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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.
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 80’s and Ghostbusters 2 showed that 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 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:
- The early bird catches the early boat—departures before 10:00 a.m. and after 2:00 pm are less crowded.
- Book your tickets mid-week to avoid the busiest days.
Also, Statue Cruises is a part of the New York City Pass. If you decide on that option, save 40% or more on New York’s 6 best attractions with CityPASS. Shop Now!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ($2 fee) 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 anNew Jersey skyline (yes, that’s a thing too.) But if you can buy the crown, buy the crown.
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 third time! I really want to envision myself with Peter Venkman commanding Lady Liberty through the harbor.
Do the Museum
Here’s the secret. There’s a museum inside the statue pedestal! The museum, located on the 2nd floor of the atrium, is one of my favorite museums in New York City. It’s entirely dedicated to Lady Liberty and how she was built.
If you do the pedestal, you’ll need to go all the way back down and around to go back inside to visit the museum. 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 like I do, s great to hear more of her backstory.
So are you ready to visit the Statue of Liberty? Any other questions you may have, leave in the comments below.
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