We Big fans of Attraction Passes and whenever we visit a new, or old, City we make sure we get a pass of some description to base our trip around. We find the structure, inspiration, and versatility of the passes help us build a great itinerary the far surpasses most people’s tactic of just winging it.
For Out lastest trip to New York, we were excited to try out the NEW YORK PASS. We have always used Passes in New York But never actually got to try the NEW YORK PASS in person. If you know a city well and know the attractions on offer, and have tried similar passes it’s pretty easy to see if a Pass is good value. However, Nothing really beats getting on the ground with Pass in Hand to see the little quirks and foibles of how a pass works. It also means we get to tear around New York Seeing the best sights and attractions while putting together our NEW YORK PASS Hand-On review so you can find out if the NEW YORK PASS is worth Getting?
- Product: THE NEW YORK PASS
- Price: $124-$419 (13+)*
- Price Child: $94-$279 (4-12yrs)*
- Where to Buy: NEWYORKPASS.COM
- Number of Attractions: 100+ Unlimited use
- Time Limit: 1-10 Days
- Rating: 4/5 Stars
- Empire State Building Experience
- The Ride
- Big Bus New York Hop On Hop Off Tour
- Top of the Rock Observation Deck
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum
- Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
- Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
- Madame Tussauds New York
- Museum Modern Art (Moma)
- +Many More, Click Here for Details…
This All-inclusive City Pass Has just about every imaginable Attraction included and with the new Mobile app could not be easier to use. If you are planning to see and do as much as possible on your New York trip then this is the pass for you. The price is pretty steep, so you need to pack a lot in to get value, but if that is the plan then THE NEW YORK PASS is perfect
What is THE NEW YORK PASS:
The New York Pass is a Digital Attraction Pass that allows you to Visit any number of Attractions from a list of 100+ top New York Attractions. You pay one fee for a set number of days then just present the pass at any of the attractions you please and you can gain entry.
The idea is to save money and the claims are up to 50% off the Standard entry prices. For some reason, we hear all the time on Travel forums that these Passes are no good and ruin trips and are poor value. Some even go as far as calling them “Rip-offs” or “Scams”
We strongly disagree with this and go into some depth to address the concerns and downsides in our New York Pass Review. This Hands-on Review is a Practical review of the pass where we actually head to New York and see how the pass handles in practice on the streets. And real problems will be sure to rear their heads.
The New York Pass has a very annoying Pricing Structure. It is in a permanent sale. This means you never really know how much you should be paying. It’s also terrible for us keeping an up-to-date price list for you is impossible. The Prices listed below were correct on the day of publishing and are a good basis for where we think the prices should be. If the current prices on the New York Pass Website are significant;y higher we would wait. If they are lower… Go for it!
Adult Prices (13+):
- 1-Day – $127.00 – $127 per day
- 2-Day – $179.00 – $89 per day
- 3-Day –
$273.00 – $92 per day– Online offer: $199 – $66 per day
- 4-Day –
$324.00 – $64 per day– Online offer: $222 – $55 per day
- 5-Day –
$324.00 – $64 per day– Online offer: $242 – $48 per day
- 7-Day –
$369.00 – $52 per day– Online offer: $272 – $38 per day
- 10-Day –
$425.00 – $42 per day– Online offer: $315 – $31 per day
Child Prices (3-12):
- 1-Day – $94.00 – $94 per day
- 2-Day – $149.00 – $75 per day
- 3-Day –
$199.00 – $66 per day– Online offer: $154 – $51 per day
- 4-Day –
$239.00 – $48 per day– Online offer: $169 – $42 per day
- 5-Day –
$239.00 – $48 per day– Online offer: $175 – $35 per day
- 7-Day –
$259.00 – $37 per day– Online offer: $189 – $27 per day
- 10-Day –
$279.00 – $28 per day– Online offer: $216 – $21 per day
We chose 2 x 3Day Passes at $199 each.
Our Hotel Was Right on Times Square
we would be in New York for 6 days but a lot planned when not using the pass so only got the 3-Day Pass as we would be just too busy the other days to make use of it. You can check out our Full Trip Report here. Even on the Pass days, we had a lot planned on not all of it would be paid attractions so we were not confident we would get the value out of the pass. But figured we would give it a good try!
