Skip to Content

New York Pass Comparison: What Is The Best NYC Pass?

New York Pass Comparison: What Is The Best NYC Pass?

In this New York pass comparison guide, we will help you choose the best New York Pass for your visit.

New York City is among the best places to visit in the USA, so it’s no wonder there are multiple NY passes available to help you save money when visiting New York’s top attractions.

Unfortunately New York tourist attractions do not come with a cheap price tag, but a NYC attractions pass is one of the best ways to save some money when in the city.

Our main goal is to help you decide if a New York pass is worth it for your trip to the Big Apple including which pass for NYC is best suited for your needs.

We will cover everything you need to know about each of the New York passes including:

  • What makes us NYC pass experts
  • The best NY pass based on our experience
  • Why you should consider buying a New York pass
  • New York pass comparison money saving example
  • A detailed explanation on how NYC passes work including the catch
  • The 7 different types of NY passes available
  • Attractions and museums included on each option
  • Our personal photos using each NY pass with exclusive discount

Now, let’s find the best New York attractions pass for your visit to NYC!

Nov 2023 Update: Historically, we have been able to offer our readers an exclusive 10% discount for NY Sightseeing Passes. However, due to the current economic climate, Sightseeing Pass are only able to offer 5% at this time. But our links below are still 5% cheaper than you will find anywhere else online.

Disclosure: We received New York Sightseeing Pass and New York CityPASS tickets in order to share our opinion about these products but this is not a sponsored post.

Table of Contents show

What Makes Us New York City Attraction Pass Experts?

Man and Woman pointing to the Statue of Liberty from the top of One World Observatory
Mark and Kristen at the top of One World Observatory (visited with our NY Sightseeing Pass)

Kristen is a New York State native and we have lived in New York City so you can consider us experts when it comes to the Empire State.

But not only have we lived in NYC, we have used the New York CityPASS, C3 Pass and the NY Sightseeing Pass in the city ourselves. And we actually have pictures at each attraction to prove it!

We have also used the Go City explorer pass in Rome and London so we are extremely familiar with how these passes work in cities around the world.

Before using the passes ourselves, we had a lot of questions just like you which is probably why you are reading our comparison of the New York City attraction passes.

Our goal in this comparison of the best New York passes is to show you what we learned as well as pros and cons to using the popular NY attractions passes.

What Is The Best New York Pass?

New York Sightseeing Pass for NY pass comparison purposes
Our NY Sightseeing Pass from a 2022 NYC visit

This is a long and extremely informative guide with charts, tables, price lists and a complete breakdown of attractions.

It is well worth reading so you get to know the finer details but if you are in a hurry and just want to know our top New York pass recommendation, we recommend the New York Sightseeing Pass.

Why?

Because the Sightseeing Pass has the most flexibility, the best exclusive attractions and offers the best value for money.

So we have teamed up with Sightseeing Pass to offer our readers an exclusive 10% discount on your NY Sightseeing Pass.

The next time we visit NYC, we will definitely use another NY Sightseeing Pass to re-visit our favorite attractions.

Want To Save Money In NYC?

Use the button below to claim 10% off any NY Sightseeing Pass.

The important thing to remember is that no matter which general promotion Sightseeing Pass is running, you will always save an additional 10% with our links.

We hope you continue reading to see our numbers and data which will back up our top recommendation, as well as a genuine first hand comparison against the other 3 popular New York passes.

Let’s start with why it makes sense to purchase an attractions pass for your visit to NYC.

Why Buy A New York Attractions Pass?

Woman looking at the Empire State Building from Top of the Rock
Kristen looking at the Empire State Building from Top of the Rock (visited with our New York CityPASS)

Buying a New York attractions pass will give you instant access to the most iconic NYC museums, landmarks, observation decks, walking tours and boat cruises at a heavily discounted price.

We always like to compare attraction passes to buying in bulk because the more attractions you visit, the more discount you will receive and the more money you will save.

After using the passes in the city ourselves, we learned not all New York attraction passes are created equal and they are not a one size fits all scenario.

Each type of NY pass benefits a different type of tourist or travel style. You can’t look at price alone because each New York pass offers exclusive experiences or extra bonuses.

After you have finished reading our New York pass comparison guide, you should then know exactly what attraction pass to purchase whether you are a first time visitor, a returning visitor or a local.

New York Pass Comparison Money Saving Example

Mark and Kristen at Spyscape (visited with our NY Sightseeing Pass)

Let’s take a quick look at an example of how much money you can save using a New York Sightseeing Pass with our exclusive discount vs paying for the most popular individual attractions when visiting NYC.

Below is an example attraction itinerary for 4 days in New York City with the cheapest possible individual adult prices for each (correct for summer 2023).

Day 1:

  • Statue of Liberty Ferry – $24.50
  • Madame Tussauds – $43.99
  • Empire State Building – $44.00

Day 2:

  • Circle Line Landmarks Cruise – $30.00
  • MoMA – $25.00
  • One World Observatory – $44.00

Day 3:

  • American Museum of Natural History – $28.00
  • Spyscape – $39.00
  • Edge NYC – $35.00

Day 4:

  • Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum – $36.00
  • New York Botanical Garden – $35.00
  • Top of the Rock – $40.00

The total cost of 12 popular individual attractions for this example itinerary is $424.49 (pre taxes + service fees, therefore closer to $500.00 after taxes and fees).

