Over the last few years, I’ve become a fan of using bundled discounted attractions passes in major cities where sightseeing costs can add up. Thanks to our smartphones, these passes have become incredibly convenient to purchase and use. The Go City New York Pass is the most popular choice in New York City as it saves up to 50% off of admission to over 100 New York City attractions.

Whether you’re looking to visit the Empire State Building, explore New York City on a bus tour, view Manhattan’s city lights by night, or learn more about Ellis Island immigration history, the Go City New York Pass can help you do it all.

So, let’s talk about your options and whether the sightseeing pass is right for your holiday.

See also: The Luxe Kids Guide to New York City

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What Is the Go City New York Pass?

The Go City New York Pass is the new version of what used to be known as the New York Pass.

There can be confusion about how the two passes differ, so here’s the backstory: Go City bought out what used to be The New York Pass. While they still maintain separate websites for The New York Pass and Go City New York, The New York Pass and the All-Inclusive version of the Go City New York Pass are actually the same passes (Note: Go City also has an Explorer Pass in addition to the All-Inclusive—more on that below).

In this article – to hopefully make it easier – we’re going to focus only on the Go City New York pass and its two options: The All-Inclusive Pass and the Explorer Pass.

All Go City New York passes are purchased online and downloaded instantly to a smartphone via their app. You simply download the Go City app and sync your pass once you’ve purchased it. With your Go City New York Pass in hand, it’s possible to visit around 100 New York City’s top attractions for free by merely scanning the pass as you enter. It’s that simple. The allows users to enter each attraction one time.

Here is the difference between the two Go City New York pass options:

all-inclusive pass

The Go City All-Inclusive pass is based on the number of days you buy, and these days are always consecutive. You can buy passes for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 10 consecutive day options, each at different prices. They currently vary from $154 for an adult ($114 per child) for the 1-day pass to $399 ($299 per child) for the 10-day pass.

The All-Inclusive Go City New York Pass is activated when you visit the first NYC attraction. It is then good for the duration you choose, to as many attractions as you like.

Note (as their website explains best): “‘Day 1′ starts when you scan your pass at your first attraction and each ‘day’ of your pass finishes at midnight. This is the case regardless of what time of day you choose to scan your first attraction.” 

Therefore, my advice is to start using your All-Inclusive pass as early as possible on Day 1.

explorer pass

Go City New York’s other pass option is the Explorer Pass. With the Explorer Pass, you purchase based on how many attractions you want to see—not how many days you buy. Once you choose your number of attractions, you have 60 days to visit them, starting from the day you visit the first attraction.

You can buy Explorer passes for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 10 attraction choices, each at a different price. The 2-choice pass currently costs $84 for an adult ($69 per child), while the 10-choice pass costs $289 ($239 per child).

Which Museums, Attractions, and Tours are Included?

The most important thing to do first is make sure the attractions you’d like to visit are listed on the option you buy. Next, assess how much time you have to sightsee and how many attractions are on your must-do list. Then, choose the pass that suits your plans the best.

With both the All-Inclusive and Explorer passes, you can pick the attraction as you go and don’t need to choose prior to purchasing. Just note that the Explorer Pass does have a few exceptions on the list of attractions for the Go City New York pass, so check when viewing the list.

FAQ: Is LEGOLAND New York Included?

No, the seasonal LEGOLAND New York theme park is not included on Go City New York. But don’t worry! You can read my tips for how to buy discounted LEGOLAND New York tickets because you definitely don’t have to pay gate prices.

The 100+ popular attractions include these New York highlights (attractions change, so check before you buy):

  • Empire State Building
  • Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
  • Surrey Bike Rental on Governor’s Island
  • Staten Island Zoo
  • The Best of NYC Cruise
  • One World Observatory
  • Central Park Full-Day Bike Rental
  • Madame Tussauds
  • 9/11 Memorial and Museum
  • Top of the Rock Observatory
  • The New York Botanical Gardens
  • New York Yankees Game Tickets
American Museum of Natural History is part of the New York Pass

A great aspect of the Go City New York Pass is the inclusion of over a dozen guided tours and walks. There’s something for all kinds of interests, and you’ll likely come away fascinated by many of these. The tours include:

  • Big Bus Hop-On, Hop-Off Tours of the City
  • Catacombs By Candlelight Tour
  • Central Park Walking Tour
  • Greenwich Village Walking Tour
  • Madison Square Garden All-Access Tour
  • Marvel & DC Superheroes Tour
  • Rockefeller Center Tour
  • Yankee Stadium Tour
  • Food On Foot Tours
  • The Official Little Italy Walking Tour
  • The Official Chinatown Walking Tour
  • Best of Brooklyn Walking Tour
  • Rockefeller Center Tour
  • Brooklyn Bridge Walking Tour

One of the most famous things about New York City is its huge array of amazing museums, of course. The Go City New York Pass includes entry to most, if not all of them, including:

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • Natural History Museum
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • American Museum of Broadway
  • Museum of Jewish Heritage
  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
  • The Skyscraper Museum
  • Museum of Sex
  • South Street Seaport Museum
  • Whitney Museum of American Art
  • The Museum of the City of New York

Definitely Download the Go City App!

Download the Go City app to access your pass. Then, pull up your pass to scan on your phone at each attraction. We did this last time we went sightseeing in New York City and I can’t even tell you how convenient this is.

Do I Need to Pre-Book Attractions?

While most attractions don’t require advanced reservations, some do. Depending on the attraction’s popularity and whether you’re visiting during the school holidays, it is advisable to book ahead to avoid disappointment.

Not all attractions have booking options, but the Go City phone app makes it easy. When you browse the list on your phone, every attraction that does will have a ‘reservations required’ stamp next to it. The app then gives you all the info on how to book. There is also a list of attractions that require reservations on the Go City website.

Here’s A Few More Tips…

  • You may visit each attraction only once with the Go City New York Pass.
  • ‘Child’ Go City New York passes are for kids ages 3-12. Ages 13 and older require an adult pass.
  • You may not share your New York Pass with friends or others. It is specific to you.
  • Unused passes can be refunded within 90 days.
  • If your plans change, non-activated passes are valid for two years from the date you purchase them.
  • Got luggage? Go City passholders can get a 10% discount at Stasher luggage storage while you explore the city. You can book online and use the coupon code GOCITYGLOBAL.
  • As with any sightseeing pass, it’s important to read the terms and conditions for usage.

Who Is the Go City New York Pass For?

It depends on your visit. I would say the All-Inclusive Pass is for people who are confident that they’re visiting enough of their favorite attractions in a set number of days to get value out of the pass. It pays to crunch the numbers.

The longer your New York trip, the more benefits you get out of the pass, as the 10-day option is only $20 more than the 7-day option.

The Explorer Pass is great for people who are specific about what attractions they want to see but don’t have a rushed timeframe, as you have a 60-day window.

Frequent Visitors Still Get Value with the Explorer Pass

I can tell you from personal experience that visiting some of the museums like MoMA or even the American Museum of Natural History never gets old. So, if we know we’re going to sightsee, we’ll get the Explorer Pass.

Both passes are great for travelers who don’t want the inconvenience of buying individual tickets (or thinking about ticket price) every time they enter an attraction.

See also: Mandarin Oriental New York Review (I love this hotel)

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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