During my recent visit to New York we got a booklet filled with activities and attractions from CityPASS to use. We managed to visit most of the attractions that are provided in the CityPASS booklet. Here is what we saw, did and enjoyed!
The CityPASS is a simple concept, you are given a booklet with vouchers which you exchange for tickets at these attractions:
If you visit all of these attractions with the CityPASS rather than purchase the tickets individually you save yourself $83USD which is a sizeable chuck of cash between two people or even more if you are a family.
The Metrolpolitan Museum of Art
‘The MET’ as it is more commonly known was our first stop with the CityPASS, I had visited the MET before but I saw much more this time as I had more time. As soon as you climb the grand stairs and enter the busy atrium you are graced with these incredible stairs.
We found the room that possessed all of the Monet’s and Van Gogh’s as that is what I was most looking forward to. There is something very special about admiring these paintings that I learnt about in my art history lessons back in school.
Top of the Rock – Rockafeller Centre
This was one of the highlights of my New York trip as nothing beats the iconic view you receive once you are at the top. The actual getting up there process was a little confusing to begin with as it was just so busy there but after a few queues and asking several staff members we were able to exchange our CityPASS at a kiosk and book a timed slot in 2 hours time to get to the top of the Rock.
We arrived during our 10 minute slotted entry time and got in a lift swiftly that took us up to the viewing area. There are three separate areas but we went straight up to the top as it offers the best views without the glass wall!
It was a crisp, cool day in NYC but nothing could deter that view. The classic view over Central Park along with the biggest and iconic building in London on the other side (The Empire State) it was such an awesome experience being up there.
Like all of the other tourist attractions in New York this one was no different…there was a massive queue! We attempted it twice before finally getting on the boat and out to Liberty Island but I must admit once we got there all of the queuing in the cold made it worth it. Seeing Lady Liberty standing in front me of was a surreal experience.
We spent about an hour on Liberty Island, we read up about the history and circled the tiny island getting some photos along the way. There was plenty of people on the island but it wasn’t busy enough that you couldn’t enjoy it. You can also go to Ellis Island as part of the CityPASS to learn about immigration from the past but we skipped it as it was a freezing cold day. The view on the ferry back to Manhattan was also incredible, it was shadowed in fog as we came back in.
The Museum of Natural History
I was really excited to go here as I love the Night at the Museum films but again due to queueing and major overcrowding this was a pretty unpleasant experience. We really struggled to see the exhibits as the museum had far too many people in it. Everyone was pushing and shoving and we ended up going after an hour because it was just too busy. This was no fault of CityPASS rather the museum.
We did manage to see a few of the mammals from America and the dinosaur section which I was really impressed with. The staff here were the most organised of all the attractions and this was the least queueing we did while using the CityPASS.
This was the queue for people that didn’t have a CityPASS! Apparently it was 1 hour and 45 minutes long (in the rain) as opposed to our 25 minutes (undercover). CityPASS for the win with this attraction!
The Empire State Building
One of the great things about the CityPASS Empire State Building experience is that you can visit during the day AND in the evening, yes you can visit twice in one day! I opted just for a visit at night though. Seeing the Big Apple all lit up late at night was wonderful. It was surprisingly calm up there and it was so nice to be able to look down on one of the craziest cities in the world and just take it all in.
Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the 9/11 Memorial Museum this time, I had hoped to but I just ran out of time but from all accounts and reviews I read it is a must see.
The CityPASS in theory is a fantastic idea if you want to see all of the best New York attractions but we did have to spend many hours queuing and I wasn’t expecting that. Most attractions make you queue to exchange your CityPASS for a ticket and then queue again to enter the attraction with a ticket. I understand this is no fault of CityPASS rather the actual attraction but it was still pretty frustrating at times especially because most attractions were shambolic and so disorganised with either ill-informed staff or lack of staff. I was in New York during the holiday season so this most definitely contributed to the huge amount of tourists as well.
I would still recommend the CityPASS if you are going to visit all of these attractions as the cost is well worth it. It was easy to use, you can either get it sent to you or pick up at one of the attractions after purchasing online or you can pick it up from many locations in New York. It certainly made us get out there and enjoy all of these attractions.
Disclaimer: I was provided with 2 New York CityPASS booklets. Thank you to CityPASS for this, we loved seeing all of these great attractions in New York.
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