When we started to think about ALL the things we wanted to visit in New York… we figured it out that it would take us a month or even more to do it! Haha, oops. I’m sure you also felt like this before, but New York really has so much to offer! All the New York sightseeing options are endless.
From amazing restaurants and places to worldwide well-known attractions, majestic viewpoints to amusing museums and alter street art stops… So how to plan it all out? I already shared my opinion on where to sleep in New York (my choice was Hotel Hugo) and now I will tell you about what to see. I hope I can prepare a food blog post too because food decisions are even harder to make!! Besides those that I’ve mentioned we also visited: Chelsea market, The High Line, Brooklyn, 5th Ave, DUMBO, The Oculus, various restaurants, shops and viewpoints …
Choosing a pass for New York Sightseeing
I always check out passes because they combine tickets together for a cheaper price and I was extremely happy when I connected with the New York CityPASS. All the attractions that are on their list were also on mine. And even if you are limited with time, it’s not a problem at all because the pass is valid for 9 days! No need to rush. And trust me, you can spend an entire day in every museum!
If you are limited with time or returning to New York – you can choose the C3 PASS with which you can choose any 3 of the 10 attractions they offer! P. S. If you are visiting with kids – check the special discount!
New York CityPASS – New York sightseeing as easy as it gets!
I can start with advantages because there are so many of them! The most amazing one for me was skipping the queue. WOOHOO, when you’re tight with time, you don’t want to spend an hour waiting in line. Well, CityPASS Hotel Hugo offers a special queue (with almost no people!) at most of the places. You can buy tickets online or at the first attraction that is part of the plan. You will get a booklet with all the attractions are listed. The price of the CityPASS is 126 $ (or 110.85 €) which results in 42 % savings on admission to the top 6 New York attractions.
A small disadvantage is the fact that there are plenty of attractions that are a must too and they are not included. You can purchase admissions to those separately, but if you are visiting for the first time like I was – no dilemma!
How do I use CityPASS?
The use of the pass is so simple it would hardly be easier. You simply present your CityPASS tickets at the entry of each attraction. The tickets are good for one-time admission unless otherwise stated. The best thing about them all? You get 3 attractions included (the Empire State Building, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and 3 pairs to choose from ( the Top of the Rock Observation Deck or the Guggenheim Museum, the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island or the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum or the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum).
Don’t worry about deciding, you can decide just right before visiting an attraction, no need to rush. And if you’d like to visit some of the other ones too, CityPASS provides extra discounts for those attractions. Yay!
The Empire State Building
One of the most recognizable buildings in New York City and one of those that you can see from many different spots, it was the tallest building in the world for 41 years! The color of the top 30 stories (out of 102) changes the light colour during the night.
The colour of The Empire State Building can reflect the season, holiday local events or worthy causes. Great content if you ask me! 🙂 The entrance for the visitors is on the 5th Avenue and you will go through security check, so don’t bring many things with you. Prepare for crowds. It’s one of the most visited attractions, so there will be some waiting time.
Our visit was great! The weather was sunny and clear but, as I mentioned before, there were a looot of people and it was quite windy! There is a fence around the observation deck but it has huge holes so your pictures can be clear and great, just be careful! Extraordinary feelings and magical views.
What’s included? General admission entry to the 86th-floor observatory, plus a bonus same-night general admission (May-August between 10pm-closing; September-April between 8pm-closing)
American Museum of Natural History
Have you watched the movie “Night at the Museum”? Of course you have! Haha, so when you are in New York you can meet Rexy in real life! It’s awesome for families with kids, but I’ve enjoyed it a lot, too! I especially liked the sea section and the one about the dinosaurs. True Jurassic park lover here. It has 45 permanent exhibit halls, so don’t rush when visiting the American Museum of Natural History or plan your visit ahead.
I was stunned by the quality of the exhibitions! Everything was extremely real and the staff was super nice and helpful.
What’s included? General admission to the Museum and the Rose Center for Earth and Space, plus the Space Show or Giant Screen Film.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Also known as “The Met”. My favorite part was the weapons and arms one. Since the Met is one of the biggest art museums in the world, you will definitely find your favorite art there and, if you’re lucky, you can catch a great exhibition too. It’s sooo huge you can easily spend a whole day there so you better check the available collections before going if you’re on a tight schedule. 5000 years of culture is A LOT and you can snap a piece in the Met store. I adore museum shops and this one was no different (my fav one is in London though, at the Tate Modern).
