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Is New York Pass Worth It?

The Tourist Card is a great way to see New York's best paid tourist attractions and get around the city in a convenient, money-saving way.

Lorena Morales

Lorena Morales

10 min read

Is New York Pass Worth It?

New York | ©Colton Duke

New York is a huge, cosmopolitan city full of sights you won't want to miss, including museums, landmarks and viewpoints. Some are free and others require an entrance fee, so if you're deciding what to do in New York you should know the advantages of buying a sightseeing card to better plan your trip.

Sightseeing cards are purchased for a certain number of attractions for a certain number of days or a more flexible amount of time, so they can be adapted to different types of travel. They also include tourist bus passes, one of the most convenient ways to travel in one of the busiest cities in the world, and discounts on other activities, such as helicopter or boat tours. In this article I will answer some of the most frequently asked questions when choosing a tourist card.

When is it worth buying a New York City Sightseeing Card?

New York Pass| ©st0lemyheart
New York Pass| ©st0lemyheart

Whether you plan to visit New York for a day, a week, a month or even longer, it's always worth buying a New York Pass. Even if you only see a few attractions, it can save you money, especially if you're a first time visitor and want to see everything.

New York Passes are a great option as they offer up to 70% off admission to New York' s main paying tourist attractions. They also include discounts at bars, shops, restaurants, and on other activities such as helicopter rides, boat rides, bike rentals, and the best sightseeing buses in NYC.

When you purchase the card, you can choose:

  • Per number of days with unlimited attractions, or
  • Per number of attractions with flexible time limits.

If you are visiting the city for the first time and want to see a lot in a short time, the best option is a per number of days card. On the other hand, if your pace is more relaxed, it is more convenient to buy a tourist card by number of attractions.

On the other hand, the list of attractions offered by the companies will allow you to better plan your trip, by presenting the most important places in NY that you can't miss.

Best New York Sightseeing Passes

It's best to buy your sightseeing pass before you travel and see which sites are of most interest to you, especially if you're short on time, but you can also buy it when you arrive in New York. Even if you have chosen certain attractions before you travel, you can exchange them for others during your stay.

This article will help you choose the best New York City Sightseeing Card (comparison).

Advantages of buying a New York City Sightseeing Card

  • You can choose the number of attractions you want from over 150 attractions in New York.
  • You don't waste time queuing to buy tickets.
  • You can choose a certain number of days or book a more flexible time to visit attractions at your own pace.
  • Passes have discounts for children.
  • Prices are reduced the more days or attractions you book.
  • They include discounts in shops, restaurants, and activities such as boat or helicopter rides, bike rentals, etc.
  • They include sightseeing bus tours for a day or more.

Also note that most of the tourist cards include admission to well-known sites such as the Empire State Building or the American Museum of Natural History, but not all of them to the Statue of Liberty, so it is best to plan in advance the places you want to visit, to choose the most convenient card for you.

On the other hand, some sites require you to pre-book your ticket, which you should check on the official pages of each card.

Get your New York City Sightseeing Card

Is it worth buying a New York Sightseeing Card for a long trip?

View of the Statue of Liberty from the cruise ship| ©William Warby
View of the Statue of Liberty from the cruise ship| ©William Warby

If you plan to visit New York for 30, 60 or more days, the New York Sightseeing Card is very convenient. For example, you can buy 60-day flexi-passes for 5 to 12 attractions that interest you, depending on the card you choose.

You can select the attractions you are interested in before you travel or choose them when you arrive in the city. You can also change attractions during the duration of your pass.

The good thing is that the card is activated when you visit the first attraction. From that moment on, the days or time you have contracted will begin to run, and not on a specific date. In addition, during the time your pass lasts you will be able to access many discounts and benefits in bars, restaurants, shops and shows, as well as on tours or bike rides and tourist buses.

Another important fact is that the more attractions your pass includes, the greater the discounts. On the other hand, some cards offer discounts for family groups. Buying a tourist card is one of the most practical tips for visiting New York and saving money.

Top attractions in the Big Apple

  • 9/11 Memorial
  • South Street Seaport
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Ellis Island
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Times Square
  • Central Park
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Empire State Building
  • 5th Avenue
  • Chinatown
  • Battery Park
  • Diamond District

Is it worth buying a Tourist Card for a short trip?

Inside One World Observatory| ©Hellotickets
Inside One World Observatory| ©Hellotickets

Tourist passes usually include discounts for access to the main paid tourist attractions, which are the ones you would do on a first trip to New York. However, it's always a good idea if you're only going for a few days to check beforehand which sites are of interest to you to get the most out of your stay, as some sites are likely to be free and you won't need to buy a Tourist Pass.

If your tour includes several paid sites, I recommend you buy a Day Pass for consecutive days. These cards give you an unlimited number of attractions for each day you purchase. Don't forget to check ahead of time which sites require pre-booked admission to ensure you get in.

Guides to plan your trip to New York for a few days

New York attractions to see in a day

Is it worth it if I just want to see the main attractions?

Empire State Building| ©Christian Ladewig
Empire State Building| ©Christian Ladewig

If you prefer to see the main attractions on your trip to New York, and these are paid attractions, it is a good idea to buy a tourist card, as most companies offer very interesting benefits that you can take advantage of throughout your trip, in addition to the entrance fees.

