Without a doubt, the number one question I get from my beyond fabulous readers (and yes, that includes you, you saucy minx) is, “But seriously Kelly, is the New York Pass actually worth it?”.
And since this is a rather simple question with a mildly complex answer, I decided to create this uber-fab, totally comprehensive, New York Pass review for you to enjoy before you embark on any New York adventures of your own.
Because as someone who has lived in New York City for well over twenty years, I can honestly say that I know this city like the back of my hand.
Okay, in fairness I definitely know my hand way better than NYC since it’s always changing, but you know what I mean.
Accordingly, there really is no one else out there who is better qualified to give you an in-depth New York Pass review.
That’s why you should really step into my proverbial office right this minute (pretty please with sugar on top?) and learn everything there is to know about the New York Pass – including wickedly detailed information on the cost of the New York Pass and what’s included with the New York Pass.
A detailed cost-benefit analysis that shows you if the Pass actually saves you money, and viable alternatives if you ultimately decide that the New York Pass is not for you.
So, swan dive with me into the buffet of NYC awesomeness that is this post.
Because you’re about to find out exactly how to save gobs of money on NYC’s top attractions as you roll through NYC like the total big shot that you are.
Dear wonderful, beautiful, and oh-so-amazing reader (Yup, I lay it on thick for my dozens of fans). Since I am incapable of making it rain money, there’s a high probability (like 99.999%) that this post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
Where To Stay In NYC?
🏆 Looking for the BEST HOTEL IN NEW YORK CITY? Reserve a room at The James New York and feel extra special while indulging in a bit of luxury.. 🏨
Not sure where to stay in NYC? Don’t worry. I have you covered. Here are some great places to catch a nights relaxation and sleep at.
Kasa The Duffy Times Square – Then check out Kasa The Duffy Times Square. Rooms at this chic, Hell’s Kitchen hotel start at $159 per night and include fridges, flat-screen TVs and iPod docks. There’s even a working fireplace in the lobby!
The James New York – The chic, modern rooms at this Soho hotel start at $177 per night and feature high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, glassed-off bathrooms, plush linens made from natural materials, and more.
The Bowery Hotel – Rooms at this 5-star, Nolita hotel start at $300 per night and are cozy, but stylish, with free Wi-Fi, free bike rentals, exquisite city views, and more.
Pod 39 – Located in Murray Hill, this pod hotel sits inside a residential home from 1918. Rooms here start at $120 per night and are cozy and outfitted with queen-size beds or stainless-steel bunk beds with individual TVs and bedside shelves.
New York Pass Review: Everything You Need To Know
🏆 In a rush? The book the New York City Pass online. It is definitely a great bet if you are a first time visitor in the city.🚁
Hello and welcome to the Big Apple, otherwise known as New York City. A magical place where people become inexplicably filled with rage when stop to take pictures or walk too slowly on the sidewalk.
But apart from our anger management issues and our excessive use of the “F” word (and no, I’m not talking about the word “fun”), we really are lovely people. Even if we are, always in a rush.
So yeah, you are without a doubt, going to love it here. Because seriously, it’s probably the best city in the entire world. If not then definitely in the top 5.
However, there are a few downsides to visiting perhaps the greatest city in the world. For one thing, NYC is outrageously expensive for tourists. Actually, on second thought, It’s insanely overpriced for residents too. Just expensive in different ways.
So, if you’re planning a 4 day New York City itinerary then you could easily spend well over $100 on four or five different activities – activities that will probably only keep you busy for a mere twenty-four hours in NYC.
Yeah, a price point that is definitely not ideal, especially if you’re backpacking NYC. And that’s why. I absolutely recommend investing in the New York Pass.
That being said though, the benefits of the New York Pass 100% depend on what you plan on seeing and on what your budget is. That’s why I’ve put together a handy dandy, ridiculously in-depth New York Pass review that will help you decide if this pass is the right choice for you!
In this New York Pass Review, you’ll find expert information on:
- The cost of the pass depending on how many days you’ve purchased it for
- What sites/activities are included (and info how much they normally cost)
- A comprehensive price break down
- A full list of New York Pass pros and cons
- Info on some alternative passes that you might want to check out if the New York Pass isn’t right for you.
But wait, who will love the New York Pass?
