The Great New York Pass Comparison: Which Pass Should You Get?

The search for the right New York pass is really not so easy. In total, there are five different passes that can help save you time and money. We’ll show you the advantages and disadvantages of each provider and tell you which pass is the best for you.

When you start with the planning of your New York trip, you’ll quickly come across the many offerings for New York passes.

With these passes, you can save some time and money, which is why it’s worth taking a closer look here.

But the world of New York passes is quite complex. So which of the discount passes is the best? Which pass is worth it the most? And what are the differences between all of the passes anyway?

We’ll answer these questions in this article.

We’ll show you which pass is the best for your travel style. Because we can tell you one thing already: the single best New York Pass doesn’t exist.

That can be a different pass for each person, and there are certainly also cases in which a pass isn’t worth it for you at all.

Read all our New York articles

Our recommendation for those in a hurry: this is the best New York pass

In this article, we compare all of the New York passes in-depth and show you through detailed sample calculations which pass is the best choice for each type of traveller. If that’s too much information for you though, we can totally understand that.

That’s why, for those of you in a hurry, we’ll start right away with a very brief summary of the article and answer the question: which New York pass is the best?

#1 The best New York pass if you want to see as many attractions as possible:

Best choice: New York Pass or New York Sightseeing Pass

If you’d like to see as many attractions in New York as possible, the New York Pass is the best option according to our calculation.

But the New York Sightseeing Pass hardly does any worse here, so it’s worth comparing the included attractions and matching them to your personal agenda.

Depending on how many sights in New York you’d like to visit and how much time you have, you can save more than a hundred dollars with the New York Pass.

You can buy the New York Pass here
You can buy the New York Sightseeing Pass here

#2 The best discount pass if you want to see the most important sights quickly (in 3 days):

Best choice: New York Pass, Freestyle Pass or New York Citypass

If you want to see the most important sights in a short amount of time, the savings aren’t very high with any of the passes.

In this case, you can think about whether you might want to buy your tickets individually instead. You’ll still have the most savings with the New York Citypass here, which we always like to use ourselves.

You can buy the New York Citypass here

If you’d like to use the Hop-on-Hop-off-busses as well and rent a bike in Central Park, then the savings with the New York Pass and the New York Freestyle Pass are the biggest.

You can buy the New York Pass here
You can buy the Freestyle Pass here (currently not available)

#3 The best New York pass if you leisurely want to see the most important sights:

Best choice: Sightseeing Flex Pass, Explorer Pass or New York Citypass

If you want to give yourself a little more time (e.g. 5 or 7 days) and would rather visit the most important sights in New York a little more gradually, you also have the choice between two passes.

The differences of savings between these three passes are not very great. It really just depends on which sights you’d like to see the most. Simply take a look at what’s included in each pass and compare it with your personal to-do list.

You can buy the Sightseeing Flex Pass here
You can buy the Explorer Pass here
You can buy the New York Citypass here

#4 If you only want to see very few attractions

Best choice: buy individual tickets instead of a New York pass

If you’d only like to visit a very few selected attractions or want to decide what you’ll see on short notice and prefer to be flexible, a pass is generally not worth it.

To avoid having to stand in never-ending lines everywhere you go, we’d recommend that you always get your individual tickets online.

Now you know which passes are the best choice. If you also want to know exactly why that is, then keep reading the rest of our great New York pass comparison. If our brief summary was enough for you, we’re happy to have helped.

Out tip: Check out our New York accommodation guide to find the right hotel for you.

How do the New York passes work?

The New York passes are offered specifically for tourists. Maybe you’ve already seen something similar in other cities. These passes are often called City Cards as well.

You buy the passes for a certain amount and can then use them to visit different sights, museums and attractions.

Besides that, you can take part in numerous guided city tours for free and take various bus and boat rides.

There are two types of New York passes:

#1 Time-based passes

There are passes that are valid for a specific amount of time, e.g. for 3, 5 or 7 days. In this time, you can go to all of the sights, tours and attractions that are included in the pass.

#2 Attractions-based passes

The second variation is passes that can be used for a certain number of sights and attractions. So you buy these passes for 5, 7 or 10 attractions, for example, and are more flexible time-wise.

By the way, by now all of the New York passes work on your mobile too. Before, you still had to pick up the passes only once there, which was always a little time-consuming.

Today, you’ll simply get an email with a mobile pass after your purchase. You can then show this on your smartphone at all sights quite comfortably. You don’t necessarily need internet while there either, as you can easily just save your pass and then show it offline as well.

Alternatively, there’s also always the possibility of printing out the pass yourself. Anyone who doesn’t have a smartphone or doesn’t trust their battery-life can choose this option. In any case, there’s no annoying pick up on-site.

What New York passes are there?

In most cities there’s only a single City Card. In New York, five of these offers exist. There are actually six really, since one of the passes is available in two very different variations.

That doesn’t make it any less difficult, but that’s what our New York pass comparison is for.

In the following table, you’ll find an initial overview of the available passes. Following the table, you’ll find more detailed information about every pass, as well as the advantages and disadvantages.

 New York PassNew York Sightseeing PassNew York Explorer PassNew York CitypassFreestyle Pass
Alternatives1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 days1 to 10 days or 2 to 12 attractions2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 attractions9 days3, 5 or 7 attractions
Number of attractions included100+100+95+840+
Price$128 to $339$139 to $459$69 to $224$129$159 to $199
To the passTo the passTo the passTo the passTo the pass

In the following section, we’ve put together the details, advantages and disadvantages of each pass as comprehensively as necessary and as concisely as possible.

#1 The New York Pass

New York Pass

The New York Pass is one of the most popular and extensive passes for New York.

What does the New York Pass offer?

The New York Pass enables access to more than 100 attractions, such as:

  • Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, One World Observatory and Statue of Liberty
  • More than 30 museums
  • 1 day Hop-on-Hop-off-Busses with Big Bus
  • 1 boat ride with Circle Line
  • Numerous tours

What does the New York Pass cost?

You can find the prices for the New York Pass in the following table.

On the website of the New York Pass, there’s a sale on across the whole year. That means that you don’t actually have to pay the regular prices for the pass, there’s always around a 20 to 30% rebate on the regular price.

We’ve therefore written the reduced prices directly on the table as well:

1 day

$128

2 days

$173

3 days

$203

4 days

$228

5 days

$258

7 days

$298

10 days

$339

Beware of supposed rebate codes for the New York Pass: rebate codes for the New York Pass circulate on some websites that allow you to get a 20% rebate off the pass, for example. This rebate is only on the original price of the pass though. Because the prices on the site are always reduced anyways, sometimes you’ll pay more with a rebate code than without.

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of the New York Pass:

  • Very large selection of attractions
  • The longer the pass is, the cheaper it is per day

Disadvantages of the New York Pass:

  • Only one day Hop-on-Hop-off-Bus
  • Slightly non-transparent pricing

Our take on the New York Pass

The New York Pass is especially worth it if you’d like to visit a lot of attractions or want to go on guided tours.

If you want to see only a few select museums and sights, it won’t get any cheaper with the New York Pass.

But if you want to visit a ton of attractions, you can save over a hundred dollars with the pass.

You can buy the New York Pass here

#2 New York Sightseeing Pass

Next to the New York Pass, the New York Sightseeing Pass is the most extensive of all the New York passes.

What does the New York Sightseeing Pass offer?New York Sightseeing Pass

More than 100 attractions are included in the New York Sightseeing Pass, such as:

  • Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, Statue of Liberty and One World Observatory
  • The new viewing platform Edge is included in the Sightseeing Pass.
  • Almost 30 museums
  • Unlimited use of the Hop-on-Hop-off-Busses from Grayline
  • Large selection of boat rides
  • Numerous tours

What does the New York Sightseeing Pass cost?

The New York Sightseeing Pass is the only pass that exists in two different variations:

1. The normal Sightseeing Pass, also called the Day Pass, which is valid for a certain number of days. On these days, you can use all of the attractions.

2. Alternatively, you can opt for the Flex Pass. With this, you decide how many attractions you’d like to visit with the pass beforehand. You then have 30 days to visit these attractions.

