One of New York’s most famous landmarks, in fact, one of America’s most famous landmarks is a must-see sight on any trip to New York. But nestled on a small island far from the main Boroughs it’s a little trickier to get a good view of than you might imagine. So how do you get close enough for that perfect selfie or couple shot in front of the Iconic statue? Our guide on how to view the Statue of Liberty will show you the best way to view and photograph the Statue of Liberty.
Like most things in life, there are a good few options on this and these vary accordingly in both cost and ease and quality of experience. Thankfully none are very expensive, and all are easy and convenient.
Option 1 – Battery Park
Battery Park is the start location for all three of my options. The first of which is just viewing from the park itself. This is where Kevin from Home Alone 2 (Click to find all the Home Alone Viewing Location) views the Statue on his jaunt around the big apple. The Statue is still quite distant, and most people comment on how Lady Liberty is much smaller than they imagined.
In fact, the Statue is quite large, it is just still a long way away from Battery Park. It does, just about, show up in a selfie, your friends would certainly know what city you are in. But it’s really only suited to someone VERY pushed for time or maybe not keen on Boat Rides. A reasonable zoom lens will deliver acceptable shots, but the distance will limit you to one angle of the Statue, with not many exciting composition options for the artistic-minded and foggy atmospheric conditions that will ruin any shots.
Still, If you are on a flying visit and just want to say you have viewed the statue you will get a reasonable view and photos from here. Unfortunately, the iconic viewing telescopes used by Kevin to get a closer look at the Statue have been removed.
Of course, Battery Park is FREE so there is no cost involved other than travel to the park. The closest Subway stop is Bowling Green Station on the Greenline or South Ferry Station on the Redline. There is also plenty to do or see in the area, including Wall Street, the 911 Memorial and Museum, and the Freedom Tower.
Option 2 – Staten Island Ferry
The Staten Island Ferry is a Public Transport ferry that sails from Manhattan island to the island of Staten. Its primary purpose is transportation. It just so happens to sail Directly past the Statue of Liberty. It also provides excellent views of Lower Manhattan Skyline as you depart and approach the city. And just in case you are not sold it also happens to be FREE!
The Ferry terminal is located just to the east of Battery park and can be seen on the map above. The Ferry takes about 25 minutes each way and runs on the hour and more frequently during busy times see the schedule for more info. Unfortunately, they don’t let you stay on the ferry for a round trip. But you can simply disembark and get on the next ferry back if there is nothing that interests you on Staten.
You will certainly be able to get great views of the Statue from here and it will be large and bold in your selfie! There are plenty of photographic options as it sails by. Again the views of the Skyline are breathtaking. You will also be able to glow in your self-satisfaction that you bagged this experience for Free!
A ferry is a great option for the cost-conscious but to get REALLY up close and personal there is only one other option…Apart from swimming there, which we don’t advise, and is almost certainly illegal.
Option 3 – Statue Cruise
Statue Cruise is the only company that offers cruises that actually land on the Island. What’s more, they also land on Ellis Island so you get to experience that as well. Upgraded tickets allow you to go inside the statue and climb up to the pedestal or even right up to the crown viewing area. It goes without saying you will get the perfect couple shot or selfie in front of the statue. There are also unlimited photo opportunities for any kind of photographer. You can also expect fantastic views of Manhattan from either the ferry or Liberty Island.
Tickets can be bought on the day or reserved online. We strongly urge you to book online if you want to go up to the pedestal or crown as they often sell out, sometimes months in advance. But Tickets are always available for the grounds on the day. The Ferry Sails from and back to Battery Park and they also have a terminal in Liberty State Park, New Jersey if that is more convenient.
To book a ticket to the Island costs $19.25 for adults and $14 for seniors and $9 for children(4-12). Access to the Pedestal is the same price, but availability is limited so book early. Tickets for the Crown are only $22.95 for Adults $17 for seniors and $12 for Children (4-12). For all tickets, kids under 4 are free and do not need a ticket.
The Cruise is a really cool attraction in itself, sailing out across Hudson bay with simply stunning skyline views behind you. The short ferry ride then lands you on the Island where you have as much time as you like to explore the grounds, and snap endless photos of the Statue, There are Gift shops, Cafes, and exhibits on the history of the Island. In mild weather, it’s a great place to spend a few hours away from the madness of the City, Although it can get pretty crowded. In Winter, it’s pretty exposed out in the bay so wrap up warm! When ready you simply hop on the next ferry back.
