to visit, being able to choose from more than 100 attractions and tours.

Best New York attraction passes - Comparison

You can choose to visit 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 or 12 attractions. The pass is valid for 30 days, so it allows you to explore the city at a much quieter pace and without rushing from one place to another to see everything.

This card is very flexible and is ideal for those who want to visit fewer attractions at their own pace.

 

  • GO New York Explorer Pass

The GO New York Explorer Pass is a card that adapts to your preferences and needs. You can choose to visit 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 attractions and it is valid for 30 days. There are more than 90 attractions and tours to choose from.

If you don’t plan on visiting too many attractions, this pass is ideal. With a 30 day duration, you can visit the places much more calmly.

New York CityPASS vs New York C3 vs Sightseeing Flex Pass vs GO New York Explorer Pass

These are all cards that are sold according to the amount of attractions instead of days. They vary slightly depending on the flexibility and attractions available. In the following table you can see the comparison:

*Prices updated in June 2020.

 CitypassC3 Sightseeing Flex Explorer Pass
 WebsiteWebsiteWebsiteWebsite
PriceUSD$136USD$87USD$74 – $264USD$94 – $ 279
Duration9 days 9 days30 days 30 days
Attractions included:6 (from 9 options)3 (from 11 options)2,3,4,5,6,7,10 or 12 (from +100)  3,4,5,7 or 10 (from 90)
Empire state 
Top of the Rock✓ 
9/11 Memorial and museum✓ 
MET Museum✓  ✓ fast track entry
MoMA Museum
American Museum of Natural History
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
Guggenheim museum✓ 
Intrepid sea, air and space museum
✓ ✓  ✓ fast track entry✓ 
Madame Tussauds Museum ✓ fast track entry
Hop-on hop-off bus ✓ every day✓ fast track entry
Bicycle rental✓ 
One World Observatory
Edge Observatory

These are just some attractions that I used to compare. To see exactly what each pass includes, I recommend entering the official website of each pass.

The New York Pass and Sightseeing Day Pass are convenient for you if:

You don’t plant to visit SO many paid attractions.

✓You want to visit the attractions without haste, having more days to use the card.
You already visited New York before and this time you want to visit only certain attractions
 
 

Tips for buying a New York attraction pass:

  • Before making a decision, make the list of attractions you want to visit. 
  • Did you know that some museums in New York offer a free entry day? If you want to save money, you can visit the museums on these days and use the tourist card for all the other attractions.
  • In my opinion the most complete cards in terms of attractions are The New York Pass, the Sightseeing Day Pass and the Sightseeing Flex Pass. They not only include attractions but also tours.
  • The New York CityPASS and New York C3 cards are only convenient if you plan to visit only some attractions, but in my opinion they leave out many places worth visiting. That’s why I only recommend them if you have already visited NY and want to repeat only certain attractions.
  • With any of the cards it is not necessary to make a reservation to visit the attractions. You simply go with the card to each attraction and show it at the entrance.

I hope I have helped you choose among the best attraction passes of New York. If you have ay questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

Planning a trip to New York City?

 Find cheap flights to New York here.

 Find cheap accommodation here.

 Book a private transfer from the airport

 Buy your New York Pass

 The best things to do in New York:

Other posts about New York:

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read more about it here.

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