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 New York Pass is the most popular choice in New York City as it saves up to 55% off of admission to over 100 New York City attractions.
So, let’s talk about whether it’s right for your holiday.
See also: The Luxe Kids Guide to New York City
What Is the New York Pass?
The New York Pass is an all-inclusive pass for sightseeing that can be purchased and downloaded instantly to a smartphone via their app. Users can also choose to have a physical pass delivered or pick one up at select locations around New York City.
With the New York Pass in-hand, it’s possible to go to visit 100 New York City attractions for free by merely scanning the pass as you enter. It’s that simple. The pass allows users to enter each attraction one time.
The New York Pass is activated when you visit the first NYC attraction. It’s then good for the duration you choose.
Passes are available in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 10 consecutive day options, each at different prices, which currently vary from $127 for an adult ($94 per child) for the 1-day pass to $425 ($285 per child) for the 10-day pass.
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The most important thing to do is make sure the attractions you’d like to visit are listed on the option you buy. The 100+ included attractions include these highlights:
- Empire State Building
- Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Rockefeller Center Tour
- Guggenheim Museum
- American Museum of Natural History
- Madame Tussauds
- Brooklyn Bridge Walking Tour
- 9/11 Memorial and Museum
- Top of the Rock Observatory
- Luna Park at Coney Island
- Food On Foot Tours
- When Harry Met Seinfeld Bus Tour
- Great Women of New York Walking Tour
- Highlights of Midtown Architectural Tour
In addition to those already enumerated above, the New York Pass also includes over a dozen guided tours and walks. These tours include:
- Big Bus Hop-On, Hop-Off Tours of the City
- Central Park Walking Tour
- Grand Central Terminal Audio Tour
- Madison Square Garden All-Access Tour
- When Harry Met Sally/Seinfeld Site Tour
- Rockefeller Center Tour
- Yankee Stadium Tour
The New York Pass also entitles holders to free entry at over 30 New York City museums including the museums already mentioned above and:
- American Museum of Natural History
- Museum of Jewish Heritage
- Museum of Modern Art
- Museum of Sex
- Museum of the City of New York
- Whitney Museum of American Art
Browse the interactive map of New York City, showing each of the attractions covered by New York Pass, to get a feel for how much you can actually see in one day.
Fast Track Entry
New York Pass entitles holders to Fast Track Entry at 12 top attractions as well including Top of the Rock, MoMA, and The Met saving significant time during peak days.
Pre-Booking and Free Online Guidebook
While most of the attractions don’t require pre-booking, some tours do. That information is on the New York Pass App and in their free, downloadable guidebook.
The guidebook comes with each New York pass order. It includes a map of the City, and a helpful Subway map, information on various attractions, travel tips, as well as contact information. This New York City guidebook is available in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese (simplified), and Japanese.
New York Pass Concierge
New York Pass holders are entitled to access to an exclusive planning and booking service which allows for the purchase of discount tickets to additional events and services through their website. This includes Broadway plays and musicals like Chicago and Lion King, and Wicked, and Phantom of the Opera, as well as various Premium Tours of the Empire State Building (and even a Pix-Fixe meal at the STATE Bar and Grill there). You may also purchase a SuperShuttle airport transfer at a discount.
Discounts on Food & Drink
Holders of the New York Pass are further entitled to exclusive discounts and deals on food and beverage at select sites across the city. Sixteen restaurants currently participate though the specific deals and specials for New York Pass holders are not, listed on the website.
Several chain restaurants are featured on the list, including Buca di Beppo, Dave & Busters, the Hard Rock Cafe – Yankee Stadium, and Planet Hollywood. The list is not all chain restaurants. (That being said, potential purchasers of the New York Pass should be aware that this list may be dated. Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, from TV celebrity chef Guy Fieri, is on this table of participating restaurants, but it closed in December 2017.)
To help you plan your visit to New York City, and to utilize your New York Pass most efficiently while there, check the sample itinerary a 3-day, a 5-day, and a 7-day stay.
New York Pass App
Download the New York Pass app to gain access to mobile tickets, to avoid using paper tickets. You’ll simply scan your phone at each attraction.
The New York Pass app also unlocks exclusive discounts, the ability to use interactive maps and other useful features. It is definitely worth using.
Visit as many included attractions in a single day as you like. You may visit each attraction only once with New York Pass.
“Child” New York Passes are for kids ages 3-12.
You may not share your New York Pass with friends or others. It is specific to you.
As with any sightseeing pass, it’s important to read the terms and conditions for usage.
If you’re looking to only visit a few attractions during your trip over a longer course of time, consider the New York City Explorer Pass which allows purchasers to choose between 3, 4, 5, 7, or 11 attractions to visit over the course of 30 days.
Who Is the New York Pass For?
I would say the New York Pass is for people who are confident that they’re visiting enough attractions in a set number of days to get value out of the pass. It pays to crunch the numbers.
The longer your vacation, the more benefits you get out of the pass as the 10-day option is nearly the same price as the 7-day option.
It’s also for travelers who don’t want the inconvenience of stopping at ticket booths (or thinking about ticket price) every time they enter an attraction.
See also: Mandarin Oriental New York
New York Pass Fun Facts
The New York Pass was established in 2001. Over 3.5 Million people have used it to date. Will you be one of them?