The ultimate New York Pass Comparison – Which New York Pass is the best for you?

The ultimate New York Pass Comparison – Which New York Pass is the best for you?

Affiliate links
This post might contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through this link I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Vickiviaja.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and Amazon.de Thank you so much for your support.

If you look at the prices for the most popular New York attractions, you will soon realize that the more attractions you plan to visit, the more money you need to spend. And to be honest, the admission fees for some of the sights are not particularly cheap.

But hear me out before you cancel your trip and start looking for a budget option. Like many other major tourist cities, New York offers some great tourist cards that can save you a lot of money.

Since you can quickly lose track of the wide range of different New York passes, we would like to compare the most popular passes in this New York Pass comparison. This way, you can easily figure out which pass is the best for your trip to the city that never sleeps.

After a brief overview and a quick NYC Pass comparison, let’s take a closer look at the individual tickets and their advantages and disadvantages. That way, you’ll know exactly which New York discount pass is right for you.

New York Pass Comparison – An Overview

Pass / FeaturesThe New York PassNew York Sightseeing Day PassNew York Sightseeing Flex Pass
Attraction- or Day-BasesDay-BasedDay-BasedAttraction-Based
Included Attractions100 +100 +2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 or 12 Attractions
Available Attractions100 +100 +100 +
Validity1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 Days1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 Days30 Days
Hop-on-Hop-Off1 Day includedIncludedBookable
Pricefrom $ 132from $ 129from $ 64
Pass onlineCheck PassCheck PassCheck Pass
Pass / FeatureNew York City
Explorer Pass
New York CitypassNew York
Freestyle Pass
Attraction- or Day-BasedAttraction-BasedAttraction-BasedAttraction-Based
Included Attractions2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 Attractions63, 5 or 7 Attractions
Available Attractions85 +950 +
Validity30 Days9 Days3 Days
Hop-on-Hop-Offbookablenot includedincluded
Pricefrom $ 64$ 132from $ 159
Pass onlineCheck PassCheck PassCheck Pass

Which New York Pass is the best?

Sunset over the New York Skyline, New York Pass Comparison
Sunset over the New York Skyline

After you’ve been able to get a small overview of which passes to choose from in the table above, we now want to find out which of the New York passes is the best (for you personally). First of all, let’s take a closer look at the individual passes.

In order to check the passes in more detail, we have to determine which are the main differences between the passes.

What kinds of New York Passes are available?

Top of the Rocks view, Empire State Building

Based on attractions

This type of pass includes various attractions from which you can choose a certain number. For example, if you book a pass including 5 attractions, you can visit 5 attractions with that pass (Makes sense, right?). You usually have a big time frame (around 30 days) to visit all the attractions you have chosen.

Pros of Attraction-based Passes

  • You are more flexible regarding time (You have around 30 days to visit the attractions)
  • You only pay for the attractions that you really want to see

Cons of Attraction-based Passes

  • You can only see the number of attractions that you have booked
  • Often just worth it for the more expensive attractions

The Attraction-based pass is great for you if…

  • You already know which/how many attractions you want to see
  • The chosen attractions are cheaper with the pass than the single tickets
  • You want to see only a few or some attractions

The Attraction-based pass is NOT great for you if…

  • You only want to see one attraction
  • the single tickets together are cheaper than the pass
  • you want to see a large number of sights
  • rather decide spontaneously which and how many attractions you would like to see

Attraction-bases Passes

  • New York Sightseeing Flex Pass
  • New York City Explorer Pass
  • New York Citypass
  • New York Freestyle Pass

Based on days

When purchasing one of the passes based on days, you choose a specific time slot, e.g. 3 days, in which you can theoretically visit all the attractions that are included in the pass.

Pros of Day-based Passes

  • You have a wider choice of attractions to visit
  • You are more flexible because you don’t have to commit yourself to attractions in advance

Cons of Day-based Passes

  • You’re under time pressure because you only have a certain amount of time to see all of your desired sights

The Day-based pass is great for you if…

  • want to see a lot of attractions in New York City
  • the pass is cheaper than the admission fees of your attractions

The Day-based pass is NOT great for you if…

  • you only want to see a few sights
  • the single tickets together are cheaper than the pass
  • you are rather flexible in terms of time

Day-based Passes

  • The New York Pass
  • The New York Sightseeing Day Pass

The different New York Passes compared

Times Square at night
The famous Times Square in the heart of New York City

The New York Pass

The New York Pass is one of the most popular passes available. This is an attraction-based pass that includes more than 100 attractions and tours.