Be aware that the base prices listed above are subject to taxes and in some instances, service fees or handling fees are additionally charged when booking attractions individually.

Top pf the Rock summer 2023 pricing
Summer 2023 Top of the Rock sunset fee, taxes and processing fee

In this summer 2023 example, we used Top of the Rock. The base price of a ticket is $40, but then as you add on the additional cost for visiting at sunset, the processing fee and the taxes, the actual cost is $63.55.

Price Comparison

Now let’s compare the total individual price with the cost of each New York Sightseeing Pass with our discount and all taxes included:

  • Total cost of 12 attractions with no pass: $424.49
  • A New York Sightseeing FLEX Pass with 12 attractions + our discount is $260.00.
  • A New York Sightseeing DAY Pass for 4 days + our discount is $246.00.

Now, if you prefer to take things slowly like in the example above, you can purchase a FLEX Pass and visit just 3 attractions per day at a saving of $164.49 per adult.

However, if you like to go fast and feel like you could easily get through more than 3 attractions each day, choose the DAY Pass. You can do all 12 attractions listed above plus many more at a saving of $178.49 per adult (not including any additional attractions you visit within the 4 days timeframe).

Remember, taxes and some additional fees will also be added on to the individual prices which means you would be saving even more money than we have listed above.

These passes really work and the more you see, the more you save.

How Do New York City Attraction Passes Work?

Many people walking around at Edge nyc
Visitors enjoying Edge at Hudson Yards during sunset (visited with ourNew York C3 Pass)

Each New York Pass works in a very similar way. After you purchase the attractions pass online, you will then have a set amount of time to activate the pass (usually about 1-2 years).

A New York Pass is considered to be active once the pass has been scanned at your first attraction. Keep in mind, you will only be able to visit each attraction once when using a New York pass.

The one exception to this rule is the New York CityPASS, which gives you access to the Empire State Building twice in one day. This means you can visit during the day and at night.

After you purchase your New York pass online, the pass will be emailed directly to you or you can download the pass directly to the corresponding app (for example, the Sightseeing Pass App).

Next, you just present your New York pass at the attractions you wish to visit. Your pass will be scanned via the QR-code giving you instant access.

However, select attractions will require reservations on a timed entry system. So if reservations are required, you will also have to show your timed reservation along with your New York Pass.

You also have the option of printing out your pass if you do not want to download it to your phone. This printed pass will work exactly the same way.

What About Fast Track Or Skip The Line?

In our experience using these New York City attraction passes, we never had to wait in line for any attraction because we made advanced reservations and avoided peak times.

Most popular NYC attractions require a timed entry reservation whether booking direct or with any pass, therefore fast track or skip the line are a moot point.

If you make your reservation, you will not need a fast track or skip the line option.

Travel Tip: You should ALWAYS make attraction reservations even if they are only “recommended.”

Is There A Catch When using A New York Pass?

Woman sitting on a couch in nyc to compare ny passes
Kristen relaxing on the Friend’s couch at a NYC attraction

Like all things that save you money, there is a catch when purchasing a NY pass with a large amount of attractions.

The purpose of an attraction pass is to save money by bundling attractions. This honestly can save you a lot of money, but the catch is that you will have to put in the work to make the most of your New York attraction pass.

Additionally, you cannot reserve time slots in advance for every single New York attraction.

So if you plan to visit in summer when tourism is at its peak, you will have to take this into consideration when planning your New York itinerary or you may have to contend with lines.

But since we have used the New York passes ourselves, we can tell you they are legit and will definitely save you money (and time) with the proper planning!

 

Types Of New York Attraction Pass

Person walking through the New York Botanic Gardens
Kristen walking through the New York Botanical Gardens (visited with our NY Sightseeing Pass)

Day based and attraction based passes are the two types of NYC pass you can buy.

Let’s take a quick look at both versions in this New York pass comparison:

1. Day Based Pass

A day based New York pass is purchased around the number of full days you wish to explore the very best of NYC.

Day passes are best for visitors who want to see and do as much as possible in a short period of time.

There is no limit to the amount of attractions you can visit with a DAY pass, but you will be limited by time. How many NYC attractions do you think you could visit in a few days?

Pros to using a DAY based NY pass:

  • Unlimited amount of attractions available within the time frame
  • Most value for money if you are quick and plan well
  • Best suited to a short visit in NYC

Cons to using a DAY based NY pass:

  • Validity of 1-10 days depending on pass purchased
  • The days on the pass have to be used in consecutive order
  • You may feel obliged to rush around NYC to make the most of your money

Here are the 3 New York DAY Pass options:

  1. NY Sightseeing DAY Pass
  2. Go City New York All-Inclusive Pass
  3. New York Pass by Go City

Later in this guide comparing the popular New York City passes, we will thoroughly explain each individual pass option.

2. Attraction Based Pass

Now we are going to throw a wrench in the works because there are 2 different types of ATTRACTION passes in NYC:

  1. An attraction pass based on the exact number of attractions you want to visit with the price going up incrementally each time you add another attraction
  2. An attractions pass with a set number of attractions at a set price point

With this type of pass, you are limited to the set number of attractions you purchase but you typically have plenty of time to visit each attraction.