1 days

$139

2 days

$199

3 days

$279

4 days

$309

5 days

$349

6 days

$389

7 days

$419

10 days

$459

2 attractions

$74

3 attraction

$94

4 attraction

$124

5 attractions

$147

6 attractions

$164

7 attractions

$184

10 attractions

$249

12 attractions

$264

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of the Sightseeing Pass:

  • In all, the best offers of all passes
  • Empire State Building and One World Trade Observatory is included
  • All popular museums are included
  • Unlimited use of Hop-on-Hop-off-Busses with the Day Pass
  • Hop-on-Hop-off-Bus in Brooklyn too

Disadvantages of the Sightseeing Pass:

  • The Sightseeing Pass is expensive
  • The two different price models can be confusing

Our take on the New York Sightseeing Pass

The New York Sightseeing Pass is definitely the most extensive of all the passes, and with the two pricing schemes, the Day Pass or the Flex Pass, the pass is an interesting option for almost all travelers.

The Sightseeing Pass is still a really good choice for all who’d like to experience as much as possible in New York. In comparison to the New York Pass, you simply get more with the Sightseeing Pass and it includes many high-quality attractions that are missing in the New York Pass.

Another major advantage of the Sightseeing Pass is of course the unlimited use of the Hop-on-Hop-off-Busses. If you’d like to explore the city with these busses, then this pass is a really good choice for you.

Anyone who’d like a little more flexibility and who doesn’t want to visit 3 attractions per day would be well advised with the Sightseeing Flex Pass.

You can buy the Sightseeing Pass over the German booking platform GetYourGuide. It’s usually a little cheaper there.

Buy the Sightseeing Flex Pass from GetYourGuide
Buy the Sightseeing Day Pass from GetYourGuide

#3 New York Explorer Pass

New York Explorer Pass

The New York Explorer Pass is also one of the major New York passes.

What does the New York Explorer Pass offer?

The New York Explorer Pass includes more than 95 attractions, such as:

  • The Empire State Building, Top of the Rock and the Statue of Liberty
  • 16 museums
  • 1 Day Hop-on-Hop-off-Busses with Big Bus can be chosen as an attraction
  • Various boat rides

What does the New York Explorer Pass cost?

With the New York Explorer Pass, you don’t decide on a certain number of days, but rather on a certain number of attractions, which you can visit within 60 days.

2 attractions

$69

3 attractions

$94

4 attractions

$129

5 attractions

$147

6 attractions

$169

7 attractions

$189

10 attractions

$224

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of the Explorer Pass:

  • All major museums are included
  • Fair pricing: you only book as much as you need
  • No time stress, since it’s valid for 60 days
  • Empire State Building and One World Observatory is included

Disadvantages of the Explorer Pass:

  • Hop-on-Hop-off-Busses are only bookable as an attraction, but not standardly included

Our take on the New York Explorer Pass

The New York Explorer Pass is a good option for anyone who doesn’t want to visit countless sights and museums.

Through it’s simple pricing scheme, you can figure out very easily whether the pass is worth it for you. Almost all of the important sights are included in the pass, so you’ll be all set for your New York trip.

The Explorer pass is very similar to the Sightseeing Flex Pass. The savings with each pass are often nearly the same.

You can buy both passes in good conscience. If you care about every dollar of savings, you should calculate exactly which pass is cheaper.

You can buy the Explorer Pass here

#4 New York Citypass

The New York Citypass is the smallest of the five New York passes, but it can still be worthwhile.

New York Citypass

What does the New York Citypass offer?

8 attractions are included in the Citypass, of which you can visit 5.

Two of those are fixed and then for the other three attractions, you have a choice between two options for each:

  1. Empire State Building
  2. American Museum of Natural History
  3. Top of the Rock OR Guggenheim Museum
  4. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island OR boat ride with the Circle Line
  5. 9/11 Memorial and Museum OR Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

What does the New York Citypass cost?

The pricing scheme of the New York Citypass is completely uncomplicated. There aren’t any price scales, like with the other passes. The pass simply costs 129 dollars.

After you visit the first attraction with the pass, you have 9 days to see the rest of the sights and museums.

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of the Citypass:

  • Simple pricing
  • Many important sights are included
  • High flexibility because of the long validity period of 9 days

Disadvantages of the Citypass:

  • No Hop-on-Hop-off-Bus
  • One World Trade Center and the Museum of Modern Art are not included

Our take on the New York Citypass

The New York Citypass is an ideal choice for anyone who’s looking for a simple and uncomplicated pass and doesn’t want to busy themselves with countless attractions and options.

Because the attractions are more or less fixed and only a few possible variations exist, it’s relatively easy to decide whether the pass is of interest.