Included Highlights in the New York Pass

  • Empire State Building Observatory
  • Top of the Rocks Observation Deck
  • 1 Day Hop-on-Hop-off with Big Bus
  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Madame Tussauds
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Central Park Bike Tour
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • and many more

Attraction- or Day-based?

Day-Based

Price

From $ 132 (2 Days $ 179, 3 Days $ 199 …) Check all Prices here

On the website, as with Get your Guide, you can always find discounts, so you never really pay the full price (full price starts at $ 240).

Included Days

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 Days

Available Attractions

100 +

Pros & Cons New York Pass

Pros New York Pass

  • Most highlights in New York are included
  • If you want to see a lot, you can save a lot

Cons New York Pass

  • One World Observatory is not included
  • only worth it if you really see many attractions
  • possible time pressure

Is suitable for…

  • Travelers who want to see many attractions
  • The more, the more you can save

Check further information and prices of New York Pass

The New York Sightseeing Pass

The New York Sightseeing Pass is unlike the other passports presented here, available as both: as a time-based option (Day Pass) and as an attraction-based version (Flex Pass). This pass also contains more than 100 attractions in the City.

Included Highlights in the New York Sightseeing Pass

  • One World Observatory
  • Top of the Rocks Observation Deck
  • Hop-on-Hop-off Bus
  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Madame Tussauds
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Central Park Bike Tour
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • Ripley’s Believe it or not
  • and many more

Attraction- or Day-based?

Both available

Price

Day Pass from $ 129 (Check the exact prices here) and Flex Pass from $ 64 (Check the exact prices here)

Included Days

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 Days

Included number of attractions

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 or 12 Attractions

Available Attractions

100 +

Pros & Cons New York Sightseeing Day Pass

Pros New York Sightseeing Day Pass

  • Most highlights in New York are included
  • If you visit a lot, you can save a lot
  • Includes Hop-on-Hop-Off Bus every day

Cons New York Sightseeing Day Pass

  • The Empire State Building Observatory is not included
  • only worth it if you really see many attractions
  • possible time pressure

Is suitable for…

  • travelers that want to see many attractions
  • The more days you choose, the more money you save

Check further information and prices of New York Sightseeing Day Pass

Pros & Cons New York Sightseeing Flex Pass

Pros New York Sightseeing Flex Pass

  • You can choose between most highlights in New York
  • Time flexible (You have 30 days after activating your card)

Cons New York Sightseeing Flex Pass

  • The Empire State Building Observatory is not included
  • Only the attractions you choose are included – more attractions cost more

Is suitable for…

  • Travelers that want to see a few attractions
  • Travelers that have been to New York before

Check further information and prices of New York Sightseeing Flex Pass

New York City Explorer Pass

The New York Explorer Pass is great for anyone who wants to visit just a few attractions in the city. It is an attraction-based pass where you can choose between over 85 attractions. Simply choose how many attractions you want to have included in your pass.

Included Highlights in the New York City Explorer Pass

  • Empire State Building Observatory
  • Top of the Rocks Observation Deck
  • 1 Day Hop-on-Hop-off with Big Bus
  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Madame Tussauds
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Central Park Bike Tour
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • Ripley’s Believe it or not
  • and many more

Attraction- or Day-based?

Attraction bases

Price

From $64 (3 Attractions $ 94…) Check all prices here

Included number of attractions

2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 Attractions

Available Attractions

85 +

Pros & Cons New York City Explorer Pass

Pros New York City Explorer Pass

  • Many of the highlights in New York are included
  • Time flexible (You have 30 days after activating your card)
  • You pay only for the attractions you really want to see

Cons New York City Explorer Pass

  • One World Observatory is not included
  • Only the attractions you choose are included – more attractions cost more

Is suitable for…

  • Travelers who want to see a few attractions
  • Travelers who are not first-time visitors

Check further information and prices of the New York City Explorer Pass

New York Citypass

This pass is a bit different designed than the other New York Passes on our list. For the price you get access to 6 attractions. There are a total of 9 attractions to choose from, of which 3 are already fixed. For the other 3 attractions you can choose between two attractions for each. After activating the pass (when visiting the first attraction) you have 9 days to see all 6 choosen attractions.