Well, if this is your first time in NYC and you’re looking for the cheapest way to see ALL the city’s major attractions, especially if you’re planning a visit to Ellis Island Museum, then this pass is THE answer to your prayers!
And while there definitely is value in the pass for anyone planning a short term stay in NYC, it is probably best suited for people who plan on staying in the city for between three and five days. Plus, it is a total STEAL for people who loves going on a walking tour!
That being said though, this pass is NOT for everyone. And because this is an IN-DEPTH New York Pass review, I’m gonna call it like I see it.
So, if you’re not into seeing all of NYC’s major attractions, then this pass is NOT for you. It also might not be all that beneficial to anyone who has been to NYC before and who knows the city really well.
Still, with all the fun walking tours included (such as a Graffiti tour or even superheroes one), it’s hard to imagine that there isn’t something for everyone to love about the New York Pass.
New York Pass Review: The Cost
There are a grand total of eight different options when it comes to the New York Pass. And you can decide which option works best for you based on how many days you’ll be in NYC and what you want to see.
Of course, the pass is more cost-effective as you increase the number of days it covers. That being said though, the upfront expense of a 10-day pass can seem like a lot. And spoiler alert, it definitely is since it costs $490.
Similarly, the $134 price tag associated with a single day might also seem equally absurd! And that’s why I’m doing this extensive, New York Pass Review in the first place. I want to help you decide which option will be best for you!
And FYI, the prices below indicate the cost fo the pass for adults. Thankfully, the pass is cheaper for children.
- 1 Day: $134
- 2 Day: $200 ($100 per day)
- 3 Day: $276 ($92 per day)
- 4 Day: $304 ($76 per day)
- 5 Day: $344 ($69 per day)
- 7 Day: $384 ($54 per day)
- 10 Day: $490 ($49 per day)
New York Pass Review: What’s Included
Believe it or not, the New York Pass includes admission to well over100 tours, sites, and attractions – WAY more than I can even begin to discuss in this New York Pass review (although you can see the full list here).
But, what I will say is that it definitely covers most of the must-see attractions, which I’ll outline below – along with some of my personal faves.
But first, be sure you check out my post on some of the biggest tourist traps in NYC so that you can decide for yourself if all of these “must-see attractions” really do live up to the hype
(Hint: Most of these NYC icons are epic, but some are just a little too whack-tastic for me)!
And while some of these attractions aren’t overly expensive, when you combine them all together and see multiple museums in a single day, you’ll quickly see that the New York Pass really does pay for itself…and then some.
Especially since admission to some of the greatest museums in NYC can be upwards of $20 per person!
- Museum of Sex (I know, scandalous, but it’s well worth a visit – just maybe not for the kiddos!) – $26 – $33 (cheaper on weekdays)
- Guggenheim Museum – $25
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) – $25 (but pay-what-you-want for NY residents and students from NY, NJ and CT – ID required)
- Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) – $25 (it’s also $10 for entry to MoMA PS1 – the Institute for Contemporary Art)
- Whitney Museum of American Art – $25
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum – $24
- Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum – $24
- American Museum of Natural History – $23 – $33 depending on how many special exhibitions you want to see (but pay-what-you-want for NY, NJ and CT residents – ID required)
- Madame Tussauds New York – $20 ($35 if you also want to see Ripley’s Believe It or Not!)
- New Museum – $18
- Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum – $16
- Museum of Jewish Heritage – $16 (free admission for Holocaust survivors)
- The Museum of Chinese in America – $12
- New York Transit Museum – $10
- Skyscraper Museum – $5
The average cost of NYC Museums: $20
Other Popular Must-See Sites Included
- Free Entry to Rides at Luna Park on Coney Island – $60
- One World Observatory – $45 (this one is a new addition, so not on the list provided above, but definitely included in the pass and a MUST because it provides some of the best views of NYC!)
- Empire State Building Observation Deck – $42 (just for 86th Floor observation deck, the price goes up if you want to go to the 102nd Floor or go at premium times like sunrise or sunset)
- Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center Observation Deck) – $38
- Radio City Music Hall – $31
- St Patrick’s Cathedral – $25 (also a new addition, and one of the best churches in New York City)
- Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration – $20 (includes ferry to Ellis Island)
- Brooklyn Botanical Gardens – $16
The average cost of NYC Top attractions: $35
Many of the best Tours in NYC can cost anywhere between $20 – $50 per person. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the average cost of a tour per person is somewhere around $35!
