Go City New York Explorer Pass Review 2023 – Is the Go City New York Explorer Pass Worth It?

New York is for many a Dream Destination. The Big Apple’s towering skyline, Bustling City streets, and cosmopolitan lifestyle have been cemented on the big screen for decades. So when people finally make that pilgrimage they want to see and do it all. This, unfortunately, costs quite a lot of money. One possible way to save some money is on an attractions pass. These nifty little products let you see several of New York’s best tourist attractions for one set price, often substantially lower than paying for all the attractions separately. One Pass on offer is the Go City New York Explorer Pass.

To find out if the Go City New York Explorer Pass is worth it, we headed to New York armed with a Pass to produce our Go City New York Explorer Pass Review. In fact, we have been several times now with the pass, our latest trip is here. These passes are not universally liked, and some commenters, on certain message boards actually advise against the passes.

We wanted to try and find out the truth, why some people are against them, and what the Pass is really like when in use. On the Face of it, all is good, You get to See More and Pay Less, a pretty tantalizing proposition. So we went to see if there are any pitfalls or major issues with the pass, to see if the commenters are right…and you should pay more to see less???

Go City New York Explorer Pass Review 2023

2023 – Update

Before we get going it’s time to mention the thing everyone is oh so bored of now, the Pandemic. The Virus all but wiped out the 2020 tourist season in New York (and just about everywhere else).

We last visited in mid-2022 and things were basically back to normal. There was no mask-wearing, no mandates to get inside anywhere, and overall it just felt like the New York of old.

We have lost a few things along the way, and a few things have changed not for the better, but overall it’s business as usual, and visiting the City is just like old times.

Due to the Pandemic, there have also been a few changes to the Pass. Some of these are in the attraction line-up, others more fundamental, and some are really positive in terms of Travel Disprution and planning.

The main changes to the planning and flexibility side are the cancellation policies! These have been changed to 90 days for a full refund, This adds a lot of peace of mind that you can get your money back should your trip get canceled. Also, the validity period of the Passes has been upped to 2 Years, so if you choose not to get a refund, as your trip is nearly postponed, then you can still use the pass for up to two years after purchase.

We really like these changes and hope they stick well past the pandemic.

The other changes are even more fundamental with the new all-inclusive pass being added and the loss of some key attractions. More on this later

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on our links**

Go City New York Explorer Pass Review

  • Product: Go City New York Explorer Pass
  • Price: $75 – $252
  • Price Child: $60 – $200 (Child 3-12yrs)
  • Where to Buy: GOCity.com
  • Number Of Attractions: Choose 2/3/4/ 5/ 7/ 10 out of 80+ Attractions
  • Time Limit: 60 consecutive days
  • Expiry – 2 Years from Purchase – 90-day No-Quibble Return
  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 4.8/5

Attractions Included:

  • Empire State Building Experience – $48
  • The Edge Observatory – $43.50
  • Top of the Rock Observation Deck – $43.55
  • American Museum of Natural History– $28
  • 911 Museum and Memorial – $28
  • The Metropolitan Museum of ArtDiscontinued
  • One World Observatory – $44
  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island – $24
  • Museum of Modern Art – $25
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus New York Tour – 2-Day Classic Ticket – $59.99
  • + Many more, Click here for all activities
  • Price
  • Ease of Use
  • Attractions


The Explorer Pass is perfect for those who don’t want to Rush there trip. By having a set amount of attractions you don’t have the pressure of tearing around the City trying to cram as much as possible in. Not all the attractions on the List are good value but there are plenty that are and offer fantastic Value. All the TOP New York attractions are present. We feel this pass is especially good for people who have been to New York Before and know what they want to see this time around. Giving you great savings on the things you really want to see.

Check Our Promo code page to see if you could save even more!!! 

Check out our Promo Code Page to see if you could save EVEN more when Purchasing a Go New York Explorer Pass. Click here to check out our available discount codes. or Click the Reveal button Below to Unlock our BEST current Code!

Clicking Reveal takes you directly to the Go New York Explorer Page to input the code, we receive a small commission if you buy after clicking our link. This is how we support the Page

What is the Go City New York Explorer Pass:

The Go City New York Explorer Pass is a pass that allows you to visit a number of Attractions In New York for a set price. The price is often much lower than visiting the attractions and paying separately for each. The amount saved will depend upon which attractions you visit, but figures of up to 50% are possible. That’s a big saving.

There is a huge number of attractions available and these vary from the top-rated, must see’s like the Empire State Building Experience, The Met Museum, Statue of Liberty, and the 911 Museum to some more low-key but still excellent attractions such as a selection of walking tours and the Museum of Sex.

Go City New York Explorer Pass

is Go City New York Explorer Pass worth it

The Explorer Pass is a Digital product meaning It is delivered instantly and you can then use the pass directly from your phone or print it out. It is basically a QR Barcode that is scanned at the Attractions.