We got a Digital pass as added the pass to our phones so we didn’t need to carry any paper Passes and Tickets around with us. This cut down on the mountain of paperwork we would normally take. The only exception was the Pre Booking we made for “The Ride” on Saturday.
For the week running up to our trip, the weather was forecast to be awful on Friday so this was to become our Museum Day. There is no point doing an open-top bus tour when it’s howling down, you are much better dry and warm under the museum roofs. This is one thing we love about the pass it allows you a lot of flexibility to mix things up depending on weather, circumstance, or just your mood.
Day 1 – Thur 8th Nov:
- Big Bus Tour – $60
- Empire State Building – $39
- Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum – $33
- Top Of The Rock – $39
On the First Day of the Pass, we planned to go hard. We got up early and headed to Times Square to pick up Big Bus Hop On Hop Off Tickets. We jumped on the first bus of the day and headed off on the top deck. Our plan was to use the bus to get around the City jumping off as and when we fancied.
We were only onboard for around 4 Mins when we arrived at our first attraction.
The Empire State Building
We Really can’t Visit New York without going up the world’s most famous building, so once again we hopped on the elevators up to the 85th floor. The views from the to pare truly stunning and we never get bored of it. In fact, the building work in NYC is happening so fast it’s quite different from our last trip up! It was a beautiful clear autumn day and we just hung around up top enjoying the view.
Back on the Bus and we enjoyed the tour down Fifth Av, now with the tour guide in full swing until we got to China Town. We hopped off here to explore the district and grab an early Dim Sum lunch. There were no Paid attractions in this area but still wanted to explore. We then walked the few blocks over to Wall Street and the 911 Museum and Memorial.
At the 911 Memorial, we opted not to head in. We had been in very recently and we happy just taking in the memorial fountains on such a beautiful day. The pass would have covered the entry and we spent plenty of time at the fountains so the pass would have been great if we had wanted to head in.
The next stop on the tour was Battery Park. Here again, we opted to not take the Statue of Liberty Cruise. The Queue was nonexistent and we could have hopped on the next boat to the Statue. It was a pretty chilly day and we knew it would be very cold on the water and we had seen the statue yesterday from an even better angle. So we just enjoyed the park, but this was another chance for the pass to have paid back.
Finally, we caught the bus up the ring road to the Intrepid Museum. We are split over this place, Kate hates it, it is just a few old planes on a boat. I, however, love it. The Intrepid Museum really does have some incredible icons of Aviation History and I love every second I spend there!
After the Museum we headed back to the hotel before we hit a bar and then Dinner. After a great night, we headed back to the Rockefeller Center to use the pass one last time as we headed up the Top Of the Rock to See New York in all its nighttime glory. New York from an Observation deck at night is a truly incredible experience!
- Attractions Visited – 4
- Face Value – $170
The Pass worked excellently all day. Being on a phone it just works perfectly. Just show your phone at the ticket desk and you are in. For the Empire State, it is even better as you skip the ticket queue and simply show your pass at the turn styles. To be honest it was so quiet when we visited this wasn’t a big advantage but at the time the queues here can be horrendous so any little help.
The top of the Rock is a little more complex as you need to first show your pass at the ticket desk, where you get to use the express line. here you book a ticket for the next available slot. For us, that was in 5 minutes but it could be later if it’s very busy, such as sunset. If you want to guarantee Sunset go early in the morning and book your ticket for sunset then and then just come back at sunset.
In total, the 4 attractions would have cost $170. The pass was £199 so we are nearly at the break-even point. If we had done either the 911 Museum or the Statue cruise we would have broken even. It would have been technically possible to have done both, but it would have been a push, but then we could have spent less time at china town, wall street, and the memorial. The point is even by not really trying very hard we still got great value, and we have TWO days left!