On the other hand, tourist cards usually include tourist bus passes for a day or more, which will make it easier for you to move from one attraction to another, which is very important in a city with chaotic traffic like New York.

With a tourist card you will have discounts to enter the unmissable viewpoints of NY like the Empire State Building or take advantage of the best price to visit the Statue of Liberty. Keep in mind that not all tourist cards include the Statue of Liberty or the entrance to the crown, which is sold out months in advance.

Here are some of the attractions that you can add to your Tourist Card.

Attractions of interest in NY

Join a private tour with admission to the Statue of Liberty

Is it worth it if I'm travelling with kids?

New York Museum of Natural History| ©Wikimedia
New York Museum of Natural History| ©Wikimedia

If you choose a New York City Sightseeing Card, you'll be able to organise your trip with fun attractions for the little ones. A tourist card is ideal for you to know the best things to do in New York with kids.

I recommend you to buy tourist passes per attraction, and not per day, as kids may prefer to stay longer at one attraction instead of going to several in the same day. Also, if you choose by attraction, you will be able to switch to another attraction in case of any inconvenience or last minute change of plans.

In New York, there are plenty of attractions for the little ones that you can't miss. I recommend that you make a list of the best kid-friendly destinations and then plan each day combining the kid-friendly attractions with the adult attractions.

Below is a list of the most popular attractions for kids.

New York attractions for kids

Is it worth it if I go to New York in the summer?

Circle-Line Cruise along the Hudson River| ©Ralph.Torelló
Circle-Line Cruise along the Hudson River| ©Ralph.Torelló

New York is known around the world as the city that never sleeps and this is because there are fabulous activities all year round, especially in the summer. Without a doubt, the tourist card will allow you to fully enjoy the summer in New York, saving money.

It is very convenient to buy tourist passes if you visit the city in summer to make the most of all the attractions without delaying to buy tickets. Summer is the time when New York gets the most visitors and prices almost double.

One of the most popular attractions to visit in the summer is Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn. This coastal area offers many paid attractions, so it is recommended that you buy a tourist pass to enjoy them without spending so much money.

Visiting the islands of New York is also a great option for the summer, as there you will find festivals, public pools and different events. Summer is the best time to take a cruise on the Hudson in Manhattan.

In the Big Apple you can also enjoy interesting water sports such as kayaking. Tourist cards include discounts that you can take advantage of if you decide to do one of these sports. Summer is also a great time for cycling tours, which are often included in the tourist cards.

New York attractions in summer

  • Brooklyn Bridge Park, public pools, Skyline in Manhattan
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park
  • Astoria Pool, public pool
  • Central Park
  • Hudson River
  • Coney Island
  • Governors Island
  • Randall's Island
  • Liberty Island

Is it worth it if I go to New York in winter?

New York Knicks vs Phoenix Suns at Madison Square Garden| ©James Trosh
New York Knicks vs Phoenix Suns at Madison Square Garden| ©James Trosh

Winter in New York lasts from January to about the end of March. This is a time when you can take the opportunity to see interesting shows such as the NYC musicals at Broadway Week, or watch an NBA game that takes place in winter. Ice skating in Bryant Park is also something you can do in winter in New York.

Travelling in winter has many advantages, as the costs of tourist attractions are reduced by less than half, and also bars and restaurants lower their prices. In addition, the streets are quieter in winter and other famous events begin, such as the Valentine's Day celebrations, which are not to be missed if you travel to New York in February.

Among the most striking attractions of the winter season are the New York Fashion Week, a symbol of fashion in the city. It's also a great time to visit museums, such as the Transit Annex Museum, where you'll marvel at the miniature train exhibit.

Is it worth it if I'm visiting the city for a weekend?

New York City Sightseeing Bus| ©CarDun78
New York City Sightseeing Bus| ©CarDun78

The city that never sleeps offers many attractions every day of the year, except for holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. So, whenever you are interested in visiting paying places, and if you are going to New York for a weekend, it is best to choose a daily sightseeing card with the best companies in the city.

I recommend that before you travel you select the places you don't want to miss and then choose the best sightseeing card to visit them. This article will help you choose the best New York City sightseeing card (comparison).

If you don't know which attractions to choose, companies even recommend weekend package options. Also keep in mind that the New York City Sightseeing Card includes at least one day on the sightseeing bus, which allows you to tour the city more comfortably and in less time.

Is it worth buying a Tourist Card if I want to see New York's museums?

Entrance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City| ©Patxi Moraleda
Entrance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City| ©Patxi Moraleda

New York is home to some of the most interesting museums in the world. Without a doubt, the tourist cards allow you to put together a pack of the best museums in New York and take advantage of the discounts. You can visit museums in both summer and winter, but it is ideal in the cold season, when prices are reduced by less than half.

New York City has more than 100 museums, among which you are sure to find many of interest to you. These include the Natural History Museum, the largest in the city, the Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim, the 9/11 Memorial and the Sea Museum, which is also interesting for children.

Most museums have low admission prices and some are free. You can also take advantage of the tourist bus to get from one museum to another more comfortably. Ideally, you should combine your visit to museums with visits to other New York attractions to take advantage of everything included in the tourist cards.

Top NY museums

Visit the best museums in New York