A New York Sightseeing Pass is one of the best ways to save money in NYC and in this review, we’ll show you how to make the most of your pass. Having used the pass ourselves, we know the ins and outs for both the day and attraction based option. Our goal is to help you save money because we also have an exclusive discount for our readers.
In this guide, we’re going to help you decide whether a DAY or FLEX attraction pass is the best choice for your visit to New York City including pros and cons.
Disclosure: We received New York Sightseeing Passes in order to share our opinion about this product but this is not a sponsored post.
Our NYC Experience
Kristen is a New York state native and we lived in NYC for a few months in 2021. We chose to move to the city so we could create the best content possible because you can’t just visit New York City for a weekend and claim to be an expert. Read more about us.
In April 2022, we came back to NYC because it’s one of our favorite cities in America. During this trip, we used a 3 DAY New York Sightseeing Pass to visit as many attractions as possible. We visited 3 observation decks, Madame Tussauds, the NY Botanical Gardens, Bronx Zoo, the 9/11 Tribute Museum and so much more. We’ll also show you our exact itinerary including how much money we saved.
Travel Tip: We try our best to keep prices and attraction options up to date, but please keep in mind these are subject to change at any given time. Use the official links we provide to confirm information before purchasing.
What Is A New York Attraction Pass?
Before we get into our review for the NY Sightseeing Pass, we want to briefly explain how to use an attraction pass. If you’ve already used a pass, feel free to skip down to our review.
A NY Sightseeing pass will instantly give you access to New York’s most iconic landmarks, observation decks, museums, boat cruises and walking tours. We like to compare an attraction pass to buying in bulk because the more you purchase, the more you’ll save.
If you’re a first time visitor to NYC who wants to visit many of the top attractions, this is one of the best ways to save money, especially if you plan well. After purchasing your pass online, you’ll receive an email with the pass which can be printed out, saved in the app or downloaded to your phone.
A Sightseeing Pass is considered active once it has been scanned at the first attraction via QR code and you have 12 months to activate it. Major attractions in the city may also require advanced timed entry reservations. These can be made online and you’ll need to show your timed entry reservation along with your NY pass.
NY Sightseeing Pass Options
There are two types of NY Sightseeing Passes you can buy, a DAY based option and an ATTRACTION based option known as the FLEX pass. We created a graph to give you a high level overview of these two passes:
Now, let’s take a quick look at each one:
A day based pass features the total number of days you want to visit attractions. This can range anywhere from 1 to 10 days and the prices increase as you add more days. There is no limit to the amount of attractions you can visit so day passes are best for visitors who want to see and do as much as possible in a short period of time. However, you’ll be limited by days.
Here are pros and cons of using a New York Sightseeing DAY Pass:
- 115 attractions to choose from
- You can visit an unlimited amount of attractions
- Best way to save the most money
- Great for a shorter New York visit
- Validity depends on amount of days purchased
- The days must be used in consecutive order
- You may feel rushed running around the city
The FLEX pass offers a set number of attractions with the prices going up incrementally. With this option, you’re limited to the amount of attractions you purchase but you’ll have 60 days to visit each one. This is a great option for those who know what they want to see or visitors who want to slow down and enjoy their visit.
Here are the pros and cons of using a NY Sightseeing FLEX Pass:
- 60 day validity no matter how many attractions you purchase
- Good value for money if you want to take things slow
- Does not have to be used on consecutive days
- Best for a longer visit or visitors who want to see select attractions
- Set number of attractions may limit what you see
- Not as much savings as a DAY pass
Our NY Sightseeing Pass Itinerary
We’re going to use the exact itinerary we followed to show you how much money you can save. This example will use the 3 DAY pass, but can save even more with additional days depending on how much you want to see. Here is what we visited on the pass each day with prices from the official websites:
- One World Observatory (morning visit): $44.00 + $5.00 processing fee + $3.91 tax = $52.91
- 9/11 Tribute Museum (closed in 2022): $17.00
- Madam Tussauds: $38.99 + $3.46 tax = $42.45
- Escape Game NYC: $44.99 + $3.99 tax = $48.98 (price for one person)
- Fotografiska NYC: $28.00
- Rise NY = $39.00 + $3.90 tax + $5.00 booking fee = $47.90
- SPYSACAPE: $44.00 + $3.91 tax = $47.91
- St Patrick’s Cathedral audio tour: $25.00
- Top of the Rock (morning visit): $45.00 + $4.88 tax = $59.88
- NY Botanical Garden: $35.00
- Bronx Zoo: $34.70
- Edge at Hudson Yards (sunset visit): $43.00 + $3.82 tax = $46.82
The total cost of this 3 day itinerary is $486.55. Now let’s compare this price to the cost of a NY Sightseeing Pass with our discount:
- Total cost of 12 attractions with no pass: $486.55.