So, if you’re interested in doing a lot of tours through NYC (and I definitely recommend them since they’re a more efficient way to see all that NYC has to offer in a relatively short amount of time), then the New York Pass is very much your new best friend!
However, to make the decision even easier, here is a list of some of the most popular tours that are included with this pass. And yes, I’ve also included some of my favorite NYC tours of all time.
- NYC TV & Movie Bus Tour – $51
- Food on Foot Tours – $49 (and if you’re not taking advantage of all the beyond delicious food tours in NYC why are you even visiting NYC?)
- Hop-on-hop-off bus tour (one day) – $39
- Catacombs by Candlelight Tour – $35 (Suoer cool, especially around Halloween)
- Madison Square Garden All Access Tour – $35
- Marvel & DC Superheroes Walking Tour – $35
- New York Slavery & Underground Railroad Walking Tour – $35
- SoHo Little Italy and Chinatown Walking Tour – $35
- Wall Street Walks Tour – $35
- Blazing Saddles: Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour – $44 (or the Brooklyn Bridge Walking Tour which is $32)
- Graffiti Street Art Walking Tour – $32
- Rockefeller Center Tour – $27
- Yankee Stadium Tour – $25
The average cost of an NYC Tour is $35.
New York Pass Review: How it Works
Honestly, It’s so simple that it’s virtually idiot-proof! I pinkie promise! I mean, not that I think you’re an idiot or anything.
I just know that when you’re planning a trip to a place that you’ve never been before, the planning process can seem more-than-a-little daunting.
It can also be difficult to decide whether a city pass is actually worth the seemingly high price tag.
So, once you decide how many days you want to spend in New York City, simply purchase a pass that covers your preferred number of days. And once you finally do purchase your pass, it will then become available for download to your phone.
Next, simply download the pass to your phone, show the OR code on the Get Your Guide App to any one of the sites included on the pass (which are listed on the app), and VOILA! You’re all set because it really is THAT easy.
Plus, with the purchase of your New York Pass, you’ll even get a totally free, 200-page digital guidebook with that tells you everything you need to know about all of the attractions included with your pass! Seriously, how amazing is that?
But first, a few things to know. While the New York Pass is good for a solid 2 years, It activates as soon as you scan it to enter your first attraction.
So, from that moment on, you have the number of days you selected (anywhere between 1-10) to use the pass. And yes, these days must be used consecutively.
So, If you buy a 3-Day New York pass and first scan it on Monday, then it will no longer be valid on Thursday, even if you do not use it on Tuesday.
And, one day is a calendar day (i.e. Monday) and not a 24 hour period. That’s why, even if you do not scan your pass until 5:00 PM on a Monday, that will still count as Day 1.
Therefore, to get the most use out of your pass, try to scan it as early in the day as possible.
New York Pass Review: The Cost Breakdown
As promised, in this New York Pass Review, I’m going to help you decide if the pass is really worth it. And the best way to do so is to break it down for you by day so that you can see exactly how much you would need to spend to make the pass worth your while.
So, as I stated before, most New York City attractions tend to be big-name places that actually take a lot of time to visit.
Not to mention, getting around NYC can take ages. Especially if you decide to torture yourself and walk a lot. But seriously, why? Why would you do that to yourself when the subway is RIGHT there?
But, if the NYC subway intimidates you, you can always read this guide to the NYC subway)
Anyway, let’s do a little math. Because truth be told, you probably have a limited amount of time in NYC and probably want to cram in as much fun into your visit as humanly possible (I don’t blame you, who wouldn’t? As I said, this city is amazing!).
So, let’s assume that you can comfortably fit anywhere between five and seven activities in a single day. Let’s also assume that you get up early to really get the most out of your day.
Now, based on all the sites listed above, the average cost of things to do in NYC is around $30, Remember though, that is just an average. So, the attractions included in the New York Pass can range in price from $5 to $51!
This fact, in turn, means that for the one day pass to be worth your while at $130 each, you would need to visit a minimum of five different sites that cost at least $30 each.
