New York CityPASS

New York CityPASS

What’s the New York CityPASS?

The New York CityPASS is a basic but very attractive sightseeing pass for the city of New York. The CityPASS only covers 9 attractions, but these are top sights and experiences. They include the Empire State Building, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and Top of the Rock.

With the New York CityPASS, you can visit six of these nine attractions for free. At some attractions, you’ll enjoy premium services and fast track admission.

You can buy this New York City Pass online. You’ll then receive it instantly by email and can print it out or use it digitally on your smartphone. The pass will be activated as soon as you use it at the first attraction. After activation, you have nine days to use the pass.

Benefits of the New York CityPASS

  • Free entry to 6 out of 9 top attractions
  • Incl. Empire State Building & 9/11 Museum
  • Skip the line at some attractions
  • Valid for 30 days after first use (when activated by February 28th 2021)
  • Instantly available on your smartphone

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How Much Does the CityPASS Cost?

There’s only one price each for adults and youths:

  • Adults: $136.00*
  • Kids (6-17 years): $112.00*

*They’ll add $1 processing fee per city pass.

Younger children do not need their own CityPASS, but you may need to purchase a discounted ticket at the attractions you’d like to visit.

What’s Included in This City Pass?

The following table shows all attractions included in the New York CityPASS.

Last updated: 08/2020

New York City Passes (UK) - CityPASS

Attention: The single ticket prices in the table above are online prices. For some attractions, tickets purchased online are cheaper than admission tickets at the box office. The indicated prices are partly somewhat odd, because in the United States VAT is added to the advertised prices. Where this was obvious to us, we took the value added tax into account.

Our Assessment of the Included Attractions

Because the New York CityPASS only covers a few sights, it does not contain any filling material, but only the most important attractions in New York.

Two major attractions that are not included in the CityPASS are the One World Observatory and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Other passes also include a number of walking tours and Hop-on Hop-off tours. These are not covered by the New York CityPASS.

The CityPASS Offers Premium Services

With most New York city passes, you’ll only get a standard ticket for each attraction, such as permanent exhibitions at a museum or a plain and simple visit to an observation deck. The New York CityPASS however, offers some additional benefits:

  • You can visit the viewing platform on the Empire State Building not just once, but twice in one day. This is the so-called AM/PM Experience. This means you can go up to the platform both during the day and late in the evening.
  • For the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) you will not only receive a day ticket, but also an audio guide.
  • A visit to the American Museum of Natural History not only covers the permanent exhibition, but also a Planetarium Space Show or a Giant Screen Movie in 3D and 2D.

Fast Track Admission to Many Attractions

Many New York sightseeing passes promise fast track admission, but only the New York CityPASS keeps this promise – at least for the most part. At five attractions you can skip the lines. That’s exceptionally good for a New York City Pass:

  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (Show Pass at Information Desk)
  • 9/11 Museum & Memorial (Watch out for the CityPASS sign)
  • Top of the Rock (Reserve your favourite time slot online)
  • Circle Line Cruise (VIP Ticket Window)
  • Empire State Building (Walk past the e-kiosk queue)

Nevertheless, there can be queues at popular sights, because you still have to go through security.

Circle Line Cruise vs. Statue of Liberty Ferry

With the New York CityPASS you have the choice between taking the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and a cruise with Circle Line Cruise. The cruise is much more valuable than the ferry ride. Also, on the cruise you’ll at least pass the Statue of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty in New York

Included in the CityPASS: A ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island – or a sightseeing cruise on a ship.

With Circle Line Cruise you can choose between four tours, including the speed boat The BEAST, which is only available from May through September though.

If you still want to go to the Statue of Liberty, we recommend not to do this with your CityPASS, but to buy a priority ticket – possibly with the option to visit the pedestal of the statue. However, the crown is fully booked months in advance. Crown Reserve Tickets are available here.

Validity of the New York CityPASS

After the purchase, you have 12 months to activate your mobile city pass. Activation takes place when you use the pass at the first attraction.

The New York CityPASS is valid for 30 consecutive calendar days after activation. The day you visit the first attraction is the first of the nine days. This applies when activated by February 28th 2021. From March 1st the pass will be valid for 9 days.

By the way: The reservation of the time slot for Top of the Rock does not activate the CityPASS.

How Much Money Do You Save?

Since there are three options with the New York CityPASS, we cannot make a blanket statement about how much money you will save with this sightseeing pass.

However, assuming you visit six attractions and always choose the most expensive option, you will use benefits worth $236.78. Your CityPASS savings will be $100.78.

If, on the other hand, you always choose the cheapest option, you will use $198.66 worth of benefits. Your CityPASS savings will be $62.66 – still a good deal.

Whatever decisions you make, as long as you visit six out of nine sights, the New York CityPASS will save you a lot of money. Even if you only visit four or five attractions, you can still save money with the CityPASS.

Tip: If you find it difficult to choose between two options, visit both. Some attractions offer a discount for CityPASS holders when you don’t choose this attraction as a free option. You can get $3 off at the Guggenheim Museum, $7 off at Intrepid Museum (coupon code: CITYPASS-20, not valid online) and $2 off Top of the Rock (coupon code: TORCITYPASS).

Is the New York CityPASS Worth it?

The CityPASS is worth it if you…

  • visit at least four or five attractions
  • are interested in museums
  • are interested in premium services (e.g. visiting Empire State Building twice)

When Isn’t the CityPASS Worth it?

The CityPASS is less worthwhile if you…

  • are not interested in the premium services, because these make the CityPASS more expensive than it would be with standard tickets.
  • visit less than four attractions
  • want to do a lot more sightseeing. Other NYC city passes include a much wider range of attractions (e.g. New York Pass, Sightseeing Pass).
  • are also interested in walking tours and Hop-on Hop-off buses. In this case, other passes would be more useful to you.

Where Can You Get the NY CityPASS?

You can buy the New York CityPASS either online at the official website or at any of the participating attractions.

New York CityPASS: Empire State Building

Included in the New York CityPASS: Visit the Empire State Building twice – by day and by night.

After the purchase, there are two ways to use your city pass:

1 Mobile City Pass for Smartphones

After purchasing the New York CityPASS you will receive the pass immediately by e-mail. You can then print it out or use it on your smartphone. When in New York, you only show the barcode at the attractions. The code will be scanned at checkout.

2 Receive CityPASS Booklet by mail

You can also have it sent to you by mail. In this case, it comes in the form of a small booklet from which individual vouchers are removed as soon as you use the pass at an attraction.

Shipping to the United Kingdom costs $36.00 and takes about 5 days.

What We Like About This City Pass

The CityPASS includes only a few sights, but almost all of the city’s top attractions.

With a CityPASS you will save money compared to buying single tickets.

At some attractions, with the CityPASS you’ll benefit from premium services (e.g. two visits to the Empire State Building).

You can reserve your Top of the Rock visit online. This is not possible with other city passes.

The pass can be conveniently used on your smartphone or printed out.

What We Don’t Like About It

The CityPASS does not include Hop-on Hop-off buses or walking tours like any other New York city pass.

The options are somewhat limited. You can only choose between two attractions at a time.

You should be interested in museums to make the CityPASS worthwhile.

Shipping of the booklet is very expensive (using the digital pass is free though).

FAQ About the New York CityPASS

No, each attraction can only be visited once with the New York CityPASS. Your ticket will be electronically validated upon admission.

Once you have purchased your New York CityPASS online, you have 12 months to activate your mobile pass. Activation occurs when you scan the CityPASS at the first attraction. From this moment on, the pass is valid for 30 consecutive calendar days (when activated by February 28th 2021).

Basically, yes. However, you should pay attention to the opening hours of the participating attractions.

For Top of the Rock it is advisable to reserve your favourite time slot. Otherwise, you may only receive a ticket for a later date. Reservations can be made online.

By the way: The reservation does not activate the CityPASS.

The New York CityPASS is also available for children between the ages of 6 and 17. They pay a discounted price. There is no CityPASS for younger children, but they may have to pay a reduced entrance fee at the respective attractions.

If you have any questions about the New York CityPASS, please contact the issuing company City Pass, Inc. You can make inquiries using the contact form or by calling +1 (208) 787-4300 (daily from 9am to 7pm). The company is also represented on Twitter and Facebook.

If you buy the pass on, you have a 365-day return policy. Your costs will be fully refunded as long as your CityPASS has not yet been activated.

If you have received a physical city pass or booklet, you must return it at your own expense.

Alternatives to the NY CityPASS

The New York CityPASS does not meet your expectations of a city pass for the Big Apple? The following New York passes may be more suitable for you. They all offer a much wider range of attractions:

New York Explorer PassNew York Explorer Pass: The New York Explorer Pass works similar to the CityPASS, but offers a larger selection of attractions. When you buy this pass, you decide how many attractions you want to visit and choose from 85+ sights, bus tours and walking tours. You’ll mostly get standard entrance tickets only though.

New York Sightseeing Pass FLEXSightseeing FLEX Pass: The New York Sightseeing Pass is similar to the Explorer Pass and the CityPASS – at least the FLEX version. With this option you can decide how many attractions you want to visit and choose from 100+ sights, sightseeing tours and walking tours. There is something for every traveller. You’ll mostly get standard entrance tickets only though.

New York Sightseeing PassSightseeing DAY Pass: The New York Sightseeing Pass is available in a second version: the DAY Pass. Again you can choose from 100+ offers and within a limited period (up to 10 days) you can visit as many attractions as you want. Among them are almost all top sights of the city as well as bus tours, walking tours and restaurants.

New York PassNew York Pass: The New York Pass is very similar to the Sightseeing DAY Pass. The New York Pass also offers a selection of 100+ attractions, of which you can visit as many as you like. The only limit is the validity of the pass, which is between 1 and 10 days. The longer the New York Pass is valid, the more attractions you can visit and the more money you save.

Single Tickets: If you don’t like any New York City Pass, you can also purchase single tickets to the attractions of your choice. Tickets for many attractions and tours are available online. It’s often worth buying a ticket before your trip to make sure you’ll get a date and time slot that suits you. A selection of the most popular attractions:

New York Sightseeing Pass
New York Pass
New York Explorer Pass – Go City