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. Because they are served by the same ferry, 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.
You can take the ferry from Battery Park in lower Manhattan, or from Liberty State Park in New Jersey. Be sure to download the National Park Service's Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island app before you leave.
How to Buy Tickets
You will need to book your tickets from Statue Cruises, the official ferry service provider. Take care not to purchase your tickets from a third-party vendor, as no other boat can dock at the islands.
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, including the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
It is recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance; however, you can also purchase them day of, either at Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park or at the railroad terminal in Liberty State Park.
Tickets start at $18.50 for adults, and $9 for children.
How to Get to the Ferry
The easiest way to get to Battery Park is via subway. You can take the 4 or 5 train to Bowling Green, the R to Whitehall Street, or the 1 to South Ferry station. The ferry in Battery Park leaves every 20 minutes, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Allow about 30 minutes for clearing security and boarding. You'll need even more time if you want to buy tickets once you arrive at Battery Park.
For those visiting from New Jersey, you can drive and park at Liberty State Park. If you need to take public transportation, however, the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail stops at the park. The ferry here leaves every 40 to 45 minutes, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Statue Cruises 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.
Liberty Island, home of the famous Statue of Liberty, is a 10-minute ferry ride away from Battery Park. Opened in May 2019, the Statue of Liberty of Museum features an immersive theater, multimedia displays, and Lady Liberty's original torch. Entry is free with your ferry ticket.
If you boarded the ferry at Liberty State Park, this will be your second stop. Ferries to New Jersey leave every 40 to 45 minutes.
From Liberty Island, it's another 10-minute ferry ride 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 can take the ferry to Battery Park, which leaves Ellis Island every 20 minutes. If you came from New Jersey, make your way to the Liberty Island-bound ferry.