Any list of “things to do in New York City” will include a mention of the Statue of Liberty. And how could it not? Lady Liberty is the very definition of iconic and it’s difficult to imagine leaving NYC without at least a glimpse. But how much time and money should you devote to our gift from the French?
Most New York City locals will advise you to skip the official tours to Liberty Island while more sentimental tourists will insist that a trip to the statue’s base is a must. Personally, I come down on the side of seeing the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry – and here’s why.
4 Reasons To See The Statue of Liberty From The Staten Island Ferry
1. Save money. The Staten Island Ferry is designed to shuttle commuters between Manhattan and Staten Island, and it’s absolutely free. A ride to Liberty Island will run you at least $10 per person and you’ll pay an additional fee for access to the museum in the statue’s pedestal or access to the crown.
2. Save time. One of the nine ships in the Staten Island Ferry fleet leaves from Battery Park in lower Manhattan at least once every half hour. During commuting hours ships leave more frequently. The process of getting onto a departing ferry is ridiculously simple: show up, get in the loading area, walk on the boat with the crowd of other people getting on the boat. Getting on a Statue of Liberty cruise, on the other hand, can require hours of waiting in line and pre-planning as daily admission is limited.
3. See more. Alright, it might not be fair to argue that you see more from the Staten Island Ferry since you’re not seeing the museum or Ellis Island up close. However, you do have a chance to see plenty. In addition to a clear view of the Statue of Liberty, you’ll also get an amazing view of the lower Manhattan skyline and New York Harbor. Once you’ve docked at Staten Island, you can either hop the next ferry back to Manhattan, or check out some of Staten Island’s attractions, like the free Staten Island Botanical Garden.
4. Drink beer. Yes, the Staten Island Ferry sells beer. And other basic concessions and beverages – but it was the beer that my husband, at least, was most impressed by.
Of course, the Staten Island Ferry will not give you the opportunity to tour Ellis Island. The ferry is a good option for someone who is looking to check “see Statue of Liberty” off their bucket list, but a trip to Ellis Island – the home of the first tired, hungry, huddled masses – can certainly provide some historical and cultural insight that a free ferry ride can’t.
Photos by Britt Reints