Whether you are visiting New York City for the first time or you are a frequent visitor, there are just some attractions that you will want to return to time and time again. At least, that’s the way we feel every time we visit ‘The Big Apple’. But how do you explore all of these attractions affordably? The New York Pass may be an option worth considering! Is this yet another way to sucker-punch you into spending time and money on glorified tourist attractions? Let’s take a look at our New York Pass review based on our recent experiences using the 2-day version of this pass and hopefully by the end of this post you will understand the pros and cons of this.
New York City – The Tourist Traps
What are you interested in visiting? How much time do you intend to spend in New York City? What is your budget? All of these are questions you will likely be asking yourselves each time you visit ‘The City That Never Sleeps’. From the Empire State Building to the Statue of Liberty, New York City is a city of global iconic landmarks…but wait for it…some may also rephrase this to say:
New York city is a city of tourist traps
It’s TRUE! Honestly, you can’t blame all of these attractions in New York City from raising their prices because the reality is, this is one of the most frequently visited cities in the world.
Tourists from all corners of the globe visit all year round and with that brings a desire to experience everything New York City has to offer.
What Is the New York Pass?
The New York Pass will quickly become your friend as it prevents you from running up a large credit card bill pretty quickly (New York is an expensive city!) The New York Pass is a tourist card providing visitors with free access to over 80 attractions in and around the city (in addition to some other discounts and benefits).
Let’s take a look at some of the key incentives for purchasing a New York Pass before looking at some of the awesome attractions you can experience with this.
It goes without saying that the KEY benefit of purchasing a New York Pass is financial savings. It’s a pretty simple philosophy to follow but, the more attractions/landmarks you visit during the duration of your pass, the more money you will save!
With NY Pass you can save up to 70% on gate prices when seeing just 3 attractions a day
We will later see that this huge positive is also a potential drawback, but in essence, this is the same with every tourist city card.
Fast Track entry! If you have been to New York City before, you will know that one of the toughest aspects of visiting any notable landmark is the long queues that you can expect to experience. Even if you plan on rising early in the morning and heading to the Statue of Liberty on the first Ellis Island cruise…you better be prepared that there will be others thinking the exact same thing!
The New York Pass offers fast track entry to over 15 attractions meaning that you wait time is dramatically reduced. Plus these are some of New York’s top attractions!!
There is nothing worse than heading to a city like New York and having no idea what you want to do. Planning an itinerary is usually key here but the beauty of the New York Pass is that you can be as flexible as you want.
Whether you have the handy guidebook or download the New York Pass app on your iPhone as we did, you can always have up-to-date information available on attraction opening times making it easy to create an ‘on the fly’ itinerary as you make your way around the city.
The iPhone app is particularly impressive and we certainly found this to be beneficial as we explored New York City. An easily accessible attraction list, customizable itineraries and integrated maps functionality to provide immediate access to your closest attractions are all great features of this app.
Don’t worry, we will be sharing a ’48-hour itinerary to New York City’ with you based on our experiences, so if you are a little more methodical and want everything planned out, perhaps our suggested itinerary will be just for you.
Which Pass Is Right for Me?
Depending on your budget, your desire to see a number of attractions and most importantly, how much time in New York City will determine which New York Pass is right for you. Here is a quick breakdown of the currently available passes along with their prices, if purchased online:
|Children (Age 4-12)
**Prices updated as of February 22, 2016 (subject to change)
Our 48 Hour NYC Itinerary
Ok, so you decide to take the plunge and purchase one of the above passes. Next up is figuring out what to see and where to go. There is a lot to see and far more than you will be able to experience in one trip, regardless of the length of time you spend here. We recommend planning a rough itinerary with a little flexibility thrown in there to ensure you maximize your time, your energy levels and of course, your New York Pass.
During our recent visit, we followed an itinerary that we want to share with you because we feel it covers a nice blend of popular tourist attractions, hidden gems and iconic landmarks. It’s all about personal preference and what type of attractions interest you. We both love sports, architecture and history so you will see a little bit of all this thrown into our itinerary.
Please note also, this was NOT our first trip to New York City and also NOT our first time at some of these attractions. However, we feel this itinerary would be suitable for all types of visitors.
- Yankee Stadium Tour – Regular Admission $25
- Inside Broadway Tour – Regular Admission $35
- Saturday Night Live – The Exhibition – Regular Admission $29
- Empire State Building Observation Deck – Regular Admission $32
The total price of the attractions visited during our first day had we purchased them individually without the New York Pass was $121 per person.
- 9/11 Memorial and Museum – Regular Admission $24
- Soho, Little Italy and Chinatown Walking Tour – Regular Admission $35
- Madison Square Garden, All Access Tour – Regular Admission $26.95
- Top of the Rock – Regular Admission $32
The total price of the attractions visited during our second day had we purchased them individually without the New York Pass was $117.95 per person.
Total Cost of 48-hour itinerary – $238.95
Total Cost of 2 Day New York Pass – $169
Total Savings – $69.95 (Per Person)
A fair review of the New York Pass wouldn’t be the same without sharing a few potential drawbacks of purchasing this pass. Here are a couple that we believe to be true, though we attest that these would not sway our opinion in whether we should purchase the New York Pass:
- Time Constraints – Realistically if you are visiting any of New York’s main attractions, you will want to spend some time there. For example, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island cruise is going to take several hours especially if you are visiting for the first time. What does this mean? You are going to be limited to how many attractions you can visit!
- Opening Hours – Closely related to the first issue is the fact that the majority of attractions are not open at night. You can plan your schedule to allow for some night activities such as the Top of the Rock or Empire State Building but the majority of attractions are closed by 5:00PM (some even earlier).
- Energy Levels – New York City, the ultimate 24-hour city of the world! With that being said, it’s also an incredibly tiring city to explore. Even if you travel by the awesome NYC Subway system, you will still have times where you need to walk around. Of course, New York is a beautiful city to explore, but if you plan on rising early to experience as much as possible with your New York Pass, be prepared to grab some coffee along the way!
Our New York Pass review will hopefully convince you that this is a great, viable option if you are interesting in experiencing more than just the tourist attractions. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some of our adventures experiencing some of the attractions listed in the itinerary above, but an overall review of this pass suggests that this is definitely a no-brainer when you head to NYC.
You have to be prepared to spend money when you head to New York City! But with the New York Pass you can save money and the more you see, the more you save! It’s a simple philosophy and one that we strongly encourage you to follow.
Our 48-hour guide to New York City was done at a comfortable pace and I am convinced you could probably add a couple more attractions in there. One final tip, check out the geography of the attractions and plan accordingly. But more importantly – ENJOY NEW YORK CITY!
Disclaimer – We were provided with two complimentary 2-day New York Passes for our recent trip to New York City. These are solely our personal opinions/experiences and we were not financially compensated for this post.