With the Explorer pass, you choose the number of attractions you want to see and simply pay for those. There is no need to decide beforehand, just keep using the pass until you have used up your “quota” of attractions. Using the Pass from your phone really couldn’t be simpler just download the App and pull it up every time you enter an attraction the Assistant will scan the pass and you are in, or in the case of some attractions you will receive and timed ticket.

Go City New York Pass – All Inclusive

This is a new option from Go City. The All Inclusive pass is a similar concept only instead of choosing the number of attractions, you can choose the number of days you want the pass to be valid. Then you can visit as many of the available attractions as you like during that time period.

It works in the same way, you simply arrive at most attractions, scan the pass and you are in. The days run consecutively so once you activate your pass at the first attraction the clock is ticking.

How Much Does the Go City New York Pass Cost?

The key figure is the price per Attraction this goes down the more attractions you purchase. Care needs to be taken to make sure you have enough time to visit the number of attractions you choose as well as there are enough attractions on the list that interest you.

Explorer Pass

Price2 Choices3 Choices4 Choices5 Choices6 Choices7 Choices10 Choices
Adult $75$104$139$164$184$204$252
Per Choice$37.50$34.66$34.75$32.80$30.66$29.14$25.20

All-Inclusive Pass

Price1 Day2 Day3 Day4 Day5 Day7 Day10 Day
Adult $143$189$229$264$294$334$371
Per Choice$143$94$76$66$58$47$37
Go City New York Explorer Pass – Live Price – Prices do change so make sure you check the latest.

The Various attractions in New York all cost different amounts and some actually cost less than the Price Per Attraction. The obvious example is the Statue Of Liberty at $24 less than even the best value 10 Choice Pass. If the Attraction you want is less than the price per attraction cost, it might be best to buy a pass with one less attraction and pay separately for the lower value attraction, however, this is not always the case as we show in our costings below.

With the All-Inclusive you would be very hard-pushed to get value out of the short-duration passes. You would most likely get better value out of the Explorer Pass. You would need to fit 5 attractions into one day to make it work for you, and that is a lot of running around, but still doable.


empire state night
Top of the Rock – Included on the Pass

Cost – Saving money is obviously the biggest advantage of the Explorer pass. It is quite possible to save substantial amounts of money, up to 50% in some cases. The amount saved depends largely on which attractions you choose as some are more expensive than others. If you choose all the expensive attractions the savings will be far higher than if you pick the cheaper ones.

That said, you shouldn’t choose to do higher-priced attractions simply because they are higher priced

Flexibility – Another big advantage of the Explorer pass is the flexibility it allows. Things change and planning your trip too vigorously can lead to poor experiences. Some things in New York are best experienced in certain weather. An open-top bus is no fun when it’s raining and there is little point in being at the top of the empire state building when the cloud is so low the view is obscured.

An Explorer pass allows you the flexibility to chop and change your trip so you can do the right activities on the right day. If the forecast is rain then simply head for the museums. Or make the most of the fine weather and head up the empire state building. On our last trip, we had rain forecast all day, but the skies cleared after lunch and we headed straight up the Top Of The Rock for a Killer Sunset

You will also Find New York is exhausting and maybe you have just planned too much. You can easily change your plans and do something less strenuous, such as a cruise. Basically, whatever the trip, the weather, or your mood throws at you the pass allows you to adapt. We cannot stress how often this happens when we use passes!

Top of the rock Sunset 3

Budgeting – It helps to know exactly how much you are going to spend on a trip and with a Pass, you know how much you will have spent before you go. leaving only food/drink and transport as your variables. It also helps spread your money further. So while you may not spend less you get a lot more for your money. This is the most important aspect, getting the BEST trip you can. See More, Pay Less.

This also means you are less likely to return home to a heart-stopping credit card bill!

Relaxed Pace – Compared to other Passes the Explorer Pass allows you to have a more relaxed trip. By choosing the number of attractions, you can easily plan your trip out to see just a couple of attractions a day and still get great value. You are only seeing what you want and doing so at a pace that suits you. With the All-Inclusive Passes, you really need to cram stuff in and you can miss out.


Timed Tickets – While we personally never found this a big issue, some people criticized the Passes due to issues surrounding Timed Tickets. This meant you had to essentially queue just to get a ticket to a queue. This used to be a bigger issue than it is now.

We only found 3 attractions where timed tickets were still an issue. The Top Of The Rock is a timed ticket, but this works well as you can head over and book a ticket for any time. You can normally get straight in but we like pre-booking for sunset.

The One World Observatory and the 911 Museum are slightly problematic as they can sell out of Pass Tickets, they only have so many a day. We head straight to the two attractions early to book our return times for later, or with the Observatory, you can upgrade to get in straight away, along with other benefits.

