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Tips for Visiting the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

Updated: Sep 5, 2022

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The Statue of Liberty

A symbol of freedom, the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France that arrived in 1885. The statue was so large that it was packed into 214 crates and split into 350 pieces for transport via boat. Not far from Liberty Island is Ellis Island, which served as an immigration station for 62 years. In this time, more than 12 million immigrants were welcomed into the United States to begin their new lives. Today, you can visit both of the islands and marvel at the size of the statue and the history behind the Ellis Island Immigration Office, which millions of people do each year. And if you venture into the city, you might be interested in a tips for visiting New York City.

The Statue of Liberty

Up close of the Statue of Liberty
Credit: Tipsy Atlas
  1. Before entering the ferry that takes you to Liberty Island, you'll be going through extensive security. Make sure to arrive before your desired departure time and be sure you don't have any prohibited items.

  2. Many people visit the statue each day, making it a smart idea to book your trip ahead of time to minimize wait times and ensure you can go on your scheduled date.

  3. The free Staten Island Ferry is the easiest way to catch a good view of the statue if you don't plan on visiting the island itself. The ferry leaves every 20 minutes to an hour. Pro-tip: you'll want to enter the boat from the right side.

  4. Access to the crown is possible if you book in advance. You can learn more about this at Statue City Cruises. Access to the torch is no longer possible.

  5. If you opt for the crown tickets, you must be physically able. The trek consists of 162 steps in a confined spiral staircase.

  6. You can reach Liberty Island from both New York and New Jersey. If you're leaving from New York, you'll board from Battery Park. Boarding from New Jersey takes place in Liberty State Park.

Ellis Island

Ellis Island immigration hall
Credit: Tipsy Atlas
  1. You can book your tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island together, which I also recommend doing ahead of time. If you visit both, your ticket to Ellis Island is free.

  2. Ellis Island can be explored on your own, but make sure you don't miss the last ferry back to the mainland. Check departure times at Statue City Cruises.

  3. You can pay a fee to look up passengers that may have immigrated through Ellis Island. If you suspect that's your family, you should come prepared with spending money.

  4. If you book a hard hat tour, you'll get access to the hospital complex that's been closed for more than 30 years. For more information, visit Save Ellis Island.

Generally, different people have different reasons for choosing what they visit. Whether you're a history buff, an adventure seeker, or just someone looking to cross off that "New York City Must Do's" list, you'll enjoy the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.


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