The New York CityPASS (sometimes called the New York City Pass) is a unique attraction pass for New York. The CityPASS is different compared to other attraction passes; both in the way it works and in what it offers. You can visit several famous sights with the CityPASS. However, the choice is limited to a total of 9 attractions. Therefore, the pass is especially worthwhile if you plan to specifically visit these attractions.
The New York CityPASS is a pass that allows you to visit 6 attractions. These are 6 of New York’s top attractions, including the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock and the Statue of Liberty. From the 6 attractions, 3 have already been chosen for you. The remaining 3 choices can be decided for yourself from the CityPASS options. These attraction options require the pass holder to choose one of two attractions to visit.
In this articleReading time: 9 minutes
You will receive a QR code by email which you can scan at the entrance to the attractions. If you would like a detailed explanation of the purchase and use of the CityPASS, including screenshots, take a look here.
The pass consists of a fixed number of attractions: 3 set options and 3 choice options
You can visit various attractions and / or take boat tours with the New York CityPASS. It is not possible or necessary to book this in advance. You can go to the attraction when you want to visit it, show the pass and easily enter. There is one exception to this: Top of the Rock. You can only reserve this in advance, as soon as you have your vouchers, via the CityPASS-website go to the Top of the Rock site where you can make a reservation by entering your CityPASS number. By booking online, you can go straight to the entrance at the scheduled time and enter with your voucher. You can make this reservation far in advance, but also last minute (if there’s availability) so it still offers flexibility!
The CityPASS uses a number of slogans on its site with various claims about benefits of the pass. We will go through these benefits to see to what extent they are correct. First of all, the pass promises you will save money and enjoy the city with the best attraction pass. It’s true that you save money with this pass compared to buying separate tickets for attractions and, naturally, you’re going to have fun in New York! The promise that the CityPASS is “the best” option varies from person to person. It is a good option for New York travellers with a schedule that is exactly in line with the CityPASS. The pass is easy to use and it does save money. However, there are other attraction passes in New York that are more worthwhile when it comes to saving money.
Spend less, enjoy more. It is absolutely correct that you spend less money with this pass than if you buy separate tickets for the included attractions. Below you can find detailed calculations of this. The advantage of the CityPASS is that you can visit the Empire State Building twice, once during the day and on the same day, also in the evening. This is not possible with any other attraction pass. Please note that the second visit in the evening is only possible at certain times.
The CityPASS also promises that you will spend less time figuring things out in New York and more time connecting with each other. This claim is not always true. There are many discount passes for New York and if you would like to compare all of these before purchasing; you will still be spending a lot of time “figuring out” the differences. Fortunately, there is the website NewYorkAttractionPasses.com, where all information about the passes can be found in one place! Let’s ignore the somewhat strange claim of “more time connecting with each other”.
Spend less time rushing, more time experiencing. This refers to the validity of the 9-day pass. This starts the moment you use the pass for the first time, once activated you have 9 days to visit all 6 attractions. Naturally, the amount of “rushing” in your schedule depends on how long your trip lasts and how many other things you would like to do while in New York.
Spend less time in lines, more time feeling like a VIP. You have priority at many of the attractions with the CityPASS skip-the-line benefit. At the 9/11 Museum, there is even a separate line for CityPASS holders only. Also, at the Top of the Rock you can enter directly with your online reservation. At the other attractions, there is usually a line for pass holders in general. This means you will share the queue with many other visitors who have one of the various attraction passes. Don’t forget the security check which you will have to go through; this is a regular occurrence at many attractions. Chances are you will also have to queue with the CityPASS; this line is generally shorter than the ticket kiosk queue. You also have the convenience of one pass which you can go anywhere with.
The CityPASS claims to offer savings of up to 42%. The CityPASS website is very transparent with this. They take the cost of individual entry tickets to the 6 most expensive attractions you can visit with the pass, specifically the Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History (standard choices), and Top of the Rock, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises and Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum as the most expensive of the choice options.
The cost of these attractions added together is $245. The CityPASS costs $129, so this is a saving of -47%.
However, it should be noted that the pass includes two visits to the Empire State Building. Specifically once during the day, and once in the evening. These two visits together have a value of $67. The evening visit with the pass is especially nice as an “extra”. People who buy individual tickets are more likely to opt for a one time visit.
The Intrepid Museum is also a more expensive choice than the 9/11 Museum, but practically most visitors will opt for the latter. In this case, the savings are slightly lower. This also applies to the choice between the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and the Circle Line Cruise.
For the American Museum of Natural History on the CityPASS website, the price of the tickets that include the Hayden Planetarium Space Show or a 3D movie are used for this calculation. Regular tickets are a few dollars cheaper. At The Met, you also get the $7 audio tour with your CityPASS ticket. This extra amount is also included in the calculation of the savings. And finally, the CityPASS website mentions the amount of $37 for the Circle Line Cruise. However, this is the most expensive cruise you can choose. If you prefer to go with a cheaper cruise, such as The Beast speedboat, you pay less for the individual tickets. At the bottom of this page, you can find a table with the savings calculated for these choices.
