Visiting the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum is as educational as it is inspiring. As an added bonus, the ferry trip across New York Harbor offers beautiful views of New York and New Jersey.
The Statue of Liberty, a long-time international symbol of freedom and liberty, is located on Liberty Island. Most tourists only visit the grounds around the statue. With a little extra planning, you can go into the museum and pedestal levels of the statue, and even up into the crown as outlined below.
Ellis Island, once the nation’s foremost federal immigration station, is now the site of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Over 40% of Americans today can trace their ancestry through Ellis Island.
Ferries make round-trips between Manhattan and the two islands throughout the day. You can visit either one or both islands on your trip. These sites are only accessible by ferry service provided by Statue Cruises.
Learn more: Statue of Liberty Facts and History
If you want to visit both islands, make sure you are on a ferry that departs by 2:00 pm (and note that the security line before boarding the ferry can take 1 to 2 hours).
Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island requires taking a ferry from either New York or New Jersey. The ferry from New York leaves from Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan. The ferry first stops at Liberty Island, where the statue is located, then Ellis Island, where you will find the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
Tickets can be purchased online in advance through Statue Cruises or you can purchase them at Castle Clinton National Monument, located near the Ferry Terminal.
Directions to the Ferry Terminal/Castle Clinton
Admission to the Statue of Liberty grounds and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum is technically free, but you have to purchase a ferry ticket to get there. One fee includes all three rides - to Liberty Island, from Liberty Island to Ellis Island, and from Ellis Island back to Manhattan.
Ferry Ticket Prices
An audio tour is included.
Options for Purchasing Tickets
Add a Monument Access Pass
A Monument Access Pass allows entry to the museum gallery and pedestal observation levels of the Statue of Liberty. It is available at no extra cost when purchasing a Reserve Ticket online from Statue Cruises. The pass can also be picked up for free at the ticket booth at Castle Clinton on a first-come, first-serve basis. It is not available once you get to Liberty Island.
Add a Crown Ticket
Visitors can now access the crown of the Statue of Liberty. A crown ticket is available for an additional $3/ticket when you purchase a Reserve with Crown Ticket online through Statue Cruises. Crown Tickets sell out fast, even months in advance. Check the Statue Cruises website for availability and reserve early.
Read more about ticket options and prices.
Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is not a quick trip. Seeing both islands takes at least 3 hours not including security lines. You should plan to depart the ferry terminal no later than 2 pm if you want to see both.
Every visitor must go through a security checkpoint before boarding the ferry. You will likely have to wait in line for 1 to 2 hours depending on the crowds.
Essential New York City Guide Tip
Pace Yourself! Although it's a worthwhile experience, the lines make visiting these two historical sites a rather lengthy endeavor. Many visitors have lost their stamina by the time they reach Ellis Island, the last leg of the trip. This causes them to really rush their time on Ellis Island or be too worn out for it altogether. We suggest saving some of your energy, and starting early enough in the day, to allow time explore the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. You can even choose not to get off the ferry when it reaches the Statue of Liberty and instead continue on to Ellis Island. You will still get excellent views of the statue from the ferry.