Tips for Visiting the Statue of Liberty from Reviewers

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, one that most tourists visit when they are in New York City. But because it’s so popular, tickets can sell out well in advance, long lines may be inevitable, and scams are commonplace.

Lucky for you, we’ve went through thousands of visitor reviews so that you can benefit from their experience. Here is the ultimate visitors’ guide to the Statue of Liberty, featuring reviewers’ top tips for visiting the Statue of Liberty:

Tips for Visiting the Statue of Liberty from Reviewers

1. Book in Advance

Official ticket types

The official Statue City Cruises service sells three options for visiting the Statue of Liberty: access to Liberty Island, access to the pedestal, and access to the crown (plus a special Ellis Island tour option).

From the official Statue City Cruises website

There are three types of tickets- Standard, Pedestal Access and Crown Access.

Standard provided you round-trip ferry access to the grounds of the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island, plus the Ellis Island Immigration Museum on Ellis Island.

Pedestal Access provides access to see the interior of the Pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, in addition to the standard.

Crown Access provided access to claim to the crown.

Imran (Google Maps)

Crown sells out fast

Since the crown gives you the most access, and has the lowest capacity for visitors, it tends to sell out well in advance. How far in advance? Your luck may vary:

Book WELL in advance

I was hoping to go up in the Crown, but was disappointed to find it sold out even months in advance. I did the Pedestal tour instead and it was a nice view of Lady Liberty from more up-close.

TigerMO (Tripadvisor)

We booked the visit a month in advance and were fortunate to get tickets that allowed us to climb up to the crown. 

veteran_vacationer (Tripadvisor)

If you’re looking for crown access, it is available but usually books at least six months out so plan ahead.

Dan R (Tripadvisor)

2. Set Aside Plenty of Time

Visiting the Statue of Liberty involves:

  1. Waiting in line to buy tickets (if you didn’t buy in advance)
  2. Waiting in line for the ferry
  3. Taking the ferry to Liberty Island
  4. Going through security
  5. Possibly going up the statue and/or visiting the museum
  6. Taking the ferry to Ellis Island
  7. Possibly visiting Ellis Island Museum
  8. Taking the ferry back to Manhattan

That means you should set aside ample time to enjoy the full experience. 4 hours is commonly recommended and should be plenty:

Put aside about 4 hours of your day if you plan to visit. From the time we got there at 10:30am we were finish at 3pm.

Line for tickets took about 20 mins. Line to get through (TSA) secutiry check 45-60Mins… waited for about 20 mins for the ferry… the ride is about 15mins if you’re going straight from Battery park to Statue of liberty.

We stayed on the island for about 60mins.
Then we waited for the next ferry for 30mins to go back to battery park.
So from start to finish, for our family’s entire experience was about 3.5 – 4 hours. If you spend longer taking photos, paid extra to go up on the Statue of liberty, looking at all the monumental items in the museum and eating lunch there then you will definitely plan to put aside about at least 4hours for the visit.

Tammynp26 (Tripadvisor)

Save yourself some time and book your time slot and tickets online. I went on a weekday 1pm and lines, while long go by really fast… You’ll easy spend 2-4 hours between here and Ellis island so plan accordingly.

John (Google Maps)

Would definitely recommend that you do it early in the day and on a weekday so it isn’t so busy and as it will take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours depending on how fast you read to get through all the exhibits.

Angelo (Google Maps)

3. Prepare for Security, Lines, and Stairs

Security

you should arrive early to get through security. They generally recommend a couple of hours, and the line gets really long FAST. However, something I learned today: security does not open until 8:30 AM. Also, if you have a crown ticket, you have to go to castle Clinton first to check in and get your wristband. 

hrobinson1114 (Tripadvisor)

Tight security is in place to protect this American symbol for years to come. Visitors to the island must pass through a TSA type screening and a second inspection before entering the pedestal.

Paul S (Tripadvisor)

No bags inside

The statue itself – you can’t take a bag up to the crown only a bottle of water and your phone or a camera. Lockers are 25c which is returned but make sure you wear clothes with pockets.

rainbow_jane (Tripadvisor)

Entering the pedestal and statue require you to check your bag and go through another security check. The bag storage costs a quarter and they have a change machine there!

James (Google Maps)

To the top

If you’re uncomfortable with heights, have mobility issues, or just don’t see yourself climbing hundreds of steps, you may have trouble reaching the crown.

We took the elevator up to the top of the pedestal and from there climbed the very narrow, very steep spiral staircase (184 steps i believe)… Just beware, if it is a windy day she sways

Clare (Tripadvisor)

Going up to the crown is one of the coolest experiences, with a narrow double-helix staircase that is not for the faint of heart. There are low ceilings throughout, so if you’re taller than 6 feet, you will be crouching a lot.