Overall, the CityPASS is great savings for those who can put together the exact itinerary they want with these fixed attractions and choice options. However, if you would like to make slightly different choices, even if it’s only one; you’ll end up considering a different attraction pass.
The New York CityPASS also exists in a smaller form, called C3. You can choose 3 attractions from a (small) list of top New York attractions with the C3 pass. These are the same attractions as the CityPASS, plus a number of additional options. You can only order this pass online, and you can choose the attractions you would like to visit ‘on the go’ when you’re in New York. This means you cannot choose in advance.
Unlike the other attraction passes, the CityPASS never has discount promotions. There are also no discount codes available. The advantage is you never have to worry that you haven’t got the “best deal” as the pass is always the same price. There is an annual price increase in February / March. If you plan to buy the pass, it’s better to do this before the price increase happens. If you want / can buy the pass in euros, this site is slightly cheaper than on the CityPASS-website.
There are no discount codes available.
The price of the New York CityPASS is $129 for adults and $109 for children. Buy the New York CityPASS here.
You can order the pass on the CityPASS-website. You’ll receive the pass directly by email.
As a final option, you can order the pass online at other sites rather than the CityPASS site. Prices and deals can differ which could work to your advantage or disadvantage. An example of this, where the pass is currently cheaper than the CityPASS website, is this website than on the CityPASS website (when paid in Euro).
The New York CityPASS can be purchased on the CityPASS website by credit card. If you prefer to pay with PayPal, you can do this here.
If purchased on the official CityPASS website, the CityPASS offers a full refund of the cost of an unused pass up to 365 days after purchase. This is standard policy so you don’t have to purchase anything extra for this cover.
The CityPASS is valid for 9 days from the first use. These days must be continuous; it’s not possible to divide this period in two. If the pass is not used, it is valid for one year after purchase.
Per email, post or collection
The CityPASS is available separately for children and for adults. The pass for children is officially for those from 6 to 18 years old. From 6 years old, the pass is always cheaper than individual tickets. For children under 6 years old, the benefit of the pass depends on which attractions you would like to visit. Some attractions do not charge entrance for children up to 3, 4 or 5 years old. However, often you still have to get a free ticket at the counter so you actually lose the time normally saved by the pass. For this reason, it can still be worthwhile to purchase passes for the whole family, even if the children are under 6 years old.
Definitely. The CityPASS is an affordable and practical attraction pass for New York. The pass is definitely worth purchasing, especially if all the attractions you plan to visit are included in this pass. The pass is particularly worthwhile to museum enthusiasts; it allows you to visit the American Museum of Natural History, The Met and the Guggenheim, as well as choose from the 9/11 Museum or Intrepid. You can find an overview of different reviews for the CityPASS here.
You can save on your visits to the top attractions in New York with the New York CityPASS. Below you can see a calculation of the potential savings with the pass.
|Top of the Rock||$44|
|The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum||$30|
|Circle Line Harbor Lights Cruise||$44|
|2x Empire State Building||$67|
|The Metropolitan Museum of Art + Audio Guide||$32|
|American Museum of Natural History + Hayden Planetarium Space Show||$28|
|Total cost separate tickets:||$245|
|New York CityPASS||$129|
|Savings per person:||$116|
|Discount on ticket prices per person:||-47%|
Depending on which attractions you choose, the C3 pass saves you up to -35% compared to individual tickets. The attractions that you can visit with the C3 pass are the same 9 attractions as the CityPASS, plus MoMA, Hornblower Sightseeing Cruises and Edge. However, the discount of -35% only applies when you visit the most expensive attractions: Empire State Building, Top of the Rock and The Edge. If you are more interested in visiting museums such as American Museum of Natural History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA, then you’ll find that the there are no actual savings, in fact it will be 2% more expensive than the ticket prices.
Most New York attraction passes include a long list of attractions and tours. This means these passes are flexible but it can also be difficult to decide. This doesn’t apply to the CityPASS as it includes 9 top attractions, so it’s clear and practical! You can visit the following attractions with the CityPASS:
The choice options mean that you can choose one of the two options, so Top of the Rock or the Guggenheim Museum. In total, the number of attractions that you can visit with the CityPASS is six.
The CityPASS for New York is one of the few attraction passes that doesn’t allow you to use the Hop-on Hop-off bus. If you would still like to take the sightseeing buses, you can buy separate tickets for this or check out the other discount passes.
All attractions included in the New York CityPASS are also included in the other attraction passes. This means there are no exclusive CityPASS attractions. However, you can use the pass to visit the Empire State Building twice within a day; once during the day and once during the evening. This applies exclusively to the CityPASS. You can only visit each attraction once with the other passes so this is a unique option that is only offered by the CityPASS.
Was this article helpful? Recommend it by giving me a rating: