My Personal New York Sightseeing Pass Review

Sharing my experience and helpful tips

Image of author Maureen
Maureen
3. April 2020
8477 ratings

The New York Sightseeing Pass is currently one of the most popular attractions passes but is it also worth it for you? The answer depends on your travel style. Here’s my honest New York Sightseeing Pass review.

Contents

My personal review of the Sightseeing Pass NYCLet’s not waste time:
The New York Sightseeing Pass can be worth it for you, depending on your style of travel. If it wasn’t worth it at all, I would tell you straight up! If your goal is to quickly find the best pass for you, head to our Savings Calculator instead.

NEW: The Sightseeing Pass now includes free admission to the Edge and the Vessel!

First things first: New York Sightseeing Pass Basics

Before we jump to the New York Sightseeing Pass review, here are the basics you need to know, including what it is, how it works, what it includes, and how much it costs.

NYC Sightseeing PassOnce purchased, the New York Sightseeing Pass gives you unlimited access to over 100 attractions in NYC. It’s basically an all-you-can-eat pass! By maximizing its potential, you can save up to 70% compared to regular admission prices. The pass already covers admissions fully, so you won’t have to pay anything at the gates.

The New York Sightseeing Pass is a day-based pass attraction pass, meaning that you preselect how many days you want your pass to be valid for. During the validity of your pass, you can visit as many attractions as you want.

The New York Sightseeing Flex Pass is the attraction-based version of the Sightseeing Pass where you select a number of attractions (instead of days) that you want your pass to be valid for.

The New York Sightseeing Pass at one glance

  • valid for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 consecutive days
  • 100+ attractions, museums, bus tours, walking tours, and cruises to choose from
  • only pass to include Hudson Yard’s Edge and the Vessel
  • hop-on-hop-off bus tour included for the entire duration of the pass
  • $40 voucher option gives you access to even more experiences
  • free guidebook & app
  • mobile or print ticket options
  • promo code: LNYOFFER
  • available online

buy pass

How the New York Sightseeing Pass works

New York Sightseeing pass ticket options

  • Purchase

Select the number of days you want your pass to be valid for. You can simply buy your Sightseeing Pass online. Once you do so, your pass will be sent to you via email. You can then choose to print it or save it on your phone.

  • Activate

You can activate your Sightseeing Pass within one year of purchase. It will be activated automatically upon visiting your first attraction. Starting that day, you then have however many days you purchased the pass to visit as many attractions as you want. Keep in mind that these days are counted consecutive.

  • Use it

To use the pass, you simply present it at the ticket counter of your chosen attraction. There is a QR code on your pass that will be scanned by the staff before you receive your actual ticket. The Sightseeing Pass covers all admissions fully, so you don’t need to pay anything to obtain your ticket. Just remember that you can only visit each attraction once!

New York Sightseeing Pass Attractions

Sightseeing Pass holders have access to over 100 attractions, tours, museums, and experiences. The attractions are similar to the New York Pass, however, the Sightseeing Pass is the only pass to include admission to New York’s newest observation deck Edge, as well as the Hudson Yards Vessel. In addition to that, the Sightseeing Pass gives you access to the hop-on-hop-off buses for the entire duration of your pass. Most other passes only include a 1-day ticket.

The most popular attractions included in the Sightseeing Pass are:

  • Hop-on hop-off bus tours for the entire duration of your pass
  • Top of the Rock
  • One World Observatory
  • Empire State Building
  • Edge (new!)
  • Vessel (new!)
  • 9/11 Memorial Museum
  • Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Walking tours

And many more. See the full list on the New York Sightseeing Pass website.

New York Sightseeing Pass Prices

You can obtain a Sightseeing Pass for anywhere between $125 and $349, depending on how many days you’d like your pass to be valid for. Children from 3-12 years Under 3 probably not even worth it, because major attractions are free. To save even more, you can apply our promo code “LNYOFFER” before selecting your pass on the website. It will take off up to 30% of the price. Below are the current prices with our promo code already applied.

Number of days

(13 years and older)

New York Sightseeing Day Pass

(3-12 years)

New York Sightseeing Day Pass

1

$139 $125

$128 $83

2

$189 $169

$185 $120

3

$269 $209

$210 $136

4

$299 $239

$232 $150

5

$329 $259

$246 $159

6

$349 $279

$250 $162

7

$379 $299

$270 $175

10

$449 $349

$320 $208

With our New York Sightseeing Pass promo code “LNYOFFER” you save up to 30% on your NYC Sightseeing Pass!


Sightseeing Pass Savings Example

New York Sightseeing Pass Review. Attraction passes one goal: save money! We can only tell if the New York Sightseeing Pass is worth it if we do the math, so here we go!

Realistically, you can visit about 2-4 attractions a day!

Here’s what you would spend on average per day according to each New York Sightseeing Pass:

  •  1-day Sightseeing Pass = $125 a day
  •  2-day Sightseeing Pass = $84 a day
  •  3-day Sightseeing Pass = $69 a day
  •  4-day Sightseeing Pass = $59 a day
  •  5-day Sightseeing Pass = $51 a day
  •  6-day Sightseeing Pass = $46 a day
  •  7-day Sightseeing Pass = $42 a day
  • 10-day Sightseeing Pass = $34 a day

Standard admission can cost anywhere from $5 to $89. If you don’t have an exact plan, here’s what you can expect on average for different categories. This way, you can roughly estimate how many attractions you need to visit to get your money’s worth.

  • Bus tours ≅ $54
  • Cruises ≅ $43
  • Walking tours ≅ $40
  • Observation decks ≅ $39
  • Museums ≅ $27

By choosing expensive attractions, you will save more money. If your sightseeing program includes bus tours, cruises, walking tours, and observation decks, you are very likely to get your money’s worth with the New York Sightseeing Pass. If your sightseeing focus is set on museums, your savings could be a little smaller as museums tend to charge lower admission fees. To better visualize the costs and savings with the New York Sightseeing Pass, I have created my own example.

My personal review of the Sightseeing Pass NYCHere is what I would do in New York in 3 days:

Attraction

Regular Price

With NYC Sightseeing Pass

Day 1

Hop-on hop-off Tour

$59

Top of the Rock

$41

Day 2

Central Park Bike Tour

$49

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

$25

Hornblower Cruise

$37

Day 3

One World Observatory

$38

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Tour

$55

9/11 Memorial Museum

$28

TOTAL

$332

$209

= $41.50 per attraction

= $26.12 per attraction

SAVINGS

-

$123

This is just an example based on my own preferences. Your savings could look a little different based on your pass selection and selection of attractions. The bigger the pass and the more attractions you visit, the more you can save with the New York Sightseeing Pass!


Is the New York Sightseeing Pass worth it?

The New York Sightseeing Pass review wouldn’t be complete without looking at important criteria that can add value to the pass. Let’s look at the ease of use of the Sightseeing Pass, the pricing, included attractions, the flexibility it provides, the wait time at attractions, and fast track access offer.

1. Ease of use

The NY Sightseeing Pass, just like most other attraction passes, is very easy to use. Once you purchased your pass, you don’t really need anything but your phone to present your pass at attractions. All that is needed is the QR code that is on your pass.

Your pass is automatically activated upon first use. It is valid for consecutive calendar days, meaning that your first day is over at midnight whether you activated your pass at 8 am or 5 pm that day. Therefore, I would recommend activating your pass first thing in the morning as opposed to late in the day, so you can get the most of it.

The Sightseeing Pass is very well-known at New York’s attractions, in so far that there are sometimes special lanes for pass holders. If you don’t see a sign, just head to the regular ticket counter to exchange your pass for a ticket.

2. Price

Per day, you spend between $34 to $125 on attractions per day. The bigger the pass, the less you spend per day and the more attractions you choose to visit, the more you will drive the average cost per attraction down.

If you take a look at how many attractions you would need to visit per day to make it worth it, you will quickly see that it would be tough to save with a 1-day pass. In my opinion, it’s not really worth it. At a price of $125, you would either need to visit a lot of attractions or visit 2 or 3 super expensive attractions to make the Sightseeing Pass worth it.

It’s easier to generate savings starting with the 2-day New York Sightseeing Pass and higher.

3. Attractions

With an offer of over 100 attractions, museums, tours, cruises, and experiences, you can pretty much do anything you want in New York City. The inclusions compromise anything from major attractions to insider tours. Because of its comprehensive attraction offer, the Sightseeing Pass is suited for first-time visitors but also for repeat-visitors. It’s the only pass to include all four observation decks.

Be aware of museums that offer pay-what-you-wish admission. You may not need to use your pass for those and instead could visit those museums before or after you use your pass. Here is a list of free museums in NYC.

4. Flexibility

Apart from saving money, flexibility is another great advantage of the Sightseeing Pass. You can visit an attraction whenever you like, meaning you don’t need to schedule a date and time in advance. If you wanted to enjoy the views from Top of the Rock but it happens to rain, you can simply head to a museum on your list and go to Top of the Rock the next day. No strings attached! Yet, it makes sense to check the weather forecast before planning your itinerary so you don’t have to change plans all too often.

Even though you are flexible as to when visiting attractions, remember that with the New York Sightseeing Pass you will need to visit your attraction on consecutive days.

While the Sightseeing Pass gives you plenty of flexibility as to when visiting an attraction, it does not let you reserve attractions online. The only exception to this is some tours that require reservations in advance due to the limited number of participants for a tour.

5. Wait time

Despite the fact that you can visit an attraction anytime you want, there could be a catch. While you can show up whenever you like, you are still dependent on the attraction’s availability. If you’re lucky, you can get admission immediately. On the other hand, if the attraction is very popular or you visit at a peak time, you get a ticket for the next available time slot. That could be in a few minutes or, in the worst case, in a few hours.

Generally speaking, therefore, you should try to visit popular attractions either early or late in the day to avoid the crowds. If you do want to visit a specific attraction at a certain time, you should plan ahead and secure a ticket before your preferred entry. You could, for example, go to Top of the Rock in the morning to secure a ticket for later in the day.

6. Fast track

Fast tracks are not the focus of any attraction pass. The goal of the Sightseeing Pass and all other attraction passes is to save you money. With savings of up to 70% and flexibility, having fast lanes too would just be too good to be true. Here, you need to settle for a compromise or decide what’s more important to you: saving money or potentially saving time?

If you don’t have much time in New York and want to maximize your time, you may want to go for individual tickets. These, however, will be much more expensive. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Your choice simply depends on what your needs are!

The New York Sightseeing Pass currently includes five attractions and tours with fast track access:

  • Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  • Madame Tussauds
  • Ripley’s Believe it or Not
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral Tour
  • The Met

In a nutshell: Sightseeing Pass Pros and Cons

  • ease of use
  • attractions
  • flexibility
  • fast track

Who is the New York Sightseeing Pass good for?

Whether the New York Pass is worth it for you, depends on travel style. It is a great fit if you:

    • want to maximize your time in New York by visiting a lot of attractions
    • visit at least 2 attractions a day
    • plan to visit expensive attractions
    • want to save money while staying flexible
    • are a first-time visitor
    • are a repeat-visitor

Who is the New York Sightseeing Pass not good for?

The New York Sightseeing Pass may not be the best option if you:

    • prefer a more relaxed way of sightseeing without a packed schedule
    • want to benefit from fast tracks
    • prefer to spread your attractions over non-consecutive days
    • are looking to visit attractions for free
NYC Sightseeing Pass Review

Take a shortcut

Our Savings Calculator is the easiest, fastest, and most convenient way to find the right New York Pass! So if you simply want to find the pass that saves you the most, skip the New York Pass review and head to the calculator right away.

All you have to do is select attractions you want to visit during your New York trip and voilà, the Savings Calculator recommends the best pass for you.

Calculate your savings


My New York Sightseeing Pass Tips for You

To maximize the value of your New York Sightseeing Pass, you should consider:

  • going for expensive attractions
  • activating your New York Pass in the morning
  • going for a smaller pass when in doubt
  • planning your itineraries ahead of time
  • reducing wait times by visiting popular attractions early or late in the day
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!

Did you like this article?

Comments

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience. You can learn more about it in our privacy policy.

Learn More OK
Log in Register

myNY – your own New York travel planner

Log into myNY and start planning your New York trip. Don’t have an account? Register now - it’s free!

5 reasons why myNY will make creating your itinerary easy!

Reset your password

Please enter your email address to reset your password.

myNY – your own New York travel planner

Register for myNY now and start planning the perfect trip to New York City!