Is the Statue of Liberty at the top of your family’s list when you visit New York City? It took me 40 years to finally get to New York City for the first time and you better believe the Statue of Liberty was a must-see for my family.
The Statue of Liberty is one of the great symbols of American liberty. It is also a national park. On Liberty Island, you’ll find the Statue, of course. You are free to walk around it. You’ll also get views of Lower Manhattan, lawns and gardens, a small statuary and amenities such as a cafe, gift shop and ranger desk.
For an additional fee, you can purchase access to the pedestal, which has an observation deck and museum. You can also purchase access to the crown, and enjoy the view from there.
Here are our tips for visiting the Statue of Liberty with your family.
Buy crown tickets well in advance
Do you want to climb up to the Statue of Liberty’s crown? If so, tickets are limited and will likely sell out months in advance. You may need to reserve at least six months in advance for summer or other peak times.
It’s a strenuous climb, so climbers should be in good physical condition. Children must be at least 48 inches (1.2 meters) tall. For more information about climbing to the crown, visit the Statue of Liberty National Monument website.
The Statue of Liberty is one of the attractions included in the New York CityPASS. If you are planning to visit other top NYC attractions, such as the Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History, and the 9/11 Memorial Museum, you can save more than 40% on admission with CityPASS.
CityPASS does not include admission to the crown or pedestal. However, a limited number of free pedestal admissions are available on a first-come-first-serve basis to CityPASS holders. We received pedestal tickets by arriving as the first ferry was loading, without having to ask.
This is the most important tip for visiting the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty is one of the most visited attractions in the United States and taking the Statue Cruises ferry is the only way that you can set foot on Liberty Island. Lines to board the ferry can get long. You will have to pass through an airport-like security screening to get on the ferry. You may have to wait just to purchase tickets to get into the security line and then the ferry line.
By arriving at Battery Park before 9:30 a.m., we avoided long waits for tickets, security screening and the ferry. We also received free pedestal tickets. When we returned to Battery Park a few hours later, lines were much longer.
I have been told that the ferry from Liberty State Park in New Jersey is less crowded. If you are driving your own car, there is parking available there too.
Do crown or pedestal first
There is yet another line at the base of the pedestal to access the pedestal and crown. Space inside is limited, so visitors are let in a few at a time. You’ll also have to go through another security check and you may have to place bags in lockers. The charge is $2 per locker.
We found the museum to be worthwhile. It is small, but you’ll see the original torch and learn a lot about how the Statue of Liberty came to be and what it has meant to generations of Americans.
Pack a picnic or snacks
Expect to spend at least half a day visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Food is sold on both islands, but both have good places to enjoy a picnic or a snack.
Dress for the weather
This is an outdoor activity, so be sure to dress for the weather. Expect it to be a little colder on the ferry deck than on shore. Wear sunscreen and hats.
Junior Ranger Program
This is a fun and free way for families to learn more about the Statue of Liberty, and to notice parts of the park that you might not have seen otherwise. When you step off the ferry, the Statue of Liberty will be on your right and the Information Center will be on your left. Go into the Information Center and ask the ranger for a Junior Ranger book. Complete the activities in the book and return to the Information Center before you leave Liberty Island. The ranger will swear in your children as Junior Rangers and give them gold souvenir ranger badges.
Disclosure: We received complimentary adult CityPASSes for the purpose of review. This post contains affiliate links. Using these links does not increase the price you pay, but does help us continue to provide free content. Thank you for your support!
Good to Know
Where: Liberty Island. Purchase ferry tickets from Statue Cruises at Battery Park in Manhattan or Liberty State Park in New Jersey. Purchase advance ferry tickets at www.statuecruises.com. If you arrive early, and don’t need guaranteed crown or pedestal access, you probably don’t need to purchase in advance.
When: Year-round. The ferry schedule changes seasonally, so check www.statuecruises.com/schedule to see the schedule during your stay.
How Much: Here are prices for the basic ticket, with no pedestal or crown access, updated in January 2018. Includes ferry and admission to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
- Adult: $21.50
- Child (ages 4-12): $12
- Child (under age 4): FREE
- Senior: $17
How Long: 3-5 hours, not including time spent in line before you board the ferry. This includes Ellis Island. You don’t have to visit Ellis Island, but I recommend it.
Amenities: Museum, cafe, gift shop, bathrooms, ranger desk. Snacks and bathrooms are available on the ferry as well.