New York CityPASS – The Best Way to Visit the Big Apple

Empire State Building — Dusk view. Photo: Courtesy of Empire State Realty Trust
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New York City is simply the best place for any vacation. There, I said it! I love visiting Manhattan, even though I lived there for several years a few decades ago. But I’m guilty, as many of us are, in that when you live in a city, you don’t go to the attractions in your own back yard. You’re too busy with your regular life activities.

Here’s a great way, whether you’re a tourist or a local, to experience the top attractions of the Big Apple at a great price – New York CityPASS.

New York CityPASS logo with New York skyline and mobile ticket graphic. ©CityPASS

New York CityPASS includes admission to six attractions:

• The Empire State Building
• American Museum of Natural History
• The Metropolitan Museum of Art
• Top of the Rock Observation Deck OR the Guggenheim Museum
• Ferry Access to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
• 9/11 Memorial & Museum OR the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

The New York CityPASS will save you about $100 off the regular price you would pay if you bought tickets to these places separately. It is valid for nine consecutive days, starting with the first day you visit an attraction. So, make it a fabulous nine days and get to see and enjoy six wondrous experiences in New York.

We took the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruiseand it was delightful. I highly recommend taking this at the beginning of your trip, since it will give you an overview of the different sections of Manhattan, as well as the boroughs and parts of New Jersey on the other side of the water.

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises — Cruise passing under the Brooklyn Bridge.  Photo: Courtesy of Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise

The Circle Line provides a knowledgeable and affable tour guide who tells you all about the sights you are passing, with anecdotes thrown in that make the cruise around the island both fun and ultra-informative. You can make note of the places you want to visit on the rest of your trip.

Circle Line offers a 90-minute cruise or a 2.5 hour one, depending on how much time you have available. There’s also a Harbor Lights Cruise leaving at 7 pm that allows you to see the twinkling lights of the city from dusk to dark for about two hours.

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. ©Ken Goodman Photography/Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

A few of the views include Hudson Yards, Chelsea Piers, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Battery Park and the towering One World Trade Center. After rounding the tip of southern Manhattan, guests get a close-up, stunning view of the magnificent Statue of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island — Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. Photo: Courtesy of Statue Cruises

Before or after your Circle Line Cruise, you may want to visit the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum which is just a short block away. Its home is the aircraft carrier Intrepid, a National Historic Landmark.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum — Aircraft carrier Intrepid. Photo: Courtesy of Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

The Museum has numerous airplanes, artifacts, historic video footage and interactive exhibits for everyone to enjoy.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum — Flight deck.  Photo: Courtesy of Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

On our first day in NYC, we headed over to the Empire State Building. There are many observation decks throughout the city, but c’mon – this is the one we know and love – which has appeared in some 250 movies, including a few of my favorites: Sleepless in Seattle, An Affair to Remember, Amazing Spiderman, Elf, and of course, King Kong. In fact, one of the Empire State Building current exhibits even includes the opportunity for you to be held in the big ape’s hand!

Empire State Building — The King Kong exhibit in the Empire State Building’s museum allows guests to step into a 1930’s office, where the giant ape’s fingers pierce the walls as he dangles from the exterior of the building. The museum galleries, which take guests on a journey from the building’s construction to its current place in pop culture, are located on the 2nd floor. Photo: Courtesy of Empire State Realty Trust

Other exhibits are Otis Elevators, Opening Day, Construction, The Site in the 1920s, Celebrity, and Modern Marvel. It’s all super interesting – not to mention the 360-degree views you get from being up on the 86th Floor Observation Deck. For an upgrade, you can go to the 102nd Floor Observatory.

Empire State Building — The Scenes of NYC exhibit allows guests to use classic viewfinders to check out panoramic views of nine different famed New York locations. From Times Square to Coney Island, visitors get an up-close look (and even a glimpse inside) many places that they can spot from the building’s 86th and 102nd floor observation decks. Photo: Courtesy of Empire State Realty Trust

Now that you’ve seen places from on high or from the water, you can visit the other attractions from New York CityPASS.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art — The Charles Engelhard Court in the museum’s American Wing. Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Brett Beyer

Let’s face it, one could spend the whole nine days going through the Metropolitan Museum of Art and still not see even half of it. The Met presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world in its amazing collections of art, exhibitions, and events.

Some of the current exhibitions are:

• A New Look at Old Masters
• The African Origin of Civilization
• In America: A Lexicon of Fashion
• Emperors, Artists & Inventors: Transformative Gifts of Fine Arms and Armor
• Bodhisattvas of Wisdom, Compassion, and Power
• The Good Life: Collecting Late Antique Art at The Met
• Fabergé from the Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation Collection

The Metropolitan Museum of Art — Arts of Africa, Oceana and the Americas collection. Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Brett Beyer

The Guggenheim Museum aka the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, on the upper East Side is the landmark cylindrical building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It houses a phenomenal collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art, as well as special exhibitions throughout the year.

Guggenheim Museum. ©The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York

Currently, visitors can enjoy Vasily Kandinsky: Around the Circle; Gillian Wearing: Wearing Masks; and Etel Adnan: Light’s New Measure. The Thannhauser Collection at The Guggenheim includes works by Degas, Manet, Van Gogh, and more.

Guggenheim Museum — Spiral rotunda.  ©The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York

The American Museum of Natural History is on the Upper West Side across from Central Park. This 2 million square feet museum features 45 exhibition halls in 26 interconnected buildings – with collections of over 34 million specimens of animals, plants, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains and cultural artifacts. Wowza!

American Museum of Natural History — Hayden Planetarium in the Rose Center for Earth and Space.  ©AMNH/D. Finnin

Okay, so we know you won’t have time to see but a small part of it – but no matter how many hours you’re there – you’ll be in awe viewing the displays and learning so much. The museum’s mission statement is: “To discover, interpret, and disseminate—through scientific research and education—knowledge about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe.”

American Museum of Natural History — Tyrannosaurus rex fossil in the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs. Photo: ©AMNH/R. Mickens

Whether you’re going to be in New York for two weeks, two months, or two years, The New York CityPASS is a fantastic way to visit these six attractions in nine days… at a value price.

In addition to your CityPASS, check out as the go-to resource for all things New York City.

For more information, visit New York CityPASS.

About Marilyn Anderson 35 Articles
Marilyn Anderson is an award-winning author, film and television writer. She wrote for Murphy Brown, FAME, Friday the 13th - the Series, and Carol & Company, starring Carol Burnett. Marilyn wrote and produced the family feature film, How to Beat a Bully. She is the author of How to Live Like a MILLIONAIRE When You're a Million Short.

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