7 Days in New York: Sightseeing with a CityPASS

More of my adventures in The Big Apple! (Post 3 of 5)


As you probably know by now, I recently went on my first holiday to New York City!

I wanted to see all of the sights whilst I was there and in the run-up to the trip I did a lot of research into different ways of booking things like the museums and the Empire State Building etc. A lot of people online recommended buying an attraction pass before travelling to save time and money so I decided to look into it!

I came up with the total cost of the main attractions I would want to visit during my trip and compared it to the cost of different passes available online and found I would be saving a lot of money buying a pass in advance rather than buying tickets at the attractions. I chose the New York City CityPASS that included:

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

At 42% off, it cost £101.94 per person for 6 attractions that included 3 set attractions, 3 choice attractions and a free, second trip up the Empire State Building. You can choose to have your tickets on your phone, print them out or have them sent to you by post. You can visit the attractions in any order and the passes are valid for 9 days starting from the first day of use.

Empire State Building

The CityPASS allows you to go up the Empire State Building twice in one day: once in the day time and then again after dark. You still have to queue through security but after that, you can skip the queues for tickets and go straight in.

We went on the first day of our trip because it was a beautiful clear day and we just knew that if we didn’t jump at the opportunity it would rain for the rest of the week! It was quite quiet so we didn’t feel rushed at all but it was freezing cold and very windy at the top so we had to hold onto our hats as we walked around and our smiling faces were frozen but it was so worth it! The view was incredible and despite being afraid of heights, I could have stayed up there for hours and would definitely do it again!

American Museum of Natural History

This was another set attraction on the list but one we were excited to visit.

Again, you have to queue through security and we did have to queue at a ticket desk but it was especially for pre-booked tickets so the queues moved quickly and there was not a lot of waiting around.

I didn’t get any photos in the museum because it was actually really dark inside! The museum is much bigger than we’d realised and took up the majority of one of our days. It wasn’t our favourite history museum and we did skip out some of the areas we weren’t as interested in so as to make it around the whole museum but we did have a good day and we’re happy we can say that we went.

The Met

This was the final given attraction on the CityPASS before the multiple choices. I had no idea what to expect from the museum but since we had a couple of snow days in New York we decided it’d be a perfect opportunity to be inside for a day. It seemed like everyone else had the same idea so it was pretty busy when we first arrived but our passes meant we could check in at a kiosk and print our tickets without having to queue.

The Met was beautiful. Everything from the building itself to the art had me saying “WOAH”. I didn’t take many photos to share because I was so busy taking everything in. The museum presents over 5,000 years of art and is full of rare and beautiful treasures. From jewellery and armour to sculptures and paintings – there was so much beauty to see. I could have spent most of my week in The Met and would 100% go back again!

Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat

Top of the Rock Observation Deck

This was a chosen attraction. We could choose between TOTR or The Guggenheim. The CityPASS gives you a discount on the attraction you don’t choose in case you want to do both. We would have loved to do both but museums took up a lot of our time and we were quickly realising we didn’t have a lot of time left and TOTR was higher up our list!

The CityPASS allows you to go through security and select the next available slot that’s right for you. We were able to go up to the observation deck straight away and there weren’t many other people waiting. Unfortunately for me, the glass barriers around the top didn’t make me feel as safe as I felt up the Empire State Building and my fear of heights kicked in so badly I had to sit on a bench the whole time. Fortunately, Will loved it up there and ran around taking enough photos for the both of us!

It wasn’t as cold as the day we went up the Empire State Building but it was still very windy. It was a grey day so the view wasn’t quite as beautiful but it was amazing to see Central Park and the Empire State Building! If you don’t mind heights or a wall of (what I was assured was very sturdy) glass, it’s worth it for the unobstructed views of the city.

Here are a few photos taken at the top – I took the photos of Will from a far away bench whilst he laughed in my face because I thought I would faint if I tried to walk to the edge.

9/11 Memorial & Museum

We had a choice of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum or Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Again, we went through security and passes let us go straight into the museum without queuing for tickets. We chose the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and it is definitely a must-see. I was six and a half years old when 9/11 took place and I remember it so well, but there was also so much I didn’t know and wouldn’t have seen at the time. Visiting the museum and memorial was such an emotional experience that’s so difficult to describe but it’s worth a visit if you have a chance.

Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

This was the final trip we took on our last day in the city. It was a beautiful clear day so it was perfect for a little ferry ride!

We got off the subway at Battery Park and it was a straight walk to the ferry. We had to queue to pick up our tickets but since we’d already paid it only took 30 seconds. Then you go through security and onto the little ferry that takes you to the Statue of Liberty. Ferries would leave the island at 40-minute intervals, taking you on to Ellis Island and from there, back to the city so we had plenty of time to soak in the sights. Having already seen the Statue of Liberty from the top of the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock, it was amazing to finally be on Liberty Island. Plus the view of the city was beautiful!

Ellis Island was also amazing to see. Having spent so much time learning about it back in school, it was surreal actually being there and learning about the history of the island and how it developed over time.

It was such a relaxing, sunny day out and I would definitely recommend it if you want a fun adventure out of the city!


I haven’t tried sightseeing in New York without a pass so I can’t make a comparison but I would definitely recommend having a look into it! We were so busy each day, and being in a new city made things a bit confusing as it was. It made things so quick and easy for us knowing everything was already booked and paid for. All we had to do was turn up!

Shannon x

First-Timer’s Itinerary

How we planned what to do each day

Flights & The Hotel
It was my first time on a plane in 20 years!

Adventures on a Budget
Things we got up to that didn’t require spending a lot of money

A First-Timer’s Guide
What I discovered, what I loved and what I didn’t about the whole experience!

4 thoughts on “7 Days in New York: Sightseeing with a CityPASS”

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