So, that means that the one day pass might not be worth your while, depending on where you go and what you do.
Therefore, I suggest that you sit down, write out exactly what you want to do, determine exactly how much it will cost, and see if the one day New York Pass would make it cheaper.
However, once you move to the 2-day pass and beyond, the New York Pass starts to become a real bargain if you’re interested in visiting many of the NYC attractions above.
I mean, for the 2 day Pass be worth your while (it costs $200 or $100 per day), you would only need to visit four different sites that cost $30 or more each. Something that is really easy to do in a place like NYC.
FYI, this pattern will continue as you extend the number of days of your pass.
So, the more days your New York Pass covers, the more worthwhile it becomes since the 10-day pass requires that you use the pass to engage in activities that cost a mere $49 per day for the pass to save you money.
But to make things even easier, let’s break down each pass by the number of days it covers.
The One Day Pass: $134
The best way to get the most for your money with the one day one is to do the Hop-on-hop-off bus tour and use it to visit as many sites on the list as possible.
Some of the most famous attractions that the hop-on, hop-off bus stops at that include Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the 9/11 Memorial.
So, if you decided to skip the One Day New York Pass and visit all of the above NYC landmarks individually, here’s how much it would cost:
- Hop-on-hop-off bus tour – $39
- Rockefeller Center – $38 for the Observation Deck, $27 for the tour
- Empire State Building – $42
- Statue of Liberty – $20
- 9/11 Memorial – $24
Total: $202 (or $229 if you do the Rockefeller tour)
That means, that even if you cut out the Statue of Liberty and the bus, it still costs $143, making it cheaper to invest in the One Day New York Pass, which costs $130 per person.
So, although the One Day New York Pass will save you money, it definitely is the one pass on this list that will save you the least amount of money. That being said, I honestly think it’s still worth it if you’re planning a busy day and intend on seeing even a few of the places listed above.
That’s why, If you only HAVE one day in NYC and want to see as much as you possibly can, then might as well save some money while you’re at it and get the New York Pass.
Plus, with the New York Pass, you’ll get priority entry into many of the sites listed above, which can save you precious time, thereby allowing you to see even more!
Because I mean really, who actually wants to spend their entire day in NYC waiting in line? I know I don’t. Especially since I would use that extra time to stuff my face face with disgusting amounts of gloriously delicious food. #justsayin’
Ultimately though, the final decision is totally up to you since the benefit of the pass really depends on you and what you plan to see during your twenty-four hours in New York.
So, depending on what you want to see and how many different places you want to visit, the pass may or may not be cost-effective for you.
However, since I promised that this New York Pass Review would be super helpful, let’s break things down even further to make trip planning even easier.
Two Days Pass: $200 ($100 per day)
At $100 per day, the Two Day Pass isn’t a bad deal at all! So, if you would prefer to spend your days visiting a mixture of big-name and slightly smaller NYC attractions, then this pass might be perfect for you.
Plus, using this pass will be a whole lot less stressful since you won’t have to jam visits to upwards of five different sites into a single day.
So, with most sites averaging out at around $30 each, this means that if you go to anywhere between three and four different places per day (depending on the admission price) you can easily save money with this pass.
ESPECIALLY if you intend on visiting some of the insanely expensive, big-name sites like the Empire State Building.
But, let’s use a specific example to show you exactly how much money you could save.
So, if you did day one as outlined above (Using the Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus to see Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the 9/11 Memorial, thereby “spending” the equivalent of $200),.on day two you could opt for one of the pass’ walking tours, a visit to The Met, the Guggenheim, and St Patrick’s Cathedral. A two day itinerary that would cost:
- Day One Total: $202 (or $229 if you do the Rockefeller tour)
- Day Two:
- Walking Tour – $35
- The Met- $25
- Guggenheim – $25
- St Patrick’s Cathedral- $25
Day Two Total: $110
Overall Total Spent Over $312 (or $339 if you do the Rockefeller tour).
Now, remember, a two-day pass only costs $200. So that’s a savings of $140! Which seems totally worth it to me!.
Three Days Pass: $276 ($92 per day)
The three-day option is a sound choice since it allows you to space out the attractions you want to see without worrying about wasting money.
With this option, you’d need to visit attractions that cost a minimum of $92 per day to make this pass worthwhile.
