Passes to visit New York

Complete guide to New York City passes

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Which is the best New York pass to visit and discover the Big Apple? It is quite hard to answer this question, because there are so many possibilities! I asked myself this very question several times before my first trips to New York – then my friends started to ask it, and then it was my readers... 😉

So I decided to write an article about the different passes to visit New York. You will find here my comparison of the different New York passes.

These passes will help you save a lot of money and especially avoid queuing to buy the different tickets for each activity/monument individually. On average, you can save up to 30% depending on what you plan to do once in New York. There are 5 different passes, which I will review right away in this article:

  • The New York CityPass 
  • The New York Pass 
  • The New York City Explorer Pass
  • The New York City Freestyle Pass
  • The New York Sightseeing Pass

New York CityPass

The New York CityPass allows you to visit New York at your own pace. It is one of the best selling passes!

With this pass, you will be able to access 6 must-see attractions in New York out of the list of 9 attraction, presented below:

  • The Empire State Building,

  • the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET),

  • the Museum of Natural History,

  • the Top of The Rock OR the Guggenheim Museum,

  • the Statue of Liberty + Ellis Island Immigration Museum OR the Circle Line Cruise of your choice,

  • the 9/11 Memorial + 9/11 Museum OR the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.


How does this pass work?

It is valid for 9 consecutive days from the date of first use and is valid for one year from the date of purchase.

new york city pass

Where and how to buy a New York CityPass?

The best way is to book this pass on the internet by following this link.

After ordering, you will receive an electronic ticket (in the form of a QR code, which is much more practical) that you can print or save on your phone or tablet. You can then present it at the entrance of each attraction.

It is also possible to ask to have your pass sent to your home.

How much does the New York CityPass cost?






Youth (6-17)



Children under 6 years of age can do some activities for free or at reduced prices

Please note: You may have to queue for a free or reduced-price child ticket.


This pass is perfect for:

  • First-time visitors to New York: you'll see the city's main sites of interest.

  • Those who only have a short stay: one week/10 days. The pass gives you priority access to the main sites (you will have priority in the queues), so you will save time! This is a great solution for if you go to NY during the holiday season.

  • Those who don't have a big budget for tours and want to see the city's must-see sites. As long as you visit at least three of the sites on the list, you'll save at least 44% off regular admission prices.

visit new york with ease

New York Pass

With this pass, you can access over 100 activities/attractions in New York, among which:

  • The Museum of Natural History
  • The Empire State Building
  • Top of the Rock
  • The 9/11 Memorial + 9/11 Museum
  • The Guggenheim Museum
  • The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  • The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
  • The Statue of Liberty + Ellis Island Immigration Museum
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Brooklyn Brewery: Free beer
  • Davidovich Bakery: free bagel and fresh cheese

Many shops also offer interesting discounts for New York PASS holders!

The more you visit, the more you save. If you had chosen to pay the regular rate (purchasing each admission ticket individually), it would have cost you more than $2,000!


How does this pass work?

There are several options to choose from, ranging from 1 to 10 days. As soon as you buy the pass, you will have a full year to use it and it will only become active the first time you use it. Please note that the days of utilisation are consecutive!

You will be able to access all the attractions included in the pass and you will save a lot of time, because you will avoid queues!

Don't forget: to validate your tickets, scan your pass at the entrance of each site.

Where and how to buy this pass?

To get this pass, order it online and choose the duration of your choice. After your payment, you will receive a confirmation email. You can then download it or ask for it to be delivered to your home.

Alternatively, you can pick it up directly in New York, at any of these three locations:

  • Big Bus Welcome Centre (712 7th Avenue, NY 10036)
  • Big Bus Information Point — Madame Tussauds (234 West 42nd Street, NY 10036)
  • Big Bus Office — Century 21 (22 Cortlandt Street, NY 10007)

With the pass comes a 200 page guidebook.

You can also use the New York Pass® app, which is compatible with iOS and Android devices. Download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

By synchronising your pass with the app, you can get exclusive special offers, access all the information on the attractions (access, timetables...), but also interactive maps... in short, all sorts of useful information!

How much does this New York Pass work?

The price varies according to the duration chosen:






1 day



2 days



3 days



4 days



5 days



6 days



7 days



10 days



The longer the duration you select, the more the global admission prices for the different attractions will decrease. 


My opinion

The New York Pass is the most complete tourist pass. It is perfect for:

  • Those who want to see as much of New York as possible –there is indeed a lot of choice in the pass’ list (both must-sees and unusual attractions);
  • Those who stay at least 10 days in the city.

New York City Explorer Pass

Due to its advantages, the Explorer Pass New York is becoming increasingly popular with tourists.

This pass allows you to choose between 2 and 10 activities from a list of 82 top attractions in New York.

Amongst these attractions are of course the must-sees (the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Top of the Rock...), the museums (Guggenheim, MoMa, Madame Tussauds...) but also guided tours – bus, boat, bike or walking tours of all the boroughs of New York... You can even take a helicopter tour!

This pass also entitles you to discounts in certain restaurants and shops in New York.


