New York City Pass Discount Cards:  Which One Is Right For YOU?

There are 4 discount passes on the market: The New York CityPASS, the New York Pass, the Explorer Pass, and the Freestyle Pass New York. How do you decide which of the New York City pass discounts, if any, to purchase? Consider the following:
If you want to see a lot of attractions (and why wouldn't you!?), these cards may be a good fit. You’ll save money on admission, you’ll get to see more because you can ‘jump’ most of the lines so you’ll save time and energy, and you’ll get lots of discount coupons when you purchase your pass. A discount pass could be one of the smartest, money-saving investments to make if you are planning to do a lot of sightseeing. Why? Read on. Don't worry! I've done the work and analysis for you.

THE NEW YORK CITY PASS

PRICE

ADULTS: $114
YOUTH: $89 (6-17 years old)

BEST FOR WHOM?

Best for first time visitors. It covers all sights that are a MUST for first timers---or---good for those who have never visited these top sites.

THE DEAL

Pay one price, visit any and all included attractions (top ones in NYC) (see paragraph 1 just below) during a 9 day period. Although the price MAY
seen like a lot, you'll actually save lots if you visit just 4 of the listed attractions. If you visit all of these places, you'll save a whopping $81 per person! Given that these are the top tourist attractions and you are given 9 days to visit, I think it's a sensible thing to purchase. Additionally, I love the fact that you will not have to stand in line to purchase tickets--the New York CityPASS IS your ticket.

1) You’ll have 9 days to visit New York's top attractions: Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History (includes entry to the Rose Center for Earth and Space, plus the Space Show or a giant screen film in 3D and 2D), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (includes same day entry to the Cloisters), Top of the Rock Observation Deck or Guggenheim Museum, Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, 9/11 Memorial and Museum or Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

2) Enjoy paying a lot less for all the attractions that you would visit anyway, but you can do it at your leisure—9 days is WAY more than enough for this!

3) Skip to the front of the line privileges for most attractions--so you’ll save time and energy and enjoy the day more fully.

4) Save $5 off a Rockefeller Center guided 75-minute tour!

5) Subscribe free to my blog for up-to-the-minute news on CityPASS sales. These happen often.

6) Receive 20% off Top of the Rock retail merchandise.

7) Save $10 off a purchase of $50 or more at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Store (great stuff!!).

8) Circle Line Cruises: choose from one regularly scheduled Landmark Cruise, Harbor Lights Cruise, or Liberty Cruise Or The Beast Speedboat Ride, a thrilling 30-minute ride on a custom-built -foot racing powerboat (available May-Sept).

9) Get one free rain poncho with a purchase of $10 or more at an on-board snack bar on any of the Circle Line Cruises.

10) Guggenheim Museum visitors receive a free Guggenheim tote with $35+ purchase and save 10% at The Wright restaurant.

11) Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island visitors enjoy a FREE audio tour for both islands.

12) 9/11 Memorial and Museum visitors enjoy a free tote with a purchase of $25 or more at the Museum Store.

13) Intrepid visitors enjoy a discount on a professional tour of the ship.

Save up to 40% on New York's 6 best attractions with CityPASS - Shop Now!



EXPLORER PASS**

PRICE

ADULTS: $76.00 (3 attractions), $119.00 (5 attractions), $149.00 (7 attractions), $179.00 (10 attractions)
CHILDREN: $59.00 (3 attractions), $85.00 (5 attractions), $105.00 (7 attractions), $125 (10 attractions)

BEST FOR WHOM?

This is a great option for first time visitors who want more flexibility in what they'd like to see; or, for those who have visited before and have already seen the majority of top sites and want to expand their wings a bit. There are MANY more options than for the New York City Pass.

THE DEAL

This New York City pass discount card allow you to pay one price and select ANY 3, 5, 7 or 10 attractions from 56 offerings!! You’ll have 30 days to use your pass.
This discount card includes many different options that the New York City Pass DOES NOT including tours and museums. There are 54 attractions to choose from with each attraction being quite expensive without this pass. So decide what it is that you'd like to see and do the math. If you like tours, this discount pass may offer you many on which you CAN save. So, this could be the pass for you. You COULD save between up to 50% depending on the pass you choose and the attractions you select. 1) The more attractions you purchase, the less they cost (The 3 and 5 day pass translate into the same savings.) If you purchase 3, each attraction is about $25, a 7 attraction pass brings it down to about $22, etc. The 10 attraction pass brings each attractions to a very reasonable $19.99 admission.

