Most visitors take five to six hours to explore the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island and the Immigration Museum on Ellis Island, including the ferries both ways.
If you see the Statue of Liberty and board the return ferry, you will need around two to three hours for the tour.
Sailing time to each island is approximately 15 minutes, and if you don’t get down at Liberty Island or Ellis Island (and sit on the ferry), you can be back where you started in one hour and 15 minutes.
You can tour the Statue of Liberty and Immigration Museum in the shortest possible time if you board the ferry between 8.30 am to 10 am and avoid the crowd.
This article breaks down the Statue of Liberty and Immigration Museum tour and helps you understand what to expect.
Table of contents
- What impacts the tour duration
- Statue of Liberty cruises
What impacts the tour duration
There are lots of factors that decide the duration of your visit to the Statue of Liberty.
– Time of the year
– Day of the week
– Time of the day you board the ferry
– The ticket you have (Reserve, Pedestal or Crown)
Here is a breakdown of how much time you may spend on each activity during your Statue of Liberty tour.
Primary Security Screening
Before you can get onto the ferry at Battery Park or Liberty State Park, you must undergo security screening.
During peak times, including summer, weekends, and holidays this can take even 90 minutes.
Boarding the Ferry
After the primary screening, you wait to board the ferry.
A ferry sets sail every 20-25 minutes, but you may have to let one boat go because it was packed and wait for the next one during peak times.
Ferry ride to Liberty Island
Wherever you start from – Battery Park or Liberty State Park, this usually takes 15 minutes or less.
Secondary Security Screening
This screening is applicable only for visitors with either Crown or Pedestal tickets (those who must enter the monument).
Secondary screening is like the security check you must have gone through on the mainland before getting on to the ferry.
During peak times, such as summer holidays and weekends, this screening can take up to one hour.
If you purchase the Grounds only tickets, you won’t have to undergo the secondary screening.
Exploring Statue of Liberty
If you have a Crown ticket and are climbing up all the way, you will need 30 to 40 minutes to reach the top.
You can spend ten minutes inside the Statue of Liberty’s Crown, and in 20 minutes, you can be down again.
If you have a Pedestal ticket, it doesn’t take long to go up because they have an elevator.
If you decide to take the stairs, you will climb the 215 stairs from the lobby to the top of the Pedestal building in 10 minutes.
If you have the Reserve ticket, you can’t go into the monument, but you can explore the grounds as much as you want.
However, you won’t need more than half an hour to see around.
If you decide to pack a picnic box, you may need an extra hour.
Boarding the ferry to Ellis Island
During peak times, you may have to wait your turn and maybe even let go of a ferry because it was packed.
This wait can last up to 30 minutes.
The ferry ride from Liberty Island to Ellis Island takes 15 minutes or less.
Exploring Ellis Island
The audio guide of Ellis Island’s National Immigration Museum is 45 minutes long.
If you spend less than that, you won’t be doing justice to this historical site.
However, tourists are also known to spend up to three hours exploring the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
Boarding the ferry to go back
If you had started your Statue of Liberty tour early in the day, you don’t have to wait long to board a ferry back to base.
Ferry ride to Battery Park/ Liberty State Park
This last leg of your Statue of Liberty tour doesn’t take more than 15 minutes.
In effect, during peak times, you will need at least six hours to explore the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Museum to your satisfaction.
During non-peak hours, you can explore both these New York attractions in approximately four hours.
Note: If you get on a ferry but don’t get down at Liberty Island (and continue to sit on the ferry), you will be back to where you started in one hour and fifteen minutes.
|Liberty & Ellis Island tours||Cost|
|Reserve Statue of Liberty ticket||$25|
|Statue of Liberty with pre-ferry tour||$50|
|Guided tour of Statue of Liberty||$44|
|Statue of Liberty cruise||$30|
|Statue of Liberty sunset cruise||$30|
Statue of Liberty cruises
Some tourists prefer not to go through the five to six hours grueling Liberty visit and instead choose to cruise around the Statue of Liberty.
There are lots of Statue of Liberty boat tours available, offering different experiences.
These cruises are generally one hour long, but they can be three hours long if you opt for the Statue of Liberty dinner cruise.
If you prefer luxury, you will love to go around the Statue of Liberty onboard a 1920s style yacht.
The 60-minutes Sunset Cruise starts at 4.30 pm and 6 pm and goes around the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Big Apple Pass includes tickets to a 60-minute Statue of Liberty cruise, the Empire State Building, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You also get a 10% discount code, which you can use (five times!) to get discounts on future purchases.
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