What’s included? Skip-the-line admission and all exhibitions at The Met, plus same day admission to The Met Breuer and The Met Cloisters.
Top of the Rock Observation Deck
The Instagram heaven!! All shots from the Observation Decks are magical, but the best one is definitely the side where you can snap the Empire State Building. I would say this is the most iconic cityscape and one of the most photogenic areas in NYC.
Well… we messed up our trip to the Top of the Rock because when we arrived (we waited for a perfect afternoon weather which was on our last day) at the entrance at 5 PM, the first available tickets were for 9 PM! I was extremely sad because I was aiming for some nice golden hour light and all I got were… night shots. It was magical, but you know how it is when your expectations are different. 🙁 I’ll definitely return to this one!! Tip for you: book it in advance or go there one day before you plan to visit to make sure you enter at the time you want – there are plenty of time slots available throughout the day. P.S. Do you know 3 million people visit Rockefeller Plaza every year? Well, that’s more than the population of entire Slovenia haha.
What’s included? General admission to Top of the Rock®.
Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
If you ask me or my boyfriend, the Circle Line cruise was one of the best things in NYC!! Maybe it sounds strange but I loveeeed the perspective. We went on a Landmarks cruise, we saw almost the whole Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty (twice!). As if that wasn’t enough, we got an amazing guide who was funny and knew so much about the history and recent news about the important parts of NYC. My advice is that you go on a cruise at the beginning of your trip or at the end. If it is one of the first things you do, you can see how huge Manhattan is and locate the most important attractions. If it is one of the last things you do, you can learn more about the places you’ve already seen.
The tour takes approximately 1.5h, but the time spent was knowledgeable and great! You see everything, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, ONE (WTC), the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge etc. Perfect photo opportunities included! And you don’t have to struggle in the middle of the crowds at the Ellis island because you have the best possible view of the Statue of Liberty.
What’s included? One regularly scheduled Landmark Cruise, Harbor Lights Cruise, or Liberty Cruise, or a ride on The Beast (available May-September).
9/11 Memorial & Museum
Yeah, this one was strong from the emotional point of view. So strong that we were quiet almost all the time we were there. It’s hard to talk a lot about it, but even if it’s not the most cheerful experience you’ll have, I suggest you go and visit it. The 9/11 Memorial is impactful and the museum gives a lot of insights for the event. Everything is executed perfectly and you cannot bypass the feelings. Sad and strong.
What’s included? General admission and P.S. When we arrived there was a looooong queue that we just skipped with our City PASS tickets. yay!
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
If you are counting correctly you can see we already visited our top NYC attractions included in the City PASS. But… my boyfriend loves everything connected to planes, army, space, navy etc. so there was no other choice than to buy the extra tickets for the Intrepid museum! It’s a very interesting one because the biggest part of the USS Intrepid museum is on the ship! The whole museum and the exhibitions are interactive, educational and very entertaining! We spend around 2 hours there but we could have spent much more! You can combine going to the museum and the Circle Line cruise since they are close to each other.
I cannot decide about my favorite thing there but definitely, the Space Ship Enterprise is one of Intrepid’s biggest attractions. The Enterprise was retired from space operations in 2011 and turned over to the museum.
What’s included? General admission, including the Space Shuttle Pavilion, the submarine Growler and the film Story of Intrepid.
Yes, this one was extra, so we used the promotion code when buying the tickets and ended up paying 7 $ less because we had the CityPASS.
Would I recommend buying a New York CityPASS when visiting New York? Definitely!!
As you can see, we saved a lot of money and saw even more things than we would have had if not owning the City PASS. My favorite thing was for sure skipping the queues and if you are a first time visitor in the NYC, I’m sure you would love it too. As I mentioned before, another great thing is that the New York City PASS is valid for 9 days! So no hurrying for your New York Sightseeing tours.
Let me know – do you usually book all your attractions separately or do you enjoy using a pass?
Check out their profiles on Facebook and Instagram or book City PASS in advance! And if you don’t know where to sleep read my recommendation – Luxury Hotel Hugo in SoHo is the place to be!
We received 2 complimentary CityPASSes – as always, all opinions are my own.
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