At the other attractions, we visited the Pass was your ticket and you got straight in. Some require pre-booking, such as the Empire State Building, The Ride, and most Tours but this can be done online for free, make sure you check the info carefully one each attraction you wish to visit.

Limited Value – The Nature of the pass is a double-edged sword in that there is a limit to the value you can extract. With the All-inclusive model, you can cram more and more in to get the most value. So while this model helps make the trip more relaxed it does mean there is a finite amount you can save.

It also means if you choose lower-value items the value plummets.

Doing Too Much – Sightseeing in New York can be an arduous business. trekking up and down the City can really take it out of you. Of course, it’s all worth it to see this magnificent spectacle. The problem with a pass is it encourages you to take on too much. The fact that the pricing drops per attraction means you are tempted into the more expensive pass, as they appear better value, and then “chase” it around the city, potentially doing things you wouldn’t if you didn’t have the pass. It’s best to work out what you want and get the pass to suit.

This is more an issue on the All-inclusive Passes and with careful planning, you can easily see the city at a more leisurely pace with the Explorer Pass. It also can lead you to find some attractions you really enjoy that you may have skipped without a pass!

The New York CityPASS and the New York Pass also include the 9/11 Museum and Memorial

Go City New York Explorer Pass in Practice

Social Distancing has changed how the pass works. For some attractions now you need a pre-booked timed ticket. This is to ensure social distancing can be adhered to. Really this is a good thing as it has forced the attractions to allow pre-booking via a pass so in the future this can remain an option so attractions that require pre-booking such as cruises, tours, and some observation decks can now be pre-booked.

More and more seem to be dropping this as things get back to normal. Most attractions now operate on the basis that your pass is your ticket. Some locations may let you book a timed ticket if you turn up without but this will be dependent on availability, you may have to come back later in the day or even another day.

Other than this the Pass is really simple to use. You are simply Emailed the Pass instantly after purchase. You can either use it directly on your phone, link it to the Go City App, or even print it out for a hard copy.

When Booking online at the different attractions you just need the PassCode to enter as you book your timed slots. This is not considered an activation you still need to present your Valid Pass at the attraction to be scanned, this is considered the Activation, and the 60 Day countdown begins, and one attraction is marked as used.

New York Explorer Pass 2023 – Post-Covid?

Macys 4th July Fireworks

We returned to New York to update this review for Post-Covid times and maybe we had jumped the gun, as we are really not quite post covid. So we headed back again in July 2023 for the $th July and had another go with the Pass.

By July things were largely back to usual. There are still a few attractions that require booking, but on the whole, it was simply Business as usual. You can read about this trip here, it was quite the trip!

Which Attractions Are Available?

With so many attractions available on the Pass it’s difficult to choose. Many of the attractions are some of the City’s top sites but some are less brilliant. Walking and bike tours are some of our least favorites, and some museums are so cheap they pull down the value you can get from the card. It’s quite possible to choose attractions in a way that actually makes it MORE expensive to get a pass.

It is still important to pick attractions based on preference not price. However, should the Attractions YOU want to visit work out LESS than the cost of the pass, consider a Build Your Own Pass, or simply visit without a pass at all!

Below are some of our Favourites to show How much you are realistically likely to save. This is based on the Quality of the attractions and not the price as you will see.

Observation Decks

The View from New York’s Observation decks is truly a must-do. The view from high up on one of New York’s tallest buildings is something to behold. But which Observation deck should you choose?  We have answered that question here.

The Explorer Pass now includes, for the first time, ALL of New York’s major Observation decks. This means you can get to see the World’s best Skyline from multiple viewpoints.

Empire State Building – $46

The Original and Still the best! The View is utterly Staggering, and there is just something so timeless about standing on top of the Empire State Building!

The Pass allows you to skip the ticket line and head straight to the top!

Top of the Rock – $43

Slightly shorter than the Empire State Building, but has a better view. The View used to overlook the park but building work has largely obscured that view. The headline feature is the fact you can see the Empire State Building clearly, which obviously you can’t from the Empire State.

The Pass gets you a timed ticket which is a touch complicated. You get a Pass holders line for the ticket deck, we never find this more than 2-3 deep whereas the general queue can be very long. You can select any time when booking the timed ticket so we always aim for sunset. We find we are usually around the Rockerfella at some point so popping in to book the timed slot for later is no issue.

The Edge – $42

New York’s Newest and Swankiest Observation Decks. The Edge Juts out over the side of the new Hudson Yards Building and provides sweeping panoramas of the Manhattan Skyline. A stunning Experience with a Titanic Bow View and glass floor. There is also a bar so you can toast your assent to the heavens!