Day 2 – Fri 9th Nov:
- Metropolitan Museum of Art – $25
- American Museum of Natural History -$23
Yesterday was hard. By the evening we were exhausted. New York can be a very tiring place to visit, we are both used to long days on our feet but the 25,000 steps we took yesterday left us broken. So Today we took a well-earnt lie in. The Forcast rain had now moved to the afternoon. So after an easy morning, we headed to our breakfast reservations at Tiffany and Co Something we were very excited about. After breakfast and a bit of shopping, it was nearly lunchtime, and we headed on the Subway to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The pass was a little clunky here as we were directed twice to the wrong queue, fortunately, the queues were pretty light and it only took 10 mins to finally get to the right desk, that didn’t actually have a queue, so if the first person we asked had actually known where to send us we would have been in instantly!
We love the Met and had a great couple of hours checking out some of the museum’s best exhibits. The Museum is HUGE and a day is not enough to see everything properly and even then you would probably forget half of it, As such, we like to try and breeze through it and just get the highlights. Really a full day in a museum is too much for us so this approach works well.
After The Met, we took a walk across Central Park to the American Museum of Natural History. By now the rain had started and everything was grey and miserable. So we were glad we had timed the Museums for today.
The rest of our afternoon was spent exploring the Natural History Museum. One of our top 3 Museums in New York. We really do love it here. It’s the perfect place to hide from the weather outside. As we headed back to the hotel the rain had really picked up. It was now STREAMING down. Anything other than a Museum day today would have been a disaster.
The evening was to be taken up by Dinner and a Show. It was the Rockettes Christmas Spectaculars Opening Night and we had Tickets so would not use the pass again today.
- Attractions Visited – 2
- Face Value – $48
- Total Value – $218
As today was filled mainly with things we really wanted to see and do but were not actually included on the pass usage was pretty light. Only the two paid attractions at $48 face value. This was still enough to push us over the $199 Purchase price and we got to see two of New Yorks Finest attractions while avoiding the less than fine weather.
This really shows you don’t have to cram too much into a day t still get pretty good value from the New York Pass. The Weather was due to clear tomorrow and while it would be cold it was to be clear and dry.
Day 3 – Sat 10th Nov:
- Radio City Hall – $30
- Museum of Modern Art – MOMA – $25
- Madame Tussauds – $37
- The Ride – $69
On the Final day and we went all out to make good use of the pass. The first stop was a tour of Radio City Hall. Having seen the Rockettes last night this was an ace behind-the-scenes tour showing us the inner workings of the Music hall and how the Rockettes show is put together. The tour took a little over an hour, we then went next door to the Rockefeller center where the tree was arriving! Very exciting.
We then went a couple of blocks up and hit the MOMA. We absolutely love the MOMA. The Vast collection really does have some stunning works and unlike the Met, the Museum is not overwhelming and you can easily navigate the exhibits and just enjoy the art.
After the MOMA we headed back to our Hotel on Times Square after a Hotdog. We had pre-booked Tickets on The Ride, and were a couple of hours early, to pass the time we headed for Madame Tussauds. In all honesty, this was pretty awful. It’s not really our cup of tea, but it was worse than we thought. As we hail from London the home of the Original Madame Taussads we know what good wax works look like, and here if it wasn’t for costumes or props we would know who was who.
Another Perk of the pass is this didn’t really bother us. If we had paid the $74 for both of us to get in we would be seething, instead, it’s an “Oh Well it was on the pass”. It was clear a lot of people were really enjoying the attraction. Getting endless selfies with the models. Not for us though, too low quality and nowhere near big enough to justify $37 per person.
After this, we had our Ride Booking. We have been intrigued by this attraction for a while and we were looking forward to finally trying it out. We honestly didn’t know what to expect. We knew the basics, but exactly how it would go down, and if it was worth an eye-watering $69 per person we were not so sure.
All in all, we were pleasantly surprised. The Ride is a high-energy tour around midtown featuring plenty of highlights and landmarks of the area. We, of course, have seen them all before many times both on our current trip and on previous visits. But the presentation is fun and entertaining and the hosts do a remarkable job of keeping the energy high, especially as it’s probably their 3/4th ride today, and god knows how many in the day and weeks before.
