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.
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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.
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.
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 includes access to the One World Observatory, being one of the few cards that includes access to this attraction. It will also include access to Edge, the newest attraction in the city which opens on March 11.
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 March 2020.
|New York Pass||Sightseeing Day Pass|
|New York Pass website||Sightseeing Day Pass website|
|Price||USD$132 – $219||USD$129 – $229|
|Duration||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 days||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 days|
|Top of the Rock||✓ fast track entry||✓|
|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||✓ fast track entry||✓|
|Madame Tussauds Museum||✓ fast track entry||✓ fast track entry|
|Hop-on Hop-off Bus||✓ only one day||✓ every day|
|One World 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
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.
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.
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.
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 March 2020.
|Citypass||C3||Sightseeing Flex||Explorer Pass|
|Price||USD$136||USD$87||USD$74 – $264||USD$94 – $ 230|
|Duration||9 days||9 days||30 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)|
|Top of the Rock||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|9/11 Memorial and museum||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|MET Museum||✓||✓||✓ fast track entry||✓|
|American Museum of Natural History||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island||✓||✓||✓||✓|
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|
|One World 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.
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.
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- Is the New York Pass worth it?
- Best cheap hotels near Times Square
- New York winter packing list
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.