New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC

Which New York City Pass is the better?

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I remember when I was traveling to New York City for the first time, I was trying to do it all. But it was crucial for me to save money on sightseeing attractions. I was looking into multiple New York attraction passes which were of course overwhelming. I needed to compare the New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC and had no idea how to start. What is the best tourist pass for New York?

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NEW: Both the Sightseeing Flex Pass and the Sightseeing Day Pass now include free admission to Edge and the Vessel!

Right now, you may be in my shoes and are trying to find the best sightseeing pass for your upcoming trip to New York City. To me, it was important to have the option of seeing as many attractions as possible during my stay in New York.

I was clearly in need of an all-inclusive pass that allows enjoying as many attractions as desired within a set number of days. I’m sure now you are wondering which New York Pass is better, the New York Pass or the Sightseeing Pass NYC? Let me help you to compare two of the most popular New York sightseeing passes, the New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC.

Which is Better, the New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC?

To answer this question we have to find out about the pros and cons of each pass, compare prices and of course have a closer look at the New York sightseeing passes attractions list. Without taking away too much just yet, the battle between the New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC is a tight one. Both passes have their unique benefits.

I also recommend checking out our New York Pass reviews as well as our Sightseeing Pass NYC review. Let’s find out what is the best fit for you, the New York Pass or the Sightseeing Pass.

What do have both sightseeing passes in common?

Both the New York Pass and the Sightseeing Pass NYC are so-called all-inclusive sightseeing passes. While purchasing the pass, you decide for a number of days (up to 10 days is the max) that you want to be able to use it. Both passes help you to save a decent amount of money. The amount of money you save depends on which tours and attractions you choose and in the case of the New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC, how many attractions you visit per day.

On top of that, you’ll save time, because of the fast track options that both sightseeing passes come with. When it comes to sightseeing attractions, New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC is pretty similar. There may be a few no brainer if you for example really want to have Edge or sightseeing cruises to be included in your sightseeing pass. But let’s focus on the things that New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC have in common first.

  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Ferry
  • Top of the Rock Observation Deck
  • One World Observatory
  • Empire State Building
  • Art museums such as MoMA, Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • Woodbury Common Bus Tour
  • Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tours (Some restrictions apply)

Both sightseeing passes work the same. Both offer a mobile pass or a small card that allows you to visit an unlimited amount of attractions for the number of days you choose. For a length of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 days with the New York Pass, or for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 days with The Sightseeing Pass, you will have unlimited access to all of the 100+ attractions that are included. You aren’t sure yet, which attractions in New York City, you would love to discover? Check out the Top 10 Attractions in NYC first.

Differences between New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC

Even though the concept of both the New York Pass and the Sightseeing Pass NYC are fairly similar, there are a few differences in New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC that may help you to decide for either one of them pretty easily.

  • The Sightseeing Pass offers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 day passes. The New York Pass has only 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 days passes. The New York Pass does not have a 6-day pass.
  • The Sightseeing Pass includes Edge, the Vessel, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and Hop-on-hop-off night bus tour. The New York Pass does not include these attractions.
  • A free voucher for $40 is included with the purchase of the Sightseeing Pass. With this, you can visit an additional attraction that is otherwise not included in the NYC Sightseeing Pass except the Empire State Building.
  • The Sightseeing Pass includes 18 museums whereas New York Pass includes 31.
  • If you compare New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC, the New York Pass offers way more skip-the-line access to several attractions. Compared to any sightseeing pass, the New York Pass has the highest number of fast track admissions, meaning you can reduce your wait time significantly.
  • With the New York Pass, you’ll get 1 Day Pass for the Hop-on-hop-off Sightseeing tour. The Sightseeing Pass NYC includes a ticket for the entire duration of the Sightseeing Day Pass NYC.
Best Value
Most Fast Lanes

Our rating

Attractions

100+

100+

Valid for
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 days
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 days
Price

from $129

from $134

Advantages
  • Mobile pass & app
  • Hop-on Hop-off valid for up to 10 days
  • One World Observatory
  • Mobile pass & app
  • Most fast lanes
  • Empire State Building

Disadvantages

  • Empire State Building not included
  • fewer fast tracks
  • One World Observatory not included
  • hop-on hop-off buses for 1 day only
  • one boat tour per provider

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Discount?

up to 30% off with code: "LNYOFFER"

27% off with code "LovingNY20"

Are Hop-on-Hop-off Bus tours included?

Both passes include a ticket for the Hop-on-Hop-off Bus tours. They slightly vary when it comes to the duration you can use the Hop-on-Hop-off Buses. The New York Pass includes the Hop-on-Hop-off bus tour for only 1 Day. With the Sightseeing Pass NYC, you can enjoy the Hop-on-Hop-off Bus tours for the entire duration of your Sightseeing Pass NYC.

Before making a final decision for one or the other, simply ask yourself how often you think, you will really use the Hop-on-Hop-off Bus tours in New York City. It sure is a great way to get around, but especially during rush hour, traffic can cause major delays in your sightseeing experience.

My personal preference is Big Bus even though both tour operators don’t have the best reviews altogether.

Note: Both passes work with different bus operators. The Sightseeing Pass works with Gray Line City Sightseeing and New York Pass includes Hop-on-Hop-off Bus tours with Big Bus in New York. My personal preference is Big Bus even though both tour operators don’t have the best reviews altogether.

Pricing – Is it worth buying a Sightseeing Pass for New York?

Most visitors are going to see 5-8 attractions within 7 days. In case you are planning on going to visit 3 attractions per day, you’ll need the New York Pass for 2, or 3 days which costs you $199 for two days and with a discount of $74 you only pay $274 $200 (-$74) for three days. The Sightseeing Pass NYC costs you for three days $269 $209 (-$60). So it is a little bit more expensive.