If you want to visit all 5 attractions, the Citypass is a good option. If one of the attractions doesn’t interest you, the pass is generally still a good choice. If two or more attractions don’t interest you, then the Citypass isn’t for you.

You can buy the Citypass here

#5 Freestyle Pass

Attention: The Freestyle Pass is currently no longer available. We do not know if the Freestyle Pass will be available again at some point. Freestyle Pass

What does the Freestyle Pass offer?

The New York Freestyle Pass offers you a choice of some 40 attractions.

Depending on which variation of the pass you choose, you can select 3, 5 or 7 of these attractions.

In addition, the pass always offers a 72 hour ticket for the Hop-on-Hop-off-Busses from Grayline.

In these 72 hours, you can use the three bus lines as often as you like, and can additionally take part in a night ride and use a Hop-on-Hop-off-Boat.

The following attractions are also included:

  1. Top of the Rock, One World Observatory and the Statue of Liberty
  2. All major museums
  3. Various tours

What does the New York Freestyle Pass cost?

The Freestyle Pass exists in three different variations. The pass is always good for 72 hours. While booking, you choose the number of attractions that you’d like to visit during this time period.

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of the Freestyle Pass:

  • Very good Hop-on-Hop-off offer
  • Simple pricing
  • One World Trade Center is included
  • All major museums are included

Disadvantages of the Freestyle Pass:

  • Empire State Building is not included
  • No mobile pass, which means you have to exchange your online voucher for a pass once there
  • Relatively inflexible, as you have to visit all attractions within 72 hours

Our take on the New York Freestyle Pass

The New York Freestyle Pass is a really good choice if you’d like to use the Hop-on-Hop-off-Busses in New York and want to visit the most important attractions in as short a time as possible.

The 72 hour ticket for the busses normally costs 84 dollars alone already, which is why it’s financially worth it in most cases.

If you don’t want to use the busses, the Freestyle Pass isn’t the right pass for you though.

The Freestyle Pass is unfortunately also the only New York pass where you have to exchange your online voucher on site for an actual pass. The office is indeed found centrally in Times Square, but it’s still not optimal.

You can buy the Freestyle Pass here

Differences of the New York passes

We’ve now introduced to you the different New York passes. Since that’s a lot of info to take in all at once, in this section, we’d like to concisely show you again the significant differences, as well as the similarities, of all the New York passes.

That way you’ll get a better impression of which New York pass you should buy and which ones aren’t worth it for you.

Difference #1: counting time or attractions

To start with, there are two types of New York passes:

  1. Passes that are valid for a specific amount of time. In this time, you can visit all of the attractions included in the pass.
  2. Passes that are only good for a certain number of attractions.

Both types of passes have their advantages and disadvantages. You can see which pass works by which model in this summary:

Time-based passes:

  • New York Pass (1 to 10 days)
  • New York Sightseeing Pass (1 to 10 days)

Attraction-based passes:

  • New York Sightseeing Flex Pass (2 to 12 attractions)
  • New York Explorer Pass (2 to 10 attractions)
  • New York Citypass (5 attractions)
  • Freestyle Pass (3 to 7 attractions)

The time based passes are especially worth it if you want to see as many attractions as possible. The longer the validity of the pass, the cheaper it becomes per day.

Besides that, these passes are a good choice if the additional offers, such as bike rentals, city tours or boat rides, are important to you. In these cases, you usually get away cheaper with a time based pass.

Difference #2: included attractions

The New York passes don’t all include the same sights and attractions.

For most travelers, the most important difference is surely the tickets for the famous lookout points in New York.

With the Sightseeing Pass, the Empire State Building is missing unfortunately. But it is the only pass containing the One World Trade Center.

When you’d like to see very specific museums or do specific activities, it’s worth checking beforehand whether these activities are included in each of the New York passes.

So that you don’t have to do the strenuous work of searching for all this information, we show you which attractions are included in which passes in the following table. Alongside the must-sees, we’ve also included other very popular attractions, so you can get a good overview.

As you can see, Sightseeing Pass is something like the all-around worry-free package. Really all of the important attractions are included in it and it also offers unlimited use of the Hop-on-Hop-off-Busses at the same time.

