Should I buy a New York attraction pass?
You may have seen some of the tourist passes advertised that offer you access to a number of the attractions around the city for a fixed price. There is a choice of three – CityPass, New York Pass and the Explorer Pass – each with different included attractions. But are they worth the expense?
The answer, as you might expect, is ‘possibly.’ Whether you will save money using them is dependent on how long you’re going for, who’s going – attractions have different rules for infants, children, students and seniors – and what you plan to see. Because it’s so difficult to work out for yourself which pass, if any, will save you money I have built an online tool that does it for you. Visit my New York Attraction Pass Comparison now to get a tailored recommendation based on your trip details.
New York CityPASS
CityPASS is a very popular pass offering admission to six of the must-see tourist attractions that New York has on offer.
If you were to travel for a week, this would be ideal as you could do something different every day. However, for a shorter break it may be difficult to fit everything in, and so it could be cheaper to buy from the box office on the day for some attractions. Reviews are dazzling for this pass, with many buyers commenting on the excellent value for money, if these attractions appeal to you.
Use the New York CityPASS calculator to check whether it is the best pass for your trip.
The New York Pass
On the face of it the New York pass looks better value, offering entry to over 80 attractions and activities around NYC. You can order up to a year in advance, and the pass comes with a guidebook to help you to plan your trip.
By visiting just the Top 10 attractions, which are the Circle Line Cruises, Empire State Building, Food on Foot Tours, 9/11 Tribute Center, Top of the Rock, The Museum of Modern Art, New York Skyride, Madame Tussaud’s, the NBC studio tour and the Hop-On-Hop-Off Water Taxi, you can save over $300.
The New York pass is very flexible, and if you have a packed itinerary then it certainly offers good value for money. Due to the number of attractions that are included it is also ideal for people who know that they will be filling their days but don’t like to plan too much ahead. If, however, you prefer to see a few of the big sites and then just take in streets of New York it may not be right for you.
The New York Pass calculator will check whether it is the right tourist pass for your trip or whether you will better off buying one of the competing passes or even no pass at all.
The New York Explorer Pass
The New York Explorer Pass works differently again and is perfect for those who know exactly where they want to go and what they want to see. The pass gives you access to 54 different attractions and you buy a pass giving you entry to 3, 5, 7 or 10 of them.
Is it worth it? The average cost across the 54 attractions is $33 each; however, some of the attractions are less expensive, so if you do consider the Explorer Pass be sure to include the more expensive attractions. If there are attractions you want to visit that cost less than the ‘per attraction’ value of the pass you buy then it may be advisable to pay for these at the box office on the day, and use your pass for the higher-priced venues.
Our New York Explorer Pass calculator will tell you whether it is the right pass for your trip based on how long you are going for and who is in your party.
Which New York pass is the best?
The best pass for you will depend on what you want to see, how old the children are the accompany you (since the ‘child’ category varies from pass to pass), how long your stay is for and whether any of your party is eligible for student or senior discounts. Each pass has its merits and so it is worth taking time to plan your trip to ensure you are getting the most for your money.
Use our full New York Pass comparison to find out which pass is best for your trip or whether you would be better off buying your attraction tickets separately.