New York Explorer Pass

Step-by-step Guide

Read below the step-by-step guide for buying the Go New York Explorer Pass. It explains what you can expect when buying online and how to get the most discount by using a promo code.

Questions answered in this step-by-step-guide
Reading time: 7 minutes

Where to Buy the Explorer Pass

The best place to get the Go City Explorer Pass is simply online. The reason for this is that it’s better to buy directly from the official site, as the official site will most likely have the best deals on offer all year round. However, more importantly, the information will always be up to date. Third-party websites are not given access to the information regarding (new) deals made with attractions and tours – or whenever inclusions change. On the official site, you’ll also be able to read detailed instructions for using the pass at specific attractions.

This was what the homepage looks like (at the time of taking this screenshot):

Go New York Explorer Pass – Homepage Full

On the homepage, you’ll notice a few things: the current promotion, important information regarding the passes, reviews as well as the claims that Go New York makes regarding the passes. Read more about the Explorer Pass here.

How to buy the Explorer Pass

The instructions detailed in this guide are for buying the New York Explorer Pass directly from the company online.

On the right, you can scroll through screenshots taken during the booking process.

  1. You can select on the homepage whether you want to buy right away (upper right corner) or if you would like to read more about the two passes on offer. Click on buy if you want to purchase either of the passes or click on ‘Go explore’ for further information.
  2. Once you’ve clicked on buy, you will see a quick comparison of the two passes and a green button with ‘Buy Now’. Click on either of these options.
  3. In this example, we’ll be choosing the Explorer Pass. You can pick the number of attractions you’d like to visit. The ‘Most Popular’ option is the 5 Choice Pass, but as it’s recommended; pick the pass that works best for your trip.
  4. Press ‘Select’ and fill in the number of passes you would like. Be careful to note the difference between Adult passes and Child Passes. Click ‘Checkout’.
  5. In order to continue to the payment page, you will have to fill in the date that you will be visiting New York. Don’t worry too much about this Fill in the promo code (see detailed instructions below).
  6. Fill in your personal details and the card details. Note: this is the last page to confirm all of the details, so check your email address as well as the items in your cart.
  7. Read the terms and conditions, and click the checkbox. Click ‘Confirm order and pay’.
  8. Receive purchase confirmation on the screen and by email.

How to use the promo code

Why use a promo code? Because you’ll essentially be getting a discount on top of the original discount! When buying the Explorer Pass it’s important to note that the promo or discount code is not at the last step of the checkout process. You need to fill in the promo code after you have added them to your cart but before you proceed to payment. When reviewing your order, you’ll see underneath your cart ‘Have a promo code?’. Click this and fill in the promo code. This is what this step looks like:

Go New York Explorer Pass – Using Discount Code

Hover over and scroll through screenshots of the steps here:

Happy customers

The Explorer Pass is valid for two years, so take advantage of the sales.

How to use the Explorer Pass

Once you’ve completed the steps above and received your order confirmation you have two options: you can install the Go City app or you can use the PDFs. Both options contain the QR code that is required to enter the attractions. The email looks like this:


Buying Explorer Pass - Order Confirmation Email
Buying Go New York Explorer 5 Choice – Order Confirmation Email

Whichever option you choose is up to you. Below are some of the benefits / drawbacks detailed when using the app. Once you have this email, and your confirmed booking; you can reserve tours. You cannot reserve attractions such as observation decks, cruises or museums in advance . You will have to physically go to these places to obtain your tickets.

How to use the PDF

If you choose the option to ‘print’ the PDF, this is what it will look like. A few FAQs are included on the pages. Most likely these questions were asked so frequently that they decided to include it on the PDF. This could be seen as another reason to buy the pass directly online.

Note: each pass has a seperate QR code and must be used by each individual visiting the attractions (which is why you see ‘Pass 1 of 2’). To be on the safe side, it is recommended to actually print the passes. You never know what could happen to your phone.

The guidebook can be found via the link in the PDF. It is over 50 pages long so it is not necessary to print. The guidebook is difficult to navigate and doesn’t contain any other information than what is already listed on the site. If you were expecting a map, walking routes or insider tips – this is not the guide for you. This guide is specifically for using the Explorer Pass. In the confirmation email, there is mention of ‘The Go New York guide’, this is a link to the Go City blog and not the actual guidebook. The blog does have useful articles, but keep in mind when reading them as they are aimed towards supporting the Go City / Explorer Pass products.


Go New York Explorer 5 Choice – PDF

How to use the app

Alternatively, you can use the Go City app for your Explorer Pass / Build Your Own. You’ll need to download the app from the app store and select the correct city. From there, you can sync your pass with the app by filling in the details.

In the app there is a map that includes all of the attractions included in the pass. If you would like to use navigation, it’ll prompt to open with the phone’s original navigation (with iPhone that would be Apple Maps). You can view all the details of each of the attractions, favourite them or add them to your itinerary. The itinerary (second picture below) has no extra features or interaction, other than listing the amount of attractions added and the average duration spent at them.

You can import our passes (third picture below). There is no extra functionality available; clicking on ‘My attractions’ shows all of the attractions included in the pass. You cannot (currently) see which attractions you have visited. Unfortunately, you will have to remember which ones you have visited.

Using the Explorer Pass in New York

In most cases it’s pretty simple: scan and enter. At the entrance of the attraction, you show the QR code (either printed or via the app) and have it scanned. With some attractions you’ll gain immediate entry (Empire State Building) and with others you will receive a timeslot (One World Observatory). A few attractions such as Top of the Rock offer fast track or skip-the-line access. For the Statue of Liberty, you will need to exchange tickets before boarding the boat. In short, it’s worth taking time to read the instructions for the attractions you want to visit to avoid problems while you’re in New York.

Tip: Make sure to use up all of the attractions, there is no compensation for any of the attractions you did not use.

Reserving tours with the pass

If you want to book a tour such as a Harlem Gospel Tour or a Central Park Bike Tour,you’ll need to do this in advance at least 48 hours prior. However, tours sell out quickly so book when you know when you would like to visit . When you reserve the tour, you’ll need to have the order number handy as well as your credit card information. Your card will not be charged unless you do not show up or arrive late and the tour has departed. In these cases, you will be charged the full retail price. Therefore, you will have to pay on top of one of your attractions. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of each provider carefully to avoid problems and disappointments.


THE RIDE Example Reservation

Depending on which tour you’d like to reserve there are different steps you need to take. For this example, we’ll book tickets for THE RIDE. You can use either the guidebook or the website to follow the instructions, below we’ll be following steps via the website.

  1. Navigate to the Explorer Pass site, find via the ‘Attractions’ menu THE RIDE
  2. Scroll down to ‘Know before you go’ and click the link mentioned
  3. Read the information on the page or scroll directly to the bottom to book
  4. Click ‘book’ on the left image – it should say ‘THE RIDE – Explorer Pass’
  5. Select a date
  6. Select a time
  7. Select either standard admission (free) or front row admission (supplement)
  8. Fill in the pass number
  9. Select any add ons
  10. Accept the terms and conditions and cancellation policy
  11. Fill in personal details
  12. Click ‘Complete your booking’

Hover over and scroll through screenshots of the steps here:

Here is making a reservation in full:

Go New York Explorer Pass Guide – Booking The RIDE video