Pros to using the ATTRACTION based NY pass:

  • 9 or 60 day validity depending on pass purchased
  • Complete control over what attractions you visit
  • More value for money if you want to take things slow
  • The pass does not have to be used on consecutive days
  • Better suited for a longer visit to NYC

Cons to using the ATTRACTION based NY pass:

  • Set number of attractions may limit what you can see in NY
  • This type of pass often has less attractions compared to a DAY option

Here are the 4 New York ATTRACTION Pass options:

  1. New York CityPASS
  2. New York C3 Pass
  3. NY Sightseeing FLEX Pass
  4. Go City New York Explorer Pass

Now that you have a general understanding on how each New York Pass works, we will cover each one in detail.


The four popular New York City attraction passes
The popular New York City attraction passes for comparison

Comparison Of The Best New York Passes

There are 4 popular New York attraction pass companies:

  1. NY Sightseeing Pass
  2. New York CityPASS
  3. Go City New York
  4. The New York Pass by Go City

But three of these companies offer multiples passes with various DAY or ATTRACTION options, so this is how we arrived at a comparison of 7 different NYC passes.

New York’s attraction passes are very similar and the names can be confusing. But once you take a deeper look at each option, you will notice subtle differences.

Below is a graph with a high-level overview of each New York pass with who the pass is good for as well as what you get with the pass.

High level chart comparing the New York City Passes
High-level overview of each New York City attraction pass

What Attractions Are Included?

With numerous world famous attractions including museums, observation decks, harbor cruises and helicopter rides, it’s easy to see why New York City is one of the most sought after travel destinations in the world.

You might already know what you want to visit in the city, but if you don’t that is okay. We hope to show you new attractions you never considered so you will have the best time possible when visiting the city.

When it comes to the popular New York City tourist attractions, most of the experiences listed below are included on each New York pass option.

  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
  • Edge Hudson Yards
  • Empire State Building
  • Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty + Ellis Island
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  • Modern Museum of Art (MoMA)
  • One World Observatory
  • Top of the Rock

Below is a comparison graph with a high-level overview for top attractions included on every New York pass.

Popular attractions for each New York City pass listed in a chart
The NYC passes compared by the top NYC attractions

2023 Important Attraction Updates

Let’s take a quick look at some of the most important attraction updates for the year ahead:

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) is no longer part of any New York attractions passes. But NY State residents or students based in NY, NJ or CT can enter with a valid ID.
  2. The 9/11 Museum is no longer available on the NY Sightseeing Pass, but the Ride, Secrets of Statue of Liberty Tour and the Museum of Broadway are new additions to the pass.
  3. New York’s newest observation deck SUMMIT One Vanderbilt features numerous immersive exhibits and stunning views over Manhattan, but it’s not currently available on any New York Pass.

9/11 Museum

Despite the 9/11 Museum not being available on the NY Sightseeing Pass, it still remains one of our top recommendations if you have never visited.

With our NY Sightseeing Pass discount included, you can use either a FLEX or DAY Pass to see your preferred attractions, then book 9/11 Museum separately and still save money compared to other passes.

You will also be able to reserve a timed entry ticket which is something you can’t do with the Go City or New York Pass.

>> Compare Prices for the 9/11 Museum: Official Website | Get Your Guide | Viator | Tiqets

Man taking a photo in the mirrors at Summit One Vanderbuilt
Mark taking a photo at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt (not currently available on a NY pass)

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

New York’s latest observation deck is the ultra modern SUMMIT One Vanderbilt.

After experiencing this observation deck ourselves, we can tell you SUMMIT is unlike any other viewing platform in the city and makes for an incredible way to spend your time.

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is not yet part of any New York attractions pass program but we will update this comparison guide if these circumstances change.

>> Compare Prices for SUMMIT One Vanderbilt: Official Website | Get Your Guide | Viator | Tiqets

Curious about SUMMIT One Vanderbilt? Read our guide to visiting SUMMIT One Vanderbilt in Manhattan to see what all the fuss is about.

Even if you have visited NYC’s top attractions, a New York Pass is still a great option for you because there are many unique activities available on most of these passes.

You can make the most of your NY Pass by visiting both popular attractions and numerous museums in the city during your visit.

Below is a comparison graph featuring museums in New York City including which ones are available on each individual pass:

NYC Museum Pass Comparison Graph
NYC Museum Pass Comparison Graph

This graph does not included the full list of all museums included on the New York passes, but these are just a few of New York City’s popular museums.

Like visiting museums? Don’t miss the 10 must-see museums in New York City featuring art, history and unique options.

Which New York Pass Should You Buy?

At the beginning of this New York pass comparison guide, we told you the NY Sightseeing Pass offers the best deal with the most flexibility and biggest savings.

This is our conclusion after personally using several of the NY attraction passes ourselves.

But we are scientists by trade and we always use data to prove our conclusion, so we have created two more charts for you to fully see the benefits of the NY Sightseeing Pass in conjunction with our additional 10% discount.

Chart comparing the best New York City DAY Pass options by price
NY pass comparison chart based on prices for DAY options

Here is what you can instantly see from this New York pass comparison DAY chart:

  • NY Sightseeing Pass offers the most day options
  • Your savings will exponentially increase as you add more days
  • Our 10% discount on NY Sightseeing Pass yields the cheapest prices every time

>> Buy the NY Sightseeing DAY Pass here.

Chart comparing the best New York City ATTRACTION Passes options by price
NY pass comparison chart based on prices for ATTRACTION options

Here is what you can instantly see from this New York pass comparison ATTRACTION chart:

  • NY Sightseeing Pass offers the most attraction options
  • An adult New York CityPASS is slightly cheaper, but you can only visit 5 attractions (2 non-negotiable)
  • A NY Sightseeing FLEX option for 5 attractions is the cheapest price for children
  • Your savings will exponentially increase as you add more attractions

>> Buy the NY Sightseeing FLEX Pass here.