One World Observatory – $45

Our Least Favorite of the Deck. The One World is just too …indoors. It’s the highest deck and the view is incredible, but it’s not as charming as the others and just leaves us a bit cold, but it is still an incredible spectacle, and the extra height is really noticeable. It also fits SO well with a Downtown day as part of your Itinerary.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Cruise – $23.50

Statue of Liberty
Get Up Close and Personal with Lady Liberty with the Explorer Pass

Apart from Cabs, Hotdogs and the Empire State Building, The Statue of Liberty is the most iconic landmark in New York. Only the Statue Cruise actually lands on the island. So even though the Landmark Cruise and the Staten Island Ferry(Free) sail right by if you want to get off on the island you need to do this. We hear quite often that it’s not worth getting off and the best views are from the water. We disagree and think the View from the Island with Lady Liberty towering over you is a fantastic view (see right). We can’t imagine visiting the City without paying a visit.

Unfortunately, if you want to climb it, you are pretty much out of luck. Crown upgrades are not available and pedestal upgrades are first come first served. But if they sell out beforehand online, which they normally do then they will not be available. TBH It doesn’t concern us much. The pedestal just offers slightly improved views of Manhattan. and the crown offers little other than the chance to say “We did it”.

If this is a Must do, you will need to Book a Statue Cruise independently of your pass. This is the same for all Passes.

This Cruise Also lands on Ellis Island which is a historical Gem.

Hop On Hop Off Bus – $59

Hop On Hop Off Bus

The Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off bus is a great way to see the City. It’s mainly aimed at first-timers (or the first time in a “while ers”) and gives a great introduction to the city. We know these are incredibly touristy but really they are a lot of fun!

It’s certainly a fair-weather experience. You need to visit a specified Bus stop so you can purchase your ticket from a Big Bus Agent who will scan your Pass. The Bus is good fun and a great introduction to the city. Just don’t rely on it as transport. Just use it to link a few distant attractions together, and enjoy the ride from the top deck.


New York’s Museums are World Class and there are Quite a few included in the New York Explorer Pass. The Big hitters are all present along with a few outsiders such as the Museum of Sex or the Museum of Ice Cream!

American Museum of Natural History – $23.00

The Natural History Museum is a fantastic place. The Numerous Lifesize Dioramas of many of the world’s Large Animals (alive and Extinct) is a fantastic display and pretty unique. The Star for us is the Fossil Halls with many intact skeletons of the Largest animals to walk the Earth. You can easily lose a day in here. Factor in a half-day as an absolute minimum, the place is huge! Also factor in a lot of walking!

You must now Book your ticket directly from the website using your pass to ensure social distancing!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Discontinued

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is no longer included on any of the various passes. This is a huge shame as this is one of the best attractions in the City(world!). For the explorer Pass it’s not the biggest loss as it is on the cheaper end of the price spectrum, so you can just pay separately, but it is a bigger loss to the All-Inclusive passes.

While it’s a shame overall, as the Met has taken the decision and removed itself from ALL passes, it does not change the comparisons much.

Museum Of Modern Art – MOMA – $25

The MOMA is far more compact than the sprawling Met Museum and focuses far more on just modern art paintings rather than detailing the entire history of human art forms. Don’t be too distracted by the term modern art, some of the paintings are quite old. Modern art is the period from 1850-1970, what most people think is modern art is actually contemporary art (Today’s Art).

What this really means is the MOMA is filled with some really wonderful pieces from some of the greatest artists of the 19th/20th CEnturies. Monet, Van Gogh, Cezana, Matisse, Picasso, Pollock, and Salidor Dali. Quite a line-up

For art lovers this is all you need to hear, for those less versed in the art world, these names are obviously very recognizable, but you may be unsure if this sort of attraction is really you. Well the MOMA is about the most accessible of the Art Museums in New York and even if you don’t really get art the power of some of the pieces on display is very impressive. Starry Night by Van Gough, or Mones Lilly pond just jump out at you, and even if you have no idea what you are looking at they are still mesmerizing.

You only need a couple of hours here to get a good look at the highlights so it’s far less grueling than the MET. If we were to choose just one Museum this would be it…well apart from the 911 Museum…

911 Museum – $28

An absolute must-see. The 911 Museum is a solemn and harrowing experience, one that brings memories of that fateful day flooding back, in a very real way. This is anything but fun, but it is incredibly important.

The Museum itself is a staggering achievement, hosed in the entire basement of the original towers it is at a scale few expect. There is so much to see as you remember the day and pay tribute to the lives lost.

The Memorial area and reflecting fountains are all free but access to the museum is charged. If you choose not to visit the museum, or buy a pass do not pass up the opportunity to visit the memorial.

Check out our guide to New York’s best Museums here.

Cost Examples

Below we work out a few Example Itineraries and how they work out price-wise.

