See New York with the New York CityPASS

by Kim on June 13, 2012 · 24 comments

It’s no secret that New York City isn’t exactly a cheap place to visit. It’s also no secret that Brian and I are on a tight budget (remember the gelato incident?).

But I was itching to see New York. I’ve dreamed of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building and the American Museum of Natural History for so long that I just had to see these iconic NYC attractions with my own eyes.

Funding my tourist dream would have cost a fortune. Thankfully, we learned of the New York CityPASS.  

The New York CityPASS grants admission to six New York City attractions for only $89 total.  It’s a hell of a deal.

Visit these attractions with your New York CityPASS:

The Empire State Building

The American Museum of Natural History

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art)

The Guggenheim Museum OR Top of the Rock 

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island OR Circle Line Cruise

Brian and I visited the American Museum of Natural History, the Empire State Building the Metropolitan Museum of Art and took the Circle Line Cruise around Manhattan and Ellis Island. Each and every one of these experiences lived up to my expectations, but here are a few of the highlights:

American History Museum

Learning about how our planet was born during a visit to the Planetarium. Seeing one of the few real specimens of Tyrannosaurus Rex on public display. Adding fuel to my already-out-of-control-phobia at the grizzly bear window.

I wouldn’t want to run into this guy in a dark alley 

Check out those Grizzly Bear claws

Empire State Building

Taking pictures of the nighttime NYC skyline from the top of the Empire State Building (it’s open until 2 a.m.!).  Learning the history of the city with the fantastic audio tour (free with the New York CityPASS).

New York City from the Empire State Building

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Standing so close to original paintings by Picasso and van Gogh that I could have reached out and touched them. Seeing the original armor worn by Henry VIII. Viewing art and jewelry made by the ancient Egyptians.

Vincent van Gogh self portrait

Not Henry VIII armor (I didn’t get a picture of it) but armor nonetheless

Circle Line Cruise

Viewing Manhattan from the water. Floating beneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Seeing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for the first time and imagining what that moment must have been like for the thousands of immigrants that passed through those doors.  It’s an experience that I will never forget. It brought me to tears.

Manhattan from the water.  That tall building under construction is the Freedom Tower, built in the footprint of the twin towers.

The State of Liberty

Brian and I were provided with complimentary New York CityPASS’s but believe me when I say that we would have paid full price for them. You can learn more and/or purchase the New York CityPASS on the New York CityPASS website.  



{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Carmel June 13, 2012 at 8:29 am

I wish we would have had more time to take advantage of that pass, but with only a couple of days to explore, we couldn’t make it worth the cost. However, we did combine our MoMA tickets with the Top of the Rock tickets to save a few bucks.

I can just imagine Brian rolling his eyes at you for bringing up the gelato incident again. 🙂


Kim June 13, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Haha, let me tell you how much Brian loves that I keep talking about the gelato moment… 😉 Hope you guys are well, I miss you!


Hannah June 13, 2012 at 9:22 am

Great photos Kim – the one from the top of the Empire State Building was mesmerising – the clouds are so beautiful in it. I think I’m going to get the same camera as you for our travels – you’ve more than sold it 🙂


Kim June 13, 2012 at 6:39 pm

The camera is AMAZING. Totally worth it.


Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) June 13, 2012 at 9:43 am

On our last visit to NYC, we were thinking of getting the CityPass, but were worried we would feel to frantic having it, like we had to get our money’s worth. We were there visiting friends, so we weren’t in hardcore sightseeing extravaganza mode, so I think that played a part too.

One tip for those interested in seeing the Statue of Liberty from a ferry is that you can take the Staten Island Ferry for absolutely free and still get great views! Also, I think the MET and the Natural History Museum are places where you can pay what you like (there is a recommended donation but no fixed price), which is another way to save (and of course there are also certain days and time where admission is sponsored so you can walk in without paying a single cent guilt-free!).


Carmel June 13, 2012 at 10:35 am

There was a fixed price for MoMA when we went. But it was on a Sunday, so maybe it’s just the weekends.


Kim June 13, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Thank you for sharing the tip about the Staten Island Ferry- I hear it has cheap beer too!


Tracy June 13, 2012 at 11:23 am

I wish we would have known about this when we were there, it’s an amazing deal! Although, we did get into MOMA for free when we told the woman at the front desk that we didn’t have enough money for a ticket. That whole New Yorkers are mean thing is really untrue.


Kim June 13, 2012 at 6:41 pm

It really is a great deal.

I also found NYC residents to be kind… or at least to me as friendly as the rest of the country 🙂


Claire June 13, 2012 at 6:09 pm

I didn’t even know about the pass. Sounds like a real steal! I will definitely be getting one of those for my next trip to the NYC!


Kim June 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Yes, it’s totally worth it!


Steve Whitty June 14, 2012 at 8:14 am

Passes are a great way of saving money. I’ll be purchasing on when I am in Madrid.


Kim June 19, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Yes, I’m glad I found out about them now… they are available in many other cities! Have fun in Madrid.


Annie Cain June 14, 2012 at 9:22 am

Kim! Thank you so much for the post. Derick and I are going this summer and will definately take advantage of the pass. I love following your journey through this blog!! Keep having fun!!


Kim June 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm

I’m glad it is helpful Annie! Make sure you do the audio tour at the Empire State Building! Also, I hear that Ellis Island is amazing and I wish we would have gone. If you get the CityPASS you have the option of taking the tour that takes you to Ellis Island- do that one!


Ali June 15, 2012 at 7:32 am

Sounds like an awesome way to see the city! I never remember to look for passes like this, but it’s such a great idea to see the sights and save money. Glad you’re enjoying NYC!


Kim June 19, 2012 at 8:01 pm

It really does save a ton of money. I’ll be looking for them in every city now!


Rick Ed June 15, 2012 at 10:08 am


All are very nice pictures. I have a feeling that I am visiting New York once again. Thank you for sharing.



Kim June 19, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Rick, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. It’s definitely a place that needs to be visited more than once 🙂


Ayngelina June 18, 2012 at 9:38 am

Ooh good tip, thanks for passing it along!


Kim June 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm

You’re welcome. Lots of good food in NYC Ayngelina!


Ruth June 26, 2012 at 8:11 am

Wow! This IS a great deal! I work in NYC and live in NJ, but I’m definitely going to tell people about this.

Just an FYI though, many tourists don’t know that The Metropolitan Museum of Art is admission by donation. They do have suggested prices listed for admission and the “suggested” designation is subtle, but you can get in for free, or for a donation of 5 cents. Whatever you want.

It’s a great institution, so I highly suggest donating, but know that you don’t have to pay the amount listed at the admissions desk.


Kim June 27, 2012 at 8:15 pm

One thing to note is that I think the passes are only valid for nine days- so you will have to squeeze it all in in a week or so. I didn’t know that about the MET but thank you for letting me know (and the readers)!


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