5 Essential Tips for Visiting the Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic monuments in not just the United States, but the whole world.
Visiting it is a must-do if you are taking a trip to New York City. But oftentimes, people avoid going here because they hear the horror stories of how hectic it can be and what a tourist trap it is. While it’s certainly one of the most visited sites in New York, and while it can certainly be chaotic, if you plan right, you’ll have a very pleasant and memorable experience.
So what should you know before you go? Read on to learn the five essential tips for visiting the Statue of Liberty.
1. Allow Plenty of Time for Your Visit
Because of the island’s close proximity to the mainland, many think that visiting the statue is a quick in and out trip.
But in reality, you should plan for about five to six hours for the whole excursion. If you have a tour planned on the island, you will want to arrive for the ferry lines at least two hours early to give yourself plenty of time. Then of course, you’ll want to check out everything else Ellis Island has to offer (more on that later).
To avoid stress, it’s best to have the rest of your day open after visiting the statue. Trying to rush back to make a dinner reservation will only make for a stressful experience.
2. Buy Your Ticket in Advance and Arrive Early
Lines to board the ferry are typically longest during the summer and weekends. But it’s not uncommon to find yourself waiting in line for over an hour even during the weekdays.
To avoid waiting in long lines, try to catch the first ferry of the day. And if you want to skip the line altogether, buy your ticket in advance. Make sure to select the right ticket, however, as they are time-sensitive and there is a strict 24-hour cancellation period.
And while you’re at it, you should definitely purchase your Liberty Cruise tickets, which give you views of the statue, as well as other must-see sites along the water.
3. Pack a Picnic
Like concessions at every highly-trafficked tourist destination, the food options at the Statue of Liberty are both mediocre and overpriced. Plus, there’s long lines here as well.
To avoid the hassle and save yourself some money, pack your own picnic instead. As crowded as the place can be, there are still many spots to lay a blanket out and enjoy the views while eating lunch.
4. Leave the Shopping Bags at Your Hotel
Unless you’re coming straight to the Statue from shopping, it’s best to leave the big bags back at your hotel. Only small purses (which will be searched) and cameras are allowed inside the statue.
Otherwise, prepare to pay a locker fee of $2 for every two hours.
5. Take Advantage of All of the Island’s Offerings
Many people don’t realize there’s a lot more to see on your excursion than just the statue itself.
There is, of course, the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, where one can learn about the many immigrants who first arrived to America via the island. There are also free tours available on Liberty Island, in which you get to learn about the history of the statue and why it was made. These tours take off every 30-45 minutes or so.
Also worth checking out is the Statue of Liberty Exhibit. It’s located on the second floor of the statue and features a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, and prints that tell the story of how the monument came to be.
There is also a free audio tour available, a promenade and observatory tour, and a torch exhibit.
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