The Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island are popular destinations for visitors to New York City. If you're interested in seeing both during your trip, catching them on the same day makes sense both financially and logistically.
Liberty Island and Ellis Island are two separate islands in the New York Harbor served by the same ferry, so viewing them both allows visitors to make the most of their time. However, it can make for a long day if you're going to experience the two landmarks to their fullest. It will take five to six hours to visit both islands and the museums, as well as round-trip transportation from Battery Park in southern Manhattan.
Planning Your Trip
All the ticket options include seeing the grounds and audio tours of both Liberty Island and Ellis Island. You can add in seeing the Statue of Liberty's crown and pedestal, or just the pedestal, though these types of tickets have limited availability.
Another option is to include the Hard Hat Tour to check out "Unframed—Ellis Island," an art exhibit by JR, a French artist. You can also save money by buying a CityPASS, a discount deal that includes five other NYC attractions.
The ferry leaves Battery Park every 20 minutes, but allow about 30 minutes for clearing security and boarding (even if you purchase your tickets in advance, which is recommended). You'll need even more time if you want to buy tickets once you arrive at Battery Park.
Statue Cruises, the official provider of ferry service for both islands, recommends that you board the ferry no later than 1 p.m. to visit both islands.
Dining on Your Visit
All ferries have snack bars for the rides, and concession stands on both islands focus on organic and healthy options. You can bring your own food, and as long as it is sealed you may enter the screening facility. Coolers are not permitted, and food and drinks are prohibited in the Liberty Island security tent and at the crown and pedestal.
After about a 10-minute ride, the ferry will stop at Liberty Island first. All passengers disembark when the ferry arrives at Liberty Island, so it's worth visiting the famous Statue of Liberty on your way to Ellis Island.
Another 10-minute ferry ride will bring you to Ellis Island. You'll want to allow at least an hour to visit the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Take the free ranger-guided tour (which are on a first come first served basis) or give yourself time to explore the museum on your own.
Once you finish, you'll return to Battery Park by boarding the ferry, which leaves Ellis Island every 20 minutes. Be sure to get the boat bound for Battery Park as there are also ferries going back to Liberty Island (for visitors who took the ferry from New Jersey).