Travel Tip: According to our statistics and audience bookings, the NY Sightseeing 3 DAY Pass is the most popular option.

The 4 New York City Attraction Passes Explained

In this next section of our NYC pass comparison, we will go over each New York pass in detail explaining what to expect with each option and special bonuses to consider.

As we mentioned earlier, most New York City passes will require reservations for popular attractions. You can determine which attractions require a reservation on each specific New York pass website or app.

In our opinion, each New York pass is extremely clear about which attractions require reservations. We will include links to the reservation pages below each option.

We recommend you make reservations as soon as possible because certain New York attractions can sell out.

If you don’t make reservations, you may also have to wait for the next available entry which might mess up your New York City itinerary.


Example of the New York Sightseeing Pass
The New York Sightseeing Pass displayed on a smartphone (photo courtesy of Sightseeing Pass)

New York Sightseeing Pass (Day and Attraction-based)

Let’s take a look at the 2 options for the New York Sightseeing Pass:

Sightseeing Pass has a day based pass called the “DAY” pass and an attraction based pass called the “FLEX” pass.

Here are your options with the New York Sightseeing Pass:

  • Choose a FLEX or DAY pass
  • Prices based on # of days or # of attractions

DAY Pass

  • 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 day validity
  • Visit as many attractions as possible
  • Over 150+ attractions to choose from

FLEX Pass

  • Visit 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 or 12 attractions
  • 60 days validity
  • Over 100+ attractions to choose from

Want To Save Money In NYC?

Use the button below to claim 10% off any NY Sightseeing Pass.

What Attractions Are Included With NY Sightseeing Pass?

Now you know the different types of NY Sightseeing Pass, so let’s take a look at the popular attractions you can visit after buying a New York Sightseeing Pass.

There are 100-150+ diverse attractions in total including exclusive NY Sightseeing Pass options depending on the pass you chose to purchase.

Popular New York Sightseeing Pass Attractions:

  • Empire State Building
  • Top of the Rock
  • Circle Line Landmarks Cruise
  • One World Observatory
  • Edge Hudson Yards
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Guggenheim
  • Statue of Liberty Ferry (DAY pass only)
  • Big Bus NY Classic Tour
  • The Ride (new for 2023 – $79)

It is worth mentioning this is a great pass if you want to visit 4 of the 5 observation decks in New York. SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is currently the only observation deck not on a New York Pass.

Exclusive New York Sightseeing Pass Attractions

Another feature of the New York Sightseeing Pass is the exclusive attractions which are wonderful for kids or those looking to make the most of their trip to NYC.

  • Bronx and Central Park Zoo
  • New York Aquarium
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral Tour
  • Museum of Broadway
  • LoL Comedy Lounge and Comedy Lounge Magic
  • National Lighthouse Museum
  • Potion making at the The Cauldron NYC

Special Offers and Add Ons:

  • Edge City Climb only $165 instead of $201
  • $70 off Charm Manhattan Helicopter Tour
  • 10% off Escape Game New York
  • 20% off one item at H&M at Hudson Yards
  • Go Airlink airport shuttle transfer
  • 10% off Bounce Luggage Storage
  • Discounts in Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s

To see the full list of attractions and extras, click here to visit the official NY Sightseeing Pass website.

Interested in a NY Helicopter tour? Don’t miss our popular guide featuring the best nyc helicopter tours.

Two people sitting with a wax figure of the queen at a new York City wax museum visited with the New York Sightseeing Pass
Mark and Kristen sitting with the Queen at Madame Tussauds (visited with our NY Sightseeing Pass)

Is Transportation Included On The New York Sightseeing Pass?

Yes, transportation is included on the NY Sightseeing Pass. In addition to walking tours or bout tours, you will also have access to the following transportation links with New York Sightseeing Pass:

  • Go Airlink Airport Shuttle
  • Big Bus Classic Tour – Downtown and Uptown loops

The Go Airlink airport shuttle is now included with both the NY Sightseeing DAY and FLEX Pass. This shuttle will provide transfers both to and from New York airports. To make a reservation for the shuttle, you must call 212-812-9000.

The Big Bus Classic Tour is valid for 1 Day. This tour includes the Manhattan Uptown or Downtown loops and will count as an attraction visit. These loops will stop at various point of interests throughout NYC.

Travel Tip: Bus tours are popular NYC attractions, but we do not recommend using Big Bus as your means of transportation around NYC because you will be limited by bus schedules and traffic.

1. New York Sightseeing Pass – Day Pass (DAY Pass)

Person walking into the Bronx Zoo
Mark walking into the Bronx Zoo (visited with our NY Sightseeing Pass)

Before you purchase the New York Sightseeing DAY Pass, you will need to decide how many days you want on your pass. Your options include 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 days.

During these days, you will be able to visit as many attractions as possible with New York Sightseeing Pass.

But keep in mind, many NYC attractions require reservations so you can’t just show up with no planning expecting to get the next entry.

How Much Does The New York Sightseeing DAY Pass Cost?

New York Sightseeing DAY Pass prices begin at $149 for the 1-day adult pass and $116 for the 1-day child pass.