2) The number of attractions is MUCH greater than the New York City Pass.

3) Do the math. Choose the most expensive attractions that you’d like to see. Choose only those that are greater than the general admission cost, purchase the Explorer Pass for the number of these attractions.

4) You’ll also get a map, guidebook, and lots of discount passes and coupons including a 15% savings certification at Bloomingdales with a a complimentary signature gift when you spend $500 or more same-day in store; 15% savings pass at Macy's Herald Square; 20% savings on lunch or dinner at the Heartland Brewery Rotisserie (Empire State Location); 20% discounts on a selection of"On Location Tours;" free gift with purchase of $50 or more at B&H Photo; $10 savings on each ticket to Madame Tussauds!

5) Groups of 20 or more quality for special rates.

6) Whatever the fee of the card, you are gaining "Skip the Line" privileges for most attractions. Saving time and energy during your vacation is worth a lot. It also gives you the additional time to enjoy more of the big apple.

INCLUDED ATTRACTIONS:

  • 9/11 Tribute Center & Tour
  • All Day Water Taxi Pass
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Beast Speedboat Cruise
  • Best of NYC Cruise
  • Body Worlds: Pulse
  • Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour
  • Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Neighborhood Tour
  • Brooklyn Bridge Sightseeing Full Day Bike Rental
  • Brooklyn Museum and Botanic Garden
  • Central Park Bike Sightseeing: Full Day Bike Rental
  • Central Park Bike Tour
  • Central Park Movie Sites Walking Tour
  • CitySights Bus tour of New York City
  • Clipper City Tall Ship
  • Cloisters Museum
  • Dancer’s Delight Walk Tour
  • Empire State Building
  • Food On Foot Tours
  • Gossip Girl Sites Bus Tour
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • Harbor Lights Cruise
  • Harlem Walking Tour
  • Harlem Street Art Tour
  • Hop-On Hop-Off NYC Tour
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Ferry
  • Hudson River Sightseeing: Full-day Bike Rental
  • Hunts Point Street Art Tour
  • Intrepid Museum
  • Lady Liberty Cruise
  • Landmark Cruise
  • Lincoln Center Tour
  • Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Met Breuer
  • Museum of Sex
  • New York Historical Society Museum
  • NY Botanical Garden
  • NY TV Movie & Sites Tour
  • Radio City Music Hall Tour
  • Ripley's Believe it or Not
  • Rockefeller Center Tour
  • Sex and the City Hotspots Bus Tour
  • SHARK Speedboat Ride
  • Shearwater Schooner Sails
  • Sopranos Sites Bus Tour
  • Statue by Night Cruise
  • Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Ferry Ticket
  • The RIDE
  • Top of the Rock
  • Twilight Sightseeing Cruise
  • Uptown/Harlem Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
  • Whitney Museum of American Art

Interested? Take 5% off all non-sale Go City Cards and Explorer Passes with coupon code TAKEFIVE

**Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I will make a very small percentage commission if you make a purchase. What I write is NOT in any way compromised but this. It is completely my own thoughts and recommendations.

Freestyle Pass New York

PRICE

ADULTS: $104.00 (3 attractions), $129.00 (5 attractions)
CHILDREN: $84.00 (3 attractions), $109.00 (5 attractions)

BEST FOR WHOM?

This pass is extremely reasonably priced. It's the ONLY pass that gives you free admission to One World Observatory (also known as One World Trade Center) and more than 40 other top NYC tourist attractions. One of my favorite parts is that you have unlimited hop on/hop off bus access for 72 hours (4 different loops including downtown, Uptown, Brooklyn, and the Bronx) which allows you travel with confidence (you don't have to worry about which subway or bus to take), greater speed throughout you day, and you'll waste less precious tourist hours. There is an additional FREE Night Tour and the Hop-on, Hop-off Ferry Tour.There are also many discounts to restaurants and more.