The Cruise back takes you to Ellis Island, the Immigration museum there is really fascinating and depicts the history of the United States and allows you to trace back your ancestry to the point they landed on Ellis Island assuming they are part of the 40% who came in this way. You do not have to disembark here, you can just wait until the ferry loads and unloads before it sails back to the Mainland.
These Cruises are really essential parts of any trip to New York, If you have never been out to the Statue it is a must-do experience and the only way to get up close to the Statue, or even climb it! And for the pretty minimal cost, we really cannot recommend it enough!
Book your Statue Cruise here or check below for info on how to save even more with a City Pass.
From the Air
Probably the best view of the Statue is found from the Air via one of New York’s Helicopter Tours. For viewing the Statue, by far the best option is FlyNYON. They really get down low and close to the Statue and give the best shots of lady liberty.
The Other Tours still give you a great look of the Statue as they loop around the island but they are not quite as low altitude and only FlyNYON takes the doors off. But as far as statue viewing goes you will not be disappointed as all tours are great.
While we really love the Helicopter tours they are a heck of an expensive way JUST to see the Statue but they offer a lot more than just that, but this article is about Statue Viewing and a few $hundred dollars cannot be justified really, but if you want to see the whole of Manhattan and enjoy a bucket-list activity as well as get a great view of the Statue and Helicopter tour hits several birds with one expensive stone!
Land-Based Viewing Location
While Battery Park is the most convenient and iconic Land-Based Viewing location there are several others. Most of these are are it of a pain to get to and do not offer great views but they are worth a mention.
The Amazing Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian Path offers wonderful distant views of the Statue. These are not the best Statur Views but the overall vista is pretty epic (see above) and really the experience is one of our favorite things to do in New York, plus it’s free! you will also get views of the Statue from the shore in Brooklyn but again it’s pretty distant.
The closest you can get to the Statue, from Land, is Black Tom Island in Liberty State Park, New Jersey. Only a stone’s throw from Liberty island. The Problem is Lady Liberty will have her back to you from here and the shot is quite disappointing.
Another Long Shot view is from one of the New Yorks Observatories. The closest is the One World Observatory in the Freedom tower but again it’s not the best view really.
A totally outside option and this is for photographers ONLY is from Port Jersy Boulevard, New Jersey. The view here is pretty rubbish, so non-photographers be prepared for disappointment. But for anyone looking for a unique, distinctive, and almost impossible shot the Statue here is the honey pot! With a long lens, you can actually pull the statue right up next to the Empire State building so they both appear pretty much the Same Size.
It is a Staggering Shot, and expect to be called out on Social Media for Photoshopping it, The first time we came across it we assumed it was photoshopped before discovering the Location. It is a complete optical illusion and with the naked eye the view is pretty rubbish, but with the long lens magic, you can create a shot that is truly magical.
We will leave some of the specifics (Lens Compression) to your artistic judgment, but you will need a very long Lens (400+mm) and a great eye, patience and a lot of trial and error, and a damn clear day too. The Location is only really accessible by car and is a heck of a trip for a single photo, but worth it.
New York Pass Options:
If you are wanting to save money during your New York Trip it is possible to purchase a number of Passes to allow you to visit multiple attractions at a reduced rate. We are big fans of these Passes and use at least one on every visit.
A Statue Cruise is included in the New York CityPass which can save you 41% on some of the best New York attractions. See our full review and experience of a New York CityPASS here. It’s a great way to experience New York and cuts the cost quite a bit allowing you to see more and Pay Less.
There are a few other Pass options available which we guide you through in our New York Pass Comparison Post
Overall a Pass can be is a great option for getting the most out of New York as it can not only save money but it helps avoid certain lineups at some attractions and really lets you pack way more into your New York Itinerary than you would usually manage just paying as you go, along with the pretty significant cost savings.
- New York CityPASS Review – 4.5*
- The NEW YORK PASS Review – 4*
- The New York Explorer Pass Review – 4.5*
- New York Sightseeing Pass – 3.8*
Have Your Say
We hope this guide helps you out and you get to see this amazing iconic landmark the way you always dreamed. And you get the Perfect Photo or selfie to share with your friends and family. Let me know if you have any further questions. Or have you got your own perfect viewing locations? Please just use the comments section below.