How does this pass work?

This pass is customisable: you can choose between 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 attractions that really interest you.

It is valid for 30 days from the first use, allowing you to visit the city at your own pace.

It too comes with a detailed guide.

This pass will allow you to save up to 50% on the normal price of a single ticket.

Please note that this pass does not include skip-the-line tickets for all the attractions!

Where and How to buy the EXPLORER PASS ?

As with the other passes, you can buy it online and will have to select the number of activities of your choice. Then the procedure is the same as for the other passes.

The mobile format is of course also available.

How much does the Explorer Pass cost?

Here are the prices of the New York City Explorer Pass on the official website:

Number of activities




2 activities



3 activities



4 activities



5 activities



6 activities



7 activities



10 activities



This pass’ flexibility will allow you to choose how many activities you want to do during your stay. 



This pass is the perfect solution:

  • if you have time to visit New York (since your pass will be valid 30 days – you can take your time with the different attractions, and not pack everything in as little days as possible);

  • if you know exactly how many sites you want to see.

explorer pass

New York City Freestyle Pass

This pass, designed by a tour bus company, allows you to see most of New York City using Hop On Hop Off buses.

It gives access to 3, 5 or 7 attractions to choose from a list of over 40 attractions and unlimited Hop On Hop Off Bus tours.

Comfortably seated in the bus, you can listen to the commentary from the audio guide.

You will be able to discover the city's must-see sites, and many others: the MET, Top of the Rock, the One World Observatory, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, a cruise on board the Circle Line ships...


How does this pass work?

The pass is valid for one year from the date of purchase.

Access to the bus tours is valid for 72 hours from the date of activation.

Since you will have priority access, you will not have to queue at the various attractions!


Book your pass online by following this link. After your payment, you will receive a confirmation email with your electronic pass.

If you wish, you can collect your pass in person at the following locations:

  • Flagship Location Gray Line New York (777 8th Avenue);
  • Empire State Building Visitor Center (350 5th Avenue);
  • Pier 78 (38th Street & 12th Avenue);
  • Port Authority Bus Terminal (42nd St.);
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not! New York (234 West 42nd Street);
  • Visitor Center at Planet Hollywood (1540 Broadway);
  • Visitor Center at NY Loves Us (30 Vesey St. Corner of Church St.).

How much does the Freestyle Pass cost?

Here are the rates:

Number of attractions




3 attractions




5 attractions




7 attractions




My opinion

This pass is perfect for:

  • Those who plan a fast-paced stay;
  • Those who want to discover the city using the Hop On Hop Off bus tours. You can hop on and off as much as you like (tours are unlimited for 3 days/72 hours from card activation);
  • It is ideal for those who want to see the must-sees of NY in a limited time and without getting too tired.

New York Sightseeing Pass

new york sightseeing pass

This pass is also offered by a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus company.

The Sightseeing Flex Pass allows you to choose between 2 to 10 attractions from a list of over 100 activities. You will be able to visit different must-see attractions in New York, as well as many other activities such as: a visit to Little Italy, Gulliver's Gate, the New York Aquarium, Central Park, the Bronx zoos...

And of course, you'll get 72 hours of sightseeing with CitySightseeing Hop-on Hop-off buses.

How does this pass work?

It works in the same way as the first option. This pass also gives access to a number of “no-queue” tickets! And since there are many partnerships between the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus company and certain shops and restaurants in the city, you will also get many discounts.

It is valid for 30 days from its first activation.

You can book your tickets in advance.


Where and how to buy the NEW YORK SIGHTSEEING PASS?

The purchase and booking process is identical to the previous passes. You just need to purchase your pass online and select the number of days/number of activities of your choice. You will only need a few clicks to receive your pass.

You will also receive a 200-page guide to help you prepare for your stay. Don't hesitate to download the free Sightseeing Pass application – it will be very useful!

How much does the New York Sightseeing Pass cost?

Here are the prices of the "Flex Pass":

Number of activities





2 activities



3 activities



5 activities



7 activities



10 activities



The more attractions you select, the lower the price per attraction. 


My opinion

This pass is the ideal solution:

  • If you’re not a fan of walking, and want to see the city at your own leisure;
  • If you have already visited New York or only have a limited amount of time;
  • If you want to see everything in New York.

Tips before buying any pass:

First of all, avoid wasting unnecessary time and buy your pass before you leave!

Choose your pass according to the number of days you will spend there. There's no point in buying an unlimited pass if you're only spending two days in the Big Apple!

Make a list of the attractions you want to visit on site.

And that's it for the different New York Pass! Note that the prices of the different passes are liable to change often, and some also change the number of activities they offer. Don't hesitate to go check the pass that interests you most directly online – that way you'll know for sure! 

Otherwise, I wish you a really great stay in New York! May you see all you wished to see 😉

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auteurs blog new york
A first trip to New York, and a new favorite city! 30 years old, city dweller and good-plan finder, I share my New York discoveries on this blog to help you visit this magnificent city with me. With each new trip, there are more activities to discover!


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