The Complete Guide on How to Visit the Statue of Liberty

Visit the Statue of Liberty Close up view of Statue

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On our recent visit to New York City, I knew I had to take my son to visit the Statue of Liberty. Gloria and I had been there two years ago, but Lady Liberty is my favorite iconic symbol of the United States. There’s a secret most people don’t know about the Statue of Liberty that I knew Noah would enjoy, more on that below.

This post has been updated for September 2019.

Current COVID-19 Updates

With public safety top of mind, Statue Cruises follows social distancing guidelines, including face mask requirements for crews and guests, reduced vessel capacity and contactless payment, to help keep guests safe and stop the spread of COVID-19
 
New York, NY – The New York waterfront is re-opening its sails as Statue Cruises begins offering 60-minute harbor tours featuring breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn Bridge and much more.   
 
The 60-minute harbor tours will run four times daily out of the Battery Park departure point in lower Manhattan at 10 AM, 11:30 AM, 1 PM and 2:30 PM, seven days per week until service to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island resumes.  Statue Cruises is the exclusive provider of ferry service for the National Park Service to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
 
To help safeguard guests and crews while on board during the public health crisis, Statue Cruises will strictly follow the guidance of local, state and federal officials and incorporate Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) best practices.  Statue Cruises is encouraging social distancing to the greatest extent possible, reducing the capacity on board vessels by 50 percent, requiring all employees and guests to wear face masks at all times, thorough robust deep cleaning of vessels throughout each day, daily temperature checks of all Statue Cruises personnel, contactless payment, and more. 
 
“As we head into the heart of the summer season, Statue Cruises is committed to providing these harbor tours with the safety of our crew and guests as our highest priority,” said Mike Burke, Vice President and COO of Statue Cruises.  “We look forward to welcoming New Yorkers and friends of New Yorkers back on board to enjoy the sights and sounds of New York’s historic waterfront.”
 
Tickets are priced at $26/adult, $19/seniors, $14/child and free for children three years and under.  Tickets may be purchased in advance (strongly encouraged) from the Statue Cruises website or at Gangway 5 in Battery Park.  For more information on Statue Cruises, please visit www.statuecruises.com.

We visited New York City again in September 2019, this time with my husband, and yes, we had to go back. That makes three times I’ve visited and this year included some updates.

The Statue of Liberty has always held a special place in my heart since I was a kid. Yes, I am a child of the ’80s and Ghostbusters 2 showed that the famous scene of Lady Liberty crunching her way through Manhattan. Of course, I made the kids watch that before we left for NYC. It’s historical, right? Lady Liberty, in any movie, always pulls at my heartstrings and sense of American pride. She’s definitely a bucket list item for me and one I’d probably include on every visit to New York City.

Let’s go through everything you need to know before and during your visit to the Statue of Liberty.

Statue Cruises provided us with tickets, however, all opinions are my own.

Statue of Liberty Tickets

There is ONLY one way to get on Liberty Island and visit the Statue of Liberty. Statue Cruises is the only authorized provider of ferry service to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  Tickets can be purchased online at www.statuecruises.com or at the Statue Cruises ticket office inside Castle Clinton at Battery Park and in Liberty State Park in New Jersey. Many other services offer a view of the Statue, but it’s a view from the boat, not getting on the island itself.

At this time, tickets are a very reasonable cost.

Reserve Tickets and Reserve with Pedestal

Reserve Tickets get you on the island and that’s it. You do not get access to the pedestal, you do not get access to the inside, you do not pass go. Okay, you do pass go, you do get through security and you’re allowed to wander the grounds. Get this option ONLY if you’ve booked the last minute (see below) and want an up-close view. Otherwise, it’s the same cost to get reserve with pedestal access and so worth it.

$18.50 adult/$9 child for reserve or reserve with pedestal.

Reserve Tickets with Crown Access

Ah, this is the pinnacle and why I need to go back. We’ve yet to get into the crown, but it is possible! Get the Reserve with Crown Access to go all the way to the top.

$21.50 adult/$12 child for crown access.

