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I’ve been to New York City a couple of times with a few of my kids, and one of the things that they all want to do is visit the Statue of Liberty. Yes, it’s a bit of a tourist trap, but it’s also an iconic part of New York and even America. While here recently to visit the Statue of Liberty (again), I was reminded of how easy it is to find yourself scammed when trying to buy Statue of Liberty tickets. So I thought I would write something up about how to buy Statue of Liberty tickets without getting scammed.

Where to buy Statue of Liberty Tickets in New York (watch out for scammers!)

I think most people will buy Statue of Liberty tickets in New York. You’ll want to make your way to Battery Park, which is at the extreme southern tip of Lower Manhattan. Lower Manhattan is incredibly easy to get to by subway as pretty much every line has a stop (multiple stops) within a half a mile or so. We took the W train from Midtown Manhattan to Rector Street and then walked over to Battery Park.

The important thing to remember when you’re buying Statue of Liberty tickets in New York is that there is only one authorized provider of tickets (Statue Cruises) that actually go TO the Statue of Liberty (and Ellis Island). Anyone else selling “Statue of Liberty” tours is a scam. You’ll end up on a boat like this, sailing BY the island but not actually getting to Liberty or Ellis Island

Like at every other place with lots of tourists in New York, there are lots of other touts and scammers pushing “Statue of Liberty” tickets. You might remember Alec Baldwin getting scammed a few years ago back paying $40 for a “Statue of Liberty tour”, only to be bussed to New Jersey. To be fair, there are signs in Battery Park alerting you to this fact, but they can be easy to miss if you’re not looking for them.

I generally ignore all of these touts everywhere I am in New York, You’ll go through Battery Park all the way to the end to Castle Clinton, which is a bit circular building (former fort) that looks something like this:

Of course it’s under construction as I write this post (2022) so it may look different if you’re coming to buy Statue of Liberty tickets after the construction is done. In any case, you’ll go through that brick archway and buy tickets there. We had a CityPass and had already made reservations, so we skipped the ticket line and went through the middle of Castle Clinton. You’ll then go through security and queue for the ferry to Liberty Island.

Where to buy Statue of Liberty Tickets in New Jersey

Statue Cruises also has a location in New Jersey if that is more convenient for you. Again, be on the lookout for scammers and others trying to sell Statue “tours”. You’ll want to go to the Railroad Terminal at the east end of Liberty State Park. While I don’t have personal experience with this side of visiting the Statue of Liberty, I would imagine that the process is similar.

How much are Statue of Liberty tickets

Technically, it’s free to visit the Statue of Liberty. However the only way to get to the Statue of Liberty is on an authorized ferry and (wait for it), it costs money to purchase a ferry ticket. I find these types of shenanigans mildly annoying, as it’s a way to get around the National Park passes or Every Kid in a Park program. In any case, the Status of Liberty ticket prices as of 22 were $24 for an adult, $18 for senior and $12 for a child.

This includes tickets to visit both Liberty Island and Ellis Island, as well as ranger tours (when scheduled) and an audio tour (which you can pick up at both Liberty Island and Ellis Island)

How to visit both Liberty Island and Ellis Island

Again, Statue Cruises is the only authorized ticket provider for both Liberty Island and Ellis Island. You can buy tickets at either the New York location (Castle Clinton in Battery Park) or the New Jersey location (Railroad Terminal in Liberty State Park). Both locations visit both Liberty Island and Ellis Island, but the order is different. From New York, you go to Liberty Island and then Ellis Island before returning back to New York. New Jersey-based boats go the opposite direction.

From nps.gov

The ferries run about every 20-30 minutes, with the last ones leaving around 5pm. Check the National Park website for exact ferry times and make sure to allow yourself

How to go inside the Statue of Liberty (pedestal / crown / torch)

The standard ticket (~$24 for adults) only covers the ferries and access to the grounds of both Liberty Island and Ellis Island. If you want to go up into the pedestal, crown or torch of the Statue of Liberty, you’ll need to buy additional tickets. If you have a NYC CityPass (like we did), your CityPass only covers the ferry as well, so you’ll need to buy additional tickets to get into the pedestal, crown or torch. When we were there (in 2022), the crown was closed, but it was an additional $23 per person to go up into the pedestal. You’ll definitely want to make advance reservations if you want to go up into the pedestal (or crown). Currently, visitors are not allowed up into the torch at all.

Is it worth it to go inside the Statue of Liberty (pedestal / crown)?

Whether it’s worth it to go inside the Statue of Liberty instead of just touring the grounds will depend on your situation. Due to various circumstances I haven’t been able to get up into the pedestal or crown yet. Some of it has been not wanting to pay the extra money, and some of it has just been timing. You’re definitely going to want to make upfront reservations to enter the pedestal and crown, since it sells out pretty often. I don’t think it’s a horrible experience just being down on the ground and visiting the museum that is on Liberty Island.

I do think that it would be cool to go up into the crown though – maybe next time I’m there, though I’m running out of kids that haven’t been to New York 🙂

The Bottom Line

If you’re planning on buying tickets to see the Statue of Liberty in New York or New Jersey, make sure that you’re buying tickets only through the authorized cruise vendor, Statue Cruises. Anyone else that is selling tickets in Battery Park or Liberty State Park is not authorized to land on Liberty Island or Ellis Island and your “tour” will be just waving to Lady Liberty from over the water.

Have you been to visit the Statue of Liberty? Any tips or tricks for visiting the Statue of Liberty? Leave them in the comments


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