- A NY Sightseeing DAY Pass for 3 days with our discount is $236.55.
- A NY Sightseeing FLEX Pass with 12 attractions and our discount is $291.65.
And there you have it in black and white, you can save $250.00 with the DAY pass or $194.90 with the FLEX pass. Keep in mind, you can save even more if you visit expensive options such as the best NYC observation decks, especially at sunset.
Want To Save Money In NYC?
Use the button to claim a 5-10% discount off any NY Sightseeing Pass.
It’s important to note the 9/11 Museum is no longer available on the New York City Sightseeing Pass so if this is something you want to visit, you may have to purchase a separate ticket. However, active or retired US military will receive free entry and admission is free for everyone on Mondays from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. You can read more on the official website here.
Sound Too Good To Be True?
Like all things that save you money, there is a catch when purchasing a New York Sightseeing Pass. The main purpose of this pass is to save you money by bundling attractions and you’ll have to put in the work to get the most of the pass.
Additionally, you can’t reserve time slots in advance for every attraction. So if you plan to visit during summer in peak season, you’ll have to take this into consideration when planning your itinerary or you may have to contend with long lines. When we visited New York in April, the city wasn’t as busy and we tried to avoid peak times.
You should figure out what attractions you want to visit and then work out what attractions from that list require a reservation. This way you’ll be able to draft an itinerary for your trip. We like NY Sightseeing because it features the most attractions out of any New York pass so you can save a lot of money if you plan well.
If you read reviews about the New York Sightseeing Pass online, you’ll find either 1 star or 5 star reviews. The 1 star reviews are from customers who didn’t plan or read the fine print. The 5 stars reviews are from customers who properly planned and saved a bunch of money. Our review will show you how to make the most of your NY Sightseeing Pass.
We had no issues turning up to attractions and receiving immediate entry into to Edge, One World Observatory and Top of the Rock in April 2022. If you plan to visit in summer, you might have to visit outside of peak hours or plan for extra time due to lines if you can’t make a reservation for a specific attraction.
Travel Tip: At most New York attractions, weekdays are quieter than weekends and mornings are less busy compared to evenings. Sunset is always the busiest time.
NY Sightseeing Pass Price Comparison
As we mentioned earlier in this guide, this is our favorite New York pass. So we’ve teamed up with Sightseeing Pass to offer our readers a 5-10% discount on all passes. You’ll receive 5% off adult passes and 10% off children passes with all the links found in this guide.
This New York Sightseeing pass review was written to help save you money so another important thing we want to point out is that prices will fluctuate throughout the year due to demand and season. However, no matter the promotion Sightseeing Pass is currently running, you’ll always save 5-10% with our discounted links.
Below we created two more charts to compare prices between adult and children’s pass. Here are the Spring 2024 DAY pass prices compared to our discount:
We’ve also broken it down into how much it costs per day and this is what we can instantly see:
- The more days you purchase, the more you’ll save on attractions
- Average price per day decreases as you add more days
- Our discount always yields the best price
>> Ready to purchase? Click here for the DAY pass discount!
Travel Tip: The age range for a New York Sightseeing child pass is 3-12 years.
Here are the spring 2024 FLEX pass prices compared to our discount:
Again, we’ve broken down it down into how much it costs per attraction. This is what we can instantly see:
- The more attractions you purchase, the more you’ll save
- Average price decreases as you add more attractions
- Our discount always yields the best price
>> Ready to purchase? Click here for the FLEX pass discount!
Travel Tip: Winter is often the best time to purchase passes because prices will be cheaper, but our discounted links will always save you 5-10%.
If you’ve read this far in our New York Sightseeing Pass review, you know about the different types of passes and how much they cost. But let’s take a look at the popular attractions included on both the DAY and FLEX option.
NYC Observation Decks
Many people want to visit the popular observation decks when they visit New York City. There are a total of 5 observatories and 4 of them are included on the NY Sightseeing Pass. Here are prices for each observation deck without a pass:
- Empire State Building – Adult $44 + Child $38
- Top of the Rock – Adult $40 + Child $34
- Edge at Hudson Yards – Adult $36 + Child $31
- One World Observatory – Adult $44 + Child $38
The prices listed above are only starting prices meaning sunset visits and additional add ons will cost you extra. A sunset time slot is an extra $10-15 depending on the observation deck you plan to see. But NY Sightseeing pass holders can visit for no additional cost.
However, the catch is you cannot book timed entry reservations online (except for the Empire State Building) and lines will inevitably be longer at this peak time of day. Be sure to arrive well in advance to avoid the lines or visit early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Unfortunately, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is not currently included on any NY Pass. So you’ll have to purchase this attraction ticket separately if you want to visit.
Further Reading: Best observation decks in New York City
New York Museums
You’ll find some of the world’s best museums in New York City. There is a very long list of museums included on the NY Sightseeing Pass which makes it a good option for first time visitors, returning visitors and even locals.
Here are a few of the top museums included in this pass:
- American Museum of Natural History
- Madame Tussauds
- Modern Museum of Art (MoMA)
The 9/11 Museum is no longer included on the New York Sightseeing Pass, but active or retired US military can visit for free. Additionally, you can receive free entry on Mondays from 5:30 to 7:00pm so plan accordingly! You can also book a 9/11 walking tour with this pass.
We like this pass because you can also visit the Museum of Broadway, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Museum of the City of New York, Museum at Eldridge Street, Fotografiska New York and the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Check the full list of attractions if you have a specific museum in mind.
Need help organizing your visit to NYC?
Our popular 50+ page New York City Guidebook can help you with planning every aspect of your trip.
Top New York Attractions
In addition to the observation decks and museums, you’ll also have access to world famous New York attractions with this pass. The popular sights include:
- Circle Line Landmarks Cruise
- Statue of Liberty Ferry (DAY pass only)
- Big Bus New York
- NY Aquarium
- Bronx Zoo
- Rise NY
- New York Botanical Garden
- The Rink at Rockefeller Center (seasonal)
Travel Tip: If you want to visit the Statue of Liberty, this attraction is available only on the NY Sightseeing DAY pass.
Special Add Ons
Another reason we like the NYC Sightseeing Pass is the special offers and add ons you can make use of with this pass. This will save you money in shops, restaurants and experiences. Here are some of the special offers:
- Edge City Climb only $165 instead of $185
- $199 Charm Manhattan Helicopter Tour
- 20% off Broadway Comedy Club
- Complimentary personalized styling session at Fendi
- 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 special offers and add ons, click here to visit the official website.
Further Reading: Best helicopter tours in New York City
What About Other New York Passes?
There are four main attraction passes in New York City. The names are very similar, but there are subtle differences. One pass might be better suited for your visit depending on your needs. If you’re unsure about the NY Sightseeing Pass, we recommend you read our New York Pass Comparison for a detailed explanation.
But let’s take a quick look so you can compare how they work:
The major difference between a CityPASS and a Sightseeing Pass is the amount of attractions you can visit. In New York, CityPASS features 8-10 attractions at a set price point. Here’s what you need to know:
- Attraction based pass with no option for a day pass
- 5 major NYC attractions in total
- 2 attractions are 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 of $138 for adults
CityPASS also has a light version called the New York C3 Pass. This allows you to choose any 3 of 10 attraction options at a set price of $96 for adults. Head over to the official website here for more information.
Further Reading: Our review for the New York CityPASS
Go City New York
The company offers attraction passes in major cities around the world. We’ve used a Go City Pass in Rome, London and Paris so we’re very familiar with how they work.