Buy your tickets online and print at home. If you purchase an e-Ticket, you can bypass the ticket booth and go directly into the screening facility.

A few other notes:

  1. The early bird catches the early boat—departures before 10:00 a.m. and after 2:00 pm are less crowded.
  2. Book your tickets mid-week to avoid the busiest days.

Also, Statue Cruises is a part of the New York CityPASS. If you decide on that option, save 40% or more on New York’s 6 best attractions with CityPASS. Shop Now!

Visit the Statue of Liberty view of harbor with mom and daughter

When to Buy Statue of Liberty Tickets

We’ve not done the crown access because I simply did not plan that far in advance. As I’m writing this in early October, I checked and there are 2 days available in December. I would bet by the time you’re reading this, they will be gone.

For Crown Access – Book at least 3 months out. If you’re traveling during the busier school vacation days like Spring Break or summer, book 6 months out.

For Pedestal Access – Again, if you’re booking busy season, do at least 3-4 weeks out. Offseason you may get lucky and be able to book the day before, but why wait that long to visit the Statue of Liberty.

Sun shining on the Statue of Liberty facing left.

National Park Service

Did you know that when you visit the Statue of Liberty, you’re visiting a National Park? A national monument to be specific. There’s a ton to know about the National Park Service and what they run, but that’s another post for another day!

If your kids are junior rangers, (a program I wish my kids did, but teenagers,) then make sure they get a stamp in their Passport.  Even if you don’t have kids, ask questions of the NPS Rangers. They are there to help and inform.

If you haven’t visited the eParks Store, I highly recommend it. It’s full of exclusive National Park Merchandise, just in case you missed something during your trip.

Visit the Statue of Liberty Close up view of Statue with Statue Cruise ferry boat
photo courtesy of Statue Cruises

Statue Cruises & Departures

All that info and we haven’t even talked about getting on the boat yet. As I mentioned, Statue Cruises is the only way to get on the island to visit the Statue of Liberty up close.

The cruise is a triple deck ferry boat, with outstanding views of the New York skyline as well as the statue herself. Seating is limited, and the best views are from the top level. Don’t be discouraged however if that deck is crowded. The second level from the rear is also great for skyline views. Just about every angle will get a view of the statue as well.

Statue Cruises departs from two locations, Battery Park in lower Manhattan and Liberty State Park in New Jersey. From Battery Park, the ferry boat goes to Liberty Island and the Statue and then on to Ellis Island. From New Jersey, the cruise goes to Ellis Island first then on to the Statue of Liberty. Subject to change of course, but you can get an idea of the departure schedule here.

Statue Cruises map of cruise departure locations Statue of Liberty

The ferry departs about every 15 minutes from the Battery Park, and roughly every 35 minutes from Liberty State Park in NJ. The New Jersey departure point typically sees lower volumes of visitors than Battery Park, which means a more efficient security screening process and the best-kept secret for visiting. You can experience the best views of the Manhattan skyline!

With convenient highway access and ample parking, the New Jersey departure point at Liberty State Park is the optimum choice to visit the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island via auto, bus or light rail.

Statue Cruises map of cruise departure locations Statue of Liberty

Also, if you board at one location, you can depart at another. That was our initial plan to board from the New Jersey side, and after our visit, go into Manhattan. However, the rain changed that a bit!

At either location, you will go through an airport security tent. Be prepared to remove belts and watches, but thankfully, not shoes.

Getting on the Island

Once on liberty island, you will line up to go through security again if you’re going through to the pedestal. Keep your tickets handy as you will show them a few times at access points. Bringing a backpack on your visit?  If so and you’re heading into the Pedestal or Crown of the Statue of Liberty, you’ll have to secure your bag in a nearby locker before proceeding into Lady Liberty. Travel light to maximize the trip.

You can, of course, bring your camera through security as well as your phone to get some awesome shots.

Audio tours for both islands come in 12 languages, plus an ASL Tour is included with every ticket purchased.

