My experience with a New York CityPASS

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Many ask me about the tourist cards of New York, whether it is easy to use them or not, what to do when arriving at tourist attractions, ... To try to solve all your doubts, I have put on my tourist cap for a few days and I have been using a New York City Pass throughout the city to tell you my experience.

If you are looking for complete information about the different existing tourist cards, it is better that you go to the article with a comparison to help you choose the best tourist card for your trip to New York, but if you want to know my experience firsthand using a tourist card in New York, continue reading this article.

Why choose the New York City Pass?

For me it has two advantages over the rest of tourist cards that are offered for sale in New York:

  • You have more days to go to the attractions. Having 9 days from the first use, do not feel overwhelmed to run from one attraction to another in the number of days you have chosen, and it is usually 1 to 3 days so that the tourist card does not trigger price.
  • It is the one with the lowest cost to cover what the 90% of tourists who are going to New York for the first time will want to visit.

For more information and purchase of these cards, visit the official website of New York CityPASS. If you want to pay in Paypal or in your local currency, I recommend you get your CityPASS with WePlann.

What's in the New York CityPASS?

Just open the envelope that comes the CityPASS, you find three things:

  • The checkbook with tickets to tourist attractions and interesting discounts for other attractions and sites in New York, such as a 15% discount on Macy's or Bloomingdale.
  • A map where you can find all the attractions of New York that you can access.
  • Information about tourist cards available in other cities, such as Chicago, Boston or Philadelphia.
New York CityPass envelope content
New York CityPASS envelope content

As we said, the rhythm can be set by you, so we have decided to make use of the CityPASS as much in one attraction per day, so that apart from visiting museums and tourist attractions without stress we have time to go to visit other interesting parts of New York or make our purchases.

We start at the Top of the Rock

The first day we arrived in the afternoon in New York, so we cooled off a bit and went to the Top of the Rock, which is one of the two checks where you must choose where you are going, or to the Top of the Rock or the Guggenheim Museum.

The entrance is achieved very quickly, you have to go to the main box office of the Top of the Rock, located right next to the entrance to the elevators, and in a special queue for those who have tourist cards and in exchange for your check they give you your entry in less than one minute for the time closest to which you can upload or one that you choose your later. If you have chosen the option of collecting your CityPASS at the first point of sale, without a doubt the Top of the Rock is a good place to do it, because everything goes very fast and you hardly waste time to collect the checkbook.

In my case I got an appointment for 15 minutes later, so I barely had time to do 4 photos by the Rockefeller Center before entering.

As always, the best of Top of the Rock is the organization, in just 10 minutes since you walk upstairs enjoying the stunning views of Manhattan.

View from Top of the Rock
Sunset from Top of the Rock

Visit to the Intrepid Museum

The second day our first destination is the Intrepid Museum of the Sea, Air and Space. In the CityPASS you must choose between entering this museum or the September 11 Museum, and we want to see more the aircraft carrier and the space shuttle.

To access the museum, you must go directly to the ticket offices enabled for CityPASS with your checkbook, they scan the code that you have printed inside and they give you a ticket to access the museum and the space shuttle Enterprise.

If you like aeronautics, certainly this museum is not to be missed. In addition to visiting the ship, inside the Intrepid aircraft carrier you will find some of the most famous combat aircraft in the world, such as the F-4, the F-16 or the Blackbird, helicopters and the space shuttle Enterprise, as well as several MIGs and even a Concorde, located right next to the aircraft carrier. In addition, you can visit a submarine of the Navy, the USS Growler.

Some of the Intrepid aircraft
Some of the Intrepid aircraft

Next stop: Natural History Museum

The third day is cloudy, so we decided to go to American Museum of Natural History. To access the museum, you must go to any of the museum's ticket offices with your CityPASS and along with your free admission you can choose, only if you enter with the New York CityPASS for free, a movie to see in the IMAX, in my case it was a shark in 3D.

As an additional recommendation, indicate that if you enter the museum directly from the metro, the queue to enter is usually much smaller than at the main entrance, and has the advantage that you do not get wet if it is raining.

Interior of the Natural History Museum
Interior of the Natural History Museum

Let's go to the Met

The fourth day we will take advantage to see so much the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) Like the Cloisters, we get up early and go to the Met, to be as soon as they open the doors. Upon entering, go to one of the entrances, if you show your CityPASS in the center, not at the ticket office, it will be exchanged for a ticket to the Met valid for the whole day.

