New York CityPASS

If you want to find out more about the New York CityPASS, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ll show you how to use the CityPASS, which attractions are included and which are not. I’ll also explain all the advantages and disadvantages.

At the end, I’ll answer the most common questions and share my experiences with the CityPASS with you.

What is the New York CityPASS?

The New York CityPASS® is one of seven sightseeing passes available for the city of New York (!). It focuses on the city’s most important sights and tours, which you can visit for a low total price – it replaces individual tickets. This collective ticket saves you up to 40% compared to buying individual tickets.

But that’s not all: at the Empire State Building you even have a Day / Night Ticket, with which you can visit the skyscraper icon in one day in the light and in the dark. You should definitely do this because the atmosphere is really different (both will give you goosebumps!).

The New York CityPASS includes a total of 8 attractions, of which you can visit 5. As soon as you use the CityPASS for the first time, it is valid for 9 days. So you have plenty of time to go sightseeing in New York!

I’ll show you which important sights and tours are included in the CityPASS program here.

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Which attractions are included in the New York CityPASS?

The CityPASS has the smallest portfolio of all the city’s tourist passes – it focuses on the most important sights. This also makes it particularly affordable!

These two sights must be included in your five chosen attractions:

  • Empire State Building
  • American Museum of Natural History

And you can choose three more of these.

  • Top of the Rock Observation Deck
  • Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
  • Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  • Guggenheim Museum

Empire State Building

For me, the Empire State Building is still one of the most beautiful skyscrapers in the city: its changing lighting means it always looks different and the animation at the top every hour on the hour is particularly worth seeing after dark. With the New York CityPASS, you save the admission price of $74 from the DAY / Night Ticket, as this VIP ticket is included.

American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History is one of my personal highlights in New York: spread over several floors and several large areas, you can expect various exhibitions that have it all! In addition to the dinosaurs and the giant blue whale on display in one of the halls, you can spend hours marveling at the animal and plant world.

The museum is also interesting for families with children, we spent a whole 4 hours here with our kids without getting bored.

This is where the New York CityPASS scores twice, as it includes a fast lane ticket in addition to the admission price. This allows you to bypass the queue, which easily saves you an hour at the American Museum of Natural History!

Top of the Rock Observation Deck

The observation deck at Rockefeller Center is called Top of The Rock – from here you can look out directly over Central Park. It is one of the most popular attractions in New York and should not be missed on any visit.

My tip: if you have to wait, you can relax at the Rockefeller Center, on 5th Avenue and in nearby Central Park.

Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim Museum is located on the so-called Museum Mile. The stylish building shows you important works of modern art as well as changing exhibitions. With the New York CityPASS, both admission and the exhibitions are included, without the New York CityPASS they cost an extra charge.

Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

New York and the Statue of Liberty are inextricably linked: everyone knows and associates Miss Liberty with the Big Apple. So a visit to the Statue of Liberty is a must for many! With the New York CityPASS, you can take the Liberty Cruise to Liberty Island and Ellis Island free of charge.

Start at Battery Park, pick up your ferry tickets in advance with your CityPASS at Castle Clinton – you can’t miss it, it’s only 100 meters from the ferries!

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

Discover New York from the water with a boat tour from Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. It is the best-known provider of boat tours in New York – they start at Pier 83 at 42nd Street on the Hudson River.

With the New York CityPASS, you can choose between the Landmarks Cruise (1.5 hours), the Harbor Lights Cruise (2 hours, my recommendation!) and the Speedboat Tour The Beast (30 minutes, only in summer).

9/11 Memorial & Museum

It is probably the most emotional museum in the city: the 9/11 Memorial & Museum at Ground Zero. Located right next to the One World Trade Center and the One World Observatory, you can learn all about September 11, 2001, including many personal exhibits of those affected.

I myself was in New York that day and still get goosebumps when I visit this place. If you want to visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum with the New York CityPASS, head for the CityPASS ticket counter – that way you can avoid the normal queue.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

The aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid right next to Pier 83 of Circle Line Cruises is home to its own museum: the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Here you can see a real space shuttle, many airplanes and helicopters and climb into a submarine.

The view from the aircraft carrier is also great – from here you can see the skyline with the Hudson Yards, the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center in southern Manhattan.

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How does the New York CityPASS work?

The way it works is very simple: you show your CityPASS at one of the attractions and then either receive your admission ticket or can go straight in (this depends a little on the attraction). Some also offer you Fast Lanes if you have the CityPASS (like at the American Museum of Natural History) – this allows you to bypass the normal queue and save time as well as money!

How do you get your CityPASS for New York? After you have purchased the New York CityPASS (you can do this here), you will receive a confirmation by email. Then download the free app from CityPASS and save your passes directly to your smartphone. Simply show it at the participating attractions in NYC to gain access.