Getting to the Pedestal

Once inside the main area, you’ll see a loooong line to get to the pedestal. Don’t get in that line. Go to the left and climb the stairs. The line on the right is waiting for the elevator. If you do need the elevator, then wait, of course. But if you can do the steps (and you can do the 231 steps) then save yourself the time.

The Pedestal is great, and you get this fantastic, up her skirt, kind of view. You’ll also get more great shots of the New York and New Jersey skyline (yes, that’s a thing too.) But if you can buy the crown, buy the crown.

Visit the Statue of Liberty Statue Face bronze in museum
2018

Getting to the Crown

Crown tickets do require you to walk up more steps. There’s no elevator here, so you’ll have to be comfortable walking and with tight spaces. This is not for small children, the National Park Service requires them to be 4 feet tall. However, the views are worth it. Only about 10-15 people are allowed up at a time, so it’s not crowded and you’re allowed about 20 minutes to get every shot you can.

Like I said earlier, we did not get crown tickets this time around. I guess that just means we’ll need to visit the Statue of Liberty a fourth time! I really want to envision myself with Peter Venkman commanding Lady Liberty through the harbor.

Visit the Statue of Liberty Statue foot bronze in museum
Noah in 2018
Boy with bronze Statue of Liberty foot.
Noah in 2019

Do the Museum

Here’s the secret. There’s a museum on the grounds, to the left as you’re walking towards the Statue. The entire museum is dedicated to the history of building the statue. The museum was once located inside the pedestal but has since moved to the grounds in a beautiful aesthetically designed building.

It’s totally worth it. You get to take shots with Lady Liberty’s mug and her toes. But more importantly, you’re treated to a timeline of just how long it took to get this marvelous Miss built. Pictures of original designs, displays in both France and New York, as well as the funding efforts it took for the pedestal are all here. If you love the Statue of Liberty as I do, s great to hear more of her backstory.

Visit the Statue of Liberty Statue girl looking at museum artifacts and advertising

So are you ready to visit the Statue of Liberty? If you want a guided tour, Take Walks offers a VIP guided tour of the Statue of Liberty.

While many travelers enjoy exploring the islands at their leisure, many travelers also like to enjoy a guided experience.  One of the largest walking & experience tour companies in the United States is EXP1 – ExperienceFirst, offering authentic, immersive and memorable experiences in New York City. One of their most popular tours is the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Tour which includes a Statue Cruises ticket AND a friendly, knowledgeable guide to share the rich history with along the journey.

Any other questions you may have, leave in the comments below.

2019

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10 thoughts on “The Complete Guide on How to Visit the Statue of Liberty”

  1. Such great info. Visiting the Statue of Liberty is definitely on my Bucket List. I would have never known that I need to book in advance. The museum looks like it would be super interesting too!

    1. Especially if you want crown tickets. Depending on the time of year, I’m sure you can do same day, but much better to plan ahead!

  2. Great post, and beautiful pictures. I have only done the Statue of Liberty with the free Staten Island Ferry…that gives a good view too. But will try this next time 🙂

  3. It’s so easy to forget all the little details that are involved when visiting a national landmark like Lady Liberty, this is a really great breakdown! And yes, Ghostbusters 2 is definitely historical! Lol!

  4. Hi, I was just wondering about departure times once you are finished and want to head back. I was a bit confused because on the website it showed various departure times, but then had a return trip section where it didn’t look like the boats were returning until 5:40 PM. I wanted to purchase tickets at 8: a.m. but don’t want to stay on the islands until 5:40! Do you know what that is about, and can we indeed head back to battery park after being there for a couple of hours? Thanks for the info!

    1. Good question! Yes, boats are departing regularly. If you are going back to Liberty Park in NJ, boats travel from Ellis Island, to the Statue and back to NJ. From the NY Battery Park side, boats go to SOL first, then Ellis then back to NY. I hope that makes sense. Boats depart about every 15 minutes or so. I looked at the site and see where the 5:40 part can be confusing. But if you look at when boats depart Ellis Island or the Statue at the top table, you can take any of those boats. Hope that helps!

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