This pass is set up similarly to the Sightseeing Pass in New York offering a day based option known as the All-Inclusive Pass and an attraction based option called the Explorer Pass. Here’s what you need to know:
- Choose either a day based or attraction based pass
- Prices increase the more days or attractions you add
- 100+ attractions to choose from
We prefer the NY Sightseeing Pass when compared to the Go City Pass when it comes to New York City, but this company can be a great option when traveling outside of the US. Head over to official website here for more information.
Further Reading: Our Go City Rome Explorer Pass review
The New York Pass
This pass is owned by Go City and it’s essentially the exact same as Go City’s All-Inclusive version. The prices and attractions are almost identical, but there is no attraction based pass available. Here’s what you need to know:
- Choose how many days you want to have unlimited access to attractions
- Prices increase the more days you add
We can’t find any major differences between The New York Pass and the Go City New York All-Inclusive Pass. Head over to official website here for more information.
Further Reading: Famous and popular NYC quotes
How To Make Timed Reservations
Whether you decide to buy a New York Sightseeing DAY Pass or FLEX Pass, you’ll be able to download the pass directly to your smartphone and enter attractions directly at the door. But certain New York attractions require a timed entry reservation which will need to be shown along with your pass.
Here are instructions for booking timed entry reservations for specific attractions:
- Head over to the official NY Sightseeing website
- Select either DAY Pass or FLEX Pass
- Navigate to Attractions
- Find each attraction you want to visit and see if it has a timed entry requirement
- Follow the instructions provided online to book your time slot (see image below)
Travel Tip: When a timed entry reservation is required, you must show both your Sightseeing Pass and timed entry reservation upon arrival.
Is The New York Sightseeing Pass Worth It?
Yes, we think the NY Sightseeing Pass is worth it because it can save you money when visiting New York City. This is our favorite option out of all the New York Passes because it offers the most attractions and flexibility.
With a day or attraction based pass and over 100 attractions to choose from, this pass checks the boxes for all types of visitors. We think a DAY pass is good for first time visitors who want to see it all or families traveling with children. In addition, a FLEX Pass is good for returning visitors who have already seen many of the top sights, visitors who want to take their time or those who want to visit several museums.
Save $ With Our Discount
Use the button to receive our 5-10% discount off any NY Sightseeing Pass.
Along with our exclusive 5-10% discount, this pass will help you save the most money so you can spend it on a fancy meal or a swanky New York City hotel instead.
NY Sightseeing Pass Tips
We’ve covered a lot of information in this review of the NY Sightseeing Pass, but we want you to have an amazing trip! Here are a few additional tips to consider:
- If you’re a New York State resident, you can visit some museums for free with valid ID. Check official websites to verify so you use the pass to visit attractions you can’t get in for free.
- Check age limits for children. Many NY attractions allow children under 3-5 visit for free so you may not need a pass for them depending on their age.
- We don’t recommend using Big Bus as your means of transportation around the city if you have a day pass because you’ll be limited by bus schedules and traffic. You should use the subway to make the most of your time. Walking tours, bike rentals or boat tours would be another good option.
- Big Bus tours could work for visitors using an attractions pass because this would count as one of your attractions. However, make sure you look at the routes before using the bus to maximize your time.
- Be careful with the Go Airlink Airport Shuttle. This is included on both the DAY and FLEX pass to provide ride-shares from JFK, Newark or LaGuardia to Manhattan hotels. But keep in mind this will count as an attraction and will activate your pass.
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- Tips for visiting New York in Winter
- Best hotels in New York City
- NYC observation deck comparison
- An epic 4 day NYC itinerary
- Fun things to do in Lower Manhattan
- What’s the best NYC pass?
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- Where to eat amazing bagels in NYC
Want more New York content? Head over to our New York Travel Guides to explore the Finger Lakes, Adirondacks and the best of NYC.
We hope this review of the New York Sightseeing Pass helps with planning your trip to NYC!
Please let us know if you have any questions about the New York Sightseeing DAY or FLEX Pass in the comments below. And don’t forget to use our exclusive discount to see the top attractions!
Mark and Kristen
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Mark and Kristen Morgan are travel, hiking and photography experts. Over the last 6 years traveling full time, they have explored more than 40 countries and 30 US states.
Where Are Those Morgans has been featured in USA Today, Gestalten, Get Your Guide, CityPASS and Condé Nast Traveler along with various other publications. Read more about us.