Having been to New York a number of times before, it may seem a little odd that we opted for the CityPASS as we have actually visited three of the attractions which are included before. However, once in the City it is hard to resist the lure of certain places, plus it had been 8 years since we had last visited, so why not revisit them? If it’s your first visit to the Big Apple this could be the perfect pass for you, as it means you get to see six of the top attractions using the one pass, which if used to its fullest will save you money, which is surely always a good thing, especially in New York.
What is the CityPASS – the lowdown
So what is a CityPASS? The clue really is in title, it is a pass which enables you to visit some of the most famous landmarks and attractions in the City. You receive a booklet containing six tickets. Three of the tickets can only be used at the specific three places printed on them. The other three however have a choice of two places printed on them, meaning you can choose one OR the other to visit, depending of your taste. We found that this gave us the flexibility to visit where we wanted to visit during our trip. Also the tickets give us priority entrance to a number of the attractions, meaning no waiting in long queues.
How much does the CityPASS cost?
The CityPASS costs $116 for an adult (18+) booklet and $92 for a youth (6 – 17 years) booklet. Booklets are not offered to children aged 5 and under. This is because many attractions offer free or reduced entrance to little ones. However, you will need to stand in the regular queue if you have a child 5 or under in your party regardless of having the queue jump capability with your CityPASS. *Beginning March 1, the price of New York CityPASS will increase to: Adult, $122; Youth, $98.
How much could I save?
This is the big question isn’t it? I’ll give a run down of the attractions that we choose and how much they would have cost if we had visited them without a CityPASS (as at January 2017). I will then tot up the total and give the saving we made……
The Empire State Building Experience – $34 per person
The Empire State Building is located in the heart of midtown Manhattan and is certainly one of New York’s most iconic landmarks. We enjoyed 360-degree open-air views of Manhattan and beyond. We advise you choose the day you visit wisely. When we visited 8 years ago, the cloud was so low we couldn’t really see anything. However on our return visit we had great views. The CityPASS ticket also allows for a return visit the same day for a late night view of the world’s most dazzling city skyline.
American Museum of Natural History – $27 per person
The American Museum of Natural History is massive, so give yourself plenty of time and don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes. We love the Natural History Museum in London and it’s New York cousin certainly didn’t disappoint. We saw world-renowned dioramas, the 94-foot-long blue whale, and incredible dinosaur halls, including the 122-foot-long Titanosaur cast. Our tickets also included admission into the 3D showing of Wonders of the Arctic in the on site IMAX theatre.
The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art – $25 per person
Did you know that The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art (The Met) is New York’s most visited museum and attraction? We didn’t, but having visited we can now understand why. There are collections spanning more than 5,000 years of culture from prehistory to the present from all over the world. A great attraction to visit even if you do not consider yourself ‘arty’.
Top of The Rock Observation Deck – $34 per person (Alterative – Guggenheim Museum)
Having visited Top of The Rock twice before, we really debated whether or not to head up there for a third time. As soon as we saw the views we knew that we had made the right decision. We personally feel that Top of The Rock offers the best views over New York, with the Empire State Building on one side and Central Park on the other. We recommend visiting at sunset, it really is a spectacular sight.
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island – $18.50 per person (Alternative – Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise)
It’s hard to stay away from Lady Liberty and even though we have had the pleasure of meeting her before, we had to head over to Liberty Island and say hello again. With regular ferries and amazing views of the Manhattan skyline a trip to see her is a must when in New York. We also stopped off at Ellis Island and visited the Immigration museum, something we didn’t have the time to do previously.
9/11 Memorial and Museum – $24 per person (Alternative – Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum)
Visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum was top of our must visit list. It was important to me to visit in order to pay my respects to the people who lost their lives in and around the Twin Towers. We took a moment of quiet at the twin reflecting pools, where the names of every person who died in the attacks are inscribed. It truly was an emotional and moving experience.
The total cost, if we had paid to visit each attraction individually would have been $162.50. Therefore, by using a CityPASS a saving of $46.50 per person was made based on our choices
The booklet is extremely easy to use, just don’t forget to take it with you! Also, by paying for the booklet up front, it makes budgeting whilst on your trip easier, especially if you are counting the pennies. The saving made by having a CityPASS is obviously quite a bonus too. Again, if you have limited funds, the saving could be used for many other wonderful things during your stay in New York. We visited New York in January and didn’t really encounter any queues at any of the attractions but, having been at other times of the year we have encountered ridiculously long queues, so being able to skip to the front at many attractions with CityPASS is another great reason to invest in one. So to answer our initial question – yes it IS worth it!
Points to remember
- It’s important to remember that the CityPASS is valid for 9 consecutive days starting from the day of first use, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem as very few people visit New York for longer.
- Do not tear your ticket from the book, it may invalidate it. This is printed on each ticket but I really had to fight the temptation to rip it out. Simply hand the CityPASS booklet over and the sales assistant will do it for you.
- You will only make a reasonable saving if you use at least four tickets in your booklet. If you think that you will struggle to visit 6 attractions, you could consider the C3 pass which allows you to choose any 3 attractions as you go from a list of 10. Adult (Ages 13+) – $74, Child (Ages 4–12) – $54.
- You can buy online. When you buy online, choose between receiving a voucher that you can print or you can have it shipped to you. It can be shipped to US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and UK. It can also be shipped directly to your hotel in New York.
- We were provided with two complimentary CityPASS booklets for use during our stay for review purposes.