So, if you plan to visit between three and four attractions that are covered by the New York Pass each day, then you will definitely save some money!
It’s also nice that you can space out the time between slightly more strenuous activities like walking tours – which can be hard on your feet
Four Days Pass $304 ($76 per day)
This is actually a newer addition to the New York Pass, and I’m glad they added it. Because to me, four days is the perfect amount of time to get to know the city (which is why I put together this 4-day itinerary for NYC).
Spend fewer than four days in the city and you can sometimes feel rushed since there is so much to see and so little time.
Of course, more time in NYC is always a good thing, especially if you’re a fiscally responsible human who can afford to do so. Because as I mentioned earlier, NYC = best city on the planet.
Not that I’m biased or anything…
Plus, at $76 per day, you can purchase this pass and still have time to relax, sleep in a bit, and see things at a more leisurely pace/ Because as long as you experience between three and four attractions per day, you’re still saving money.
Five Days Pass: $344 ($69 per day)
As I said earlier, more time in NYC is always preferable. And with this option coming out at $69 per day, you can visit between three and four attractions per day and still save money.
And although that might not sound like a lot, it means that you’ll get to see at least 15 to 20 of NYC’s top attractions throughot your trip.
Plus. you’ll have the added freedom of going slowly. This way, you won’t have to stress yourself out while hurrying from one place to the next.
Plus, if you add a walking tour into your daily itinerary, you can stay fit while on vacation, eat all the food you want (I mean, walking burns millions of calories per hour and allows you to eat ANYTHING you want.
And yes, this is the lie I tell myself so that I can stuff my face without feeling guilty), AND still see A LOT of NYC. So much so that you’ll be a pro by the end of your trip!
Seven Days Pass: $384 ($54 per day)
Dang! An entire week in NYC? How’d you get so lucky? Because this is the jackpot when ic comes to vacations, at least IMHO.
But is the New York Pass still a good deal? Heck yeah, it is since you’d have to see a mere $54 worth of attractions per day to make the 7-Day pass worth your while.
So, if you can stay in NYC for a solid weel and want to see a lot of the attraction included with the pass, then this option is well worth your while!
Especially when you consider that a few of the attractions included with the New York Pass can cost $54 by themselves!
Plus, if you love walking tours almost as much as I do, then you can easily see this much per day with minimal effort. I mean, even if you do just one tour and visit one museum per day, you’ll still save money.
And if you plan to see between three and four sites per day? Well, then you’ll be saving yourself gobs of money and feeling like a total baller as you stroll through NYC.
10 Days: $490 ($49 per day)
Is $49 per day in NYC an AMAZING deal on paper people? Absolutely!
However, if you have a solid 10+ days in NYC, you might want to seriously consider how many of the big-name sites covered by this pass you actually want to see.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love almost all of the places on this list with my whole heart and soul and think they are well worth seeing!! But real talk? Some sites are 100% better than others.
Plus, as a tourist, you’ll be constantly surrounded by other selfie-stick wielding heathens, I mean tourists. And that’s in a city that is already home to a solid 10 million people and that is busy beyond belief on a good day.
Therefore, NYC can be more than a little EXHAUSTING. So much so that I can’t really imagine doing it day in and day out for ten whole days.
However, you may be the energizer bunny and may not be a hardcore introvert like me who has an intense aversion to crowds.
So, if you think you can use the New York Pass to rock out for ten consecutive days, then go for it!
Just make sure that you’re actually going to see a lot of the sites included with this pass. Because if you’re looking to get off the beaten path and experience some of the more unusual things to do in NYC, then this pass may not be for you.
Either way though, no judgment here because at the end of the day, it’s your vacation and you need to do what is best for you!
New York Pass Review: The Good
1. Valid at over 100 of NYC’s top attractions – This means it can work out to be an amazing deal, even if only use it to visit a handful of included sites a given day. However, the financial benefit to you will depend on how many of these attractions you are interested in seeing and how many days you have to see them.
2. Allows you to skip the line at most of the available attractions – This will save you a TON of time waiting in line. Something that is super important if you only have a few days in NYC and that will ultimately allow you to see even more of this amazing city!