The DAY passes then increase in increments to $379 for the 10-day adult pass and $286 for the 10-day child pass.

But these prices do not include our 10% WATM discount…

WATM Discount Summer 2023:

  • $134 for the 1-day adult pass and $104 for the 1-day child pass
  • $349 for the 10-day adult pass and $257 for the 10-day child pass

The idea is the more days you buy, the more money you will save.

Click here to see a full price list for DAY passes on the official NY Sightseeing Pass website (prices online include our 10% discount).

Is The New York Sightseeing DAY Pass Worth It?

Yes, the NY Sightseeing DAY Pass is absolutely worth it for first time visitors wanting to see all of the top NYC attractions. This pass would also be good for returning visitors or families with children.

The great part about this pass is the large amount of attractions available. There are some obscure and unique attractions you may have missed from your first visit which are exclusive to this pass only.

An exclusive option on this pass include the Bronx and Central Park Zoo as well as the New York Aquarium. These attractions are often booked by families with children.

We used a NY Sightseeing 3-DAY pass and tried to check off as many attractions as possible. It was a really fun way to explore the city!

On average, we could visit 3 attractions per day if we planned well. This is a good number to plan your New York Itinerary around.

If you want to visit many attractions in the city, this would be the best NY pass for you. Use the link below to buy your DAY pass with our exclusive 10% discount!

>> Buy the official New York Sightseeing DAY Pass here <<

Want to know more about the NY Sightseeing Pass? Read our detailed New York City Sightseeing Pass review to see why this is the most popular pass option.


Special exhibit featuring dinosaurs at the American museum of natural history
Dinosaur exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History (visited with our New York CityPASS)

2. New York Sightseeing Pass – Attractions Pass (FLEX Pass)

Before you purchase the NY Sightseeing FLEX Pass, you will need to decide how many attractions you want on your pass. Your options include 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 or 12 attractions.

No matter how many attractions you purchase, you will then have 60 days to visit all of them once your pass is activated.

How Much Does The New York Sightseeing FLEX Pass Cost?

New York Sightseeing FLEX Pass prices begin at $79 for the 2-attraction adult pass and $60 for the 2-attraction child pass.

The price for the attraction passes then increase in increments to $289 for the 12-attraction adult pass and $220 for the 12-attraction child pass.

WATM Discount Summer 2023:

  • $71.10 for the 2-attraction adult pass and $54 for the 2-attraction child pass
  • $260.10 for the 12-attraction adult pass and $198 for the 12-attraction child pass

The idea is the more attractions you buy, the more money you will save.

Click here to see a full price list for FLEX passes on the official NY Sightseeing Pass website (prices online include our 10% discount).

Is The New York Sightseeing FLEX Pass Worth It?

Yes, the New York Sightseeing FLEX Pass is definitely worth buying and we recommend this pass if you want to visit select attractions (2-12 attractions) with the most flexibility.

The NY Sightseeing FLEX Pass is great value. Normally, we would suggest comparing prices with the Go City New York Explorer Pass before purchasing, but with our 10% discount, you will get a better deal with Sightseeing Pass.

Use the link below to buy your FLEX pass with our exclusive 10% discount!

>> Buy the official NY Sightseeing FLEX pass here <<


Examples of the New York CityPASS
The New York CityPASS displayed on a smartphone (photo courtesy of CityPASS)

3. New York CityPASS (Attraction-based)

We have used CityPASS in many of the major cities across the United States including Seattle, Denver and San Francisco as well as New York City.

Let’s take a look at the 2 options offered by CityPASS which both include an attractions-based option.

The New York CityPASS is a very popular pass for visitors who want to see select attractions in NYC at a competitive price point.

This pass is often the cheapest option, but the catch is you will be limited to visiting a very small number of attractions compared to the other NY passes.

However, this New York pass always includes the top attractions so you will be visiting the best attractions in NYC at a great price.

What Attractions Are Included On The New York CityPASS?

Starting on March 1st, 2023, there is a small change with this New York attraction pass offering users a bit more flexibility. Here’s what you need to know:

  • 5 major NYC attractions included
  • 2 attractions are already included and non-negotiable
  • You then choose 3 out of a possible 6 further options for a total of 5 attractions
  • The 5 attraction pass is bought at a set price

New York CityPASS attractions (choose 5 with 2 non-negotiable):

  1. Empire State Building (non-negotiable)
  2. American Museum of Natural History (non-negotiable)

Then choose 3 more attractions from this list:

  1. Top of the Rock
  2. Guggenheim Museum
  3. Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island 
  4. Circle Line Cruises
  5. 9/11 Memorial & Museum 
  6. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Note: The MoMA, Hornblower Cruises and Edge are not included with the New York CityPASS. But these attractions are included on the C3 and C-All pass which we will discuss next.

Visit the New York CityPASS official website for information about attraction reservations here.

How Much Does The New York CityPASS Cost?

For summer 2023, the New York CityPASS with 5 attractions is $138 for adults and $118 for children.

Exclusive New York CityPASS Bonus

If you purchase a New York CityPASS, here are the current exclusives and adds on with this pass:

  • Bonus same day visit to the Empire State Building 86th floor observation deck. This means you can visit both during the day and at night. But keep in mind, this exclusive offer this is not included with C3 pass.
  • Entry to all permanent and special exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History
  • Deals on popular Broadway musicals and plays. Go to the official website to find deals on Broadway shows.
Close up of the Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty on a cloudy day in New York City (visited with our New York CityPASS)

Is Transportation Included On The New York CityPASS OR C3 Pass?

