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Free New York Boat Tours

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

This post is a summary of the various free, and almost free, options for you to get out on the waters of NYC. If you are considering taking New York boat tours, but are hesitant about the cost of a harbor cruise, then this post is for you. Though none of these options are “official” boat tours, each offers guests incredible views of the New York skyline, Statue of Liberty, Governors Island, and more.  And if you are looking for other ways to save during your trip to NYC, then check out our extensive budget guide to visiting New York and our definitive guide to free (and almost free) things to do in the city.

Staten Island Ferry
East River Ferry
Water Taxi IKEA Shuttle Ferry
Free Kayaking
Village Community Boathouse
Save Money on Paid Cruises

 

 

1. Staten Island Ferry 


Budget Tip: If you are planning on purchasing the one of the New York City tourist passes, most have boat tours included in the price. Read our post to see if one of New York tourist passes are for you.


This may be the best known “secret” in the Big Apple.  This is a free commuter ferry. It just so happens that this ferry offers one of the best views of the New York skyline including a pretty close look at the  Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Riding the ferry after our Lower Manhattan Tour is a great way to spend half a day without spending half your budget!

The ferry departs Lower Manhattan and takes approximately 25 minutes to reach Staten Island, where you could get off and explore or just get back on and return to Manhattan. The ferry departs from Whitehall Terminal.  The Staten Island Ferry operates 24 hours a day, so consider making this also a fantastic thing to do at night for a sparkling view of the city.

 

Wall Street to Whitehall

 


2. East River Ferry 

This is the cheapest boat ride in NYC, after the free Staten Island Ferry.  This is also a commuter ferry and costs the same as a subway, just $2.75 one way. The East River Ferry connects Lower and Midtown Manhattan making stops in Brooklyn and in Queens along the way. In the summer, the ferry also goes to Governors Island, located just near the tip of Manhattan.

 

 

From start to finish a ride is about 45 minutes. Riding the ferry will give you great views of Lower Manhattan, the Freedom Tower, the Brooklyn Bridge (you ride right under it), the Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge and a lot more.

Read our East River Ferry post for all the details, schedules, stops and how to buy your ticket.

 


3. Water Taxi IKEA Shuttle Ferry 

This ferry service runs from Wall Street Terminal to Red Hook in Brooklyn.  It’s free on weekends and $5 on weekdays. If you make at least a $10 purchase at IKEA (lunch?), then your weekday ride is free.  It’s a great way to get to Red Hook Brooklyn and back without taking the subway.

 

 


4. Free Kayaking

Okay, so this option is definitely not a boat tour… but, it’s an awesome idea and it’s free!  The Downtown Boathouse, one of the organizations that run the kayak rides is an all-volunteer organization.  Donations are accepted.  They have four locations: Pier 26, Governors Island, Pier 40 and Pier 96.  

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse also offers free kayaking, where you can kayak underneath the Brooklyn Bridge.

 

Kayaking-in-New-York-City

Photo Courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse

 


5. Village Community Boathouse 

Perfect for a more adventurous soul, Village Community Boathouse offers guests the chance to participate in completely FREE community rowing sessions after dusk from April – November.  On Sundays they also an additional rowing session at noon, as well as a variety of other activities intermittently throughout the year. During the winter, guests can join in for a free boat building lesson.

 


6. Paid Boat Tours and Cruises 

There are many other boat tours and lunch/dinner cruises available that have upfront fees. Many of these companies offer combo tickets that combine boat, bus, museum, even helicopters all for one discounted price.  Read our post comparing the different New York City boat tours/cruises and the combo ticket options.

If you are planning on purchasing the one of the New York City tourist passes, most have boat tours included in the price.  Read our post to see if one of New York tourist passes are for you.

Another way to save on paid boat cruises to check  Viator to see what tours they have on offer.  You can often combine boat and bus tours.

 


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Statue of Liberty Crown Tickets

How to Get Crown Tickets for the Statue of Liberty

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

This post is about how to get Statue of Liberty crown tickets as well as general tips on other tickets.  Crown access is extremely limited and is often sold out weeks, even months, in advance, but there is still a small chance for last minute tickets.  Also, check out our post on how to get to the Statue of Liberty.

How to Get Tickets
Last Minute Tickets
Additional Security
Other Ticket Options
Views From the Crown
More Things to Do in NYC

Our general video for Statue of Liberty tickets

 


HOW TO GET CROWN TICKETS

Although it’s not too difficult to purchase tickets for the Statue of Liberty, crown tickets aren’t as easy to obtain. There’s only one way to see Lady Liberty’s crown, so tickets tend to sell out very quickly, as there are only approximately 500 per day in the peak summer months. With that in mind, we recommend purchasing admission for this service at least a month or two ahead of time. During peak seasons, you’ll want to consider purchasing tickets even earlier than usual.