 New York PassNew York Sightseeing PassNew York Explorer PassNew York CitypassFreestyle Pass
Empire State BuildingYesYesYesYes-
Top of the RockYesYesYesYesYes
EdgeYesYes---
One World ObservatoryYesYesYes-Yes
Statue of LibertyYesYesYesYesYes
9/11 MuseumYesYesYesYesYes
Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met)-Yes--Yes
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)YesYesYes-Yes
Guggenheim MuseumYesYesYesYesYes
American Museum of Natural HistoryYesYesYesYesYes
Whitney Museum of American ArtYesYesYes-Yes
Madame TussaudsYesYesYes-Yes
Spyscape-YesYes-Yes
National Geographic Ocean Odyssey-Yes--Yes
Central Park Zoo-Yes---
Luna Park-Yes--Yes
Trip to the outlet in Woodbury-YesYes--
Boat tourYesYesYesYesYes
Hop-on-Hop-off1 dayunlimited1 day as an attraction-3 days
Buy the passBuy the passBuy the passBuy the passBuy the pass

Difference #3: Hop-on-Hop-off-Busses

A significant difference between the passes is the use of the Hop-on-Hop-off-Busses. Many travelers really like to use this mode of transportation to explore a city like New York.

The busses go along a fixed route and generally stop at all points relevant to tourists. With a ticket for the busses, you can get on or off at any time, so you can very conveniently get from one sight to the next.

What’s more, there’s an audio commentary on the busses. So you can use these busses either for a classic city tour, or really just to get from one attraction to the next.

There are two big providers of these bus tours in New York: Big Bus and Grayline. Both companies each offer two different routes through Manhattan. Grayline also operates a further line that brings you to the most important places in Brooklyn.

If you’d like to use these busses, then we’d suggest the New York Sightseeing Pass.

With the Sightseeing Pass, you can use the busses from Grayline on all 3 lines as often and as long as you’d like, for as long as your pass is valid. When you choose the 7 day pass, for example, you can also use the busses for 7 days.

The New York Pass and the New York Explorer Pass work, on the other hand, with Big Bus and each only offer a day ticket for the company’s two routes.

The Citypass does not offer any Hop-on-Hop-off-Busses.

Which New York Pass is suitable for whom?

Now we of course want to answer the question of all questions: which New York pass is the best?

Needless to say, we can’t give the ultimate answer here, since a different New York pass is the best option for each person.

So we’ve put together three different types of travelers and our recommendation for the best New York Pass for each type of traveller.

These are the types of travelers:

  1. Those who want to visit as many ticketed attractions as possible
  2. Those who quickly want to visit the most well known sights
  3. Those who want to visit the most well known sights calmly

Traveller #1: as much as possible

Are you one of the travelers who wants to see as much as possible in New York? Then the time based New York Passes are interesting for you.

A typical itinerary could look like this:

Empire State Building ($44)
Top of the Rock ($40)
One World Observatory ($38)
9/11 Museum ($26)
Metropolitan Museum of Art ($25)
MoMA ($25)
Guggenheim Museum ($25)
Museum of Natural History ($23)
Bicycle rentals in Central Park ($16)
Hop-on-Hop-off-Bus tour ($54)
Boat ride, for example with Circle Line ($44)
2 further attractions according to your interests (ca. $60)
2 guided tours ($70)
Total price: $490

In total, that’s 15 attractions, which you can manage well over 7 days. For all of that, you’d have to spend around 500 dollars for individual tickets.

In the following table, you can see how much you’d save with one of the New York Passes.

Note: the New York Citypass and the Freestyle Pass aren’t made for this type of travel, since they both only include relatively few attractions. We’ve therefore not included them in this table.

If you want to see a ton of attractions in New York and also have some time for that (in our example, 7 days), then the New York Pass is the best option for you.

The savings with the New York Sightseeing Pass is only a little lower, so it’s worth taking a look at the included attractions. Your own itinerary will probably look a little different than our example itinerary.

 New York PassNew York Sightseeing Day PassNew York Sightseeing Flex PassNew York Explorer Pass
Costs$323$419$358$396
Explanations$298 (7 day pass) + $25 (Metropolitan Museum of Art)$419 (7 day pass)12 + 3 attractions$371 (10 +5 attractions)
+ $25 (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Hop-on-Hop-off-Bus1 dayEntire TimeAs attraction1 day
Savings with bus and bike$167$71$132$94
Buy the passBuy the passBuy the passBuy the pass

Traveller #2: seeing the most important sights quickly

If you’d like to visit as many attractions as possible in New York in as little time as possible, we’ve put together a small example itinerary that you can be done in three days.

If you’re really fast, you can probably even complete it in 2 days, but then it’d be really stressful. So we’d prefer to base it on 3 days.

For us, the following attractions are some of the highlights in New York:

Empire State Building ($44)
Top of the Rock ($40)
One World Observatory ($38)
9/11 Museum ($26)
Two museums, for example Met, MoMA or Guggenheim ($50)
Boat ride, for example with Circle Line ($44)
Total price: 242 dollars

Optional: Bike tour through Central Park with a rental bike ($16)
Optional: Hop-on-Hop-off-Bus tour ($54)
Total price with Hop-on-Hop-off-Bus und bike rental: 312 dollars

In retail sales, you’d pay a total of 242 dollars for the most important sights if you forgot the Hop-on-Hop-off-Busses and would rather explore Central Park by foot. If you’d like to use the busses and to go through Central Park on a bike, you’re up to 312 dollars.

Why isn’t the Statue of Liberty included? We find that the Statue of Liberty isn’t really worth it if you don’t have a lot of time in New York. The trip to the island is relatively time consuming. So we’d instead suggest a boat tour that also takes you very close to the statue. That’ll save time and is at least just as impressive.

In both of the following tables, we’ve listed how much you’d save for all five passes – both with and without a bus ticket and a bike rental.

Savings without Hop-on-Hop-off-Bus and bike rental:

Without the Hop-on-Hop-off-Bus, the New York Explorer Pass and the Sightseeing Flex Pass are the best option.

Depending on which attractions are the most important to you, another one of the passes could be a good choice.

The differences of savings aren’t so severe here that we could declare an ultimate recommendation.

 New York PassNew York Sightseeing Flex PassNew York Explorer PassNew York CitypassFreestyle Pass
Costs$203$184$189$192$238
Explanation$203 (3day pass)$184 (7 attractions)$189 (7 attractions)$129 (Citypass) + $38 (One World Observatory) + $25 (MoMA or Guggenheim)7 attractions + $39 für Empire State Building
Savings without bus or bike$39$58$53$50-
Buy the passBuy the passBuy the passBuy the passBuy the pass

Savings with Hop-on-Hop-off-Bus and bike rental:

Note: The New York City Pass doesn’t offer the Hop-on-Hop-off-Tours or bike rentals. We therefore haven’t factored it into this table.

If you’d also like to use the Hop-on-Hop-off-Buses and would like to rent a bike in Central Park, then either the New York Pass or the Explorer Pass is the cheapest option.

 New York PassNew York Sightseeing Flex PassNew York Explorer PassFreestyle Pass
Costs$203$249$224$238
Explanations$203 (3 day pass)$249 (10 attractions pass)$224 (10 attractions pass)7 attractions pass
+ $39 for the Empire State Building
Hop-on-Hop-off1 day3 days1 day as attraction3 days
Saving with bus and bike$109$63$88$89
Buy the passBuy the passBuy the passBuy the pass

Traveller #3: calmly see the most important sights

We like to see all of the important attractions in a city, but we don’t like to do it in a rush.

We also sometimes enjoy just wandering through the streets and neighborhoods of a city, instead of rushing from one attraction to the next. Just the same, we of course want to see the major highlights.

So we would rather distribute the attractions mentioned above across a longer time period, for example, 5 or 7 days.

For this scenario, we’ve also created two tables in which we show you which pass is the best solution for you then.

Savings without Hop-on-Hop-off-Bus and bike rental:

Note: the Freestyle Pass is always good for only 3 days. We therefore haven’t included it in these two tables.

With the unhurried options, the savings aren’t so huge, like with the fully packed 3 day itinerary. The Citypass, the Sightseeing Flex Pass and the Explorer Pass are very close to one another here.

 New York PassNew York Sightseeing Flex PassNew York Explorer PassNew York Citypass
Costs
5 days$258$184$189$192
7 days$298$184$189$192
ExplanationsNew York PassFlex Pass with 7 attractions7 attractions pass$129 (Citypass) + $38 (One World Observatory) + $25 (MoMA or Guggenheim)
Savings
5 days-$58$53
$50
7 days-
$58$53$50
Buy the passBuy the passBuy the passBuy the pass

Savings with Hop-on-Hop-off-Bus and bike rental:

Note: besides the Freestyle Pass, the Citypass isn’t taken into account in this table, since it doesn’t include busses or bicycles.

Because the Hop-on-Hop-off-Tours and bike rentals are relatively expensive, the savings are higher again. The Sightseeing Flex Pass or the Explorer Pass are once again the most lucrative here.

With all three passes, you can save between 54 and 88 dollars and can use the Hop-on-Hop-off-Bus for two days. You could, for example, ride through Manhattan one day and along the Brooklyn route on another day.

If you only want to go for one day, you can visit another attraction instead.

In our example, the Explorer Pass was a little better than the Sightseeing Pass.

The time based passes (New York Pass for 7 days and the New York Sightseeing Pass in the standard version) are not really worth it if you have a relatively relaxed agenda in New York. They’re sometimes even more expensive than if you buy individual tickets while there.

 New York PassNew York Sightseeing Flex PassNew York Explorer Pass
Costs
5 days$258$249$224
7 days$298$249$224
ExplanationNew York PassFlex Pass with 10 attractions10 attractions pass
Hop-on-Hop-off1 day3 days1 day as an attraction
Savings
5 days$54$63$88
7 days$14$63$88
Buy the passBuy the passBuy the pass

New York without a pass

Does there absolutely have to be a New York Pass? Of course not! You can also discover the best attractions in New York without a pass.

If you don’t plan on visiting a lot of ticketed attractions, we’d suggest that you do without a pass. You can also jump the line for the ticket desk at most attractions, even without a pass, by booking your tickets online ahead of time. We’d definitely recommend doing that.

You do always save some money with the passes, but with just a few sights, the savings usually aren’t so high anymore. It’s better then to stay flexible and go without a pass.

In the following table, we’ve shown you an overview of which ticket you can buy beforehand online, also without using any of the passes.

  PriceBuy ticket
Sights
Empire State Building$48 (standard pass)To the ticket
$87 (express pass)To the ticket
Top of the Rock$44To the ticket
One World Trade Center$47To the ticket
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island$30To the ticket
Museums
9/11 Museum$17To the ticket
Museum of Modern Art$25To the ticket
Guggenheim Museum$25To the ticket
Activities
Boat ride (Best of Manhattan)$44To the ticket
Bike Rental (Central Park)$16To the ticket

Common questions

To conclude, we’ve put together the answers to frequent questions about the different passes for you.

Do you have another question? Then just write a comment to us below and you’ll receive an answer from us very shortly.

Do the New York passes also work for the subway?

In many cities, you can also use the City Cards for public transportation. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in New York and actually not with any of the providers.

To use the subway in New York and public busses, you have to buy a separate metrocard.

Are there reduced passes for kids?

Yes, for all of the New York passes that were introduced here, there’s also a reduced option for kids. Really little kids (usually up to 3 years) are usually free.

How do I get my pass after ordering it?

Before, you had to pick up the passes in New York, which was time consuming. Luckily that isn’t so anymore. Today, you receive your pass by email directly after your purchase.

You can then just show your pass on your smartphone at each attraction. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can also easily print out the passes.

Are the passes cheaper on site?

No, you always get the best prices online.

Can I visit individual sights more than once with the pass?

No, unfortunately that’s not possible. You can only visit each attraction once with your pass.

Only exception: with the Citypass, you can go up the Empire State Building twice in one day, once in the morning and once in the evening.

Conclusion

We drew a detailed conclusion at the very beginning of our New York pass comparison. So here’s just a very brief summary again:

Cheapest pass with as many attractions as possible:

New York Pass
Sightseeing Pass

Cheapest pass for the most important sights in 3 days with Hop-on-Hop-off-Bus:

New York Pass
Freestyle Pass
New York Citypass

Cheapest pass for a relaxed New York itinerary:

Sightseeing Flex Pass
Explorer Pass
New York Citypass

We hope that we could make your search for the perfect New York pass a little easier. After we almost got desperate during our own search for the right pass, we’ve put extra work into this comparison to make it easier for you.

We’d really appreciate it if you order your pass through our links in this article. We get a small commission from the provider, which of course won’t cost any more for you.

Do you still have questions or ideas? Then we’re happy to hear your comments!