No, transportation is not included on the New York CityPASS or C3 pass. However, you can use the subway to easily access each top attraction. We used the subway to visit each attraction on this pass.

You also have the choice between ferry access to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island or the Circle Line Cruise which is a boat tour showcasing highlights of the city.

Both of these boat tour options are a great way to see New York City from a different perspective on the Hudson River.

Is The New York CityPASS Worth It?

Yes, the New York CityPASS is worth it for visitors who only want to see certain attractions in NYC.

We like the New York CityPASS because this pass will save you money if you are interested in specific attractions. But the New York CityPASS is very limiting compared to other NY passes.

Keep in mind a New York CityPASS is valid for a total of nine 9 days. While most people don’t visit New York for this many days, you will still have plenty of time to space out each individual attraction.

If you are a NYC local, the CityPASS would be a great option for you. We used this pass when we were living the NYC. We visited one attraction each day so we were able to slow down and really take our time at each location.

>> Buy the official New York CityPASS here <<

Want more information about the New York CityPASS? Read our New York CityPASS and C3 Pass review to see how much money you could save.


Example of the New York C3 Pass
The New York C3 Pass displayed on a smartphone (photo courtesy of CityPASS)

4. New York C3 Pass

CityPASS has a light version of their New York pass called the New York C3 Pass. This allows you to choose any 3 of the 11 attractions available (very similar to the C-All pass but on a smaller scale).

What Attractions Are Included On The New York C3 Pass?

Here’s what you need to know:

  • 3 major NYC attractions included
  • Choose 3 out of a possible 11 options
  • The 3 attraction pass is bought at a set price

New York CityPASS attractions (choose 3):

  1. Empire State Building
  2. Top of the Rock 
  3. Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island  
  4. 9/11 Memorial & Museum 
  5. American Museum of Natural History
  6. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
  7. Circle Line Cruises
  8. Guggenheim Museum
  9. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  10. City Cruises
  11. Edge at Hudson Yards

How Much Does The New York C3 Cost?

The New York C3 Pass with 3 attractions is $96 for adults and $74 for children.

Is The New York C3 Pass Worth It?

Yes, the New York C3 pass is worth it for visitors who only want to see a few NYC attractions in NYC.

The C3 pass is a good option if you are interested in the 11 attraction options, but this pass is very limiting compared to the NY Sightseeing FLEX or the Go City New York Explorer pass.

Besides a smaller numbers of attractions, the main difference between the New York CityPASS and the C3 pass is availability of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Edge at Hudson Yards and City Cruises.

>> Buy the official New York C3 Pass here <<


2023 New York C-All Pass

If you plan to visit many NY attractions, CityPASS are testing another option for 2023 with the New York C-All Pass.

This pass for NY gives you a one time admission to any of the following 10 attractions:

  1. Empire State Building
  2. Top of the Rock
  3. Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
  4. 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  5. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
  6. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
  7. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  8. Guggenheim Museum
  9. City Cruises (resuming March 1st)
  10. Edge at Hudson Yards

This New York C-All Pass costs $194 for adults and $144 for children. For more information or to purchase the New York C-All pass, click here.

But if you are interested in seeing many of New York’s tourist attractions, we recommend the NY Sightseeing DAY or FLEX Pass because you can choose from over 100+ attractions instead of 10.


Example of the Go City New York attraction pass
The Go City New York Pass displayed on a smartphone (photo courtesy of Go City)

Go City New York Pass

Go City have both day and attraction passes in several major cities around the world.

The Go City New York Pass is set up almost identically to New York Sightseeing Pass. Go City has a DAY based pass called the “All-Inclusive Pass” and an ATTRACTIONS based pass called the “Explorer Pass“.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Choose either an attraction or day based pass
  • Cost of passes are similar to NY Sightseeing Pass but with fewer attractions
  • Prices go up incrementally the more attractions or days you add
  • Use either pass in the same way as New York Sightseeing Pass

What Attractions Are Included On The Go City New York Pass

There are over 80 diverse attractions on the Go City New York pass. This pass includes alternative museums, bike rentals and walking tours which can be a good option if you have already seen New York’s top attractions.

Popular Go City New York Attractions:

  • 9/11 Memorial and Museum
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Circle Line Sightseeing
  • Central Park Bike Tour by Unlimited Biking
  • Edge Hudson Yards
  • Empire State Building
  • Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island  
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • Harlem Jazz Series
  • Intrepid
  • Madame Tussauds
  • Modern Museum of Art
  • Top of the Rock

Exclusive Go City New York Attractions

  • The Beast Speedboat Ride
  • Perfect Picnic
  • Woodbury Common Bus Tour
  • Deno’s Wonder Wheel at Coney Island (All-Inclusive Pass only)
  • Yankee Stadium Classic Tour

To see a full attractions list, click here to visit the the official Go City website.

Is Transportation Included On The Go City New York Pass?

Yes, transportation is included on the Go City New York pass and you will have access to the Big Bus Hop On Hop Off 1-Day Classic Tour.

The Big Bus tour will help you travel through the Manhattan’s Uptown and Downtown loops. Additional transportation options include bike rentals, boat tours and walking tours.

But as we mentioned earlier in this New York pass comparison guide, do not solely rely on these bus tours as your main source of transportation because you are limited by traffic and bus schedules.