3. It’s BEYOND easy to use – You basically just download it and go (environmentally friendly, yay)!. Because it really is THAT simple. And if you don’t want to use your phone because you’re afraid it might die, then you can always print out a paper version and use that instead
4. It comes with a free NYC guidebook – Definitely an added bonus.
5. The New York Pass is valid for up to two years prior to activation -This means that if you purchase one and need to reschedule your trip, you won’t lose out on all of the hard-earned money you just spent on this pricey pass!
6. Metro Card Discount – You can actually use this pass to get a small discount on either a 1 or 2-day metro card. While this might not cover the entirety of your trip, some savings are better than no savings.
New York Pass Review: The Bad (Womp, Womp, Womp)
1. This pass can only be used once at each attraction – And yes, that includes the Hop-on-hop-off bus (sometimes this can be extended to two days, although it is not standard).
2. Metro Cards are NOT included – Yeah, NYC is ginormous and the fact that this pass doesn’t include access to public transportation is kind of annoying.
Especially since you WILL have to use public transportation at some point. And at $2.75 per subway ride, it ain’t cheap.
Sure, you can get a small discount on them but that doesn’t mean much since Manhattan is huge and you’re gonna need the subway…STAT!).
3. Must be used on consecutive days – Sorry, but you can’s space out your use the New York Pass and must use it on consecutive days.
That’s why, if you’re planning an extended vacation in NYC and don’t really want to cram your entire visit into a few short days, then this pass might not be for you.
4. Mainstream Sites (May not be for you if you’ve been to NYC a bunch of time) – If you’ve been to the city before and are looking to get off the beaten path, then this pass may not be a good fit.
Yeah, it just doesn’t include access to alot of the more unusual things to do in New York City (of which there are MANY amazing ones).
5. Not good for those on a tight budget. While it will save you a lot of money if you want to see some of NYC’s big-name sites, those on a tight budget might not be able to afford the steep, one-time fee.
There is also no special discount available for students and seniors (there is a reduced price for children though).
And since most of the attractions included with this pass actually do offer discounted ticket prices for people who fall into either of these two categories, it may be cheaper to purchase tickets a la carte as opposed to with the New York Pass.
New York Pass Review: Tips & Tricks To Get the Most Out of It
Okay, so you’ve decided to purchase the New York Pass. Epic choice! Here are some extra tips and tricks that will help you get the most proverbial bang for your buck, as it were.
1. Get up early! – It honestly pains me to say this cause I am the antithesis of a morning person. I am also someone who would gladly skip breakfast in favor of brunch every single day if I could.
But, sacrifices need to be made when visiting a city as uber-cool as NYC. So, if you’re getting one of shorter duration New York Passes, then getting up early is KEY.
Especially on the first day. Because as soon as you activate your pass, that’s it, that’s the beginning of your day!
So, don’t waste your time activating it at 6 PM. Unless of course you’ve worked everything out to the minute and have accounted for this late start time on day one.
Plus: getting an early start means that you can fit more into your day. This also means you’ll save more money in the long run and might be able to fit everything you want to see into one or two days.
2. Work Out Costs Ahead of Time – Look, are some beyond expensive things included in the New York Pass. So, it’s worth your time to sit down and figure out exactly what some of the most expensive things that you want to do are.
This way, you can do them first and really get the most out of your pass.
Plus, if you do run out of time with your pass, I’m sure you’d much rather spend $25 on a big name museum, as opposed to a ridiculous $51 per person for a Food on Foot Tour! Yikes!
3. Figure Out Where Everything Is Ahead of Time – Save yourself time and see more in a single day by visiting sites that are right next door to each other (a good example would be seeing the MET, the Cooper Hewitt Museum, and the Guggenheim all at the same time since they are all practically right across the street from one another).
This way, you can easily see more attractions in a single day and can also save yourself a whole lot of money (and time) when it comes to transportation.
Luckily for you though, most of the sites included with the New York Pass are actually in Manhattan and are relatively close to one another (or at least as close as anything can be in NYC).
4. Don’t Do Too Much – I know, I KNOW! You’re on a once in a lifetime trip to NYC, OF COURSE, you want to do ALL the things.
But be realistic! Because while I LOVE museums, getting museumed out is a very real thing. So, even though NYC is home to some of the best museums in the world (facts), visiting a bunch of them in a single day is hard work.
