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Brooklyn Bridge Park along the East River with views of the New York City skyline
NYC and Company/Julienne Schaer
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Le Carrousel in Bryant Park, known as Manhattan’s Town Square, in New York City
Bekka Palmer
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Taking in the sights in Brooklyn Bridge Park along the East River in New York City
NYC and Company/Julienne Schaer
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The Statue of Liberty, a welcoming beacon in New York Harbor
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    New York

Travel the world and you’ll find lots of big cities. But there’s only one “Big Apple.”

It’s got an energy all its own, from the dazzling lights and bustling sidewalks of Times Square to the glorious green space that is Central Park to the excitement and world-class star power of Broadway.

Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

First-time visitors to New York won’t want to miss the city’s iconic sights, including the Statue of Liberty. There are two ways to see Lady Liberty: You can take a Statue Cruises boat to Liberty Island, where the statue resides, or you can hop aboard a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise. Circle Line boats pass by the Statue of Liberty, giving passengers a great vantage point for photos, and then continue along the Manhattan waterfront.

If you want to go inside the statue, plan to catch one of Statue Cruises’ morning tours. Tickets to go inside the Statue of Liberty are free and available on the day of your visit on a first-come, first-served basis. If you wait too late in the day, you may miss out. A morning cruise also gives you plenty of time to explore Liberty Island before catching a ferry over to Ellis Island, the famous portal through which hundreds of thousands of American immigrants once passed.

Empire State Building

Get the lay of the land with a trip to the top of one of New York’s famous observatories. The Empire State Building, featured in such movies as "Sleepless in Seattle" and "King Kong," is both historic and romantic. Top of the Rock observation deck sits atop Rockefeller Center and offers fantastic, unobstructed views of Central Park, the city skyline and beyond.

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New York's Museums

New York is definitely a museum town. So, pick your favorites and spend a day or two exploring (Wednesdays tend to be least busy). The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection includes nearly two million works of art spanning 5,000 years. The Cloisters museum and gardens, tucked away in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan, is a stunning property that focuses on the art and architecture of medieval Europe.

The American Museum of Natural History, which has appeared in several movies, boasts a 94-foot blue whale, dinosaur halls, and world-famous dioramas. There’s also MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Guggenheim, which is as well known for its spiraling Frank Lloyd Wright architectural design as it is for works by Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso.

The centerpiece of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is the legendary aircraft carrier Intrepid, which survived five kamikaze attacks and one torpedo strike during World War II, completed three tours of duty during the Vietnam War, and served as a NASA recovery vessel for American space missions in the 1960s. On the flight deck, you’ll get an up-close look at more than 20 authentically restored aircraft, including the world’s fastest military jet and spy plane.

The National 9/11 Memorial and Museum

The National 9/11 Memorial and Museum remembers and honors the 2,983 people who were killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and Feb. 26, 1993. The site’s peaceful design consists of two reflecting pools formed in the footprints of the original Twin Towers and the 9/11 Memorial Museum. The artifacts within the museum range from large-scale pieces, such as a fire truck that responded to the scene and intersecting steel beams known as “The Cross at Ground Zero” to deeply moving and personal remembrances of those who perished. Opened on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this sacred space has drawn visitors from more than 140 countries.

Getting There

Start your exploration of New York City by flying into John F. Kennedy International Airport or LaGuardia Airport. New York City has so much to explore, and CityPASS offers the ideal way to see famous attractions at a significant savings.