3 Attractions / 1 Day

AttractionGate PriceExplorer PassAll Inclusive
Empire State Building$48yesyes
911 Museum$28yesyes
American Museum Of
Natural History
Pass Prices$104$104$143
Explorer Pass Saving – $0

When choosing a pass with fewer attractions on it the chance to save is quite small. The Per Attraction Price is high and by choosing lower-priced attractions you save less The above explorer pass saves you nothing, showing you the pass is only worth it if you are looking at the higher-priced attractions.

You could get that purchase price down by using one of our codes! But if you are looking for a 3 attractions Pass consider the C3 Pass which is quite a bit cheaper! However, with the Explorer, you could have chosen the Empire State along with the Big Bus Tour ($59) and The Edge ($42), which are not available on the C3, and saved a whopping $46, making the pass remarkable value

All Inclusive Pass Savings – $44 LOST!

As you can see the All-Inclusive Pass is no good at all if you are only going to fit in a few attractions. This lineup would cost you money and even choosing the more expensive options only save a few $. The Explorer is a much better option.

4 Attractions / 1 Day

AttractionGate PriceExplorer PassAll Inclusive
Empire State Building$48yesyes
911 Museum$28yesyes
The Edge$43yesyes
Big Bus Tour$60yesyes
Pass Prices$179$139$143
Explorer Pass Saving – $40

As we move up the number of attractions the savings really mount up. The Explorer pass saves over $40 on this easy itinerary.

All Inclusive Pass Savings – $36

The All Inclusive Pass closes the gap too, but you would have to do all these attractions in one day where as the Explorer Pass allows you to spread things out better.

5 Attractions / 2 day

AttractionGate PriceExplorer PassAll Inclusive
Empire State Building$48yesyes
911 Museum$28yesyes
The Edge$43yesyes
Big Bus Tour$60yesyes
American Museum Of
Natural History
Pass Prices$207$164$189
Explorer Pass Saving – $43

The Maths here is complicated. We stated earlier to avoid attractions where the Price is lower than the Price per attraction of the Pass. But here we have the exact same itinerary as above, only we added The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Cruise.

This attraction. priced at $24 is below the Price per Attraction price of $32.80 for the 5-attraction pass, yet the 5 Attraction pass price is only $28 more than a 4 Attraction pass meaning we saved $4 by adding it to the pass rather than buying separately.

This is because the Price per attraction dropped for all the attractions so the savings add up. This really just shows the importance of checking the math beforehand. If all the attractions are at the low end the pass is poor value but with just a few higher-priced attractions the savings really add up!

All Inclusive Pass Savings – $18

Here the savings are much less, but that is because we upgraded to the 2-day pass. It is possible to do this on one day ($64 saving) but really, that would be a manic day and not recommended.

However, you could easily add one or maybe two attractions into those two days. As the explorer pass has a set number of attractions you are stuck with how much you can save. With the all-inclusive, the sky is the limit. You could easily head up to the Top of the Rock, or the One World Observatory, head out to the Statue of liberty, or check out Madame Tussauds. All technically for free!

7 Attractions / 3 Day

the 7 Attraction Pass is one of our preferred options and really lets you get the best out of the City. As you can see we are not just choosing attractions due to their price but because we like them!

AttractionGate PriceExplorer PassAll Inclusive
Empire State Building$48yesyes
911 Museum$28yesyes
The Edge$43yesyes
Big Bus Tour$60yesyes
Natural History Museum$28yesyes
Statue of Liberty$24yesyes
Pass Prices$256$204$229
Explorer Pass Saving – $52

As you can see the savings here are really noticeable, and we have chosen many attractions at the really low end of the price range and still racked up savings. This is because we wanted to show a really typical itinerary with some really popular attractions, as this is how the pass should be used. With the higher-priced attractions, the savings only get better.

Talking of getting better, on top of this use one of our Promo Codes and you can save even more. Our current 10% code drops the price to $183 saving $73 and 40% over the gate prices!

That’s enough for a Steak Dinner or a Broadway show, per person, this is what we mean by Seeing More AND paying Less…

All Inclusive Pass Savings – $27

This is where the All-inclusive starts to come into its own. Sure, it’s a meager $27 saving, but this is because we needed to keep it in line with the Explorer. £ days is more than enough to do the above itinerary, and infact, quite a bit more. Just adding in the One World Observatory, and Top Of The Rock, skyrockets the savings to $115, add more and the savings go up too.

Making the Best of the Pass

7 attractions are certainly feasible on a 3-day trip without rushing too much, but it would certainly be a busy trip. It would certainly be unforgettable as well. The best way to pack in as much as possible is to visit Attractions that are grouped together. Like the Met and Natural history Museum. That way less time is wasted traveling. Also, consider doing free activities to complement your pass there is so much to see and do for free in New York, and a lot of those are the BEST things the city has to offer!

Where To Buy

The Simplest and normally cheapest place to buy is direct from their website. The Pass is instantly emailed to you to Print out or you can use it on your phone or tablet. But make sure you grab one of our Promo Codes first

<<< Click here to go to Buy your Pass Direct >>>

Check Our Promo code page to see if you could save even more!!! 

Check out our Promo Code Page to see if you could save EVEN more when Purchasing a Go New York Explorer Pass. Click here to check out our available discount codes. or Click the Reveal button Below to Unlock our BEST current Code!

Clicking Reveal takes you directly to the Go New York Explorer Page to input the code, we receive a small commission if you buy after clicking our link. This is how we support the Page


The New York Explorer Pass is a great way to save money when in New York. Most of the top Attractions are featured. We didn’t find the pass held us up at all and in most cases, we simply bypassed long ticket Queues.

One of the main criticisms of the Pass is it makes you tear around the city packing in attractions and ruining your trip. But we just do not find it works that way at all. The Explorer Pass allows you to plan a simple and sensible itinerary and go at your own pace.

It gets you to parts of the City you may otherwise miss, and overall you just see SO much more of the city. These Passes have revolutionized the way we sightsee and they really turn an OK trip into an unforgettable one. So many things in life are too good to be true but we just don’t find that with the New York Explorer Pass.

It gives you immense flexibility, huge savings, and a truly unforgettable trip!


Well, you could always pay separately, spend hours booking individual attractions, print out endless tickets, or just queue up in separate ticket lines and buy on the day. You will spend more and see less, but then you can go on Forums and Facebook groups and tell everyone how much better your trip was because you didn’t tear around seeing everything, instead you went with the flow and saw nothing!

But apart from the Cynical, there are other Passes to look at.

We have a full Comparison Guide here, but:

The New York Pass – this is an all-inclusive pass that can offer a staggering amount of value. You choose the number of days you want and then pack as many attractions in as you like for those days. These work great for those really active types wanting to see everything.

New York CityPASS – This is a great value pass that offers some really good value, the only downside is the number of attractions included is really limited. It’s all killer no filler, but if the attractions do not suit YOU that’s no consolation.

New York C3 Pass – As above but you just choose 3, great for a highlight trip and is the cheapest pass available.

New York Sightseeing Pass – We think this product is having issues at the minute and we do not recommend them at present.

Have Your Say

Have you used an Explorer pass? What attractions did you choose? Did you find any issues with the pass adding to your queuing times? Please let us in the comments below. Or if you have any questions we are happy to help, just drop us a comment.

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38 thoughts on “Go City New York Explorer Pass Review 2023 – Is the Go City New York Explorer Pass Worth It?”

  1. This is such a great idea, and what a way to save money on all the NYC tourist attractions, especially if you know which ones you want to see. I like how it has people pick a few initially, which makes vacation planning and structure a little easier. I did something like this in Amsterdam, and it saved us tons of money. Definitely worth it for newcomers and even possibly residents who’ve just never gone to the attractions!

    • Hi Penelope, Thanks for reading. We do feel the Pass offer both great value for money and also a very convenient way of structuring your break.

      Its amazing how sometimes residents of places have never actually taken the time to visit the attractions on their doorsteps. Its a phenomenon world wide we find.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. Being from New York, I can attest to the fact that it’s ultra expensive to do anything or go anywhere in NYC. is explorer pass looks like a good deal. Having to choose from a package deal or building your own are great choices. You really have to go through everything to make the best decisions. Are there any money back guarantees?

    • Hi Rob,

      Thanks for confirming how expensive New York can be. The costs certainly do rack up and that’s why these passes are such a great Idea.

      Smart Destinations do indeed offer money back guarantees on Unused Passes, so If you choose not to use it You have a year to get your money back. Which is great should your trip be cancelled or postponed!

      Thanks for Reading

  3. My husband and are going to visit New York City (pending that it doesn’t rain us out) this weekend and I am sooo happy I found this! You are right that it can be a very expensive place to visit. This can save us so much money, can’t wait to show it to my husband.

    • Hi Jen,

      Glad we can help out. Hopefully the pass helps you get the best out of New York. I’m sure you will have a fantastic trip regardless of the weather, But a quick glance at the forecast shows the weather looks okay from Friday onward 🙂

      Enjoy Your trip, and be assured everyone here at YourUSACityGuide.com is very jealous!

  4. Hello Steve-

    I like that you can use Explorer pass. I actually did not know about the land mark cruise. Will definitely try it next time I end up in New York. So does the Explorer Pass work everywhere in USA?

    Thank you for this informative post.

    • Hi, Glad you found the review informative. Hope you enjoy your next trip to New York.

      Sorry but no this Explorer pass is only valid for New York attractions. Other passes from this company and other are also available for other areas of the Country. We will be covering them in due Course.

