New York on a Budget: CityPass

In an expensive city like New York, any sort of savings really goes a long way. One of the easiest ways of saving money while being a tourist is to use the New York CityPass, a little booklet of entrance tickets for six of nine of the city’s best attractions. So how does it fare? Is it really worth the price and the savings?

First, let’s look at what the attractions the New York CityPass has partnered up with.

New York CityPass


One of the most iconic buildings in the world is the Empire State Building. Built in the 1930’s during the Great Depression, this building is 102 stories high and was deemed as the tallest building in the city for a number of years until the Twin Towers were formed, and after One World Trade Center. With this ticket, you’ll be able to go up to the Observation Deck on the 86th floor and overlook New York City like a giant. While you make your way to the top, you’ll also be surrounded by original Art Deco style architecture.


After a nice stroll around Central Park, we visited the American Museum of Natural History thinking that all we needed was 2 hours. Boy, were we wrong. We barely finished a small section of the museum, and we wanted to explore more! There are free guides on a regular basis, and we took full advantage of it. This is such a family friendly activity and would provide interesting content for all ages.


One of the best museums in the world, and the largest museum in the United States, “the Met” houses over 2 million pieces and will take you multiple visits to complete. I visited for two hours and barely made a dent! The entrance fee is actually on a donations system where you can donate as much or as little as you want, but they would prefer if visitors contributed $25, and so that’s how much it’s valued at in the booklet. In any case, the amount of art pieces and the hours of “entertainment” that the Met offers is very much worth the entrance fee.

New York CityPass


The Guggenheim is an art museum with a unique spiral architecture featuring many different artists, some of them paintings, but most are contemporary art pieces. When I went a couple of years ago, they had an exhibit of a guy’s lifetime work where he would document dates in such a meticulous way. Fascinating!

Alternatively, you can choose Top of the Rock Observation Deck and view the city of New York in the second tallest building in Manhattan. Many people prefer coming here instead of the Empire State Building primarily because you will get to see the Empire State Building and take that perfect New York skyline.

New York CityPass


There’s three ways of seeing Lady Liberty – on a cruise, in a helicopter, or on land, which we ended up doing. We walked around the Statue of Liberty with the option of going up to the crown for an extra fee, and continued on to Ellis Island. This was the island where immigrants would be forced to partake in day(s) worth of processing before being allowed into New York or forced back on the next boat out. It was an eye opener to step into the environment where immigrants

Alternatively, there is the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises where you can take a nice stroll on the ocean and see the skyline of New York from afar, while also circling the Statue of Liberty.

New York CityPass


Visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum was such an unforgettable experience that left me speechless. As someone who was too little to really grasp the extent of what occurred at the time, stepping onto the grounds where the Twin Towers fell in a horrific blaze sent shivers down my spine in a way where nothing else has. The waterfall memorial was larger than life, and I’m glad I was able to visit.

If memorials aren’t your thing, alternatively you can visit the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum where they display military vehicles, which is something your small kids might enjoy more.

If you’ll be in the city for several days, I highly recommend purchasing the New York CityPass because it does cover a lot of the biggest attractions that the city has to offer. You can buy the booklet at any of the vendors that are participants, but the easiest way to avoid any sort of lines is to buy it online and print it out.


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