New York CityPASS

Is the New York CityPASS worth it?

Image of author Maureen
Maureen
24. March 2020
357 ratings

The New York City Pass was one of the first New York attraction passes and still belongs to the most popular ones. As a CityPASS holder, you can visit 6 major New York attractions for a discounted price. Once paid, all admissions are fully covered by the pass. Here’s everything you need to know about the New York CityPASS.

Contents

My personal review of the Sightseeing Pass NYCLooking for a shortcut?
If you want to save yourself some time, skip to my personal opinion and read why I don’t think you should buy the CityPASS.

What is the New York CityPASS?

New York City Pass

The New York CityPASS allows you to save money on admissions to New York’s main attractions. In fact, with the CityPASS, you can save up to 44% on entry tickets. The City Pass NYC is valid for 9 consecutive days following the first day of use, meaning you can visit the 6 attractions at your own leisure. You do not need to nail down your attraction choices beforehand. Instead, you can choose your next spot as you go!

The New York CityPASS one glance

  • visit 6 out of 9 attractions
  • includes museums, observation platforms, and cruises
  • no bus tour included
  • valid for 9 consecutive days after activation
  • mobile, print or shipping ticket options
  • available online

BUY CITYPASS

How does the New York CityPASS work?

New York CityPass mobile option

  • Step 1: Purchase it

Once you purchase the City Pass for New York, it will instantly be emailed to you. You can then choose between printable or mobile ticket options. Please note that buying your City Pass online is much cheaper than buying it from a vendor in New York. Thanks to instant delivery, you can purchase your pass online even if you’re already in New York. Once you received your pass, you will have one year to activate it.

For an additional fee of approximately $13, you can have printed booklets shipped to your address. If you decide to order the printed booklet, you need to do so in advance as you have to consider the shipping time of 7-10 days. 2-day shipping would cost you an extra $25. We don’t recommend the printed booklet as you will be just fine using your phone or printing out your ticket. If you pay $25 for shipping alone, you reduce your savings significantly and may as well just purchase your tickets at the ticket counters.

  • Step 2: Activate it

Your NY City Pass will automatically be activated the first time you use it. Once you present your pass at your first attraction, it will be scanned and you will have 9 consecutive days to visit all remaining attractions. That gives you plenty of time to discover New York City at a relaxed pace.

  • Step 3: Use it

Simply present your pass at the ticket counter of your selected City Pass attraction. Upon scanning the QR code on your phone or printout, you will receive your standard admission ticket in return. Your CityPASS fully covers admissions and there won’t be any additional charges.


How much does the New York City Pass cost?

The New York CityPASS costs $132 for adults, meaning that you pay an average of $22 per attraction. For kids from 6-17, the City Pass costs $108. A CityPASS is likely not worth it for kids younger than 6, as many attractions will be free for them anyway. Because the pass is already heavily discounted, there is no further New York City Pass promo.

Number of attractions

(18 years and up)

New York Citypass prices

(6-17 years)

New York citypass price

6

$132

$108

Available Upgrades and Extras with the New York City Pass

  • Visit the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building for $20+tax
  • Jump the line at the Empire State Building with an Express Pass for $33
  • Receive $5 off your Rockefeller Center Tour if you present your CityPASS
  • Upgrade to any Circle Line cruise of higher value for $5

New York City Pass Attractions

The New York CityPASS includes a total of 9 attractions, of which you can visit 6. Three of the six tickets are pre-selected for you and can’t be changed. For the other three, you have a choice between two options. You do not need to make these choices when you purchase the City Pass NYC. The pass allows you to stay flexible and choose your attractions as you go.

FIXED ATTRACTIONS

The fixed attractions included in the New York City Pass are already selected for you. You cannot switch a fixed attraction for another one.

  • 1. Empire State Building

View of the Empire State Building from Top of the Rock

The Empire State Building was recently renovated and includes a new museum, making a visit even more worth it. The City Pass offer includes two admissions to the Empire State Building, once during the day and once at night. No other pass allows you to visit an attraction twice.

  • 2. Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met)

Met Museum exterior

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as the Met, is the largest art museum in the United States. It is home to one of the most historically significant collections of art in the world. Coming here, be sure to plan in at least 2 hours. In the summer, head up the rooftop bar with great views of Central Park.

  • 3. American Museum of Natural History & Rose Center for Earth and Space

Whale inside American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the most popular museums in the world and also a great pick if you are traveling with children. Standard admission also includes access to the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Yet,  you don’t necessarily need a pass to save money.

You can visit the American Museum of Natural History for less – without a pass!

