Ellis Island picture
Ken Thomas/Wikimedia Commons

Key Info

Battery Park and Liberty Island

Price & Hours

$18.50 for adults; $9 for kids 4-12
9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. daily

Details

Museums, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.5scorecard
  • 3.5Value
  • 1.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

For 62 years, this was the United States' main immigration entry point and many U.S. citizens have at least one ancestor who passed through here. You can just glimpse Ellis Island (north of Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty) when you stand on the shores of Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. But most agree that to truly appreciate this historic site you'll have to take one of the Statue Cruises ferries over for a visit.

On the island, swing by the Main Building and the Immigration Museum housed inside. Stop by the "Treasures from Home" exhibit to peruse some of the family heirlooms and keepsakes that immigrants brought over on their journey. You can also do a little digging on your own family tree at the American Family Immigration History Center.

Recent vacationers enjoyed their trip, but they caution getting there is a bit of a hassle and the trip eats up a good chunk of your day. You'll probably wait at least 90 minutes for a ferry to cart you from Battery Park to the Statue of Liberty, before making a stop at Ellis Island. The first boat of the day leaves at 9 a.m., the last boat leaves around 3:30 p.m. To save you some time waiting in long queues travelers recommend arriving early and purchasing tickets from the ferry at the Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey (you'll get the same tour but face shorter lines). History buffs, however, say this attraction is highly interesting.

Visiting the island itself is free, but you'll have to pay $18.50 for ferry transportation (discounts are available for children and seniors), and keep in mind availability is limited. For more information, visit the island's National Park Service website for updates and the Statue Cruises website for boat schedules. 

See all Hotels in New York City »

More Best Things To Do in New York City

Central Park
American Museum of Natural History
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 31
#1 Central Park

This part-park, part-museum, part-concert hall swallows central Manhattan, and many of the city's most notable attractions are situated next to it or within its limits (the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History, to name a few). But travelers insist that you shouldn't just pass through Central Park on your way to another place. This 843-acre green space is a favorite of New Yorkers and tourists; you can come here to exercise, dine, go to the zoo and more.

“Central Park is fantastic year-round, and is a must-see for anyone coming to New York," says Josephine Danielson, head concierge at the Four Seasons Hotel New York. "People may not realize Central Park has several hidden treasures. If you’re looking for something different, I tell guests to visit the Conservatory Garden." 

Read more
Songquan Deng/Shutterstock
See full list of Best Things To Do in New York City »

Explore More of New York City

Recommended

12 Top Texas Wineries to Visit

From the Texas Hill Country to the Texas High Plains, the Lone Star State offers top-notch wineries for oenophiles.

Kyle McCarthyMay 23, 2019

The 7 Best San Francisco Bus Tours

Visit the top attractions in this hilly city without breaking a sweat.

Lyn MettlerMay 22, 2019

The 15 Best Washington, D.C., Tours

The nation's capital has more to offer than free museums and tons of history.

Kim Foley MacKinnonMay 22, 2019

10 Amazing Montana Vacations

Breathtaking landscapes and year-round outdoor adventures will inspire you to visit Big Sky Country.

Gwen PratesiMay 20, 2019

The 13 Best Savannah Tours

Experience real southern hospitality when visiting Savannah with these top tours.

John RodwanMay 16, 2019

The 15 Best Boston Tours

Get to know one of America's most historic cities with these tours.

Kim Foley MacKinnonMay 14, 2019

The 18 Best New Orleans Tours

With so much to see and do in New Orleans, these tours will help you maximize your time in the Big Easy.

Claire LawtonMay 10, 2019

The 7 Best Chicago Boat Tours

These low-key tours offer unique views of a city famed for its skyline.

Holly JohnsonMay 9, 2019

30 Cheap Weekend Getaways in the USA

From beach destinations to amusement parks, these vacations are perfect for an affordable and quick trip.

Holly JohnsonMay 9, 2019

The 15 Best Chicago Tours

Foodies, boat enthusiasts and historians alike will appreciate any one of these tours of the Windy City.

John RodwanMay 8, 2019