The Statue of Liberty is not only one of New York City’s biggest attractions, it’s also one of America’s most enduring icons, symbolizing U.S. independence, freedom and democracy.
And few visitors to the city want to miss seeing this incredible beacon in New York Harbor. Luckily there are many ways to get up close with Lady Liberty, from day-long sailing excursions that allow for plenty of time to appreciate this larger-than-life sculpture, to quick cruises that give you the perfect vantage point for postcard-worthy photo ops.
A gift of friendship from the people of France, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886, and later designated as a National Monument in 1924. Today an estimated 3.5 million visitors set foot on Liberty Island each year. Currently the statue’s interior is closed for renovations, but Liberty Island visits will continue throughout the year-long overhaul that will include new stairwells to the top of Lady Liberty’s crown. (The interior is set to re-open November 2012).
The ferry to Liberty Island departs from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan every 20 minutes throughout the summer months, bringing thousands of visitors daily to this historic landmark. Tickets to Liberty Island are included in the popular New York CityPass. Though the ferry ride is brief, allow about two hours to visit the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island — and more if the lines are long. The National Parks Service warns on its website that lines to board ferries to Liberty Island may exceed 90 minutes during the busy summer months.
But you don’t have to join the crowds on Liberty Island to get a good look at the green lady in the harbor. And indeed the best photo opportunities can be had aboard a boat, which is why there are so many options for cruises in New York Harbor.
If you’re trying to fit a Statue of Liberty cruise into an already packed itinerary, an hour-long ride aboard the Zephyr would be a great choice for seeing the Statue of Liberty without having to spend the whole day on the water or lined up on a dock in the sun. This one-of-a-kind luxury yacht features multiple climate-controlled decks, allowing for spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty amid elegant amenities like a fully stocked bar. The Zephyr departs from Pier 16 in the historic South Street Seaport in Downtown Manhattan.
To enjoy Statue of Liberty views at a more leisurely pace, consider one of Manhattan By Sail’s New York Harbor cruises. Choose from the Shearwater, a classic 1920’s yacht, or Clipper City, New York City’s only Tall Ship, for an unforgettable experience aboard a floating landmark. With both daytime and nighttime cruises, Manhattan By Sail’s New York Harbor excursions offer close-up views of the Statue of Liberty from the top deck of New York’s most sea-worthy ships.
Another elegant way to enjoy Statue of Liberty views is aboard World Yacht Dining Cruises, which offers guests a sumptuous meal as the yacht glides by Liberty Island at dusk. Enjoy farm-fresh cuisine and cocktails from the perfect vantage point for romantic photo opportunities within sight of the Statue of Liberty.
Statue of Liberty cruises are such popular attractions for visitors to NYC that tickets are included in some of the best sightseeing passes designed to save you money. The Explorer Pass lets you customize your NYC itinerary, with dozens of exciting attractions to choose from, including the Statue of Liberty Express Cruise, Zephyr Seaport Liberty Cruise or City Sightseeing Skyline Cruise. With the Explorer Pass you will save money AND skip many of the line-ups at New York City’s most popular attractions.
Meanwhile even popular bus tours like Gray Line offer a way to get up close with Lady Liberty, so if you’re planning to tour NYC atop a double-decker, a pass that combines a city tour with a Statue of Liberty visit is a great value. Gray Line’s Double Decker Pass plus Statue of Liberty Visit includes the All-Loops tour of Uptown, Downtown, Brooklyn and the Night Tour, plus tickets for the ferry to Liberty Island. From Central Park to Times Square, Rockefeller Center and Little Italy, you will truly see it all in 48 hours with this sightseeing pass.
Meanwhile at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Times Square, you can see replicas of all of New York City’s biggest attractions, including the Statue of Liberty. From classic movie scenes to historical flashpoints, the interactive Spirit of New York exhibit celebrates New York’s greatest
icons and most unforgettable moments. This is the only place that lets experience all of NYC without leaving Times Square.