Included Highlights in the New York Citypass

  • Empire State Building Observatory
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Top of the Rocks Observation Deck or Guggenheim Museum
  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum or Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Attraction- or Day-based?

Attraction-based

Price

$ 132

Included number of attractions

6 Attractions

Available Attractions

9

Pros & Cons New York Citypass

Pros New York Citypass

  • If you want to see exactly these attractions, this is a great deal
  • Time flexible (you have 9 days after activating your card)

Cons New York City Explorer Pass

  • One World Observatory & other major attractions are not included
  • Little flexibility in the choice of sights

Is suitable for…

  • travelers that want to see exactly those attractions

Check further information and prices of the New York Citypass

New York Freestyle Pass

This passport is similar in concept to the other Attractions Passes except that you only have 72 hours to explore them. You can choose the number of included attraction when purchasing the pass. All passes include 72 hours of hop-on-hop-off.

Included Highlights in the New York Freestyle Pass

  • One World Observatory
  • Top of the Rocks Observation Deck
  • Hop-on-Hop-off Bus
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Madame Tussauds
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Central Park Bike Tour
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • Ripley’s Believe it or not
  • and many more

Attraction- or Day-based?

Attraction-based

Price

From $ 159 (5 Attractions $ 179…)  Check all prices here

Included number of attractions

3, 5 or 7 Attractions

Available Attractions

50 +

Pros & Cons New York Freestyle Pass

Pros New York Freestyle Pass

  • Many of the main attractions are included
  • Many tours & restaurant visits, which are not included in other passes
  • Hop-on-hop-off for 72 hours included

Cons New York City Freestyle Pass

  • Empire State Building is not included
  • Low flexibility & time pressure as you only have 72 hours to visit the attractions
  • Pass must be picked up in New York

Is suitable for…

  • Travelers who have little time
  • Travelers who want to use the hop-on-hop-off buses for 72 hours

Check further information and prices of New York Freestyle Pass

Included Attractions – An Overview

Manhattan Skyline, New York City Pass
The skyline of Manhattan as seen from a Helicopter
Pass / AttractionsNew York
Pass
Sightseeing
Pass
Explorer
Pass
CitypassFreestyle
Pass
Empire Statue
Building
XXX
Top of the Rocks
Observatory
XXXXX
One World
Observatory
XX
Museum of
Modern Art
XXXX
9/11 MemorialXXXXX
Metropolitan
Museum of Art
XXXXX
American Museum
of Natural History
XXXXX
Madame TussaudsXXXX
Guggenheim
Museum
XXXXX
Ripley'sXXX
Hop-on-Hop-OffXXXX
Central Park
Bike Rental
XXXX
Statue of
Liberty & Ellis
Island
XXXX
Boat TourXXXXX

Savings per Pass

Sample Itinerary 1

  • 9/11 Memorial: $ 28
  • Empire State Building Observatory: $ 41,37/ One World Observatory
  • 1 Tag Hop-on-Hop-Off Bus: $ 35
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: $ 25
  • Central Park Fahrrad-Miete: $ 8,17
  • Museum of Modern Art: $ 25
  • Top of the Rocks Observation Deck: $ 41,37
  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island: $ 20
  • Guggenheim Museum: $ 25
  • American Museum of Natural History: $ 23
PassSample Itinerary 1Savings
Price without Pass$ 271,91
Price with New York Pass$ 229$ 42,91
Price with New York
Sightseeing Day Pass
$ 249$ 22,91
Price with New York
Sightseeing Flex Pass
$ 189$ 82,91
Price with New York
City Explorer Pass
$ 230$ 41,91
Price with New York
Citypass
$ 225,17 ($132 + $ 35 + $ 25+ $ 8,17 + $ 25)$ 46,74
Price with New York
Freestyle Pass
$ 227,17 ($ 199 + $ 20 + $ 8,17)$ 44,74