  5. I had no idea a product like this even existed. I am not from the USA and me and my girlfriend want to do some traveling soon. Unfortunately my country has a very poor exchange rate so something like this would save us a lot.
    My girlfriend is a sucker for the sights and attractions so the pass will be a must.


    • Hi, Jean.

      Glad we have been able to enlighten you to the existence of these passes. Remember there are a few available for New york. You may like to read our comparison guide?

      Hopefully, a pass will help you and your girlfriend enjoy your travels even more! We can certainly Sympathise with your Exchange rate issues!

    • Well, The Explorer pass is quite a bit more than a tour round the city, its entry to some of the best and most expensive attraction within the City. Of course, if all you wanted was to look around the City we would recommend doing this just on public transport for next to nothing. But if you are wanting to visit all the attraction and experiences Passes such as these can save an Awful lot of money.

  6. This sounds fantastic and a much cheaper way to see the city, but I’m a bit bummed by the whole QR code thing. I like to keep souvenir tickets from my travels, but oh well. I’m a bit navigationally challenged, does the pass come with some kind of map or location advice on how to get from place to place?


  7. You’ve done an amazing job, Steve!
    This information is a piece of gold for travellers! I was in New York twice, but without much of a planning. When my wife and I was looking for the info where to go – we found plenty of it from different sources and got overwhelmed.
    You provide info giving advantages and disadvantages which I like very much. Nice to see different options.
    Great info!
    Are you going to add more cities? 🙂

    • Hi, Vitaliy, Thank you for reading glad you found the post helpful. Sorry you didn’t find us before your trip!

      Yes we will be adding lots of other city’s our goal is to make it easier and better to visit any City in the United States.

  8. Hi Steve,

    Great review, I was just looking for sometime like that since i’m about to travel to NYC next week.

    Regarding the 9/11 Museum, you say that is not included, only the 9/11 Tribute. I was looking on their website and there they say that’s included (see link below). Perhaps meanwhile there was an update?


    I’m thinking about purchase the 7 choice pass. Can I go to any of the attractions mentioned on their website (as long as they are 7) or there is any restriction?

    Thank you very much for your help.

    Look forward to hear fro you:)


    • Hi Paula,

      As you say, They have indeed updated the their list of attractions in the last few months, Smart destinations are rapidly growing their brand and adding attractions and cities all the time. Indeed they have now added the 911 Memorial and Museum to their New York Line up. Which is great news as really it was one area the pass was lacking compared to their rivals. We will update our review accordingly thanks for bringing this to our attention.

      You can certainly visit any of the attractions on their list, the only restrictions we have sometimes found on smart destinations pass’s are some tour companies that offer multiple trips on the same pass, limit to one of their tours per day, but you can always do the other options on another day, We haven’t found this on the New York explorer but it may be in the fine print of some attractions. Some of their other pass’s also offer premium options where you need to choose but this is not the case on the New York pass. You are free to choose ANY selection of 7 attractions (or whatever number you have purchased) within the 30 day period following your first choice.

      We know you are going to have a Great time in New York whatever you choose, it’s such a great city.

      Thanks for reading

  9. Hi there,
    I have been thinking of visiting that part of the USA. I had no clue what a visit to New York entails. This post is a big eye opener for me. I will definitely make use of the savings tips you have given for transport and the places of interest. I really want to see the Statue of Liberty!

    • Hi Juliet,

      The Statue of liberty is certainly a fantastic place to visit. It’s probably the most iconic landmark in the world. Glad you liked the article and hope you have a fantastic trip when you finally make it to New York

      Thanks for reading

  10. Thank you, I didn’t know about these passes before reading your article. I went to New York City last year and had a great time visiting many of those attractions. They can be very costly. Especially when you want to visit many different attractions.

    I will definitely consider these passes on my next trip. My only concern will be feeling that I have to visit that next attraction to get my money’s worth from the pass vs doing something else that is not part of the pass.

    • Hi Steve,

      Yes there is always the temptation to chase the pass to get your moneys worth but the good thing with the Explorer pass is you can easily plan which attractions you really want to visit and only pay for those. That way if you want o spend an afternoon exploring central park or shopping or something else that’s fine as you haven’t lost any pass time, the attractions are still waiting to be used. All it takes is some honest planning, and the Pass helps greatly as a guide to your planning.

      Hope you enjoy your next visit

      Thanks for reading

  11. Ok well, I’m impressed with this already! I have family that lives in Manhattan and part of my family visits New York at least 1-2 x per year. The passes will help offset some of the expense for sure. Thank you so much for putting this all together. Much appreciated.

    • Hi Leigh,

      Glad you like the pass, We often don’t think these will be of use to people who actually live in Manhattan as they tend to avoid tourist locations. Of course for those with family from outside the city they probably have LOTS of visits all of which wanting to see the Tourist sites like everyone else!