THE DEAL

Purchase a pass for 3 or 5 attractions with unlimited hop on/hop off bus for 72 hours, and FREE Night Tour and the Hop-on, Hop-off Ferry Tour. You are offered a choice of 3 attractions or 5 attractions.Choose from 40+ available attractions including Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Top of the Rock, and Madame Tussaud's. Additional options include Go Airlink airport shuttle, for convenient transportation to your airport

Each fully-narrated tour includes all of the must-see sights in the Big Apple. Guides will share the history of famous landmarks and attractions, as well as the distinct neighborhoods that make New York so unique! See famous sights like the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, the Apollo Theater, Little Italy, the Brooklyn Bridge, and countless others. Hop off at any of the 40+ tour stops to explore areas of the city up close, then catch the next bus when you are ready.

INCLUDED ATTRACTIONS:

• Empire State Building Observatory
• Madame Tussaud's All Access Pass
• Ripley's Believe It or Not (Includes Impossible LaserRace)
• Top of the Rock Observation Deck
• One World Observatory
• Statue of Liberty Ferry and Ellis Island
• Body Worlds: Pulse The Exhibition
• Saturday Night Live - The Exhibition
• Star Wars and the Power of Costume Exhibition
• The Vikings Exhibition

Tours
• Lincoln Center Tour
• The Radio City Stage Door Tour
• Rockefeller Center Tour
• Madison Square Garden All Access tour
• Central Park Horse and Carriage
• Central Park Guided Walking Tour
• Central Park Bike Rental
• Central Park Guided Bike Tour
• When Harry Met Seinfeld Tour
• The TOUR - Click here for reservation instructions.

Airport Transportation
•Go Airlink Airport Shuttle Share Ride

Museums
• American Museum of Natural History
• The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
• Cloisters Museum
• Guggenheim Museum
• Metropolitan Museum of Art
• Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum
• Museum of the City of New York
• El Museo del Barrio
• 9/11 Tribute Center
• New York Historical Society
• Brooklyn Museum/Botanical Garden
• Whitney Museum of American Art
• Ground Zero Museum Workshop : 100 Images & Artifacts Tour
• MoMA PS1

Walking Tours
• Brooklyn Navy Yard Past, Present, Future Tour
• World War II of the BK Navy Yard Tour
• Inside Industry Tour of the BK Navy Yard
• Bronx’s Little Italy and Arthur Avenue Tour
• NYC Slavery and Underground Tour
• Alternative New York Street Art Tour
• Brooklyn Bridge and Dumbo Tour
• Highlights of Midtown Architectural Tour
• South Bronx Renaissance Tour
• Soho, Little Italy, China Town Tour
• Highline, Chelsea, Meatpacking Tour
• Greenwich Village Tour
• Broadway Walking Tour• Lower Manhattan Walking Tour

Cruises
• Twilight Cruise
• Circle Line Best Of NYC Cruise (2.5 hours)
• Circle Line Hello Brooklyn Cruise
• The BEAST Speedboat ride

Dining
• Lunch at Dave and Buster's -234 W. 42nd St., 3rd Floor
• Lunch at Grotta Azzurra (Little Italy)
• Lunch at Bella Napoli (Near the Empire State Building)
• Lunch or Dinner at Copper Chimney Indian Restaurant (Near the Empire State Building)
• Lunch or Dinner at Bill's Bar and Burger (Downtown - 85 West Street btw. Albany St. & Carlisle St.)
• Lunch or Dinner at Potbelly Sandwich Shop (All locations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn)
• Breakfast or Lunch at Applebee's 42nd Street & 50th Street
• $25 towards lunch or dinner at Planet Hollywood
• $25 towards lunch or dinner at Buca di Beppo
• Lunch or dinner at Senor Frogs Times Square

Transportation
• Go Airlink Airport Shuttle Share Ride (For departure transfers only.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE YOUR FREESTYLE PASS NEW YORK!


New York Pass

THE NEW YORK PASS

PRICE

ADULTS: $90 (1 day), $140.00 (2 day), $180(3 Day), $220 (5 Day), $260 (7 Day)
CHILDREN: $60 (1 Day), $110 (2 Day), $140 (3 Day), $155 (5 Day), $175 (7 Day)

THE DEAL

This New York City pass discount provides a 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7 day pass which gives you unlimited access to 80+ attractions. Consider that this New City York pass discount covers several attractions that the others do not. You'll also receive a host of discount coupons and New York City passes discounts for dining, Broadway, and shopping.

