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. My family had a great day here.
Here are our tips for visiting the Statue of Liberty with your family.
What to Expect
The Statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island near New York City. Statue Cruises provides ferry service to the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park in New York City and from Liberty State Park in New Jersey. These ferries are the only way you can visit Liberty Island.
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.
You can only go inside the Statue of Liberty if you have a Crown or Pedestal ticket. Purchase these tickets in advance from Statue Cruises.
Your ferry ticket also includes a visit to Ellis Island, which was the first stop for 12 million immigrants to the United States. Save time to visit both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Buy Crown Tickets Early
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.
Save Money on Tickets
Are you traveling with young children? Kids ages 0-3 can visit the Statue of Liberty for free.
The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is included in these money-saving passes, along with the Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial Museum and many more. If you’ll be visiting several popular New York City attractions, one of these passes will probably save you money.
- CityPASS – Bundle and save on admission to 6 popular destinations.
- New York Pass – Choose a number of days and do as many of the 100+ activities as you can in that time.
- Explorer Pass – Choose 3, 4 or 5 activities from a list of 80+ attractions.
- Sightseeing Pass – Choose a number of days or a number of attractions. It’s the most flexible pass option.
I like CityPASS because it’s less expensive and the regular pass doesn’t count teens as adults. It is the only pass that includes free pedestal access on a first-come, first-served basis. However, the other passes offer more activities and are more flexible.
If you want to be sure to get crown or pedestal access, buy directly from Statue Cruises. You can replace the Statue of Liberty with a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise on CityPASS.
Click the button to get all my tips for using CityPASS in New York City.
Disclosure: We received complimentary adult CityPASSes from NYC & Company and CityPASS for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.
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. Expect lines at the ticket booth, security screening and to board the ferry if you don't arrive first thing in the morning.
The security screening is similar to airport security. Do not bring large bags or weapons of any kind.
By arriving at Battery Park before 9:30 AM, we avoided long waits. 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.
Visit the 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 have to go through another security check and you may have to place bags in lockers. The charge was $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. It was fun to walk around outside for an elevated view of Liberty Island and New York City.
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 outdoors.
Dress for the Weather
This is an outdoor activity, so dress for the weather. Expect it to be a little colder on the ferry than on shore. Wear sunscreen and hats.
Junior Ranger Program
Junior Ranger is a fun and free way for families to learn more about the Statue of Liberty. It helped my family notice parts of the park that we might have missed otherwise. The Junior Ranger program is intended for kids ages 5-12, but younger and older kids can enjoy it too.
At the Information Center, ask the ranger for a Junior Ranger book for each child. 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.
The Statue of Liberty is a must-see destination for families in New York City. Be sure to buy tickets or discount passes in advance and arrive early to avoid long lines. Save time to visit Ellis Island too. It's included with your ferry pass.
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.
How Much: Prices currently start at $18.50 for adults. This includes the ferry ride and admission to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Kids ages 0-3 are free.
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.
How Else Can I Help?
Need a place to stay? We stayed in Queens because it’s just 15 minutes by subway from top New York City attractions and much less expensive than Manhattan hotels. Here are the hotels where my contributors and I have stayed in New York City, with links to full reviews.
- Holiday Inn Manhattan View – Queens
- Wyndham Garden Long Island City – Queens
- Wellington Hotel – Manhattan
Want more recommendations and reviews? Click the red button to see the top New York City hotels for families on TripAdvisor.com.