Statue Cruises is the only tour company authorized to provide tours and admission to the crown. If you want tickets for this attraction, you’ll need to visit their website and book a Crown Reserve Ticket. Each ticket to the crown includes ferry service to/from the landmark, an audio tour of the grounds, and access to both the Ellis Island Museum and the Statue of Liberty Museum.

  • Ticket Prices: $21.50 for Adults | $17 for Seniors | $12 for Children
  • Availability: Ferry departs daily from 8:30 am – 5 pm
  • Duration: As long as you want – most people stay for approximately 2-3 hours
  • Click here for additional information

 


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LAST MINUTE TICKETS

The Statue of Liberty. Image Source: Wikimedia user Dominique James on November 7th, 2009.As we mentioned before, Statue Cruises is the only company allowed to provide access to Lady Liberty’s crown. As a result, you won’t be able to find similar tickets from any other service in the area, and you cannot transfer tickets, so don’t buy anything off of 3rd party sites. Once crown tickets sell out, they are usually very difficult to obtain.

With that being said, it’s important to note that tickets sometimes get canceled. Whenever a guest cancels a crown ticket, it will quickly be placed back into their system.

Anyone looking for last minute tickets will want to keep an eye on their calendar. Although it’s not possible to get same-day tickets, you could get lucky and find admission within the next few days. If you’re planning on staying in New York City for at least a week, it’s entirely possible to get crown tickets before your vacation ends. Increase your chances of getting last-minute tickets by checking their reservation system regularly.

 


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ADDITIONAL SECURITY FOR CROWN TICKET HOLDERS

Guests who visit the Statue of Liberty have to follow certain rules for security purposes. These rules are even more strict for tourists who purchase a crown ticket. Before we get into the additional security guidelines, take a look at the main requirements for all visitors.

  • No food, drinks or backpacks permitted
  • No strollers allowed
  • Long umbrellas are restricted
  • Lockers are available to store bags and other belongings

TIP: If you plan on bringing a few things with you, check out our luggage storage post for more information on storing personal belongings and bags in and around New York City.  You can store a bag for an entire day for just $6.


Anyone visiting the crown will also have to keep the following security requirements in mind. These restrictions are in place for the protection of all tourists. Most of these additional rules are straightforward and make plenty of sense.

  • Adults must show photo ID
  • Only 1 camera per person is permitted
  • Children must be at least 4 ft (1.2 m) tall

 

In addition to these security guidelines, it’s important to note that the stairs which lead to the crown are very steep and can be difficult for some guests to climb. There is no elevator access to the top, so seniors and parents with young children will want to consider their physical ability before purchasing crown tickets. This may also be a difficult climb and potentially dangerous if you are pregnant. That being said, these aren’t restrictions and you are welcome to purchase tickets as long as you follow their rules and regulations.

Check out the National Park Service website for more information.

 


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ADDITIONAL TICKET OPTIONS

Although there’s only one way to see the crown, there are many ways to see the Statue of Liberty. In addition to their crown tickets, Statue Cruises also provides admission to Liberty Island, Ellis Island and the Pedestal. If you can’t get Reserve Crown tickets, we recommend one of the following alternative options.

Statue of Liberty Ground Ticket

  • Ticket Prices: $18.50 for Adults | $14 for Seniors | $9 for Children
  • Availability: Ferry departs daily from 8:30 am – 5 pm
  • Duration: As long as you want – between 2-3 hours on average
  • Access the grounds of Liberty Island and Ellis Island
  • Audio Tours of Liberty Island and Ellis Island
  • Priority Entry into the Screening Facility Queue
  • Click here for more information

Statue of Liberty Pedestal Ticket

  • Ticket Prices: $18.50 for Adults | $14 for Seniors | $9 for Children
  • Availability: Ferry departs daily from 8:30 am – 5 pm
  • Duration: As long as you want – between 2-3 hours on average
  • Includes all of the benefits of the Ground Ticket
  • Access up to the Fort Wood section of the pedestal
  • Click here for more information

TIP: You can actually get a pedestal ticket for free when signing up for a guided tour of the Statue of Liberty. Several companies offer guided tours of Liberty Island and Ellis Island, allowing visitors to see the historic monument up close and learn about it from a knowledgeable source. Click here to find out more about this option.

 


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VIEWS FROM THE CROWN

So what can you actually see from the Statue of Liberty’s crown? Well, if you look out over the water, you’ll get some very good views of the New York City skyline. As you look through the windows of the crown, you might be surprised at just how small they are. Lady Liberty may look huge from afar, but there’s actually a limited amount of room at the top of the monument. For a better idea of what to expect, take a look at the following video. Click here to see the views from the pedestal.