And It’s seriously mind-boggling just how tiring standing there and reading about priceless artifacts can be!
So, if you can, try to do a mixture of intense and not-so-intense activities throughout the day. Because even though I’m a huge fan of a good walking tour, I DO NOT recommend trying to fit in 3 per day, even if the timing allows for it!
5. Plan for the Weather – If you visit NYC during the winter, be prepared for the polar vortex of doom because NYC can be hella freezing.
That’s why you might want to check out my NYC winter packing guide so that you’ll be prepared and looking chic AF even when there is a foot of snow on the ground.
However, because the winter tends to be next-level cold, you might also want to refrain from doing five different walking tours or spending a lot of time on the Hop-on-hop-off bus since we all know that the best seats are on the TOP of the bus!
And yes, those seats are 100% outside.
But wait, what if you’re visiting during the hot and humid summer? Well, then being indoors ALL day, every day might get real old real fast.
So, use common sense, always check the weather before your trip (the weather up in NYC can be manic with a capital “M”), and pack/plan accordingly.
New York Pass Review: So Is It Worth It?
Thie answer to this question is of course personal and will vary since every person is different. But, I think many of the sites listed above are bucket list items for a reason.
So, if it’s your first time in New York or you’re looking to see some of the most famous attractions in the city, then the New York Pass is a MUST Not only will it save you a ton of money but it will also give you the freedom to choose what you want to see and when based on your own personal travel style.
But if you’re really only interested in visiting a handful of sites listed above and plan on spending a prolonged period fo time in NYC, then maybe the New York Pass just isn’t for you.
Or, maybe you’ve already been to NYC and have seen most of the big-name attractions here.
If so, then you might want to take a hard pass on the New York Pass since it probably won’t save all that much money.
Alternatives to the New York Pass
While this is a New York Pass Review, I recognize that this pass isn’t for everyone! Especially if you’re only interested in a few of the sites included. So here are a few alternatives that you may want to consider instead.
1. Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Freestyle Pass with 3, 5 or 7 Attractions
⭐️ Rating: 4/5 (1085 Reviews) Price: $47.99 per person Duration: Valid for 1-3 days Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
This one is ideal if you want to do the Hop-on-hop-off bus but want to take your time enjoying the sites it offers.
Because unlike the New York Pass, the Freestyle Pass gives you 72 hours to use the Hop-on-hop-off bus AND free admission in 3, 5, or 7 different attractions that are included in the pass. Attractions that sometimes even include complimentary food! If you want, you can also read the full list here.
So yeah, you can quickly see why the Freestyle Pass is awesome. Plus, the price is pretty dang reasonable too since it’s $159 for 72 hours plus 3 attractions (And if you opt for 5 attractions it’s $179 and $199 for 7 attractions).
“I ended up adding another day, it was just fantastic. I stayed on the bus all the way around the first time and then I went around again and hopped off at the places I wanted to spend more time with. Would highly recommend Big Bus New York. Thankyou such a great way to see New York.”Nicci (read more reviews now!)
Sure, that price may seem steep, but think about it. Because the Hop-on-hop-off bus alone costs $39 per day.
So, you can definitely see how you could save a whole lot of money REAL quickly with this pass. That’s why if you want to see a few big-name attractions and really don’t feel like worrying about public transportation, then the Freestyle Pass is definitely a great choice!
2. The Sightseeing FLEX Pass
⭐️ Rating: 4.1/5 (270 Reviews) Price: $74 per person Duration: Valid for 30 days Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
The Sightseeing FLEX Pass is ideal if you only want to see a handful of attractions or one or two walking tours, but still want to get a great deal on them.
But, what really makes this pass stand out from the New York Pass is the fact that the Sightseeing Flex Pass actually features CRUISES that you can go on. And if you’re a cruise person, then this is one great deal. Especially since many of the aforementioned cruises start at a solid $45 per person.
Time out though! “How does it actually work?” I hear you rightly wondering.
“I was unsure on getting this pass until I read the reviews online. It was a great buy as I managed to enjoy my 4 days in new York stress free with no queuing. It was very easy to purchase I had the QR ticket sent straight to my phone as I had downloaded the app.”Lisa (read more reviews now!)
Well, this pass allows you to select the number of things you want to do (as opposed to the number of days you want the pass for) and charges you based on the number of activities you select.