A 10-day Sightseeing Pass NYC costs $449 $349 (-$90) while the New York Pass charges you $469 $342 (-$127)  for 10 days. In terms of cost-benefit ratio, I always recommend the New York Pass due to its excellent value for money.

Note: With the Sightseeing Pass NYC you also receive a free $40 coupon meaning that you can visit an additional attraction that is otherwise not included in the Sightseeing Pass.

The prices of the New York Pass start at $134. The longer you purchase the pass for, the more money you will save. For example, visiting 2 attractions per day in 5 days will save you over $250 if you purchase the 5-day pass. Buy your New York Pass here.

The Sightseeing Pass NYC starts at $139 for 1 day. If you purchase a Sightseeing Pass for 6 days for example (~$254), you get unlimited sightseeing for ~$42 per day, which is below the price of many attractions tickets purchased on their own.  Buy your Sightseeing Pass NYC here.

New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC – Which one is the best?

After reviewing both sightseeing passes in detail, let’s point out the major pros and cons and hard facts of the New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC. Which sightseeing pass is the best? Let’s find out:

Round 1: Number of attractions

With both New York sightseeing passes you have a choice between 90+ attractions and tours. All of the most popular NYC attractions are included. Both New York Pass and Sightseeing Pass NYC are getting one point.

New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC

1:1

Round 2: Number of Fast Lanes

Compared to other sightseeing passes the New York Pass has the highest number of fast track admissions, which allows you to reduce your wait time significantly. . The fast lanes for the New York Pass are:

  • Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
  • Surrey Rental on Governors Island

Clearly, this battle wins the New York Pass.

New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC
2:1

Round 3: (Hop-on Hop-off) Bus tours

Both bus suppliers Big Bus and Gray Line City Sightseeing are excellent. With Big Bus you are welcome to join the Uptown, Downtown, Brooklyn & Night Tour. Also, both sightseeing passes include tickets to Woodbury Premium Outlets and the Ride.

A big plus on the Sightseeing Pass NYC side though is the fact, that you are able to use the Hop-on-Hop-off buses during the entire duration of your Sightseeing Pass NYC. The New York Pass only offers 1 day of Hop-on-Hop-off bus tours.

One point goes to the Sightseeing Pass NYC.

New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC
2:2

Round 4: Cruises

We are obsessed with cruises and are convinced that exploring New York City by the water is one of the most beautiful things to do in the city. The New York Pass includes a large number of sightseeing cruises. The Sightseeing Pass NYC doesn’t include any of the Circle Line sightseeing cruises which are our favorites and the most popular ones. Instead, you can enjoy a sailing trip, which is fun as well. Those are included in the New York Pass as well.

We think you should definitely hop on a sightseeing cruise and even thought with the New York Pass you can only attend one from all of the ones that are being offered, we are giving the point to the New York Pass for having a wider selection of sightseeing cruises overall.

New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC
3:2

Round 5: Do I have to decide on any attractions beforehand?

No, you don’t have to. Both the New York Pass and the Sightseeing Pass NYC come with a lot of flexibility so you can decide which attractions you’re going to visit depending on the weather, schedule or any other preferences.

Both sightseeing passes are receiving one point for being so flexible and easy to handle.

New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC
4:3

Round 6: Booking and Pick up

It looks like another tight battle between New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC because both offer mobile passes that you can simply save on your smartphone and show to at the ticket box at the attraction. The New York Pass offers also pickups from their New York collection desks. Open 7 days a week. If you’d like you New York Pass delivered to your house, expect delivery fees starting at $30.

The Sightseeing Pass will send you an email confirmation with a link to your Pass(es) which you can print out or add them to your Apple / Android Wallet and use your mobile phone as your ticket. Both passes are as simple as using your flight boarding card – you either print it or show on your mobile phone.

Booking both passes is just as simple as well. You can purchase both the New York Pass and the Sightseeing Pass online before your trip. Since both passes offer a high convenience when it comes to booking and pick up, they both are getting one point.

New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC
5:4

Round 7: Price

As explained earlier, the Sightseeing Pass is a little bit more expensive. Both passes are getting a point though because it really depends on how you are using the passes to your own benefit and maximize the savings.

New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC
6:5

Result: The battle between New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC has a winner which is the New York Pass. But again, this is just an example of how to approach the comparison between the New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC. If there are certain attractions that one passes offers, but the other doesn’t you may already have your answers which pass is the best for you.

My conclusion about the New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC

During my first trip to New York, before I even moved here, I also used the New York Pass to explore the city. We wanted to see as many sights as possible in a set amount of days. Friends of mine who recently visited NYC were huge fans of the Hop-On Hop-Off buses, so they decided to go for the Sightseeing Pass NYC.

Beside pricing of the passes it is also important to prioritize your itinerary and know which attractions you’re going to visit.

New York Pass vs. Sightseeing Pass NYC

My personal recommendation

For less than 3 attractions a day, the New York City Pass may not be worth it. The New York Pass also includes many of the popular bus, bike and boat tours like Circle Line, as well as queue jump for some of the attractions with the longest lines. With savings of up to 50%, this pass is worth every penny.

Buy New York Pass

The NYC Sightseeing Pass includes Edge and the Hop-On Hop-Off buses. The Sightseeing Pass also includes the popular bus tour for the whole duration of the pass.

Buy Sightseeing Pass

About the author
Sabrina

Calling New York City home is still pretty surreal. After moving here 5 years ago, I still see it as my dream life. Ever since I’ve been exploring this amazing city for Loving New York I’ve grown to love it even more. I love hooking all of you up with the inside scoop, top attractions, events and everything in between. I'm your go-to person for the hidden gems, best restaurants and the absolute best things to do in the city that never sleeps.

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