When you use the CityPASS for the first time, it is activated (not when you buy it in advance) and is then valid for 9 days. This means you can spread out your highlights over the entire period – a real advantage, as you won’t get stressed about sightseeing!

What does the New York CityPASS cost?

The New York CityPASS costs $138 for adults and $118 for children (3 – 12 years). Unfortunately, there are no current discounts & discount codes. However, the sightseeing pass is relatively cheap and almost exclusively includes Fast Entry or special tickets such as the Day / Night Ticket for the Empire State Building.

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Is the New York CityPASS worth it?

Whether the New York CityPASS is worth it depends, of course, on how many attractions you visit. But it’s easy to see how it pays off, as you can see here:

Example 1 – you visit these attractions in New York with the CityPASS

  • Empire State Building: $74
  • American Museum of Natural History: $28
  • Top of the Rock Observation Deck: $44
  • Intrepid Museum $33
  • Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises: $41
  • Cost of the individual tickets: $220
  • Cost of the New York CityPASS: $138
  • Your savings: $102 (46%)

Example 2 – you visit these sights in New York with the CityPASS

  • Empire State Building: $74
  • American Museum of Natural History: $28
  • 9/11 Memorial Museum: $30
  • Guggenheim Museum: $30
  • Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island $28
  • Cost of the individual tickets: $187
  • Cost of the New York CityPASS: $138
  • Your savings: $69 (37%)

As you can see, the CityPASS is worth it for just FOUR attractions – the more you visit, the more you can save!

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Benefits of the New York CityPASS

  • perfect for first-time visitors
  • Most important attractions included
  • you can visit the Empire State Building twice in one day
  • valid for a long time (9 days)
  • affordable

Disadvantages of the New York CityPASS

  • Only a small selection of attractions
  • Hop-on hop-off buses not included
  • One World Observatory not included
  • The Edge observation deck not included

My experience with the New York CityPASS

My personal New York CityPASS experience is very good, it’s easy to use and it’s very easy to save money. If you want to visit exactly the attractions that are included in the New York CityPASS sightseeing program, you will be very happy with it!

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Alternatives to the New York CityPASS

But what if you’re not quite sure what you want to see in New York or if you have attractions on your itinerary that aren’t included in the CityPASS? Then you should take a look at one of these alternatives to the New York CityPASS®:

Not sure yet? Just check out my New York Pass comparison here.

Calculate here for free!

Not sure?

Pass Savings Calculator IconTry out my free New York Pass Calculator – find out which New York Pass is best for you in just 2 steps!

» TRY IT OUT FOR FREE!

Frequently asked questions about the New York CityPASS

Is the New York CityPASS a discount card?

Once you have purchased the New York CityPASS, the entire ticket price is paid for. So it’s not just a small discount, it’s the ticket!

Are there discounts for children?

Yes – this makes the New York CityPASS particularly interesting for families! Anyone between the ages of 6 and 17 counts as a child. It costs $118.

Are there discounts for pensioners?

Unfortunately not. The normal price for the New York CityPASS of $138 applies here.

Can you reserve attractions in advance with the CityPASS?

You do not need an additional reservation for the Guggenheim Museum and the Top of The Rock. However, a timed ticket is required for all other attractions.

The best way to book this is via the website CityPASS.com or the CityPASS app. After purchase, you will receive a link to this page.

If you are visiting the Empire State Building, you only need a timed ticket for the first visit. This is not necessary in the evening. Simply show your CityPASS at the ticket counter.

If there are no time slots available on your preferred date, try another day.

Is the New York CityPASS cheaper on site?

No, the CityPASS is not cheaper if you buy it on site in New York. To avoid the stress of having to buy it in person, I recommend buying it online in advance. That way you can start your vacation in New York relaxed!

When should you buy the CityPASS?

As you have one year to use it from the date of purchase, you can buy it in advance. When I buy a sightseeing pass, I usually do it 1 to 3 months in advance. If you have a voucher for the New York CityPASS, you can use it for 12 months from the date of purchase.

Where can I get the app for the New York CityPASS?

The app is free and you can download it here in the App Store and in the Android Store.

Does the CityPASS for New York include public transport?

No – the CityPASS is purely a sightseeing pass that is only valid for the city’s main attractions and tours.

How can I activate the CityPASS in New York?

As soon as you show your CityPASS at one of the 8 attractions and use it as an admission ticket, it will be activated. From this point on, it is valid for 9 days.

Can I visit attractions more than once with the pass?

Yes and no: with the exception of the Empire State Building, you can visit each attraction exactly once (a day/night ticket is included with the Empire State Building).

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The author

I'm Steffen and over the years I've been able to help over 100,000 travelers easily save money on vacation. You can find the best tips for the most beautiful cities and regions worldwide here on this page. Whenever you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!

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