James (Google Maps)

It’s only around a 160 steps to the crown, but they are steep and narrow. There are places to rest, but the whole journey is tight, so those who are claustrophobic won’t care for this. That being said, it’s over 200 steps to the pedestal. There is an elevator, but it must be ranger operated, and they weren’t doing it the day I went. Total steps I did: 377.

hrobinson1114 (Tripadvisor)

Don’t worry if you don’t go up to the crown, you’ll still have a wonderful time visiting the pedestal or simply walking around outside on Liberty Island (where you’ll get the best photos anyway).

4. Food Options

Like many tourist attractions, food options are scarce and overpriced, though some reviewers were satisfied with them:

the café/restaurant on the island is very poor. Me and my dad went to the café/restaurant and bought chicken tenders and a panini the chicken tenders were alright (at most) but the panini my dad bought for $10 was as my dad said, “dreadful”.

Beanie_boi11 (Tripadvisor)

Upon conclusion of your visit to the Statue, you can stop at the cafeteria for gourmet sandwiches or grilled lunch food – and we did not think they were as outrageously priced as we expected. 

Steamboat323 (Tripadvisor)

There is an eatery there and the food was good and a decent price.

Lane (Tripadvisor)

Food: there is a cafeteria with a good selection of hot meals (panini’s, burgers, soup, etc.) for a decent price. I took a vegetarian panini with some side green salad for 10$. Cold sandwiches options and drinks are also available. It’s good enough I wouldn’t feel I’m wasting my money while visiting. You can’t bring food through security anyways.

Happy_stomach (Tripadvisor)

Don’t plan on eating during your visit unless you’re yearning for really mediocre food. I had a cheeseburger that was barely warm and obviously not freshly made.

TigerMO (Tripadvisor)

5. Free Ferry?

It’s true that you can take the free Staten Island Ferry and see the Statue of Liberty, but the view will be from a distance, and it does not drop off at Liberty Island. This can be a good option if you’re on a budget, in a time crunch, or have no interest in seeing the Statue of Liberty up close.

It’s a free ride when you take the Staten Island Ferry from Manhatten to Staten Island, and then back to Manhatten — and you’ll have an excellent view of The Statue of Liberty both ways. True, you don’t stop at Liberty Island, but you do get a boat ride and excellent views of the statue – for free. The ferry is large, has comfortable seating and restrooms; it’s about a 30 minute ride, each way. Once you reach State Island, immediately get off the boat, then re-enter the terminal to catch the boat going back to NYC.

Chris (Tripadvisor)

You can see the statue in a far(!) distance using the free ferry between Manhattan and Staten Island, but using the Statue Cruises ferries, you can not only get very close, you actually get ON the island and can enter the Statue.

Erbee64 (Tripadvisor)

I decided to just travel the Staten Island Ferry there and back. Travelling with two 13 year olds I wasn’t sure how much time they wanted to spend on this attraction…but this fulfilled their needs. We got close enough for great views of Lady liberty and the Manhattan skyline and unbelievably the ferry ride is FREE!

womanseyeview (Tripadvisor)

6. Avoid Scams

Unauthorized Sellers

There are often people in official-looking uniforms walking around Battery Park advertising ferries or tours to the Statue of Liberty – these are usually scams. Don’t be tempted by these unauthorized salespeople offering to help you “skip the line”, as they usually sell tickets to overpriced unofficial ferries that do not drop off at Liberty Island!

Beware of scams! All around Battery Park you will encounter people trying to convince you to take their tour instead of the “official” one. From what I’ve heard, these tours only take you for a boat ride near Liberty and Ellis Islands, but don’t give you the opportunity to get off and walk around on the islands… Anyway be wary of these people because they will lie to you and tell you that the official tour is sold out or has a 4 hour wait or whatever. Don’t believe them.

Natalie521 (Tripadvisor)

…be aware that there are a lot of guys trying to sell high priced tickets for the boat ride. Avoid them and buy the tickets only at the ticket counter at battery park. Follow the signs to the ticket counter and ignore all the guys trying to tell you that you are heading in the wrong direction or you are too late to get the tickets.

startravel01 (Tripadvisor)

People will try to sell you “fast” tickets while you’re in line and it’s a scam. It’s confusing because they are wearing uniforms.

William (Google Maps)

Official ticket booth

Go to the official Statue City Cruises ticket booth instead – or even better, buy from the official site in advance.

Official ticket booth looks like this

Enjoy Your Visit!

With these Statue of Liberty tips from reviewers around the world, we hope you’ll be able to enjoy a stress-free visit to a truly one-of-a-kind monument.

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