Is It Worth Buying a New York Pass?

The easy way to find out is to use my New York Pass Comparison tool, which will compare the cost of buying a New York Pass to paying for each attraction individually.  Whether the New York Pass is worth it really depends on what you plan to do during your visit.

What is the New York Pass?

The New York Pass is like a buffet of attractions, offering you access to over 100 tourist destinations. The variety is substantial: from iconic landmarks such as the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and Times Square; museums like MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History; to tours including the Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus New York, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, and walking tours around significant neighborhoods. It’s a tool designed to simplify your sightseeing experience, providing convenience (you only need one card), time efficiency (skipping ticket lines at various attractions), and budget control (you pay one price upfront).

What are you planning to do in New York?

Identifying your New York City interests is crucial. The city is vast and varied, with endless things to see and do. If you’re a fan of museums, tours, and major landmarks, the Pass will likely be a good investment. If you’re into Broadway shows, gourmet restaurants, and shopping, which aren’t covered by the Pass, then the value diminishes. The pass is less beneficial if your interests lie more in exploring local neighborhoods, spending time in parks, or discovering off-beat destinations, none of which require an entrance fee.

How long is your visit?

The New York Pass can be purchased for durations ranging from 1 to 10 days. The value proposition changes with the length of your stay and how densely packed with sightseeing it is. If you’re in the city for a few days and plan on heavy sightseeing, the pass can offer substantial savings. Conversely, if your trip is lengthy and you intend to sightsee at a more relaxed pace, the per-day cost of the pass might not offer substantial savings, and might even be more expensive than purchasing individual tickets.

Are you okay with a structured itinerary?

Maximizing the value of the New York Pass requires careful planning and a structured itinerary to include as many attractions as possible. This can mean starting your day early, grouping attractions by location to minimize travel time, and possibly compromising on impromptu plans or lingering at a favorite spot. It’s important to note that some travelers might find such a schedule too rigid or rushed.

Do you enjoy guided tours?

The New York Pass includes access to a variety of guided tours. These range from bus tours providing an overview of the city, boat tours showcasing the skyline, to walking tours offering a deeper dive into specific neighborhoods or themes. Guided tours can be an engaging way to learn about the city’s history, architecture, culture, and neighborhoods from knowledgeable guides. However, if you’re someone who prefers exploring independently at your own pace, this feature of the Pass might be less appealing.

Do you plan to visit during peak tourist season?

New York City attracts millions of visitors each year, with peak seasons typically in the summer (June through August) and around the winter holiday period. During these times, attractions can be crowded and queues lengthy. One benefit of the New York Pass is the “Fast Track Entry” feature, offering skip-the-line privileges at select attractions. This can be a significant time-saver, allowing you to see more and wait less. However, it’s essential to note that this feature doesn’t apply to all attractions, and during less busy times, it might not be a significant advantage.

To decide if the New York Pass is worth it, use my New York Pass Comparison tool, which will compare the cost of buying a New York Pass to paying for each attraction individually. Also, don’t forget to factor in the convenience of having everything prepaid and the potential time savings at busy attractions.