Out on the tour at selected locations are street actors that blend into the crown and then come to life when a tour comes past. It’s all a bit corny and predictable but with the right mind frame it’s a good laugh and the artists are very talented. There were break dancers, Ballet performances, A freestyle rapper, and a saxophonist with accompanying vocalist predictable singing empire state of mind.
The whole ride is really fun and interactive. We had to let go of our English stiff upper lip, lighten up and get involved, but we were poorly positioned, right near the female host, and couldn’t quite muster up a solo vocal performance when asked, which To be honest was lucky for everyone!
Was the ride worth $69? Probably not. it was fun but for a little over an hour’s entertainment that is pretty steep. Having experienced it via the New Yor Pass, however, felt excellent value.
After this, we spent the evening in Brooklyn taking photos and eating burgers at Shake Shack. All of which are not included on the pass. But we had still got very good use out of it today.
- Attractions Visited – 4
- Face Value – $161
Today we got great use of the pass. The $161 we used were all “free” in theory as we had already used more than the purchase price of the pass in previous days. The Radio City hall and MOMA were great attractions whereas Madame Tausauds was a letdown but as we said we can shrug it off as it was included on the pass. Entry for all these was very simple and we just showed our Pass’s on our mobiles and we were in. The Ride was a little more involved as it was highly recommended we book this beforehand. There is a separate section on the “the Ride’s” web page to book if you have a pass.
Overall the Pass made today enjoyable and entertaining. We saw some things we have never seen before and finally got to see “the Ride” from the other side of the glass.
Is The NEW YORK PASS Worth Buying?
Well first let’s simply look at the maths:
- Total – $379
- Pass Cost – $199
- TOTAL SAVINGS $180 – 47% Saving over Gate Prices
It’s hard to argue from a simple cost-saving point of view the pass is fantastic Value. We saved $180 over the standard entry prices which is pretty staggering. It does not always tell the whole story.
Reality is some of the attractions we did we might not have done if they were not on the pass. Attractions like the Radio City Hall Tour and the Ride and Madame Tussauds, were probably not on the agenda if we were paying separately. The Ride and the City hall tour we fantastic additions and we would have missed out without the pass. Whereas Madame Taussads we could have done without but at least we didn’t pay for entry!
As ever, we found the Pass completely transformed our trip. Instead of wandering aimlessly refusing to pay for things, we tore around the city with abandon doing exactly what we wanted when we wanted. The ease at which we put our itinerary together based around the pass attractions was incredible while allowing us the flexibility to still do attractions on days where the weather suited. It is for these sorts of reasons we really love Passes as they really can elevate a trip from mediocre to bucket list crushing status.
We also didn’t try very hard. There were several times where we either chose not to do certain attractions on the pass we could have done or we had other things planned. So we’re unable to make use. If we had been more committed we could have easily done more than the $379 of attractions we did.
So for us, the Pass was definitely worth it. And we can easily envisage it being even better value if you hit just a few more attractions. But the point of a trip is to do WHAT you want to do not chase a pass around town. This is exactly what we did and still smashed the value.
With a New York Pass that is shorter in length (1/2 Days), it may be harder to get the value as the cost per day is higher and maybe other pass options may be better. The flip side is longer a New York Pass is even easier to get value from as the cost per day is even lower!
We did not experience any of the major supposed pitfalls of the Pass. We toured at a relaxed pace, taking tons of time to see and do things we wanted to do that were not included on the pass. We had no issue with timed tickets where in most cases we were offered the next tour which was always 5-10 mins. Queues were light so most queue skipping was minimal, but we have used passes when the queues were exceptionally heavy and still only really found benefits.
All in all, we can only say the pass Enhanced the trip. There really were very few negatives and we saved a bundle to boot. We really do struggle to see why the pass comes in for such sharp criticism on certain travel forums? We imagine they are very unlikely to have actually tried a pass themselves or used one way back in the day when they were not as refined or advanced as they are now!
Have Your Say
Have you tried a New York Pass? What did you think of it? Did you get good value? Maybe you used a different Pass? Let us know in the comments below. Maybe you didn’t enjoy the pass as much as us? let us know what you didn’t like. We would love to hear from you if you have any comments at all about the pass. Or if you have any questions at all please feel free to drop us a comment below.