First Time Tips Guide to Visiting the Statue of Liberty


The Statue of Liberty is one of New York’s — and the country’s — most iconic tourist attractions, so here are some tips for (overwhelmed) first-timers.

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic places to visit in New York. The majestic American monument remains the city’s most iconic symbol and attracts more than 3 million visitors each year. Many do not know that neoclassical sculpture is a gift from the French people to Americans.

Additionally, the 151-foot statue holds a torch representing liberty illuminating the world, hence its name: Statue of Liberty. Here are the main tips for newcomers to take full advantage of the experience.

Related: America’s Most Iconic Landmark: History and Symbolism Behind the Statue of Liberty

First: there are two ways to access the Statue of Liberty

There are two ways to get to the Statue of Liberty: through New Jersey or through Manhattan (Battery Park). However, it is not recommended to take Manhattan Road to avoid heavy traffic (especially during rush hour) unless you are coming from Pennsylvania or New Jersey.

Liberty State Park (New Jersey side) is less crowded and plenty of parking is available. If you are coming from Manhattan, the closest subway stops to reach the Statue of Liberty are Bowling Green and Whitehall Street.

Which tickets to buy?

Many ticket options are available. However, to get the most out of the visit, it is highly recommended to obtain crown tickets in advance. These provide access to Ellis Island, Liberty Islands, the Statue of Liberty Museum, and most importantly, climbing access to The Crown. The latter is experienced by less than 5% of the statue’s daily visitors, making it an unmissable opportunity. Crown tickets must be reserved at least three months in advance. However, access to the crown is currently closed. Tickets cost around $23.50 and are cheaper for children and seniors.

When is the best time to visit?

Most visits are usually scheduled during holidays and weekends, so the site can be expected to be very crowded. It is strongly advised to visit the place during the week to avoid wasting time in queues. Also, buying tickets in advance is always a good thing. Plan to arrive as early as possible as the statue closes earlier than most other attractions. Another reason is that getting from one island to another can take time.

What should you bring and pack?

It is essential to remember that moving from place to place on the spot can be tiring for some and waiting in the queue can be longer if the place is very busy. Thus, packing lightly is necessary to stay comfortable during the visit. It is also necessary to note that backpacks are not allowed when visiting the pedestal. Also, security at the statue is much like an airport, so all belts, jewelry, hats, and other accessories will be removed, which could delay the visit by about 45-60 minutes.

What to know about boarding the ferry

Nothing is worse than waiting in the sun or the cold to catch another ferry. It is strongly recommended to wait in line for at least 5 minutes to reserve a place in the boat. It is also important to note that the boats stop early, around 5:00 p.m., depending on the season). Also, it is better to book the ferry ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

Where to stand on the boat (for the best view)

Visitors are advised to stay on the left side when boarding. Also, the ferries are expected to be very crowded, so pulling away in place is the best thing to do to keep the reserved seat on the best side of the boat. A few minutes after departure, the ferry makes a sharp turn leading on the left side to face Manhattan. From this point, people can witness the most breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty and will have the chance to take the most epic photos.

Related: Top 10 Facts You Didn’t Know About The Statue Of Liberty

How to Avoid the Crowds at the Statue of Liberty

When people reach the site, they all rush past the Statue of Liberty to take a few snaps. This creates a lot of crowds fighting for the best photographs. To avoid this, it is advisable to visit the museum first. There is also a nearby gift shop selling quirky and cute souvenirs where people can hang out until the crowds die down a bit.

Pro tip: find food in the area

The tour can take around 4 hours, and one can consider grabbing a bite. There are many on-site dining options such as the Statue Café or Café Plaza Deli located at one of the cruise departure points. It is also advisable to bring some snacks to nibble. However, people should keep in mind that it is not allowed to bring anything other than water when visiting the museum.

Wear comfortable shoes and sunscreen

The tour will involve visiting and exploring two islands and a museum, climbing the Statue of Liberty, boarding a ferry and possibly waiting in line. Therefore, wearing comfortable shoes and dressing comfortably is necessary to ensure a pleasant visit. Also, sunscreen is essential to avoid burning your face, especially on hot summer days.

Once there, it is recommended to take the time to explore everything. You can visit the new free museum of Liberty Island, open to the public whatever the type of access. The museum shows how the statue was built and presents many other fascinating facts about its history.

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