The most direct – and only – way to get to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty is to take a Statue Cruises (head over to this page for more info) ferry from Battery Park (see map below) (you’ll breeze through the short queue and security if you get there early – about 10am).
You’ll be taken directly to Liberty Island where you can disembark and explore the island and its spectacular city views.
Dominated by the gigantic cast iron and stainless steel structure, the island is a highlight of any visit to the Big Apple (and is perfectly placed for a city skyline selfie!)
And just as you thought it couldn’t get any better, you’ll also have the opportunity to hop off at Ellis Island on your way back to the city.
This is a great combination and no extra cost is incurred.
Known for its importance in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as a gateway for over 12 million immigrants, Ellis Island, in Upper New York Bay, has come to represent freedom for those in search of a better life.
From the exhibitions on the island you can learn about the immigrant experience and gain an insight into how city was built.
But if that two-hour long queue to see the Statue of Liberty is not appealing then there’s always a couple of other options to consider.
If you walk a few blocks from Battery Park, you’ll be able to take the Staten Island Ferry (which is totally free) from Whitehall Terminal in Manhattan.
Interesting fact: the Staten Island Ferry supplies ferry service to 22 million people a year and the 5 mile, 25 minute ride provides majestic views of New York Harbour.
Although it doesn’t stop at Liberty Island, it still gives you stunning views of the national monument and the city skyline. I’d recommend taking the Staten Island Ferry at night to see Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty lit up in all its glory.
Alternatively, you could always use a water taxi to quickly get from A to B.
Hop on, hop off, explore and hop on again!
If this convenience doesn’t convince you to go for a quick jaunt across the harbour on a water taxi, then maybe this will… The team at New York City Water Taxis provide running commentary during the journey, which makes it a cheaper alternative to the conventional tour guide.
Best of all, if you board at Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO (Pier 1) (as I did) you’ll get stunning views of the city behind you as you travel towards the Statue of Liberty.
New York Pass holders have a free ALL Day Access Pass, which is valid from 10am – 6pm on the day of purchase (more on the New York pass in another post).
So while there are now more ways than ever to navigate New York Harbour as a tourist, none are better than these three services. If you’re staying in the city for a few days I would definitely recommend trying each service at different times of the day to get a different perspective of this great global city.
Suggested New York City playlist: