Last month’s trip to New York was my fifth venture into the city but my boyfriend’s first trip to America at all. I knew that I wanted him to experience as much as possible within our four-day trip (ultimate itinerary here) but at the same time, I did want to do a few things I hadn’t done before so it wasn’t all repeats for me. Knowing that we wanted to do quite a lot of attractions I did a lot of research before our trip into various passes and settled on CityPASS who offer a pass for $106 covering your entrance into six attractions within New York City. There’s always another option for $79 which covers three attractions.
The good thing about buying a pass like this is that you can pay it and worry about the expense before your trip rather than shelling out some of your all-important shopping money on attractions and museum entrance prices. For some attractions as well you can skip the line as you already have your ticket/ pass which is always a great thing especially during high season when queues can be long.
There are three attractions which are chosen and then three more where you have a choice of attraction to use your pass on. Each CityPASS allows access to the Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Then your choices include Top of the Rock Observation Deck or Guggenheim Museum, Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise and then the 9/11 Memorial & Museum or Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.
Check out the six attractions which we chose which were perfect for both a first-time visitor and a city veteran.
Empire State Building
Although I think the view from the Rockefeller Centre is inherently better I don’t think you can go to New York and not see the views from the Empire State Building. The building is open from 8 am until 2 am so there’s no excuse not to get there and personally I think first thing when the city is a bit quieter or last thing when you can see the twinkling lights are the best times for a visit. The views are lovely from here and on a clear day you can see for miles.
American Museum of Natural History
If you’ve seen Night at the Museum you’ll know full well what the entrance to the Natural History Museum looks like but there’s so much more to this museum. In all honesty, it’s huge and you could spend a whole day exploring all the exhibits but we decided to make a beeline to our favourite two which were the space and dinosaur exhibits. The CityPASS gives you access to a film while you’re there which usually costs more so we chose the Space Show: Dark Universe as I am a huge fan of anything space related. I’d never made it into the museum exhibitions before so this was a highlight for me.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
There are so many art museums across New York and the Met is the largest art museum in the whole of America so there’s plenty to explore. Again like the Natural History Museum, there’s little chance you’ll see everything in one visit, so check the layout beforehand and choose specific areas you want to see which for us was the modern and contemporary art which features work from artists such as Picasso and there’s also artwork from Claude Monet and Van Gogh which are worth looking out for.
Top of the Rock Observation Deck
The view from the top of the Rockefeller Centre is my absolute favourite as you can see the Empire State pretty up close and it’s rarely quite as busy as it’s rival. We chose to go here first thing and were lucky to have a lovely day full of clear skies and wonderful views of the sprawling city. There’s also plenty of lovely places to eat around the Rockefeller Centre so it’s great for brunch or an early dinner.
State of Liberty & Ellis Island
So many people say just to get the Staten Ferry pass the Statue of Liberty to see it and I couldn’t disagree more, not only do you not get very close to the statue at all but you’ll be stuck in Staten Island waiting for the boat back and I think it’s such a waste of time. Going over to the Statue of Liberty is free in your CityPASS but even if you pay it’s only about $18 which is such a bargain. You can pick up an audio guide which I did for the first time this trip and it was so interesting finding out the history of the island before Lady Liberty was there, the construction of the iconic statue and what it means for America. Your CityPASS allows you to go over to Ellis Liberty where all immigrants came through when they entered America and there’s an audio guide which I am sure is really interesting but time didn’t allow us to do this trip.
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Again another thing I hadn’t managed to explore in New York is the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum which is located on a large aircraft carrier in the Hudson River on the far East of Manhattan. The exhibition has so many interesting things on display from aircraft and helicopters used within various wars, a British Airways Concorde, the Enterprise NASA prototype shuttle and The Growler submarine. There’s plenty of interactive areas and some aircraft you can get into which is always good fun. There’s also a chance to go into the Concorde if you book into a tour although sadly it was too late to do this when we went.
Do you ever buy city passes when you go to new places?