Want to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island when you’re in NYC next? Make sure you know these five things before you go!
If you’re planning a trip to NYC and want to see the Statue of Liberty, there are five things you need to know before you go. By planning ahead and knowing what you’re in for, you can ensure you have the best possible experience visiting Lady Liberty.
Plan Your Tickets WAY in Advance
One of the most common surprises guests have, is finding out that you can’t always purchase tickets to see the Statue of Liberty day-of. In fact, if you want pedestal or crown tickets (tickets that let you get close to, or inside the statue), be prepared to book your tickets at least one month in advance.
Before my first trip to NYC, I was hoping to hold off on booking my tickets until I knew which day was going to have the best weather. With my trip taking place in late December, last minute rain and snow were common, and my goal was to see the Statue of Liberty on one of the days where it was only overcast. This was a HUGE mistake.
Even in the off-season, crown tickets booked up a month ahead of time, with pedestal tickets selling out a week later. I went ahead and purchased my reserve ticket which allowed me access to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (ferry ride included) but there were no bells and whistles.
If you’re passionate about getting up close with Lady Liberty and enjoying the iconic crown tour, make sure you book your tickets as soon as possible!
Book an Early Tour
When it comes to Lady Liberty, plan on having an all-day adventure. Even if you only have a reserved ticket, there is so much to read, learn and take pictures of that the earlier in the day you can plan your adventure, the better.
For my first visit, I booked an 11 a.m. ferry ride and I stayed until 4:30 p.m. that evening. There truly is that much to see. In fact, if you book a tour after 2 p.m. your ticket will not allow you to stop at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. This is an important fact, so book early and get ready to explore!
Find the Right Ticket for You
When it comes to booking your tickets, there’s only one official provider of tickets: Statue Cruises. When you book directly through Statue Cruises, you can pick which ticket suits you best: reserve tickets, pedestal tickets, or crown tickets. Tickets are reasonably priced at $18.50-$21.50 for adults and you can pick up your tickets at will-call near the boarding area.
If you want to book pedestal or crown tickets, you absolutely need to book through Statue Cruises. However, if your dates are already sold out for everything but reserve, or you’re fine having grounds access only, consider some other options that are available for tickets. CityPass is one such option, which allows you to pick either three attractions for $75 of six attractions for $122 around NYC. If you’re planning on visiting other attractions like Top of the Rock or the 9/11 Memorial Museum, this is a great opportunity to save money. Read our review about CityPass HERE and decide if it’s worth it for you.
Plan on Arriving Early + Waiting in Long Lines
When you pick a specific ferry ride time, all guests need to arrive at their location at least 30 minutes prior to take off to ensure you make it on time. If you need to pick up your tickets at will-call, plan on arriving an additional 5-10 minutes in advance to ensure you’re good-to-go.
Given the landmark status of Lady Liberty, security is TSA tight and getting through hundreds of people does take time. Don’t plan on packing anything that you couldn’t bring through a traditional TSA spot, like water bottles, large bottles of sunscreen, or weapons. When I visited, the line was 50-60 people deep, and it took about 20 minutes to get through.
Statue Cruises runs a tight ship and they run on time, so plan ahead and you’ll be set!
Plan on Eating on One of the Islands
If a few sour trips to Disney properties have lead you to believe that touristy spots have overpriced food, think again. Both the Statue Cruises as well as the islands have extremely affordable food and short ordering lines.
For example, on your way to and from Lady Liberty and Ellis Island, you can score a hot dog for $3, pretzel for $3 and drinks for $2 on the Statue Cruises.
At the official cafes on land, you can score a burger with fries or a salad for under $10, with vegetarian/vegan and other allergy foods available from $5-$12. Whether you have picky eaters in your group that only want pizza, or salad only, there’s plenty of options at an affordable price.
Eating on the islands is preferred over on the mainland, as these locations are full of rich history, provide terrific views of the Statue or Ellis Island grounds, and 21% of all funds go directly back to restoring and preserving the grounds.
If you have any other questions regarding an upcoming trip to the Statue of Liberty, feel free to ask on my Facebook page HERE!