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New York City on a Budget: Why You Should Get the New York CityPASS

Ahh, New York City. American author Tom Wolfe once wrote, “One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” But in the city that doesn’t seem to stop, where do you start? If you’re traveling to the Big Apple with limited time and and budget, make the most of your visit by purchasing the New York CityPASS. It gives you instant access to some of the city’s top attractions, lets you skip the line, and save a lot of money! Here’s a complete guide to the New York CityPASS

Purchasing Your New York CityPASS at a Discount

The fastest way to avail of the New York CityPASS is to book it online, over here. Select the date of your New York trip, fill up the required information, and confirm. You’ll receive a confirmation voucher in your e-mail within 48 hours. You can claim your pass up to 21 days from your chosen date.

Once you’re at any of the New York attractions, present either your e-voucher or printed voucher, along with your and passport. This lets you skip all the ticketing lines, and save up to 40% on all the standard entrance fees! Your New York CityPASS is valid for up to 9 days, starting from the first day of use.

Tickets and Attractions

The New York CityPASS lets you visit a total of 6 attractions: 3 set tickets, and 3 option tickets. The three main attractions are the Empire State Building, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. Avoid the crowds of student field trips and tourist groups by visiting these attractions on weekdays.  

Set Ticket 1: The Empire State Building

Climb up to the 86th floor observatory for an unparalleled view of New York City and beyond. Your pass also grants you access to the famous ‘Dare to Dream’ Exhibit on the 80th floor. Come back later in the evening for a stunning night view of the city that never sleeps.

  • Address: Center of Midtown Manhattan
  • Admission Hours: Daily from 8am to 2am; Night Admission: 10pm until closing
  • Official Website: http://www.esbnyc.com/

Set Ticket 2: American Museum of Natural History

Science and history nerds will be spoiled rotten here, with countless exhibits on dinosaurs, ancient civilizations, and space. The museum’s fossil halls house towering displays of some of the world’s largest dinosaurs, while the Hayden Planetarium immerses visitors into the exciting world of space and the cosmos. CityPASS holders gain admission to both the museum and the Rose Center for Earth and Space, plus discounted admission to seasonal exhibits.

  • Address: Central Park West at 79th Street
  • Admission Hours: Daily from 10am to 5:45pm. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Official Website: https://www.amnh.org/

Set Ticket 3: The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Just the mention of ‘The Met’ is enough to inspire even the most frustrated artist.  CityPASS holders get to enjoy same-day admission to all NYC branches of The Met (The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters), so be sure to get an early start! The museum houses over 5,000 years of art from every corner of the world, and has a constant line-up of interesting programs and performances open for everyone.

  • Address: The Met Fifth Avenue: 1000th Fifth Avenue; The Met Breuer: 945 Madison Avenue; The Met Cloisters: 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park
  • Admission Hours: Daily from 10am to 5:15pm.
  • Official Website: https://www.metmuseum.org/

3 Option Tickets

Apart from the three set tickets, you also get to choose three other attractions to visit. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose your option tickets.

Option Ticket 1: Top of the Rock Observation Deck

30 Rockefeller Plaza, often nicknamed ‘30 Rock,’  is another iconic New York skyscraper. The observation decks are lined with glass, treating you to an incredible panoramic night view of the city.

  • Address: 50th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues
  • Admission Hours: Daily, from 8pm to midnight. Last elevator ascends at 11pm.
  • Official website: https://www.topoftherocknyc.com/

OR the Guggenheim Museum

If your Met visit left you curious for more art and culture, then you might enjoy a visit to the Guggenheim Museum instead. Here you’ll find rare works by great artists like Picasso, Kandinsky, and Cézanne. Designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the building itself is an architectural masterpiece.

  • Address: 1071 5th Avenue at 89th St.
  • Admission Hours: Sundays to Wendesdays, and Fridays: 10am to 5:45pm. Saturdays, 10am to 7:45pm. Closed on Thursdays.
  • Official Website: https://www.guggenheim.org/

Option Ticket 2: The Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

See another icon of New York up close: The Statue of Liberty. Once one of America’s busiest immigrant inspection stations, Ellis Island is home to the American Family Immigration History Center. As the Hamilton song goes, “In New York you can be a new man,” and a visit here is especially poignant for immigrant families. Your New York CityPASS grants you a round-trip Statue Cruises ferry ride to Liberty Island and Ellis Island, a guided audio tour, and admission to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

  • Address: Meet at Battery Park
  • Hours: Daily, with boats departing every 30 minutes, starting from 9:30am. Leave Liberty Island by 2pm for enough time to visit Ellis Island.
  • Official Website: https://www.libertyellisfoundation.org

OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

Take a break from the NYC streets and get a unique view of the city, right along the river. Choose from a number of Circle Line’s many sightseeing cruises, in state-of-the-art boats with expert guided tours.

  • Address: Meet at Pier 83 – Midtown
  • Hours: Daily, with boats departing every 30 minutes, starting from 8:30am.
  • Official Website: https://www.circleline.com/

Option Ticket 3: The 9/11 Memorial & Museum

Perhaps New York City’s most sobering attraction, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum is dedicated to the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. A number of exhibits trace the history and continued impact of the event.  The most poignant, though, are the twin reflecting pools where the names of each victim are inscribed.

  • Address: 180 Greenwich Street
  • Tribute Museum Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 9am-8pm; Friday to Saturday, 9am-9pm. Last entry 2 hours prior to closing.
  • Memorial Hours: Daily, 7:30am-9pm

OR Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Another one of New York City’s most unique museums. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum lets visitors see and experience famous war-era aircrafts and submarine. You can also get an up-close look at the first space shuttle Enterprise, climb into a real Bell 47 helicopter, and land a space shuttle in the Exploreum.

  • Address: Pier 86, W. 46th Street and 12th Avenu
  • Admission Hours: Daily 10am to 5pm, last entry one hour prior to closing
  • Official Website: https://www.intrepidmuseum.org/

 

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