The New York Pass claims to offer visitors access to over 80 popular attractions for a single daily price, starting at $85 for one day. Wow, this sounds like a fantastic deal -- I can go to 80 different New York City attractions in one day for $85? Not so fast. It would be impossible to cram all 80 attractions into one week, let alone one day, but that doesn't mean it's not a worthwhile purchase for your trip. As with just about everything, whether you should buy a New York Pass depends on many things.
Who Should Buy The New York Pass?
- You might want to buy a New York Pass if you're an aggressive sightseer or if you're here for several days or a full week and plan to see several different sights each day.
- You might also want to buy a New York Pass if you're looking to control your costs -- while it might not be the best deal, you'll know exactly how much you're spending to see a variety of different attractions, and that might make budgeting for your trip easier.
- A New York Pass can also be a fantastic gift idea if you know someone who is planning a trip to New York City. Whether it's a family vacation or a honeymoon, the recipient is sure to enjoy having 50 different attractions to choose from while they're in New York City.
New York Pass often has online promotions, so if you're planning your trip in advance, watch for a sale and buy your passes when prices are discounted. They can be used at least a year from purchase, so you don't have to worry about them expiring before your trip. Sometimes they discount prices up to 20% or offer free additional days. You can also buy New York Passes at most of the participating attractions, but your not going to get any special deals this way.
Keep in mind that the New York Pass is good for contiguous days -- if you have a three day pass and validate it on Monday, it will be good for Tuesday and Wednesday as well, not two additional days of your choosing. I am happy to report we didn't have any trouble using our passes -- every ticket counter attendant was familiar with the New York Pass and knew how to handle issuing tickets to us.
You can only visit an attraction once per day, but if you have a multi-day pass, you can return as many days as you like for the duration of your pass. This is a great feature for museum goers who want to scope out a few museums and might want to return to their favorites later in the trip. It's also a good choice if you want to see the view from the Empire State Building both during the day and at night.
In my experience, the "Fast Track" feature of the New York Pass is of little value. For most attractions where it is offered, lines are short, and for the attractions where it would really matter (like the Empire State Building) it's not available. It does enable you to skip the ticket line at the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry, but it doesn't let you skip the line to wait to go through security and board the boat -- and this is the long line at the attraction.
Recommended attractions included on the New York Pass:
- American Museum of Natural History
- Central Park Movie Locations Walking Tour
- Central Park Zoo
- Circle Line Sightseeing Tour
- Empire State Building
- Radio City Music Hall 'Stage Door Tour'
- Whitney Museum of Art