 

 


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How is the Weather in New York in March?

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

This post is a summary of the March weather in New York City. We offer tips on what to wear and things to do throughout the month in the Big Apple. Temperatures tend to remain relatively low towards the beginning of the month, but can rise to the mid 60’s F (17-18C) by the end of the month. March weather can be fairly unpredictable as it falls right in between winter, but hopefully, this post will help you prepare for your trip to the NYC! 

Average Temperatures
How Much Sun and Rain
What to Wear
Things to Do in March
Things to Do Any Month
Free Tours by Foot

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Gospel New York

Gospel Music in Harlem and the Rest of New York City

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

This post describes how you could hear gospel music in New York, whether in Harlem, in Brooklyn or anywhere else.  And it’s as convenient as the Theater District in Midtown Manhattan (video below shows the Adult Praise Choir from the Times Square Church). Of course, if this seems daunting, you might consider an organized gospel tour.  We also cover several gospel churches on our pay-what-you-wish Harlem Walking Tour as well as on our audio tour of Harlem

Tips and Etiquette
Calendar of Gospel Services
Our Top 2 Venue Picks
Other Venue Recommendations
Paid Tours that Include Gospel Music
Free Tours by Foot Gospel Tours


 

 
 

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Seth Meyers Banner

How to Get Tickets to see Late Night With Seth Meyers 

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

This post explains how you can get free tickets for Late Night with Seth Meyers, including how to obtain standby tickets, tickets for the rehearsal show, as well as preparing yourself for entry.  The show is taped in Rockefeller Center at 30 Rock, the same building as the Top of the Rock observation deck. You may also be interested in a Rockefeller Center Tour or an NBC Studio Tour before taping. 

How to Request Tickets
Attending the Show
Standby + Rehearsal Tickets
Other TV Show Tapings in NYC
Other Things to Do in NYC

 

 

TIP: You might be interested in an NYC TV and Movie Sights Tour, which is included for free with several NYC tourist discount passes 

Read more »

Top of the Rock Tickets

How to Get Top of the Rock Tickets

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

This post covers how to get tickets to Top of the Rock, the observation deck at Rockefeller Center, including tips on discount tickets.  We also compare the top 3 NYC observation decks, including the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center.

Ticket Types + Prices
6 Discounts and Combos
NBC Studios Tour
Rockefeller Center Official Tour
Things to Do in NYC

 

 

How to get to Rockefeller Center

The closest subway is the B, D, F and M trains to 47-50 St, Rockefeller Center.  Other trains nearby are the 1 train at 50th Street and the N, Q and R trains at 49th Street.  The main entrance to Top of the Rock is on 50th Street in between 5th and 6th Avenues.  Please use our Google map for directions to Rockefeller Center. Read more »

The View Banner

How to Get Tickets for The View

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

This post will show you how to get free tickets for The View, including standby tickets, where and when you need to go on the day of the taping, and general rules for studio entry to help you plan your attendance.  Be sure to check out our how-to guide about attending other NYC TV show tapings.

Where is The View Taped
Getting Advanced Tickets
Standby Tickets
Plan Your Attendance
Things to Do in NYC

 

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How is the Weather in New York in April?

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

This post is a summary of the weather in April in NYC, with tips on what to wear and things to do.  April is a great time to be outdoors, as higher daytime tempertures means that heavy jackets are no longer needed.  

Average Temperatures
How Much Sun and Rain
What to Wear
Things to Do in April
Things to Do Any Month
Free Tours by Foot

Read more »

The Tour at NBC Studios Reviewed

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

This post is about the NBC Studios tours, a behind-the-scenes look at some of your favorite NBC shows. We give you tips to help plan your visit as well as analyze the reviews left by previous tour attendees. This is one of the most popular activities at Rockefeller Center, but we’ll also discuss some of the other attractions you can expect to find there, such as Top of the Rock and the Tour of Rockefeller Center

Plan Your Visit
About the Tour
Reviews
Free Tours by Foot
Other Things to do in NYC

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Things to Do in Greenwich Village

What to See and Do in Greenwich Village

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

This post is a guide to things to see and do in Greenwich Village, including where to hear live music, where to dine, shop and more.  This is one neighborhood you simply must explore, either on your own or with us on one of our pay-what-you-wish guided walking tours. We’ve also created a self-guided tour included in this post below. You can use it on your smart device or download and print it as a PDF. We also a have a GPS audio tour for download as well!    

Where is Greenwich Village
Things to See / Self-Guided Tour
Food, Hotels, Entertainment and Shopping
Guided Tours
Things to Do in NYC
Free Tours by Foot

 

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