We are not here to advertise something that you don’t need. Our goal to help you find the best New York City Pass for you so that you can maximize your savings. The American Museum of Natural History is one of the museums that offer pay-what-you-wish admission, meaning you can choose the amount you pay. It does not mean that it is free per se, however, you can pay whatever you can afford. For a full list of museums that offer free admission or pay-what-you-wish admission, check out these free museums in NYC.

ATTRACTION CHOICES

As for your remaining three attractions, you have a choice of two given options. Visiting one of the attractions automatically excludes you from visiting the other one.

  • 4. Top of The Rock  – OR – Guggenheim Museum

Top of the Rock and Guggenheim Museum

Both options offer you something completely different, making the choice very difficult. The Top of the Rock remains my favorite observation platform in NYC and is, therefore, my personal recommendation. If you prefer art, however, the Guggenheim Museum may be the better choice for you.

  • 5. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise – OR – Ferry to Liberty Island & Ellis Island

Sightseeing Cruise and Statue of Liberty

Both options let you enjoy NYC from the water. Your choices with Circle line include the Landmarks Cruise, Harbor Lights Cruise or Liberty Cruise. The ferry to Liberty and Ellis Island gives you access to the Statue of Liberty Museum and Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Access to the pedestal or the crown is not included.

  • 6. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum – OR – 9/11 Memorial Museum

Intrepid Museum and 9/11 Museum

These two options let you explore some of New York’s most popular museums, both of which are certainly worth a visit. The Intrepid Museum is a great choice to visit with children. My personal choice would be the 9/11 Memorial Museum because it is too important to miss during your trip to New York City.


Is the New York City Pass worth it?

To figure out whether the New York City Pass is the best pass for you, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the pass, followed by my honest opinion of the City Pass.

Pros of the NY City Pass

  • you can save up to 44% off regular ticket prices
  • you can visit the Empire State Building twice
  • it can be the cheapest pass if you’re completely happy with the offer
  • it’s great for museum lovers

Cons of the NY City Pass

  • three attractions are preselected, whether you want to visit them or not
  • you are limited in choosing your remaining three attractions
  • you don’t need a pass to save at the American Museum of Natural History
  • it’s not suited for repeat visitors

Who is the New York City Pass for?

  • The City Pass for New York can be a good pass for first-time visitors, as in includes many top attractions, museums, and cruises.

BUY CITYPASS

New York City Pass

My personal opinion

Generally speaking, I do not recommend buying the CityPASS. Considering the fact that you are very limited in your choices and don’t even need a pass to visit the American Museum of Natural History, I think there are better providers out there that let you customize your pass while saving a considerable amount of money.

If you do want to visit the Empire State Building twice and/or are completely happy with all City Pass attraction choices, then the pass can be worth it for you. Personally, I would not want to visit the Empire State Building twice but rather visit two different observation decks to see the city from different angles.

The best way for you to find the best pass is by using our Savings Calculator. Simply select the attractions and tours you are interested in and the tool will automatically calculate which pass will yield you the largest savings. It can be as simple as that!

Compare the NY CityPASS with other passes

Are you not sure if the CityPass NYC is the best option for you? Head to our Ultimate New York Pass Comparison to see how the New York City Pass performs against other popular attraction passes out there.

FAQ

How long is the CityPASS valid for?
Once you purchase your City Pass for New York, you have one year to activate it. That means you can already purchase your pass as far as one year in advance. Upon activation, which is the first use, you have 9 days to visit all the attractions. I don’t recommend buying the pass that far in advance. You can even purchase your pass when you’re already in New York City. Thanks to the instant digital delivery, you’ll have your pass in no time.

Where can I buy the CityPASS?
You can buy the NY CityPASS online or in New York. It is cheaper, however, to buy your pass online which is why we always recommend buying it online. The pass will immediately be emailed to the address you provided making it even more convenient to buy the pass.

Does the New York City Pass include fast lanes?
The NY CityPass includes standard admission. You have, however, the option to upgrade or add extras to certain attractions at an additional charge.

Can I return my CityPASS?
Refunds are only available for unused passes under certain circumstances. To request a refund for your already purchased CityPASS, visit the official CityPass website.

Do I need to pay extra for attractions with the CityPASS?
The City Pass NYC is no discount booklet. It already fully covers standard admission, meaning you won’t have any additional costs unless you choose to upgrade your ticket.

About the author
Maureen

Oh, how lucky I am… always at the pulse of the greatest city in the world – what could be better? New York City is my passion and I’m happy to be able to share my experiences along with insider tips and helpful tricks with you. With me by your side, you’ll never miss a beat!

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