The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are among the most iconic landmarks in all of New York. Both represent an important period in the history of immigration in this country, reflecting the long-held ideal of America as a safe haven for all who seek liberty and freedom.
The Statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, and her famous blue-green color is the result of oxidized copper.
Ellis Island was once the home of the primary immigration center in the United States, and today is a fascinating museum.
Head to both of these top attractions on a fun ferry ride and spend an educational afternoon with the whole family.
Check out our helpful guide for visiting the both the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Immigration Museum, packed full of ways to save on admission, tips for visiting, other nearby attractions, and much more.
Looking for Discount Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Ferry Tickets?
We’ve got you covered – ferry tickets for the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island are available with the below money saving options, so you can choose the attraction pass that’s right for you:
The below options include a ferry ticket, audio tours, and access to the grounds of both Liberty Island and Ellis Island.
1. Explorer Pass – Choose as you go. Includes admission of up to 10 attractions.
2. Build Your Own Pass – Select the attractions you want to visit prior to visiting.
See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.
Please note: tickets to access the Pedestal and Crown of the Statue of Liberty are not included with the Explorer Pass.
If you wish add access to those parts of the statue, you will need book Crown Reserve tickets and/or Pedestal Reserve tickets separately and make reservations as soon as possible as space is limited and tours often sell out months in advance.
Tips for Your Upcoming Visit
- You may use either two of the ferry departure points for your trip.
- Battery Park in New York – departs every 25 minutes, 8:30am – 4:00pm (last departure at 3:30pm)
- Liberty State Park in New Jersey – depearts every 40 minutes, 8:30am – 4:00pm (last departure at 3:30pm)
- If time is a concern, then we strongly encourage using the Liberty State Park, New Jersey location for faster processing, boarding, convenient access and ample parking.
- Save on Statue of Liberty Ferry Tickets with the New York City Explorer Pass®.
- If visiting using an Explorer Pass, you must pick up your ferry boarding pass before entering the security line.
- All visitors are required to pass through a mandatory airport grade security screening, so be prepared for a long wait.
- We suggest arriving early in the morning. Allow at least 2 hours to visit one island and 4 hours to visit both islands.
- Bring your camera. You’ll want to take pictures of the Statue of Liberty from the shore, from the ferry, and from up close on Liberty Island.
- A limited number of wheelchairs are available for use on a first-come, first-served basis for no fee from the National Park Service.
- Visiting the Pedestal or Crown of the Statue of Liberty requires a reservation. Book well ahead to ensure availability the day you want to visit.
Best Times to Visit the Statue of Liberty
Because the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are two of the most popular places to visit in the entire area, you’d be hard pressed to find a time without many people.
We suggest arriving early in the morning when the ferries first begin to run.
Make sure you allow enough time to explore both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island thoroughly – at least 2 hours to visit one island and 4 hours to visit both islands.
What You Should Bring
There are a number of limitations on what is permitted on either island, so it’s best not to bring much if you want to avoid paying for a locker.
You won’t be permitted to bring large bags, and backpacks and strollers are not allowed at the Pedestal and Crown areas of the Statue. You’ll have to put everything except your camera and medication inside a locker beforehand.
Some things you you plan to bring include:
Camera – You’ll take a lot of photos trying to capture the statue from every angle. Don’t forget to take photos of the NYC skyline, too.
Money for souvenirs
Comfortable shoes – Most of the visit will be on your feet. The boat deck can be slippery, so wear shoes with good traction. If you’re visiting the pedestal or crown, you’ll need shoes that are safe for climbing stairs. On Ellis Island, the Hard Hat Tour prohibits sandals or open-toed shoes.
Dress for the weather – Much of the visit is outdoors, so come prepared with the layers you need to stay warm.
Sunscreen – You will likely be waiting in long lines outside.
Things to Do at Liberty Island
The Statue of Liberty greeted the ancestors of more than half of all Americans, raising its welcoming torch in New York Harbor after being given as a gift to the United States in 1886.
There are several different parts of Liberty Island and Ellis Island, so be sure to see them all!
Self-Guided Audio Tours
Self-guided audio tours are included with every ticket for both the Statue of Liberty National Monument and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, with special tours for children and those with vision impairments.
The Audio Tours are available in different languages including Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish.
If you’d like to be able to ask questions while you explore, there are ranger-led tours at both islands as well.
The Pedestal of the Statue of Liberty
A Pedestal Tour includes access inside the Statue of Liberty Pedestal and the Statue of Liberty Museum.
The lowest part of the Statue of Liberty, just above the lobby, the Pedestal forms the base of the Statue.
Be sure to visit the Statue of Liberty Museum on the second floor to learn all about the history and heritage of the world’s most famous statue.
The pedestal’s observation deck offers panoramic views of the harbor. The pedestal is partially wheelchair accessible, with elevator access part of the way up.
There are 215 steps to the top of the pedestal for those who choose to climb. The museum presents the history of how France and the United States cooperated to erect the statue and exhibits the original torch.
Remember: Statue of Liberty Pedestal tickets are separately ticketed
The Crown of the Statue of Liberty
The Crown of the Statue of Liberty is the highest visitors can ascend (since the torch was closed to visitors in 1916). Come up here for some unparalleled photo ops.
