If you're planning a trip to New York, the New York Explorer Pass is an option you should definitely consider to save a lot on your visit so you can do more. Read on and I'll tell you why!
Choose from more than 100 activities and attractions
If you are going to be in New York for several weeks, this pass allows you to choose how many attractions you want to visit and gives you the opportunity to do so for 30 days. It's the longest duration pass in the city.
The Explorer Pass can be purchased From £64, although it's a pass that you pay according to the number of attractions you want to visit. It's perfect for personalising your New York experience as you can choose 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 attractions and pay according to the number of attractions you want to visit. From the moment you activate the pass, you have a full month to visit the attractions you have chosen, an advantage over other passes that are usually valid for much less time.
You can choose to receive it by email or directly to your smartphone (the most convenient way), have it delivered to your home, or pick it up at one of the distribution points around New York. Plus, with your New York Explorer Pass you'll receive a New York guidebook that will show you the most efficient way to visit the attractions you've selected.
Why I like this option: Besides allowing you to pay only for the number of attractions you want to visit, it gives you up to 30 days to do so, which makes it the perfect pass if you're going on a long trip.
A tip: If you want to get the most out of it, I recommend choosing the most expensive attractions to maximise your savings. Make a list of the places you want to visit and compare whether you are better off buying tickets separately.
What's included in the Explorer Pass
- Free choice of 3, 4, 5, 5, 7 or 10 items from over 100 activities and attractions
- Valid for 30 days
- Fast-track entry to some attractions
- New York Travel Guide to your selected attractions
- Discounts at shops, restaurants and shows
The New York Explorer Pass is perfect for a comprehensive tour of New York as it allows you to save as much as possible on the most expensive attractions so you can do the rest on your own. So I 've done the maths for you and found the two best combinations of attractions for the Explorer Pass to make it as cost-effective as possible. As a general rule of thumb, if you can get the pass for 25 euros per ticket, you are on the right track.
The best combination if you want 3 activities
- Top of the Rock - single ticket costs 38 euros.
- Ripley's Believe or Not - single ticket costs 30 euros.
- NYC TV & Movie Sites - single ticket costs 43 euros.
The best combination if you want 7 activities
- Hop On Hop Off Big Bus: Classic New York Tour - single ticket costs 45 euros.
- Big Bus Night Tour - single ticket costs 47 euros.
- Top of the Rock - single ticket costs 38 euros.
- Empire State Building - single ticket costs 35 euros.
- NYC TV & Movie Bus Tour - single ticket costs 50 euros.
- Luna Park 24 Ride Pass - single ticket costs 58 euros.
- Clipper City Sailing Cruise - single ticket costs 43 euros.
- Classic Sightseeing Bus: The Big Bus Classic Hop On Hop Off bus tour lasts one day and is a perfect way to explore the whole of Manhattan. With stops from Battery Park (south of the island) to Central Park, you can hop on the bus and use it as a form of transport to visit the main sights of New York, or hop on at the end of your trip to see it all one last time.
- Night Sightseeing Bus: Exploring the City That Never Sleeps at night is an experience that, as you can imagine, is not to be missed. What makes this night bus tour of Manhattan so special is that you get to ride through Times Square when all the screens are lit up, as well as see the Empire State Building and One World Observatory illuminated.
- Top of the Rock: The Top of the Rock has for me the best views of New York: not only will you see the most famous skyscrapers in Manhattan, but you will have a wonderful panoramic view of Central Park guarded by the new skyscrapers being built in the Big Apple. Tickets for Tof of the Rock cost €35 for adults and €30 for children. In this case, you can use your pass to get an online ticket with a set timetable, or present your pass at the ticket office to validate your ticket.
- Empire State Building: This is one of the icons of the New York skyline and a true time capsule, with its impressive art deco interior and museum dedicated to the building's construction. However, the main reason all visitors go is for the views from its observatory, which are undoubtedly one of the most impressive ways to see the city. With the pass, you'll skip the line to buy tickets for the Empire State Building and just go to the security checkpoint, where you can show your pass and they'll let you in.
- NYC TV & Movie Bus Tour: It's no wonder that New York has been the setting for a million movies and series, and on this tour you'll visit over 60 locations that have been used as sets for them. To name a few, you'll see the flat from 'Friends', Washington Square Park (familiar if you're a fan of 'Girls'), the hotels from 'Home Alone 2' and 'Ocean's 8', and filming locations from 'Avengers: Endgame', 'Mr. Robot', and 'Modern Family'.
- Luna Park 24 Ride Pass: Luna Park is a waterfront amusement park located on Coney Island, south of Brooklyn, with a somewhat decadent, vintage, fairground style. With this pass, you can access 24 different rides such as a roller coaster or a merry-go-round. In my opinion, the rides are not impressive at all, so visiting Luna Park is more worthwhile for its retro atmosphere.
- Clipper City Sailing Cruise: This is a cruise around Manhattan... but on a sailboat! It's a great way to do an activity that I recommend you take advantage of your New York Explorer Pass. Don't be fooled by how tacky it may seem to ride a sailboat when you could do a normal cruise, because it has a huge advantage: you'll enjoy a much quieter, uncrowded experience, avoiding most tourists.
- Ripley's Believe it or Not: This famous museum with locations all over the world is a must-see if you're visiting New York with kids. You'll find rare artefacts and devices, and curiosities, as well as interactive experiences such as a medieval torture chamber and a black hole simulation.
Before you buy
After all this information, you're bound to be a little confused. Choosing the perfect sightseeing pass for your trip to New York isn't easy, but here's what you need to consider in a nutshell. The New York Explorer Pass is for you if:
- You plan your travels in advance
- You want to go to the most important attractions in New York City
- You don't mind seeing a lot in one day.
- You are on a tight budget for your trip
- You are going on a long trip to New York
The Explorer for Kids
Children between the ages of 3 and 12 have their own Explorer Pass at a reduced price. Normally the price difference is between 20 and 50 euros less than the adult pass.
What if I don't want to choose?
You may already know that New York is one of the most popular cities in the world for tourists, and as such, there are many different types of passes available to suit all tastes. If you prefer to have unlimited access to as many attractions as possible (an open bar of attractions), I recommend the New York Pass (you can read my handy guide to the card here: New York Pass).
The New York Pass is booked (and paid for) based on the number of days you want to use it and as long as the card is active, you can visit as many attractions as you want from the list of 100 available attractions.
The good thing about the New York Explorer Pass, as you know, is that it is valid for 30 days from its first use, so if you are going on a long trip to New York you can take it easy... as long as you don't choose 10 attractions and you are going to spend 3 days in the city, in that case you will have to run!
Finally, I would like to remind you of my most important recommendation: enjoy your visit to New York! Although the New York Explorer Pass requires you to visit as many attractions as possible to maximise your savings, remember to leave a little time each day of your trip to wander the streets of the Big Apple and see what you discover on your own.
Other sightseeing passes available
In case the New York Explorer Pass doesn't quite convince you, don't worry because there are other passes available for New York and one may be more suited to the trip you are planning. To make it easier for you to choose, here are the practical guides I've written about the other passes available and a compilation comparison of them all: