New York Explorer Pass
What’s the New York Explorer Pass?
The New York Explorer Pass is a city pass for New York. With this pass you can choose from 90+ attractions, of which you can visit up to ten for free. The pass is also known as the Go City New York Explorer Pass.
Benefits of the Explorer Pass include the Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial & Museum and Top of the Rock. You can also choose from a variety of walking tours and bike tours, as well as one day of Hop-on Hop-off bus rides through Manhattan.
When you buy the New York Explorer Pass, you decide how many attractions you want to visit: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10. Which ones you’d like to see, you can decide spontaneously as soon as you’re in New York. You have 60 days – far more than you’ll probably spend in the Big Apple.
The New York Explorer Pass is a purely digital product. You’ll receive it by email immediately after purchase and can either print it out on paper or save it on your smartphone. In New York, all you have to do is show the mobile pass to get admission to the attractions of your choice.
Benefits of the New York Explorer Pass
- Choose up to 10 out of 90+ attractions
- Including Hop-on Hop-off bus and boat cruises
- Free walking and cycling tours
- Valid for 60 days from first use
- Download to smartphone, ready, go!
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How Much Does the Explorer Pass Cost?
The following table provides a price overview:
The reduced price applies to children between 3 and 12 years of age. Younger children do not need their own Explorer Pass and often pay no entrance fee anyway. Teenagers must pay the full price.
Note: The 6-Attractions-Pass is available only on the official Go City Website.
What’s Included in the Explorer Pass?
The following table shows all attractions included in the New York Explorer Pass.
Last updated: 08/2020New York City Passes (UK) - Explorer Pass
The prices indicated are partly odd figures, because in the United States often VAT is added to the advertised prices. Where this was evident to us, we have taken the value added tax into account. We have also taken booking fees into account.
In each case we have researched the lowest available price. Some of these are cheaper than those listed on the New York Explorer Pass website. For example: The Hop-on-Hop-off bus of Big Bus is listed there with $59.00. However, if you buy the ticket on the Big Bus website, it costs only $47.20.
On the other hand, some of the prices listed in the table above are higher than those listed on the New York Explorer Pass website because we have researched more recent values or have taken into account VAT and booking fees.
Tip: Even if you don’t buy the New York Explorer Pass, you can still download the travel guide that comes with it. You will receive it here digitally by e-mail, stating your details.
Our Assessment of the Included Attractions
The New York Explorer Pass offers a selection of more than 90 attractions. Among them are almost all the major attractions the Big Apple has to offer. Only two major attractions are missing: the new viewing platform The Edge and the UN Headquarters. However, the latter is not included in any New York City Pass.
Compared to other passes, the New York Explorer Pass occasionally offers slightly better benefits such as an audioguide at The Met and a guided tour of the 9/11 Tribute Museum. Other passes only include standard admission.
The pass entitles you to priority admission over other visitors – but only to a few attractions (Top of the Rock, Madame Tussauds and Empire State Building). Therefore, you will still have to queue at the box office for most attractions. However, this applies to all New York city passes.
Reservations Are Often Necessary
For most of the walking tours and bicycle tours a reservation is necessary. Often it is sufficient to do this one day in advance. But to make sure that you can take part in your desired tour, you should reserve your place a few days in advance. Reservations are always made online. You will receive the relevant information by e-mail together with the Explorer Pass.
Once you have made a reservation, you must participate in the tour. Otherwise, your credit card will be charged with a participation fee.
By the way: A reservation does not activate the pass. The pass is only activated when you join the tour or visit an attraction.
Hop-on Hop-off Bus
The New York Explorer Pass entitles you to unlimited rides on Big Bus’s Hop-on Hop-off bus in Manhattan – at least for one day. You can hop on and off as many times as you want on the Uptown and Downtown routes on that day. However, you must have a ticket issued before the first ride. Therefore, ask one of the staff at the stops to issue you a ticket.
Validity of the New York Explorer Pass
After the purchase you have up to 24 months to activate the pass. Activation will take place as soon as you use the Explorer Pass at the first attraction. From that point on it is valid for 60 calendar days. This makes the NYC Explorer Pass one of the longest valid New York city passes.
By the way: Reservations for a tour do not activate the pass!
How Much Money Do You Save?
How much money you can save with the New York Explorer Pass depends on two things: the number of attractions for which the pass is valid and the single ticket price of those attractions. Using the example of the 5-Attractions Pass, we would like to show you that savings can be made with the Pass in any case. The Explorer Pass costs $142.00 – this corresponds to a price per attraction of $28.40.
You could, for example, visit the following attractions:
- Empire State Building: $47.73
- Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum: $33.00
- Hop-on Hop-off Bus: $47.20
- Best of Brooklyn Walking Tour: $31.80
- Central Park Bike Tour: $51.69
Together these five attractions and experiences cost $211.42. With the Explorer Pass you’ll save $69.42 in this scenario.
If your Explorer Pass allows less than five attractions, the savings will be less. It will also be less if you choose to visit attractions that are cheaper when purchased individually. On the other hand, there are some attractions that are even more expensive than the ones listed above, so theoretically there are even greater savings possible. How much you save, greatly depends on which attractions you choose.
On the other hand, if the attractions of your choice cost less than $28.40 on average, you will lose money with the New York Explorer Pass.
Is the Explorer Pass Worth it?
The more attractions the Explorer Pass allows, the more it is worthwhile, because the price per attraction decreases with the size of the pass. This is shown in the following overview:
- 2 attractions: $65.00 = $32.50 per attraction
- 3 attractions: $94.00 = $31.33 per attraction
- 4 attractions: $126.00 = $31.50 per attraction
- 5 attractions: $142.00 = $28.40 per attraction
- 6 attractions: $161.00 = $26.83 per attraction
- 7 attractions: $178.00 = $25.43 per attraction
- 10 attractions: $229.00 = $22.90 per attraction
Starting at five attractions, the price per attraction drops below $30.00, while it remains almost constant at two to four attractions. At this level the Explorer Pass starts to pay off because there are many attractions and tours that cost more than $30.00. This is especially true for the bus and boat rides as well as the walking and cycling tours. Most of these cost between $30 and $55 when purchased individually, so the Explorer Pass really pays off.
Those who buy their Explorer Pass in time and take care of the reservation of the tours can also participate in the limited but very expensive tours such as The Ride or The Tour.
If you have enough time and you are interested in up to 10 attractions, the 10-Attractions-Pass is most worthwhile, because with this pass you only pay $22.90 per attraction.
Conclusion: The New York Explorer Pass is worthwhile for travellers who want to visit a few attractions without being pressed for time.
When Isn’t the Explorer Pass Worth it?
It is not worth using the NYC Explorer Pass for attractions that cost significantly less than $30.00 when purchased individually. For these you better buy single tickets.
Where Can You Get the Explorer Pass?
You can buy the New York Explorer Pass online at Get Your Guide. Immediately after purchase, you will receive the digital pass by e-mail. You can either save the PDF file on your smartphone or print it out on paper. Ideally, you should take both with you to New York so that you always have the city pass at hand.
At the attractions of your choice, show your digital pass at the ticket office. There it will be scanned and you will receive your free admission ticket.
FAQ About the NYC Explorer Pass
Can I visit the attractions more than once?
No, each attraction can only be visited once with the New York Explorer Pass. Your ticket will be electronically validated upon admission.
How long is the New York Explorer Pass valid?
The digital pass is activated as soon as you use it at the first attraction. From this point on, the pass is valid for 60 consecutive calendar days.
Can I freely choose the visiting hours?
Basically, yes. However, you should note the opening hours of the attractions. In addition, some attractions – e.g. Top of the Rock – provide you with a ticket for a certain time slot. This is subject to availability.
For most walking and cycling tours and some other offers you have to book your participation in advance. Often it is sufficient to book one or two days in advance, but sometimes it is useful reserve your spot as soon as possible.
Some tours are offered daily, others only a few days per week.
Do I need a ticket for my children?
The New York Explorer Pass is also available for children between the ages of 3 and 12. They pay a reduced price. Older children must pay the regular price.
Who can I contact if I have questions?
If you have any questions concerning your purchase at Get Your Guide, the company’s German-speaking customer service will be happy to answer them.
If you are already using your Explorer Pass, please contact the issuing company Go City. Customer Service is available by phone during normal business hours (from the USA: +1 800 887 9103 / from the UK: +44 800 090 3140).
Alternatives to the NYC Explorer Pass
The New York Explorer Pass is not worthwhile for you or you are wondering if there is a better city pass for New York? In this section we will briefly introduce you to other New York City Passes. You can find more detailed information under the respective links.
New York Pass: With the New York Pass you can visit 100+ attractions for free – as many as you want, but in a limited time. Depending on which version you buy, the New York Pass is valid for between 1 and 10 days. If you want to do intensive sightseeing, you will save more money with this pass than with the Explorer Pass.
New York Sightseeing Pass (DAY): The second major city pass is the New York Sightseeing Pass. It is very similar to the New York Pass and costs about the same price. Probably the biggest difference: The Sightseeing Pass includes the One World Observatory but not the Empire State Building. Moreover, with the Sightseeing Pass you can eat for free in some restaurants and/or get a considerable discount.
New York Sightseeing Pass (FLEX): The just mentioned New York Sightseeing Pass is also available in the FLEX version. This is similar to the Explorer Pass, because with the FLEX Pass you decide how many attractions you want to visit when you buy it. You can allow up to 30 days for this. The choice of attractions is a bit bigger, the price is almost the same as with the Explorer Pass. The biggest difference is that instead of the Empire State Building, the One World Observatory is included and you can use the Manhattan Hop-on Hop-off buses for up to 72 hours.
New York CityPASS: The New York CityPASS is the smallest of all New York CityPasses because it includes the least attractions. But these sights are very attractive: The pass allows free access to six of New York’s nine top attractions and experiences. For many of them, the CityPASS gives you priority admission. For those who only want to do selected sightseeing, the pass could be just right.
Single tickets for top attractions: If you are not interested in a New York City Pass because you don’t want to do too much sightseeing, you should rather choose single tickets for your favorite attractions. For most attractions, you can buy tickets online before you travel, and in many cases it’s worth it because with an online ticket you often get priority admission. Some offers are also sold out several days or weeks in advance. A short overview of popular attractions: