Ellis Island#25 in Best Things To Do in New York City
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. For more helpful advice from fellow travelers and experts, check out our list of the top tips for visiting Ellis Island.
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.
More Best Things To Do in New York City
#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."
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