New York Pass – How to save big at the top NYC attractions [2017 Review]

Enjoy all of the top things to do in New York City for one low price...

There is a seemingly endless list of fun things to see and do in New York City. This makes New York one of the most visited cities in the world. And also one of the most expensive. Excited visitors want to see as many of NYC’s most iconic attractions as possible. But paying individual admission fees at each stop can quickly add up. That’s why nearly 3 million visitors to New York City have purchased a New York Pass… because it’s designed to help you save money.

What is the New York Pass?

The New York Pass is a discount “smart card” just for New York City. Similar to a credit card with a computer chip inside, it gives you cash-free access to more than 80 of New York City's top tourist attractions. Think of it like an all-inclusive holiday… once you’ve purchased your New York Pass, you don’t have to pay to get into any of the attractions included with the pass. And the best part? The more sights you see, the more money you save.

What's included with the New York Pass?

New York Pass card holders are able to visit an unlimited number of popular New York City attractions within a specific period of time — for one low price. It is available in durations of 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 or 10 days, and during that time you can enjoy 80+ New York City attractions, plus a variety of bus, bike and boat tours. When you purchase a New York Pass, you also get:

  • VIP & fast-track entry at many top sights and attractions
  • A multi-language guidebook with tourist and subway maps to help you plan your trip
  • Special money-saving discounts at popular New York restaurants, Broadway Shows, tours and retailers
  • New York Pass smartphone app with additional information, attraction photos, suggested itineraries, and useful sightseeing tips

As a visitor to NYC, the New York Pass can help you get the most out of your trip to NYC, while helping you save time and money. But there are some important things you should know before you buy a New York Pass. So let’s take a closer look…

What attractions are included with the New York Pass?

Of course, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to visit all 80+ attractions. But at least you have the option, and will never have to worry about missing out on some attractions because of the cost. Almost all of NYC’s most favorite destinations are included, such as:

  • Empire State Building: $32
  • Statue of Liberty: $18
    Statue of Liberty
    Statue of Liberty – Included with the New York Pass
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum: $24
  • Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum: $24
  • Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tours: $62
  • Circle Line Cruises: $41
  • Madame Tussauds: $37
  • Top of the Rock: $32
  • Hop on Hop off Water Taxi: $31
  • Food on Foot Tours: $49
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: $25 (suggested)
  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA): $25
  • Guggenheim Museum: $25
  • American Museum of Natural History: $22

Entry to just these attractions alone without the pass would cost you over $450. The total value of all attractions available for Pass holders exceeds $2000! (You can review the full list of attractions here.)

How much does a New York Pass cost?

This depends on the following factors:

  1. The number of days you choose
  2. The age of the pass holder (passes for children ages 4-12 are cheaper)
  3. Where you buy (buy the pass online and save up to 20%)

Prices for the pass start at $109 for adults and $89 for kids ages 4–12 for a 1-day pass. New York Pass coupon or promo codes are sometimes available for discounts on multi-day passes. (Check here for latest New York Pass promo code.) However, using using this link to buy your pass online will automatically get you a discount. No coupon code required!

Is it worth it to buy a New York Pass?

93% of New York Pass customers surveyed said they would recommend the discount card to friends and family. This means 9 out of every 10 users thought it was a good deal. But whether or not it’s worth the price, and how much you’ll actually save, depends on the number of attractions you're able to visit.

But let’s say you buy a New York Pass but only use it once — perhaps to visit the Empire State Building — you’ll lose money. Of course, it would be foolish to use it to visit only one attraction. But if you visit at least 3 attractions per day, you’ll save the following:

  • 10 day pass: Save $753
  • 7 day pass: Save $535
  • 5 day pass: Save $365
  • 3 day pass: Save $206
  • 2 day pass: Save $131
  • 1 day pass: Save $72

Bottom Line: The more NYC attractions you visit, the more you save!

Most people can easily visit more than 3 attractions in one day. Since many of the top NYC attractions are in Midtown Manhattan, it’s fairly easy to quickly visit several in a row just on foot. If you like to be “on the go,” then this pass makes a lot of financial sense for you. But if you like to sleep late and take your time, then the New York Pass may not be a smart choice.

Click here to learn more, or to buy your New York Pass online

Tips for getting the most out of your New York Pass

New York PassWhat you actually receive is a card with a magnetic strip and computer chip (similar to a credit card), which you present at the Will Call window or entry door of most attractions. This means you are frequently able to skip the lengthy ticket lines themselves. For some attractions, such as Top of the Rock at Rockefeller, this can save you a considerable amount of time. But before you start using it…

Sign your card

It is very important to sign the back of your pass as soon as you receive it. Write down your pass number and keep it in place where it can easily be retrieved. If you lose your New York Pass, you can go to the New York Pass office and they will be able to issue you a new one. But only if you have the number on the card you lost so they can deactivate it. If you don’t have the number, you may be out of luck.

Get started early!

It’s important to remember the New York Pass is based on consecutive calendar days, not 24 hour periods. The New York Pass is activated as soon as you use it at the first attraction you visit. So if you start using the 1-day pass after lunch, you only have until midnight of that same day before it expires. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you start early the first day to get the most out of your New York Pass.

Believe it or not, many of New York City’s top attractions tend to be somewhat uncrowded in the morning. If you can leave your hotel by 8AM, you’ll easily have time for two popular attractions before lunch. You can then squeeze in two or three more before dinner. In the evening, you can visit the Empire State Building or the Top of the Rock observation decks for amazing nighttime views of the City. But if you sleep in don’t get started until lunch time, you’ll feel frantic and frustrated all day because every place you visit will be crowded.

Plan ahead

Many of NYC’s top attractions tend to be clustered together. If you take a few minutes to plan ahead, you can see a more attractions in a short time without having to travel far. The New York Pass comes with a useful smart phone app which you can download before you even buy a New York Pass. It has all the attractions on one map, including additional information and hours of operation. Simply by taking the time to plan your route before you leave in the morning, you’ll be more efficient with your time and will be able to enjoy more of the exciting things to do in NYC.

Look for the New York Pass sign at each location

The top attractions in New York are known for long wait times. But you can bypass the lines at the following must-visit sites thanks to the New York Pass “Fast-Track” entry. Just be sure to look for the New York Pass sign when you get there:

  • Carnegie Hall Tours
  • Tour at Lincoln Center
  • Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  • Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
  • The Cloisters Museum and Gardens
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Top of the Rock Observation Deck
  • Madame Tussauds New York
  • Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
  • Planet Hollywood
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Rockefeller Center Tour
  • Discovery Times Square
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum

Don’t use the “Hop-on, Hop-off” sightseeing bus as transportation

NYC hop-on hop-off bus
Not a good idea for getting around NYC

While these double decker tour buses do arrive about every 15 minutes in Manhattan, they tend to be crowded. There are many stops where no one ever gets off. So this means you may have to wait for the next bus, only to get you’re squeezed in like a sardine on the the bottom floor instead of being able to enjoy the open deck on top. If you need to get somewhere that’s too far to walk, take a subway, cab or uber. It will cost you more, but save you precious time.

Where do I buy a New York Pass?

You can easily buy a New York Pass online prior to your trip to New York or at various locations within the city once you arrive. Note: New York Pass discounts are only available if purchased online using the special link below. Discounts are not available when purchased in person. When buying online, you can either:

1. Have them sent to you by FedEx; or,
2. Pick them up when you arrive in the City (more on this below).

If possible, we recommend that you have them sent to you in advance. This way, you won’t have to waste any time traveling to the pick-up location and stand in line waiting to get your discount card. You can buy online up to 12 months in advance before arriving in NYC.

If you choose to pick them up when you arrive in New York, you can choose from these three locations:

  • Big Bus Welcome Center
    Address: 716 7th Avenue, NY, NY 10036
    Opening Hours: every day, 8am till 8pm
  • Big Bus Box Office at The Lyric
    Address: 214 West 43rd Street, NY, NY 10036
    Opening Hours: every day, 8am till 6pm
  • Big Bus Information Desk at BB King's
    Address: 237 West 42nd Street, NY, NY 10036
    Opening Hours: every day, 8am till 5pm

New York Pass – Customer Reviews

Here are a few helpful comments from actual New York Pass users that can help you get the most out of your trip to New York City:

The BEST thing we added onto this pass was an unlimited subway pass! The NY subway system is overwhelmingly efficient, clean, and FAST. If you're from out of town and “afraid” of the subway, don't be. Just study the map ahead of time, plot your trip, and know what line you need! It's not hard, and it's VERY fast and efficient! Philip S.
It's pricey up front but if you plan out your visit you may be coming out on top. Recommend but make sure you do your research and as I already mentioned definitely plan.plan.plan your visit. Have a great time! Oh and don't forget to download the app which is very helpful! Christine P.
If you plan out your day based on closest attraction to the next closest attraction, then you can really make the most out of the New York Pass. A lot of people try to go from one end of the city to see one thing and then back to the other to see a different attraction; only later realize that they spend most of their time commuting or waiting in lines. So I highly recommend you planning your itinerary the best you can. We used the process of elimination and just crossed out everywhere we didn't really care to visit and focused on the things we circled.Jerry E.

New York Pass — Summary

Your New York adventure just got easier (and less expensive) thanks to the sightseeing card that gives you access to more than 80 things to do in NYC, including the city’s most iconic activities and attractions. With fast-track access at many museums and locations and a useful tourist guidebook to help you plan out your itinerary, the New York Pass enables you to spend more time exploring instead of on line.

Yes, it's a bit pricey up front. But if you take the time to plan out your visit, in the end you'll save a lot of money and come out ahead with the New York Pass!

Save money with the New York Pass!

Click here to learn more, or to buy your New York Pass online