      Hope you find the pass useful and helps you save some money. 

      Thanks for reading.

  12. Hi there and what a great review of the New Your attractions pass. You really have gone in depth and covered all bases. New York is on my top destinations to go to as it just looks like an amazing city with so much energy and fantastic places to visit. Plus it is the setting for so many of my favoritr famous films, so it would be a very surreal place for me. I love the fact that the pass now incorporates the 9/11 memorial museum as that would be a must do sight for me. Also, How amazing do those observation deck look. Wow!

    • Hi Stefanie,

      We can certainly confirm New York is really amazing. Yes we found as do most people even simple things take on a whole new meaning as you have seen them so many times on screen! You will also find new found enjoyment in re watching your favourites films as you notice places you have seen that you never noticed before!

      Yes the 9/11 Museum was a big let down of this pass so it’s great to see that added now.

      The Observations decks do look impressive, but let me assure you they are 100x better being up there in person!

      Hope you make it to New York soon

      Thanks for Reading.

  13. Thanks for putting out such an extensive account of the passes.

    I had a few questions:
    – Where can I get alist of the timed attractions?
    – Where can I get a list of attractions where there is a special queue for pass holders
    – How does one use the pass at the TOTR and ESB?

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Adam,

      Thanks for the comment. We don’t know of any comprehensive lists of what you have mentioned. While quite a few of the attractions require Timed tickets for most it’s just a case of getting the NEXT tour. For most attractions apart from at very busy times, this is basically instant access. We think a full list of Timed attractions and Express lines would be very useful but with 78 attractions at present that will take some time to compile. For now, when viewing any of the attractions there is a details tab listing details of how to redeem the attraction.

      Check out our Top Of The Rock Review and Empire State building Experience posts for info on how the Ticketing works. In short, the Empire State building the pass works as a ticket and you simply head up, Bypassing the Ticket line. For the TOTR You have a dedicated VIP Queue line to get a Timed Ticket to head to the top.



  14. I’m definitely going to put this website in my favorites bar! My boyfriend and I are always trying to find ways to save money while traveling, and this is beyond helpful. New York might have to be one of the first places on our list now, thanks to this article. I never knew the passes existed!

    • Hi Sara,

      Glad you appreciate the site, we have loads of money saving tips on the site for New York and the other Featured Citys. Hope you get to Visit New York soon. It is such an incredible City, We have just booked our next trip to the City and simply can’t wait! We will definitely be using a Pass when we visit the City.

      Thanks for reading


  15. Very informative article. I have been to NYC many times and had no idea such a thing existed but what a brilliant idea so you can chose destinations within the city that you would not normally go to outside the popular tourist spots. The price is also very reasonable with a ton of value. Thankful for this information. Lyndsay

    • Hi Lyndsay,

      Glad yo see you like the idea of the Pass. One of the advantages is that you can experience things you maybe wouldn’t do or even be aware of without the Pass. Hope you make it to New York Soon and can enjoy the advantages of the Pass.

      Thanks for reading.

  16. It surprises me how passes like this get a bad wrap. Having read your article and checked out the various options, I find the pass prices very reasonable. Coming from Australia where I think we’ve become a very expensive country in the last 10-15 years, the cost of visiting 3-5 attraction plus all the travel around the city of New York is very acceptable. I visited San Francisco earlier this year, unfortunately not long enough to look at passes for this length of time in the area. Does San Fran also have these passes?

    • Hi Nigel,

      It is the usual case of a few bad experiences and those people shout loudest. A pass can work out badly if you don’t plan well and just expect instant entry at the attractions even a silly busy times. This leads to people being disappointed and these are the ones who shout loudest. The many thousands who have a great trip just get on with their lives. We found no correlation with the complaints at to our own experiences. The pass worked fantastically. We are Back in New York in November and will definitely be using a Pass.

      Most Cities in the US have Passes available and San Francisco is no exception. You can read about the San Francisco Pass options here.

      Thanks for reading


  17. My wife and I have always wanted to visit NYC and are planning a trip in the fall. There is so much history and so many cool things to see. We have used city passes before in San Diego and I think there is a lot of value there. You don’t have to pay each time you want to go do something which is nice. Also, I like the variety of attractions that is available with these passes. For someone like me who doesn’t necessarily know what exactly to see, this pass kind of has it laid out for you. The pass has a lot of the big attractions and some that I probably wouldn’t otherwise know of. Very interesting read, thank you for sharing.

    • One of the First things that attracted us to the Pass, years ago, apart from the cost saving was the fact it helped us plan our trip and decide on what to do. Often when visiting a new place you don’t know exactly what there is to see and do. These passes really help you plan out your trip. 

      Hope your trip in the Fall is as amazing as out first trip was. We too are heading back in the Fall. Really can’t wait.

      Thanks for reading,



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