Skip to Content

CityPASS New York vs New York Pass: Which is Better?

CityPASS New York vs New York Pass: Which is Better?

Are you thinking of visiting New York City? If so, then you’ve probably already heard about certain passes that make seeing the best parts of the city easier. Two of the most popular ones for New York City are CityPASS and New York Pass.

If you can’t decide which to get, we’ve compiled some helpful information regarding New York CityPASS vs New York Pass. Read on for the most comprehensive and best New York City Pass review out there!

CityPASS New York vs New York Pass: What are They?

CityPASS New York vs New York Pass

What is CityPASS in New York City? CityPASS and New York Pass are examples of passes that allow entry to some of the top attractions in New York City.

These passes have their own pros and cons — it’s wise to compare New York Pass vs New York CityPASS vs York Explorer Pass vs Sightseeing Pass if you’re interested in visiting.

However, for the best New York tourist passes, CityPASS and New York Pass are among the more popular.

How Long Have They Been Around?

Before these passes were created, tourists had to buy tickets individually. Luckily, things are a lot more convenient now.

CityPASS New York

New York CityPASS is a natural history and has been around for quite a while. First established in 1997 for tour packages in San Francisco and Seattle, they have since expanded to other cities.

New York was added a year later in 1998, and CityPASS introduced New York C3 in 2016. The C3 ticket allows customers to customize the service further.

New York City Pass

New York Pass is handled by Go City. This company is managed by the Leisure Pass Group and has been operating for more than 20 years. You may wonder if the length of time each company has been operating is a factor when picking between the two passes.

Of course, it matters! Transactions tend to be easier and customer services better for older companies. Luckily, both have been around a while now and both are managed by highly experienced companies.

So, there shouldn’t be any problems on this end.

CityPASS New York vs New York Pass: How are the Tickets Bought?

CityPASS New York vs New York Pass

Gone are the days when you have to physically line up for tickets. Buying both CityPASS New York and New York Pass is extremely easy. Just take note of the following:

CityPASS New York

Can you buy CityPASS in New York? Of course!

You can buy it wherever you are in the world. Just visit their official site and click on the Cart link. Enter how many tickets you want to buy, enter your payment details, and you’re done.

After registration, you will be sent a copy of your New York pass through email. You can print this or just simply present the pass on your phone at any of the New York City attractions.

New York City Pass

The best place to buy New York City Pass is on their official site. Once there, click on the pricing link. That will take you to a page where you choose the validity. Then, choose the number of days and the number of passes you buy, enter your payment details, and you’re done.

All you need to do now is to download their official mobile app and you’re ready to go. You can then present your New York pass on the phone app at any of the included attractions to gain access.

Buying both is extremely easy, which means comparing New York City Pass vs CityPASS in terms of purchase ease isn’t an issue.

Also, as we’ve mentioned, you can get access to attractions just by using your phone. Just have your app or e-ticket loaded, and you’re ready to go. It’s that convenient.

CityPASS New York vs New York City Pass: What are the Other Important Features of the Pass?

CityPASS New York vs New York Pass

These passes aren’t just for visiting New York City attractions – pass holders get much more than that! Both CityPASS New York and New York City Pass get various other benefits, such as:

·        Discounts

Buying either of the passes is cheaper than buying individual tickets.

·        Express lines

Since you have a pass, you won’t have to worry about lining up to buy tickets for entry. You get to save both time and money.

Also, some attractions have a separate express line for ticket holders of CityPASS New York or New York City Pass. This gives you even faster and more convenient access to these attractions.   

·        Refunds

Did you change your mind about the pass, or did your travel plans shift? If so, getting a refund for your pass won’t be a problem.

You can apply for a refund of an unused CityPASS for up to 365 days after purchase. New York Pass, on the other hand, can only be refunded up to 90 days after purchase.

·        Minimal research required

Making an itinerary for travel can be a bit of a hassle – a good itinerary needs a lot of research. However, purchasing a pass minimizes the research you need to do since the attractions are laid out for you.

For the benefits of CityPASS New York vs New York Pass provide, both are worth purchasing for the perks alone. However, the most important consideration is what attractions are included.