View of the Empire State Building from an observation deck in New York City
View of the Empire State Building as well as Lower and Midtown Manhattan (visited with our CityPASS)

5. Go City New York Explorer Pass (Attractions)

Before you purchase the Go City New York Explorer pass, you will need to decide how many attractions you want on your pass. Your options include 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 attractions.

Once your Go City New York Explorer Pass is activated at the first attraction, you will then have 60 days to visit all the attractions on your pass.

How Much Does The Go City New York Explorer Pass Cost?

For summer 2023, the Go City New York Explorer Pass begin at $79 for the adult 2-attraction pass and $69 for the child 2-attraction pass.

The price increases in increments until $259 for the adult 10-attraction pass and $214 for the child 10-attraction pass.

Click here to see a full price list on the official Go City New York website.

Is The Go City New York Explorer Pass Worth It?

Yes, the Go City New York Explorer Pass is worth it and we recommend this type of pass if you want to visit select attractions (2-10 attractions).

The Go City New York Explorer Pass is very similar to the NY Sightseeing FLEX Pass, but you can choose up to 12 attractions (instead of 10) with the NY Sightseeing FLEX Pass.

Be sure to compare prices, but with our 10% discount for the NY Sightseeing Pass, this pass will be the cheaper option with more attractions available.

>> Buy the official Go City New York Explorer Pass here <<


View of the Intrepid Sea, Space and Air museum from a helicopter in New York City
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum (available on all New York Passes)

6. Go City New York All-Inclusive Pass (Days)

Before you purchase the Go City New York All-Inclusive Pass, you will need to decide how many days you want on your pass. Your options include 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 days.

During these days, you will be able to visit any of the attractions on the Go City New York All-Inclusive Pass list as you want.

But keep in mind, popular attractions require timed entry reservations so you can’t just show up expecting to receive the next entry, especially during peak season.

How Much Does The Go City New York All-Inclusive Pass Cost?

For summer 2023, the Go City New York All-Inclusive Pass costs $149 for the adult 1-day pass and $109 for the child 1-day pass.

The price increases in increments until $339 for the adult 10-day pass and $284 for the child 10-day pass.

Is The Go City New York All-Inclusive Pass Worth It?

Yes, the Go City New York All-Inclusive Pass can be worth it and we recommend this type of pass for visitors wanting to see as much as possible during their trip.

This pass is similar to the NY Sightseeing DAY Pass as well as The New York Pass.

Be sure to compare prices before purchasing, but with our 10% discount for the NY Sightseeing Pass, this will be the cheaper option with more flexibility and exclusive attractions.

>> Buy the official Go City New York All-Inclusive Pass here <<


Example of the New York Pass by Go City
The New York Pass by Go City displayed on a smartphone (Photo courtesy of New York Pass)

7. The New York Pass

This last pass is essentially the same as Go City’s All-Inclusive Day pass because it is owned by Go City.

Prices and attractions are identical to the Go City pass we just discussed directly above and there are no attraction based passes available.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Choose how many days you want to have unlimited access to attractions
  • Prices go up incrementally the more days you add

See attractions, reservation information and buy The New York Pass by Go City here.

We would purchase the NY Sightseeing Pass over the New York Pass because with our discount it is the cheapest option and there are more exclusive bonuses.


Quick Conclusion For The NYC Pass

Now you know the New York passes are very similar, yet offer subtle differences.

But why would you choose to buy a NY Sightseeing Pass over a CityPASS or a Go City New York attractions pass over a New York Pass?

The answer to this question depends on your needs in New York City.

But here is everything we mentioned in this New York pass comparison guide summed up into just a few sentences in case you are still on the fence about a certain New York pass:

  • NY Sightseeing DAY Pass – Best for first time visitors, returning visitors or families with children (great for those who want to see many NYC attractions).
  • NY Sightseeing FLEX Pass – Best for those who want to visit select attractions (1-12 options) with the most flexibility (but remember Statue of Liberty Ferry not included).
  • New York CityPASS – Best for those who only want to see certain attractions, but limited to 5 out of 8 attraction options (2 non-negotiable).
  • New York C3 Pass – Best for visitors who only want to see 3 out of 11 attraction options, but very limiting compared to other New York passes.
  • New York Pass by Go City – Similar to NY Sightseeing DAY Pass and Go City All-Inclusive Pass, but more expensive and minimal bonuses.
View of lower Manhattan from Empire State Building
View from the Empire State Building of Lower Manhattan (visited with CityPASS)

Want more NYC inspiration? Don’t miss these famous New York City quotes.

Tips For Using The New York City Passes

We have covered a lot of information in this NY pass comparison guide, but our goal is to help you make the most of your trip to New York.

Here are a few additional tips you should consider:

How To Visit Each Attraction On Your New York Pass

Depending which pass in New York you purchase, you will have access to walking tours, bike rentals or boat tours, but you may also have access to transportation links via bus rides.

However, passes for New York City do not include subway tickets, taxi credits or transfers (except the NY Sightseeing FLEX Pass with the Go Airlink airport shuttle).

Popular transportation options with NYC passes include:

  • Big Bus Tours Downtown Hop-on Hop-off Tour
  • Big Bus Tours Uptown Hop-on Hop-off Tour

While Big Bus tours are a popular NYC attraction, they might not be the best option for transportation depending on the pass you purchase and your goals in New York City.