So, choose between 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, and 12 attraction passes – passes that start at $64 for two attractions. And while that may seem like a lot, it’s an AMAZING deal if you opt for one big-name site and one of their tours or cruises. OR, go all out and go on TWO tours and/or cruises.
I mean really, why not treat yourself. After all, this is probably a once in a lifetime trip and already you’re already saving pretty decent money with The Sightseeing FLEX Pass.
3. New York City Explorer Pass
⭐️ Rating: 4.5/5 (1784 Reviews) Price: $74 per person Duration: Valid for 2 months Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
The New York City Explorer Pass is very similar to the Sightseeing FLEX Pass, but with a few different options to choose from.
So, if you prefer this kind of pass, it’s worth seeing exactly what each pass covers and selecting the best NYC pass for you.
Because with this pass, you’ll get free entry to over 85 different attractions, tours, and cruises. Plus, you can choose between passes that include 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, or 10 attractions, with prices that start at $65 for 2 attractions.
“Amazing views!!”Carlo (read more reviews now!)
However, like with the Sightseeing Flex Pass above, if you know exactly what attractions you want to see, you can and will save a ton of money.
For example, this pass includes access to a Gossip Girl bus tour (which normally retails at $56 per person). So, even if you only went on that tour and the Food on Foot tour (normally $51), you’d save a hefty $42 with this pass!
New York City Pass FAQ
What Pass To Get For NYC?
If it is your first time in the city and you want to see all the highlights that New York has to offer then the New York City pass makes a lot of sense. This is because the pass gives you a great discount if you are heading to the popular attractions.
The longer passes are definitely better because they give you a better discount. If you have visited NYC before and aren’t looking to hit the tourist hot spots then check out the sightseeing flex pass.
How Many Attractions Can You Visit With The New York City Pass?
The New York City pass allows you to visit over 100 attractions for free. Well relatively free because you do pay for the New York city pass. The cost of entry to these attractions is significantly cheaper when compared to buying the tickets individually.
Some of the top attractions on the list include the Empire State building, the 9/11 museum and the Top of the Rock.
How Long Does The New York Pass Last?
The New York city pass validity is counted down from the time you activate it. In fact, you can buy the pass and use it any time in a 12 month duration.
You can also choose how many days you want the pass to last. There are 1 day, 2 days, 3 days, 4 days, 5 days, 7 days and 10 day options. So there is a duration for every itinerary.
🏆 In a rush? The book the New York City Pass online. It is definitely a great bet if you are a first time visitor in the city.🚁
Sandra I BlueMarble Vagabonds
Saturday 29th of August 2020
I always check for good deals for passes, because if you're a museum freak like me, you always find great deals. So can't wait to look into this when we finally manage to get to NYC!
Saturday 29th of August 2020
Same here. I love museums, especially the ones in NYC.
Saturday 29th of August 2020
Wow, you've covered everything here! ?? I like the advice about planning the trip in advance to see if the card is worthwhile.
Saturday 29th of August 2020
Thanks so much and thanks for reading!
Saturday 29th of August 2020
Great overview on which you can base if the New York Pass is really worth it. It looks like it's worth its money pretty quickly. We did a lot of the big attractions on our first visit to NYC.
Saturday 29th of August 2020
Yup. And same when I was young and first exploring NYC
Saturday 29th of August 2020
Passes like this always seem expensive until you realize just how much some attractions cost. By the time you've been to two or three you've reached the cost you would have paid so any on top of that is just a bonus. And then there's the extra offers involved. I have definitely started using these passes when I travel, and next time I go to NYC I would definitely look into this
Saturday 29th of August 2020
Me too! It seems really expensive at first but those big-name attractions cost a lot and investing in a pass can be really beneficial.
Saturday 29th of August 2020
This guide is beyond incredible and helpful. I've been to NYC twice and haven't seen quite a few of these, but I'm impressed with how much people can fit into one day - and that's saying something coming from someone who packs a LOT in! If I make it back a third time, I'll have to consider it. But I still think I'm more on the "not for everyone" side, haha.
Saturday 29th of August 2020
Yeah I get it. I feel like it's definitely more for people who have not been to NYC before and who want to see some of the city's top attractions.