BEST FOR WHOM?

This is good for first time visitors as you can purchase your pass per day and visit only the attractions that interest you, or visit the key attractions best for first time visitors (Empire State Building, State of Liberty etc) as they are included, and is great for the more discerning traveler who has specific attractions that they wish to visit. There are options for everyone!

INCLUDED ATTRACTIONS:

  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • 9/11 Tribute Center
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Atlantic City Excursion on Academy Bus
  • Blazing Saddles Bike Rental
  • Bronx Renaissance Tour
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Brooklyn Bridge Sightseeing Bike Tours and Rentals
  • Brooklyn Children's Museum
  • Brooklyn Historical Society
  • Brooklyn Museum
  • Carnegie Hall Tours
  • Central Park Bicycle Rentals & Tours
  • Central Park Sightseeing Bike Tours & Rentals
  • Circle Line Downtown
  • Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
  • CitySightseeing Hop-on, Hop-off Sightseeing Ferry
  • Clipper City Tall Ship Cruises Manhattan By Sail
  • Discovery Times Square
  • Dwyer Cultural Center
  • Dyckman Farmhouse Museum
  • El Museo del Barrio
  • Empire State Building Observation Deck
  • Fashion Windows Walking Tour
  • FDNY Fire Zone
  • Food on Foot Tours
  • Fraunces Tavern
  • Grand Central Terminal Audio Tour
  • Greenwich Village Walking Tour
  • Hallelujah! Gospel Wednesday
  • Harlem One Stop Cultural & Heritage Walking and Step-On Group Tour Packages
  • High Line-Chelsea-Meatpacking Tour
  • Historic Richmond Town
  • Inside Broadway Tours
  • Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  • Jewish Children's Museum
  • Luna Park @ Coney Island - Free Wrist Band for unlimited rides
  • Madame Tussauds New York
  • Madison Square Garden, All Access Tour
  • MoMA PS1
  • Morris-Jumel Mansion
  • Museum at Eldridge St.
  • Museum of American Finance
  • Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA)
  • Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
  • Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
  • Museum of the City of New York
  • NBC Studio Tour
  • New Museum
  • New York Botanical Garden
  • New York Hall of Science
  • New York Historical Society
  • New York Insider’s Shopping Tour
  • New York Skyride (at base of Empire State Building)
  • New York Transit Museum
  • New York Water Taxi
  • Noble Maritime Collection
  • NYC Gospel Walking Tour
  • On Location Tours Central Park TV and Movie Sites
  • On Location Tours UPTOWN New York TV and Movie Sites
  • Queens Museum of Art
  • Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour
  • Rockefeller Center Tour
  • Shearwater Classic Schooner – Manhattan by Sail
  • Slavery and Underground Railroad Tour
  • Snug Harbor Botanical Garden in Staten Island
  • SoHo-­Little Italy-­Chinatown Walking Tour
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
  • Staten Island Children's Museum
  • Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Museum
  • The Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Neighborhood Tour
  • The Cathedral of St. John the Divine
  • The Cloisters Museum and Gardens
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • The Museum of Sex
  • The Paley Center for Media
  • The Ride
  • The Skyscraper Museum
  • The Studio Museum in Harlem
  • Top of the Rock
  • Tour at Lincoln Center
  • Van Cortlandt House Museum
  • Wall Street Walks
  • Wave Hill
  • Weeksville Heritage Center
  • Whitney Museum of American Art
  • Yankee Stadium Tours

Don't stand in the line - buy the New York Pass online here!


What To Bring

When you venture out for a day of sightseeing (using your New York City pass discounts), be sure to pack the essentials. This will help to enhance your day! Be prepared by checking out my tips in the "what to place in your backpack" section of my packing list! You'll be glad you did!


Traveling with Kids?

If you are traveling with children while using your New York City pass discount, check out my best tips for keeping crankiness to a minimum! I guarantee that there is AT LEAST one tip that will help you during your holiday. Click here and scroll down to the very bottom of the page.


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