For example, when we used our NY Sightseeing DAY pass, we could average about three attractions a day if we used the Subway to get around the city.

We do not recommend solely relying on these bus tours as your means of transportation around NYC because you will be limited by bus schedules and traffic if you want to see many NY attractions.

If your goal is to visit as much as possible, you should use the subway or walk around the city. However, if you are visiting one attraction per day, using these buses as your mode of transport should be okay.

Are New York City Passes Legit And Worth It?

Yes, the New York CityPASS, NY Sightseeing Pass, Go City New York and The New York Pass are all legit. We have personally worked with every company.

NYC attraction passes are worth it because they can save you both time and money.

But not all New York Passes are created equal so you will need to do your research to make sure you find the best city pass for New York based on your individual needs.

To make the most of your New York Pass, you will also have to strategically plan around timed entry reservations and peak visiting times at popular attractions.

Need Help Planning Your Visit To NYC?

NYC is a trip planning beast and it can be overwhelming trying to get every aspect right.

After living in New York City, we created a comprehensive NYC travel guidebook that will answer every question you have about where to stay, what to do, where to eat and how to get around the city.

Click see details below to read more about how we can help you plan your dream trip to New York City!

New York City Guidebook by Where Are Those Morgans

New York Passes Comparison FAQ’s

Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions regarding our NYC pass comparison.

How much money will a New York Pass save?

You can save anywhere from 20-40% with New York attraction passes. Be sure to shop around to find the pass which better suits your needs because each pass offers different attractions for various amounts of time.

How should you purchase a New York Pass?

The best way to purchase your NYC attraction pass is online because you will receive your pass instantly via email. This way you can start reserving New York attractions for your trip straight away.

What can you do with a New York Pass?

You will experience top attractions in the city with a New York pass. Depending on the pass you purchase, you can visit numerous museums, observation decks, boat tours and more.

More NYC Guides

Want more New York City content? Head to our New York Travel Guides to explore more from the Big Apple as well as beautiful upstate NY.


We hope this detailed comparison of the New York Attraction Passes helps plan your trip to NYC!

Please let us know if you have any questions about this comparison of New York City passes in the comments below.

Happy Travels,

Mark and Kristen

Enjoy This New York Pass Comparison? Pin It For Later!

Want more New York City content? Head to our New York Travel Guides to explore more from the Big Apple as well as beautiful upstate NY.


We hope this detailed comparison of the various New York Attraction Passes helps plan your trip to NYC!

Please let us know if you have any questions about comparing any of the New York Passes or New York City in the comments below.

Happy Travels,

Mark and Kristen

Enjoy This New York Pass Comparison? Pin It For Later!

Note: This article contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these affiliate links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

All Rights Reserved © Where Are Those Morgans, LLC. Republishing this article and/or any of its contents (text, photography, maps, graphics, etc.) in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.

Share this article!

Oli

Wednesday 26th of July 2023

Hello, this is an awesome article, thanks! However, it seems like the NY Sightseeing have changed their prices, as they are not the same as found in your article... Could it be that they have updated them not long ago? We will be staying from the 12th to the 17th of August and I want to show my kids the most interesting vistas and neighborhoods. Is there a coupon code that can be used as the links don't seem to work? Thanks

Mark and Kristen Morgan

Thursday 27th of July 2023

Hi Oli, We recently updated this guide with 2023 summer prices mid-June, but now that we are in the middle of summer, unfortunately prices will be at their highest. The prices fluctuate throughout the entire year so our prices are only meant to be a guideline to show how much you can save. That being said our links will always give you 10% off the current price.🙂 You will need to use our links to receive the 10% discount. We just checked our links and can confirm they are working so we recommend you clear the cookies on your browser and try again. Since you will be visiting in August, we also recommend you make reservations for attractions when possible and for the attractions you can not reserve, try to arrive early in the day when the attractions open so you make the most of your trip. Hope you have an amazing time in NYC with your kids!

Nicole Bernard

Monday 19th of June 2023

Hello! Thank you for the planning advice. What is the promo code to receive your extra 10% discount.

Mark and Kristen Morgan

Monday 19th of June 2023

Hi Nicole, thanks for reading! Any NY Sightseeing link or button in this guide already has the 10% discount applied :) You must use our links to receive the discount. Have a great time in NYC!

Jenny Kohout

Thursday 20th of April 2023

Hi! I love your posts. You helped me a lot with my out west trip 2 years ago. We are going to NYC -5 of us in June. Debating the passes. Can you help me understand which of the NY sightseeing pass I should get - flex or day - want to do 9/11 museum for sure and I read about the issue with this pass. With either- do I need to book 9/11 directly with the museum ? We will be there 6/7-11. Any thoughts on which pass you would buy ? Want to do the bus hop on and off tour, 9/11, Statue of Liberty, Empire State , top of rock and possibly a boat tour. Also a Broadway show. Debating lion king , wicked and Hamilton. And a Yankees game. Would love any help !

Thank you so much. Jenny

Mark and Kristen Morgan

Saturday 6th of May 2023

Hi Jenny, we just sent you an email with our recommendations and have a wonderful trip to NYC! 🙂

Sophie Tennant

Saturday 18th of March 2023

Hi. I have clicked the link to purchase the NY pass with your 10% discount but this doesn’t seem to be applied. Can you please help?

Mark and Kristen Morgan

Saturday 18th of March 2023

Hi Sophie, We just sent you an email regarding the discount 🙂