City Passes: New York Pass
City Passes: New York Pass is the second part of our City Passes series, where we compare the pros and cons of each option so you can find the pass that works best for you.
New York Pass
This pass is the most substantial pass with over 80 attractions that are included or discounted. There’s a lot more choice, but that comes with a higher price and a shorter timeframe. The pass covers major museums and attractions plus items like walking tours, bike rentals, harbor cruises, and even a few shows. It’s very diverse, but you will have to be very organized to make it worth your while.
Take a one-day pass as an example. This costs $109 for an adult. That means you’ll have to do enough tours and attractions to add up to at least $110 in standard prices to make it count. There are a ton of things on the pass but some take a long time. Museums like the Met and AMNH take awhile, as do trips to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
And other items on the pass just aren’t very pricey. The New York City Transit Museum and the Studio Museum in Harlem, for example, only cost $7 each. The Museum of American Finance on Wall Street is only $8. The Grand Central Terminal Audio Tour is a mere $9. Furthermore, many of the attractions aren’t located near the heart of the city. I love the Wave Hill Gardens in The Bronx, but it takes at least an hour to get there and only costs $8 once you do.
So, in order for the New York Pass to be worth your buck, you have to pick several quick, high-price attractions that are in close proximity. And to pull that off requires a lot of research. I could conceivably come up with a day that involves a morning bike tour in Central Park ($45), afternoon visits to Top of the Rock ($32) and the Radio City Music Hall tour ($27), and a sunset harbor cruise through Clipper City Tall Ship Cruises ($39) to end the day. In this case, the pass will save you $34, which is a decent chuck of change, but you’ll have to have an organized day and a clear sense of how to maneuver in order to make it work.
There’s more than just the single day pass to consider, though. There are 2, 3, 5, 7 and 10-day passes as well. The long duration passes seem silly to me because, even if you were here for seven days, it seems stressful to plan your whole holiday around trying to see $339 worth of stuff. The fun of a longer trip is being able to take your time and explore. Personally, I think the best deals are the 2 and 3 (consecutive)-day passes that cost $189 and $239. That way you can save by packing the expensive activities into a couple days and then exploring other attractions on subsequent days. As for skipping the lines, you’ll have the same problem as the New York CityPASS; the City Passes: New York Pass only helps you skip ticket lines, not entry and security lines, so that shouldn’t factor strongly into your decision.
Check out other NYTG City Passes articles here.