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Tips for Visiting the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

Updated: Mar 4

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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. In order to transfer it via boat, it had to be split into 350 pieces between 214 crates. 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 to marvel at the statue and take in the history of the Ellis Island Immigration Office. If you plan to venture into Manhattan, you might be interested in our tips for visiting New York City.

The Statue of Liberty

Up close of the Statue of Liberty
Credit: Tipsy Atlas
  1. To visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, you'll need to take the Liberty Island ferry. For safety purposes, you'll go through extensive security before boarding. Make sure to allow plenty of time and rid yourself of any prohibited items.

  2. To minimize wait times and visit on your desired day, you should book your trip ahead of time.

  3. If you don't plan on visiting the island, the free Staten Island Ferry is the easiest way to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. It leaves every 20 minutes, and or the best view, you should enter the boat from the right side.

  4. Though torch access is no longer possible, you can visit the crown by booking in advance. The trek consists of 162 steps in a confirmed, spiral staircase, so only those physically able should book. Learn more about this option by visiting Statue City Cruises.

  5. 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, and from New Jersey, Liberty State Park.

Ellis Island

Ellis Island
  1. If you book your tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island together, your ticket to Ellis Island is free.

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

  3. If you believe your family immigrated through Ellis Island, keep an eye out for a kiosk that allows you to view past records. This feature isn't free, so bring extra money.

  4. By booking 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 a must-do from your list, visiting the Statue of Liberty is far from a waste of time.

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