Entrance to the Metropolitan Museum
Entrance to the Metropolitan Museum

Visit to the Cloisters

After finishing visiting the impressive collection of the Met, we go to Madison Avenue and take the bus M4, which after a visit throughout Harlem leaves you at the gates of the Cloisters, following the recommended itinerary in Medieval art and colossal modern churches in New York.

Upon arrival, we enter The Cloisters and we go to the ticket office, and presenting your Met ticket gives you free access to the Cloisters. It is curious the Cloisters, a building formed by the union of several churches and abbeys bought in Europe and brought stone by stone to the United States. Thus, as soon as you are in the cloister of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa as you cross a door and you are in the apse of the church of San Martín de Fuentidueña. For more information, I recommend you read our article about The Cloisters.

The Cloisters
The Cloisters

We visited the Empire State

On the fifth day we decided to go up Empire State Building. The advantage of CityPASS is that it is included one upload when you want and another one from 8 pm (from 10 pm in July and August) so you can upload when you see that there is little queue, at lunchtime and the 21.30 in my case, and so avoid the big queues that are mounted especially at sunset, which can make you more than an hour waiting to go up.

After passing the security control, show the CityPASS so you can continue straight to the entrance control and skip the tail on the right, which are the ticket offices. At the Empire State Building, you only have to wait for your elevator to be able to go up to the 86 floor and enjoy the spectacular views of Manhattan. Also indicate that If you agree with the CityPASS, the audio guide is included for free with your entrance to the Empire State, something that does not happen if you pay the normal entrance.

New York at night from the viewpoint of the Empire State Building
New York at night from the viewpoint of the Empire State Building

We finish with a cruise

Finally, to end the use of the New York City Pass we choose to make the Sunset Cruise in New York with Circle Line, instead of taking the boat to go to the Statue of Liberty.

At the time of taking the Circle Line cruise, I went in the morning to avoid ticket problems and at the box office reserved for CityPASS I chose the Harbor Lights Cruise, a night cruise that went to the 7 in the afternoon (check schedules, varies according to the month)

Undoubtedly one of the most pleasant surprises of the trip, the boat trip watching over nightfall over Manhattan is something really recommendable, a new way of seeing Manhattan and New Jersey from the sea. One way to know if something is good is to see if you are surrounded or not Japanese, because they usually have very little time and make the most, if something is not worth much you do not usually find, and the cruise was full. ..there must be a reason.

Midtown from the cruise
Midtown from the cruise

If I were you and bought the CityPASS I did not doubt it: I took the Circle Line night cruise as an option, and the ferry to Staten Island to be able to see the Statue of Liberty if you do not think enough with the cruise visit at sunset.

Advantages of the New York CityPASS

Finally, summarizing the experience with the New York City Pass would indicate the following:

  • The best thing is that you avoid all the queues to access the tourist attractions, with the time saving that carries.
  • It is also very interesting saving money. If you are going to do all the activities that I did, it would have cost me (June rates of 2018)
    • Top of the Rock: $ 39
    • Intrepid Museum: $ 33
    • Museum of Natural History + IMAX: $ 28
    • Metropolitan and Cloisters: $ 25
    • Empire State: $ 54
    • Cruise with Circle Line: $ 37
    The total price would have been $ 216, and the CityPASS card is currently priced at $ 126, so I've saved $ 90.
  • The advantage of CityPASS over other cards is that You can access the attractions up to 9 days after your first use of the CityPASS, so that the rhythm of going to the tourist attractions marks you to your liking and not the requirement of having to go in a limited number of days to them.
  • Includes additional things in tourist attractions: To be able to go up twice in the same day to the Empire State, the free audio guide in the Empire State, to see a movie for free in the IMAX in the American Museum of Natural History.
  • Includes discount coupons additional that can come to you very well in New York, such as the 15 discount% of Macy's or Bloomingdale that you can surely take advantage of to make a purchase.

Conclusion, I would recommend the purchase of a tourist card to all those who go to New York for the first time or to those who plan to visit the most typical museums and observatories of the city. For more information and purchase of this card, visit the official website of New York CityPASS.

What does a New York CityPASS include?

In this video we show you all the options you can choose if you buy a New York CityPASS, so that if you do not know what to choose, you can see it with your own eyes before enjoying it:

To see other possibilities and tourist cards available, I refer you to the article where we make a comparison so you can choose the best tourist card for your trip to New York.