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An Honest Review of the New York Pass. Is it really worth it?

It was my first time travelling to New York last April and I wanted to make sure I made the most of my 7 day trip. I see many people asking about the New York Pass and whether it’s worth it.

This is my honest review of the New York Pass and my experience of using it over the course of my vacation to New York.

I did lots of research on the places I wanted to visit and the things I wanted to see. One of the suggestions online was to buy one of the tourist passes available allowing you to get access to different activates at a reduced rate.  There were lots of things I wanted to tick off my list. The Rockefeller Plaza, the empire state building, MET museum etc. I wanted to see it all.

I decided the best way to do this was to get a New York Pass. After reading about it online and as a lot of the activities I wanted to do were offered on the Pass I decided to go for it. I did ALOT of research online about the different passes available. After working out the cost of the Pass versus the cost to buy these things individually I found the New York Pass was the best for me.

Check out my other blog posts on New York 

What is the New York Pass

The New York Pass is a discount card for the top attractions in New York City. Essentially once as you buy the Pass you get free entry to 90 different museums and tours. They also offer you fast track into different attractions meaning you didn’t have to queue.

The New York Pass offers one day or multiple day passes. I opted to get the 5 day New York Pass. The cost was 262 dollars which this included a 25% discount online. There were a number of things I wanted to do that were not included in the pass so I figured I could do them on the days the pass expired. I paid the extra 8 Dollars and got my pass delivered instead of collecting it when I got to New York. I was so thankful of this when I went to the New York Pass office to pick up bus tickets and saw all the queues to collect the New York pass.

New York Pass

The front of the Rockefeller Plaza

The Benefits of the New York Pass

What I liked about the pass was that everything was paid for in advance. This meant that I didn’t have to worry about the cost of all the tours while on holiday. Any spending money I brought with me was for food and shopping so it was easier to budget.

There were tours I would have never gone on only that it was free on the New York Pass. I did the Rockefeller tour which was excellent and one of the best experiences while I was in New York

Apart from some of the food tours, you didn’t need to book anything in advance. This meant you could just arrive at the venue and go on the tour.

Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.

The Downsides to the Pass.

While not needing to book in advance was positive it can also be a negative. The most expensive item on the New York Pass was The Ride tour. It seems like a great experience.  According to the New York Pass official website, it costs 74 dollars without the pass. Unfortunately, they only allow a few New York Pass holders onto The Ride meaning there is a high demand. You cannot book in advance and have to buy them the morning of the tour. We were told that a queue starts early in the morning and we would need to queue from at least 8 am in the hopes that we might get one of the tickets. As the office doesn’t open until 9 am we would have to queue for an hour and we may not even get a ticket. We decided against it as we figured we were on holidays and spending an hour queuing was a waste.

Not being able to book in advance became a factor in other tours as well. Some places such as the Rockefeller have allotted times for the Top of the Rock. This meant if you arrived wanting to go on the tour, it may be booked out. You are then given a time slot for later that day or the following day. This happened a few times on different tours meaning we had to make arrangements to come back again to the tour later

The other big-ticket item on the New York Pass is the Hop on Hop off tour. I thought this was a great way to get to the different tourist attractions and be able to “hop on and off” so to speak. Unless you got on at the starting point of the bus it was actually hard to get a seat. You are waiting for people to leave the bus to get on. With big queues trying to get on the bus it was a disaster. The majority of the time I ended up getting the subway to my next destination as it was quicker than waiting.

Even though there are fast track queues in certain attractions, they were not that fast. Because so many tourists buy the New York Pass and the City Pass, often the fast track queues are the same if not longer than the regular queue.

The pass also runs on a day-to-day cycle as opposed a 24-hour cycle. I arrived in on Friday night but did not start using the pass until the Saturday. The pass runs from day-to-day as opposed to a 24-hour cycle. If I had started using it Friday night it would only have lasted until Tuesday meaning I would have missed out on a full day.

Some of the museums listed on the New York Pass have a ticket price of 20 dollars. That is, in fact, a suggested price by the museum.  You can actually pay whatever you want

One of the Buildings at the Rockefeller Plaza

Is the New York Pass Worth it?

Even though I didn’t get to do everything I wanted such as The Ride, I think it worked out cheaper than buying everything individually.  However, I definitely think the one day pass for 119 dollars is very expensive. You are not going to see everything in one day. At most, you will probably get maybe two or three attractions with the one day pass.  If you are planning on getting the New York Pass my advice is to write down the cost of everything. This way you can see if it is cheaper than buying the pass. Be realistic. I tried to do a lot while I was in New York and the most I was able to do was two/three attractions a day. Make sure that you don’t spend all your time trying to get to everything. You are in New York, you want to have fun and enjoy just being in this beautiful city.