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.
- Go New York Pass (formerly Explorer Pass) – Choose 3, 4, or 5 activities from a list of 80+ attractions.
- CityPASS – Bundle and save on admission to 6 popular destinations. It’s the least expensive of these passes.
- New York Pass – Choose a number of days and do as many of the 100+ activities as you can in that time.
- Sightseeing Pass – Choose a number of days or a number of attractions. It’s the most flexible pass option.
We have used both Go New York and New York CityPASS. Both work well, but they work differently. Click the links below to read more about each pass and decide which is the best fit for your interests and budget.
- Tips for Getting the Most From Your Go New York Pass
- Tips for Getting the Most From Your New York CityPASS
Disclosure: We received complimentary CityPASSes and Go City passes on different NYC trips for the purpose of review. However, we would have visited the Statue of Liberty with or without a pass. 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.
Related: New York City's 9/11 Museum With Kids
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.
- Statue of Liberty National Monument: www.nps.gov/stli
- Statue Cruises: www.statuecruises.com
Great tips! We’re probably going soon, so this is very helpful.
Thanks! I hope you have a great time!
Mariel @ Or so she says...
I love this. You really have the coolest blog, ever! I love all your handy tips and can literally pin everything from your site. I’m soooo lucky to have you as a contributor!
Thanks so much, Mariel!
what fantastic tips – I want to go!!
Great tips! I always seem to go to NYC without kids. Hopefully someday I can bring my kiddos & put your tips to use!
I’m planning a super-quick trip to NYC with my in-laws to see just the Statue of Liberty. Thanks for these great tips to make it easy for us! Wishing I had them sooner and could have reserved crown access for the Lady Liberty. Next time I will know!
We also thought about crown access too late, but after I climbed all the stairs to the pedestal, I wasn’t as sorry. Have fun!
I have my tickets reserved for 1:00 PM on 27-Sep-15 from Battery park New York City. Can I take ferry for Liberty Island from Battery park at 10:00 AM on same day, so that I can visit Liberty park till 1:00 PM and at 1;00 Pm I will go to the Pedestal visit. Is this allowed? Or, I can take ferry only at 1:00 PM?
I do not have experience with this. I recommend that you contact Statue Cruises directly to get the best answer to your question, and see if they will change the time of your reservation. I am guessing that you could arrive early, and that they would let you on if there is space. If tickets before 1 pm are sold out, you may have to wait until your scheduled time.
I Personally recommend that place for everyone, good to know that you’ve posted most of the places that i like. 🙂 As a photographer i love to take a shot on those places.
You said we could get free City Pass from NYC visitor’s bureau but I am unable to see any reference to that or maybe I missed it. Could someone help me out on that?
The NYC Visitor’s Bureau may offer complimentary CityPASSes to members of the media at its discretion. If you are a member of the media, visit the Media Room or press page for the visitors bureau to locate the application.
Plan to visit the first week of June on weekend. Would you recommend Saturday or Sunday?
I’m not sure. We visited on a weekday. Regardless of the day you choose, I would arrive early enough to catch the first ferry. If others have experience with visiting on the weekend, I hope you’ll share your experience!
Do I need to purchase advance ferry tix if I have CityPASS? I may have misunderstood that information when I purchased our CityPasses. I just want to confirm that I need to decide now what day we want to go. We are leaving for NYC on June 25, 2016 and I wanted to wait and see what the weather was going to be like before deciding which day to see the Statue of Liberty. It sounds like I need to pre-book before we leave for our trip. Thanks!
Your CityPASS includes the ferry and you do not need to make an advance reservation. Just present your CityPASS voucher at the ticket window, and then you have 3 days to use your ticket on any ferry. We used ours immediately, without a reservation.
Your CityPASS does not include crown access or monument access, but if you arrive early in the day, complimentary monument access tickets (to the museum and base of the statue) are given on a first-come, first-serve basis to CityPASS holders. We arrived as the first ferry of the day was loading and received the monument tickets and did not have to stand in line.
Crown tickets must be reserved separately, but I’m guessing they are already gone for Summer 2016. If you do get Crown tickets, you will probably want to use your CityPASS ticket for the Circle Cruise instead of the Statue of Liberty. Here is a link for more information: http://www.citypass.com/new-york/statue-liberty. Have a great trip!
wonderful tips thank you, I have a NY city pas and was just exploring purchasing tix to pedestal. After reading your blog, I’ve decided to wait till we visit and go early 🙂 We will be there mid Aug 2016 for a week 🙂
Would you mind clarifying something for me? For the date we want, statue cruise tickets are only available for 11 am or 1pm. But it sounds like if we bought the city pass, we could just show up in the morning and make it on an earlier (but sold out) boat. Is that true? If not, would it make a difference if we bought 11 am over the 1 pm? Thank you.
I have just checked the New York CityPASS site at http://www.citypass.com/new-york, and I believe that is correct. In the sample ticket booklet, it just says “Present ticket booklet at Windows 1,2,3,4 or 5 to obtain ticket to board ferry.” It recommends arriving before 11 am or after 2 pm to avoid crowds. I suspect that they sell a limited number of reserved seats on each ferry and leave the rest open for CityPASS and other walk-up visitors. We strongly recommend arriving early in the day to avoid a long line. Good luck!
Thanks Allison. I bought a Sunday, 11am departure directly from Statue Cruises (we aren’t getting a City Pass) and they told me we need to arrive at 10:30. They also said if there was room on an earlier boat we could ride standby. Looking forward to it!
Sounds good. Thanks for letting me know how the reservation works! Have a great time!
Hi there! So happy I found this blog!!! we are planning a trip on Sep 3. I was hoping we could do SOL, 911 museum & then make it to the One world observatory by 4pm (for dinner reservations at 5:30). You think this is possible??? Also, does the city pass let you “jump” the lines, or would it be better, if I bought the each attraction separately? thank you!!
Hi Lisa, If you arrive at the Statue of Liberty ferry first thing in the morning, I think you can do it. You can control how much time you spend on Liberty Island, Ellis Island and 9/11 Museum, so just budget your time and you should be fine. Once you get through security for the first ferry, you shouldn’t have long waits for ferries after that. CityPASS can help you skip the ticket line, but it won’t help you skip the security lines. CityPASS can help you save money on Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and 9/11 museum, but may not save you a lot of time in line.
We will be in New York for New Years and we are staying on Times Square. The only day that is available to do the crown tour is Dec 31st at 9am, 10am or 1pm. I know Times Square starts to get full early in the afternoon but I am not sure how it is to get around that day. Do you think it is wise to book the 9am or 10am session? We will be able to get there and get back?
Hi Karrie! I threw this question out to my travel blogger friends and you should be fine. Here are their tips for NYE in NYC.
From Erin at Travel with Bender: They should be fine. We have done NYE twice in NYC and things don’t start locking down until about 8pm right in Times Sq. The Statue of Liberty is not really anywhere near Times Sq so they will be fine. Personally I’d do the 9am one though, just so you can get back in time to get ready for the party woohoo. I have several posts on NYC NYE if she needs them.
From Eileen at Families Go: Subways run all day Normally. If your hotel is in TS I’d bring proof and ask the hotel if there is a time when you absolutely need to return by. But I’ve had Broadway theater tix on NYE and I was able to get in and out of the area. It’s really the 2 avenues straight north of the ball that completely close. So you couldn’t walk from one side of the square to the other. You need to take the subway to the side, east or west, that your hotel is on, and forget cabs. But you should be able to come and go.
Travel With Bender (@TravelwitBender)
Just what Allison said. You should be fine. Just make sure you have your hotel booking number with you. But really it’s only Times Sq that locks down so you should be fine. We had a great NYE in NYC. I suggest heading to one of the parties, rather then the Sq!