Children must be at least four feet tall to make the climb, and any children under 17 must be accompanied by an adult. Be prepared for a long walk; it’s the equivalent of a 22-story building, and there is no elevator option.
The National Park Service recommends that those with medical conditions such as heart problems, respiratory problems, acrophobia, claustrophobia, or vertigo do not attempt the climb.
Crown Tour ticket holders also have access to the Pedestal observation deck and the museum.
The Torch Exhibit
Featuring the original torch (which was actually replaced in the 1980s) and a number of drawings, and photographs depicting this iconic symbol of freedom, this exhibit is a good replacement for not being able to ascend to the torch itself.
Things to Do at Ellis Island
Ellis Island, which is also known as the ‘Island of Hope and Tears’, was the gateway for millions of immigrants searching for a new beginning and a new life for their families in America.
It has been estimated that close to 40% of all current US citizens can trace at least one of their ancestors to Ellis Island.
Ellis Island Immigration Museum
With nearly 400,000 artifacts and over 1 million archival records, the Ellis Island Immigration Museum is an expansive collection of historical records pertaining to the millions of immigrants who passed through this island on their way to a better life.
Search the American Family Immigration History Center’s databases in person at Ellis Island or online before you go.
The museum’s exhibit “Journeys: The Peopling of America” presents the immigration experience before Ellis Island opened and after it closed, but the museum emphasizes the arrivals process experienced by immigrants to the United States at Ellis Island.
Begin in the Baggage Room, where immigrants checked their bags after disembarking their ships.
Upstairs, the Registry Room and the Hearing Room are where immigrants were examined before being granted entry to the United States.
The Dormitory Rooms, where travelers who were briefly detained stayed overnight, host special exhibits.
Peopling of America Center
This is a must-see on your trip to Ellis Island.
This exhibit space tells the story of immigration to America before the opening of Ellis Island in 1892 and the way immigration works today following the closure of the Island in 1954.
These galleries follow the lives of real immigrants as they make their way into the United States and try to build a new life for themselves.
American Family Immigration History Center
For those of you with a particular interest in your family’s history, this Center is going to be a real treat.
Get a chance to explore the entire archival collection of immigration arrival records at Ellis Island and search for your ancestors.
Search by passenger record, ship manifest, and ship information.
Have any family on the Wall of Honor? Search for the location of their name with the Foundation’s Search the Wall
Ellis Island Hard Hat Tour
The Hard Hat Tour takes visitors on a 90-minute tour of the South Side of Ellis Island.
The tour visits the Ellis Island Hospital facilities, including the contagious disease wards and autopsy rooms.
The tour also includes the art exhibit “Unframed – Ellis Island” by JR, featuring full-size photographs of immigrants. No children under 13 are allowed on this tour.
Liberty Island and Ellis Island stand apart from New York City in its harbor, but there are many attractions near both the New York and New Jersey ferry landings.
For a couple ideas, check out our things to do in lower Manhattan post. Here are a few others we suggest adding to your itinerary…
- See the famous Charging Bull statue and walk over to Wall Street, where you’ll find Federal Hall, a National Memorial marking the spot where George Washington became president.
- Honor more of our nation’s important history with a visit to the poignant 9/11 Tribute Center & Memorial Museum.
- If you’d like to see the statue but don’t feel like waiting in lines at the actual island, try these fun options out on the water…
- The Museum of Jewish Heritage is also right on the waterfront.
- New York City Hall is an interesting place to snap photos.
- Pedal across the Brooklyn Bridge on a bike tour.
If you’re departing from the Jersey City location, take time to appreciate the views of New York City’s West Side skyline. Liberty State Park’s greenery provides a respite from the concrete city and its trails can even take you through a salt marsh. The Liberty Science Center helps visitors understand science and technology through hands-on exhibits.
Places to Eat Nearby
You are allowed to bring your own food for lunch, however it needs to be sealed prior to entering the screening facility. Coolers are not allowed.
The boat ride to the islands is brief, but if you get hungry on the way, you can purchase food on board.
Evelyn Hill Inc. is the food concessionaire located on Liberty Island and Ellis Island offering a variety of high quality food options.
Back in Manhattan, you’ll find hot dog vendors and the Battery Gardens restaurant tucked as far south on the island as you can get.
- Dine with a view of Lady Liberty at Battery Gardens.
- Gigino at Wagner Park also features great Statue views alongside Italian fare.
- Are you a Seinfeld fan? Then head to the Original Soup Man.
- Beaubourg offers high-end French cuisine and a delicious raw bar.
- In the mood for Japanese fare? Check out Shinjuku Sushi.
- History buffs will enjoy Trinity Place, located in a converted bank.
- Kids will love Peanut Butter & Co. Sandwich Shop.
- Families can find a wide variety of affordable chain options from Shake Shack to Subway.
Save on Admission with a New York Explorer Pass
Remember, the New York City Explorer Pass is the best choice for maximum savings and flexibility, which includes Statue of Liberty ferry tickets, plus admission to your choice of dozens more top attractions.
Save up to 50% on top museums, tours, and activities vs. paying at the gate. Visit multiple attractions for one low price.