Explore two of America’s most iconic symbols of freedom.
Lady Liberty has greeted millions of immigrants and travelers arriving in the U.S. via New York Harbor, many of them headed to points well beyond the city. For immigrants, in particular, the sight of her marked a new beginning in the New World. Once they cleared Ellis Island, that is. Ellis Island was set up to process approximately 5,000 people a day, but at the busiest times, more than 11,000 immigrants moved through, totaling more than 12 million people from 1892 to 1954—an experience thoughtfully detailed in the museum now housed there. Purchase Statue of Liberty tickets in advance at statuecruises.com—tickets aren’t available on Liberty Island. A “Pedestal Ticket” includes admission to the statue’s pedestal, Liberty Island Museum and Fort Wood level. A “Crown Ticket” gains you access to everything, including the full statue and the crown. There’s no elevator access to the crown, so prepare to climb 20 stories of steps.
- Battery Park. Most Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island visitors catch their ferries here. But the park itself has sights worth seeing, including Castle Clinton National Monument—built as a fort in 1808.
- Governors Island. This former military site—closed to the public for 200 years—has become one of New York City’s hottest summertime playgrounds since opening to all in 2014. Take a ferry from the Battery Maritime Building.
- National Museum of the American Indian. This Smithsonian Institution affiliate—housed in the magnificent 1907 Alexander Hamilton Custom House—is dedicated to the art and culture of Native Americans. Programming includes music and dance, craft demonstrations and readings for children.
If You Go
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, daily, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Ferries from Battery Park in Manhattan and Liberty Park in New Jersey; statuecruises.com
Recommended time to spend:
At least four hours