CityPASS New York vs New York Pass: What Attractions are Included?

CityPASS New York vs New York Pass

Both passes allow the holder to visit several major tourist attractions in New York. Notably, there are some differences between the two regarding which attractions are included.

CityPASS New York

There are two main options for New York CityPASS: the standard pass and the C3 pass. The standard pass offers entry to 6 different attractions, while the C3 pass allows access to 3.

To be more specific, the standard pass includes:

  1. The Empire State Building
  2. The American Museum of Natural History
  3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  4. The Guggenheim Museum or Top of the Rock Observation Deck
  5. Ferry rides to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty or a Circle Line cruise
  6. Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum or The 9/11 Memorial Museum

Take note that for items 4, 5, and 6, only one of the two attractions can be visited. Meanwhile, the C3 New York CityPASS allows entry to any of the three attractions listed above with no restrictions.

So, is New York CityPASS worth it? Absolutely, as long as you’re interested in a majority of the attractions listed above.

New York Pass

Is the New York Pass really worth it? Well, it has even more options compared to what New York CityPASS offer. All attractions included in New York CityPASS are here, plus the following, divided by category:

Museums and Exhibits
  • Madame Tussauds,
  • Museum of Modern Art (MoMA),
  • Museum of Sex,
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Times Square,
  • Whitney Museum of American Art,
  • Museum of Ice Cream,
  • Museum of the City of New York,
  • Museum of Arts and Design,
  • Cooper Hewitt,
  • Smithsonian Design Museum,
  • Escape Virtuality,
  • Fotografiska New York,
  • New Museum,
  • New York Historical Society,
  • Fraunces Tavern Museum,
  • The MET: Cloisters,
  • Museum at Eldridge St.,
  • International Center of Photography Museum,
  • Legoland Discovery Center in Westchester,
  • Staten Island Museum,
  • Staten Island Children’s Museum,
  • The SkyScraper Museum,
  • New York Hall of Science,
  • South Street Seaport Museum,
  • The Museum of Chinese in America,
  • The Paley Center for Media
Sightseeing, Zoos, Food, and Other Activities
  • Edge,
  • One World Observatory,
  • New York Botanical Garden,
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden,
  • Deno’s Wonder Wheel,
  • New York City Sketching Art Tour,
  • Masters of the Camera,
  • Harlem Jazz Stories,
  • SEA LIFE Aquarium New Jersey,
  • Staten Island Zoo,
  • Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden,
  • Food on Foot Tours,
  • City Rambler – A Walk in the Park in Central Park,
  • Spirits on Foot (Beer, Spirits, and Wine Crawls)
Historical and Neighborhood Tours
  • Rockefeller Center Tour,
  • Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Neighborhood Tour,
  • Central Park Sightseeing Walking Tour,
  • SoHo Little Italy Chinatown Walking Tour,
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral Tour,
  • Catacombs by Candlelight Tour,
  • The Cathedral of St. John the Divine,
  • Broadway and Times Square Tour,
  • High Line Chelsea Meatpacking Tour,
  • Greenwich Village Walking Tour,
  • Best of Brooklyn Walking Tour in Williamsburg,
  • NYC Slavery and Underground Railroad Tour,
  • Brooklyn Bridge Walking Tour,
  • Hamilton Tour,
  • Harlem Walking Tours,
  • Pride Walking Tour,
  • Ghosts of Greenwich Village Tours,
  • Top of the Highline and Vessel Tour,
  • Grand Central Terminal Audio Tour,
  • City Rambler – A Walk Through History
Music, Art, Entertainment, and Sports Tours
  • Marvel and DC Superheroes Tour,
  • Madison Square Garden All Access Tour,
  • Radio City Music Hall Tour,
  • Graffiti and Street Art Walking Tour of Brooklyn,
  • Yankee Stadium Tours,
  • Harlem Gospel Tours,
  • Central Park TV and Movie Sites Walking Tour,
  • Fashion Windows Walking Tour,
  • East Village TV and Movie Sites Tour
Cycling and Biking Tours
  • Harlem Bike Rentals by Unlimited Biking,
  • Central Park bike rides,
  • Brooklyn Bridge Bike Rentals,
  • Hudson River Bike Rentals,
  • Surrey Rental on Governor’s Island,
  • Harlem Highlights Bike Tours
Bus and Ferry Tours
  • Big Bus Classic Panoramic Tour,
  • Liberty Super Express Cruise,
  • Clipper City Tall Ship – Statue of Liberty Cruise,
  • 1929 Shearwater – Statue of Liberty Sail,
  • When Harry Met Seinfeld Bus Tour

The difference between New York Pass and the York Sightseeing Pass also involves these attractions: the former has more. This makes the New York Pass one of the most wide-ranging passes available on the market.

And related to CityPASS New York vs New York Pass? The attractions for the latter vastly outnumber the ones for the former. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that New York Pass is superior. Be sure to take other considerations into account first.

See Related: Where to Stay in New York City with Family

CityPASS New York vs New York Pass: Validity


How long the pass is valid should be one of the biggest considerations when choosing between the two. Otherwise, you’ll just end up wasting your hard-earned money on a pass that’s either too long or too short.

As such, take note of the following:

CityPASS New York

Are you staying in New York for an extended time? No problem!

CityPASS New York is valid for up to 9 days after it is first used on an attraction. This makes it ideal for those with a bit more wiggle room in their schedules.

CityPASS is excellent if you want to take your time and not be pressed to visit all the attractions. This means that you can shop, stroll around Central Park, or do anything you wish at your leisure.

The catch is that CityPASS has fewer attractions. Those making a short visit will also get the most out of the pass if they can blaze through the attractions quickly. 

See Related: Where to Stay Outside of New York City

New York Pass

New York Pass has options that cater to both extended and shorter stays in the city. Customers can choose passes with validities of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 10 days. Of course, aside from determining validity, the tougher part here is picking from the many attractions to visit.

Just staying in the city for just a few days? Then you can get a New York Pass that fits best with your schedule.

What’s great here is that you can visit as many attractions as you can within the validity you choose.

Are you in NYC for a longer stay? Go for the 7 or 10-day validity and make the most out of your visit to the Big Apple.

So, what’s the verdict regarding validity? Well, it’s really up to you. Take a look at your schedule first and see if you have the time to visit all the attractions.

Also, try to decide if you want your entire stay in the city to be about these attractions or not.

See Related: Vienna vs Munich

How Much Does Each York Pass Cost?

CityPASS New York vs New York Pass

You now know that you save BIG money by buying the passes. On to the more important question – how much are the passes themselves?

CityPASS New York

Is New York CityPASS worth it or not? Well, it depends on what you buy and your schedule – prices vary, as is seen below:

  • The standard 6-attraction CityPASS costs $136 for adults and $112 for children.
  • The C3 (3-attraction pass), on the other hand, costs $87 for adults and $67 for children.

New York Pass

New York Pass is a bit pricier on average compared to CityPASS.

Prices vary depending on how many days the pass is valid, and these prices are as follows:

  • 1-day pass: $117 for adults and $90 for children
  • 2-day pass: $149 for adults and $119 for children
  • 3-day pass: $159 for adults and $124 for children
  • 4-day pass: $184 for adults and $132 for children
  • 5-day pass: $229 for adults and $159 for children
  • 7-day pass: $239 for adults and $169 for children
  • 10-day pass: $269 for adults and $179 for children

Ensure that you consider validity and your schedule to make the most out of the pass you’ll purchase. Bear in mind that you’re only saving money if you visit as many attractions as you can.

See Related: Vienna vs Salzburg

Prepare for Your New York City Trip Properly to Make the Most Out of It

Well, the next most obvious step would be to purchase your passes if you’re interested! But knowing which areas to visit in new york is also important for your planning.

So, which to buy? CityPASS New York vs New York Pass? Well, weigh out the considerations we’ve mentioned above to help you make an informed decision.

Do you want to learn more about New York City and the different places to visit in town? Check out the other posts on Via Travelers.

We’ve got plenty of content to keep you both informed and interested!

Related Reviews

Related Resources