Sample Itinerary 2

  • 9/11 Memorial: $ 28
  • Empire State Building Observatory: $ 41,37
  • 1 Tag hop-on-hop-off Bus: $ 35
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: $ 25
  • Central Park Fahrrad-Miete: $ 8,17
  • Museum of Modern Art: $ 25
  • Top of the Rocks Observation Deck: $ 41,37
  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island: $ 20
  • Guggenheim Museum: $ 25
  • American Museum of Natural History: $ 23
  • Boat tour around Manhattan: $ 44
PassSample Itinerary 2Savings
Price without Pass$ 315,91
Price with New York Pass$ 229$ 86,91
Price with New York
Sightseeing Day Pass
$ 290,37 ($249 + $ 41,37)$ 25,54
Price with New York
Sightseeing Flex Pass
$ 230,37 ($ 189 + $41,37)$ 85,54
Price with New York
City Explorer Pass
$238,17 ($ 230 + $ 8,17)$ 77,74
Price with New York
Citypass
$ 245,17 ($ 132 + $ 35 + $ 25 + $ 8,17 + $ 25 +$ 20)$ 70,74
Price with New York
Freestyle Pass
$ 252,17 ($ 199 + $ 20 + $ 8,17 + $ 25)$ 63,74

Important! As you can see in this example, you should always check if all the sights you want to visit are included before (!) you purchase your pass. If you have to pay certain attractions separately from your pass, the money you can save with your pass is way fewer.

Sample Itinerary 3

  • 9/11 Memorial: $ 28
  • Top of the Rocks Observation Deck: $ 41,37
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: $ 25
PassSample Itinerary 3Savings
Price without Pass$ 94,73
Price with New York Pass$ 132/
Price with New York
Sightseeing Day Pass
$ 129 /
Price with New York
Sightseeing Flex Pass
$ 89$ 5,73
Price with New York
City Explorer Pass
$ 94$ 0,73
Price with New York
Citypass
$ 132/
Price with New York
Freestyle Pass
$ 159/

Conclusion

As you can see on the example routes, the daily passes are perfect for those who really want to see a lot of things. The easiest way to find out which pass is most beneficial to you is to sum up the cost of each attraction you want to visit and compare it to the cost of each pass. (The same way we did it in our sample itineraries above)

Below, we’ve re-assigned the passes to different travel types to make it even easier for you to find the perfect fit for you.

Which pass fits to which kind of traveler?

Quote inside of the 9/11 Memorial
A quote that you can find inside of the 9/11 Museum

First-timer

First time visitors usually want to see everything New York has to offer. And you should do, too. New York has so many places you need to visit. That’s why the day-based passes are perfect for first time visitors. The more attractions you visit, the more you can save.

Nevertheless, make sure to also check the attraction-based pass as it might be a good fit as well (it all depends on the prices and amount of your chosen sights and tours).

  • The New York Pass
  • The New York Sightseeing Pass

Museum Lovers

It is usually worthwhile for museum lovers to purchase an attraction pass. Again, the more museums you visit, the more you can save. With a lot of museums, one of the day-based passes pays off, with fewer to a few museums, you should opt for an Attractions-Based Pass. Especially the New York CityPass can be an extremely good deal for museum enthusiasts if you want to discover the museums included in the pass.

Short-time visitors

Short-term visitors often don’t have enough time to see everything they would like to see. It all depends on how many attractions are part of your New York itinerary. Depending on the price of your desired attractions, an attractions-based pass can be worthwhile from 2 attractions. If you have e.g. a boat tour around Manhattan and a visit to the Empire State Building on your list, a pass purchase is totally worth it. If you want to rent a bike in Central Park and visit the Statue of Liberty, it is not really worth it to purchase a pass. So make sure to compare prices before purchasing a pass.

  • New York Sightseeing Flex Pass
  • New York City Explorer Pass
  • New York CityPass
  • New York Freestyle Pass

Average Visitor

Sure, an average visitor is hard to define. As an average visitor, you will most-likely see a few attractions. Accordingly, an Attraction-Based Pass is probably best for you.

  • New York Sightseeing Flex Pass
  • New York City Explorer Pass
  • New York CityPass
  • New York Freestyle Pass

Could you find the perfect pass for your trip to New York? Let me know in the comments which pass is the best for you and the experiences you have made with it. If you have difficulties choosing one let me know in the comments as well. Who knows? Maybe I can even help. PS. I definitely won’t judge as I am the worst when it comes to making decisions 😉

United States related posts
about-the-author

About the AuthorVicki

Hi, we are Vicki & Eduardo, an international travel couple on a mission to help you save money for priceless travel experience. Follow us through the miracles of this world and you will be rewarded with a bunch of practical travel tips.

More about us

Subscribe!

Leave a Comment

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.