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NYC Museum Pass?

I'm going to NYC in December for 6 nights and was wondering if they have museum passes similar to what's available in Paris? If so, is it worth it?

Posted by
6870 posts

Hi Andrea, which are your "must see" museums (and are you sure you'll be able to get to them)? What are their admission fees? I would add 'em up and compare to the cost of City Pass price or any others, while cross referencing and making sure your must sees are included on that pass.

I'll see at most one museum a day because they're often so large and comprehensive. The Met has no standard admission although $25 is what they ask for (and probably get in most cases). I've been able to get discounts from TravelZoo for individual museums which allowed for skipping the line, which was worthwhile for me. Don't overlook the smaller, lesser known museums.

Posted by
11286 posts

There is nothing like the Paris Museum Pass. There is a New York CityPass, but it is very pricey, and unless you're doing a lot of the "covered" items, it won't pay off.

As MrsEB says, many NYC museums have a "suggested" donation as admission. Note, however, that the Museum of Modern Art has an actual admission fee (high). However, it's an amazing collection, and your admission even includes all the films they're showing that day (their film program is amazing, with all kinds of rarities, restorations, etc).

So, first figure out what you want to see, then see if any pass will be worth it.

Posted by
8767 posts

Wow! Thank you all for for quick replies and great information. I booked our hotel using a deal I found on Travelzoo. I haven't purchased airline tickets yet. We will likely arrive late afternoon or evening (seems like that's typical for flights from Sacramento) on a Sunday. We will fly home Friday. That gives us all day Monday-Thursday.

How much time we spend in museums will partly depend on the weather. I've been to NYC once before in 2010 and my husband has never been. Long story short, on my previous trip I was there to accompany my developmentally delayed brother. It was his trip and he chose our activities. We did go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but didn't spend too much time there. We will be in Paris in November and will get a 6 day museum pass. We've been to most of the museums in Paris, but there are a few smaller ones we haven't gotten to that are of interest, and I'd like to spend some time at the Louvre to see new things there. When I googled NYC museum passes I did find that very expensive one. I wasn't aware that some museums entry fees are only 'suggested' prices. Good information to have.

Posted by
5697 posts

Cloisters! Unless you're medievaled out by the Cluny in Paris.

Posted by
5465 posts

The "New York" passes are issued by private, for-profit entrepreneurs who package what they think will sell. None of the museums are run by the government, they are individual charities. I think the pass products are a bad deal for impulsive purchasers who don't plan to see everything on the pass. That's an opinion.

Read the link about pay what you wish.

Posted by
9363 posts

We loved the Museum of the City of New York (though it's not on the list of Pay What You Wish museums)! Our host lived in the neighborhood, so she paid nothing for admission. The other two of us got a 2 for 1 deal on Groupon for $15.

Posted by
3932 posts

We've been to NYC twice for 5 nights and both times got the New York Pass (not to be confused with the New York City Pass). We got our money's worth both times. We did a lot of the stuff on it (over the two trips) - top of the rock, empire state, free boat rides, NYC water taxi, the Intrepid, 9/11 museum, natural history, guggenheim, bicycle rentals in central park, grand central audio tour, madame tussauds, the Met, cathedral of St john, used them for discounts at a few restaurants. The last trip we utilized 4 of the walking tours offered and really enjoyed them (Highline, Brooklyn Bridge, Art Deco architecture and SOHO/Little Italy/Chinatown) . Best thing is to look at what is available and whether those are things you want to do.

Posted by
9363 posts

We were there the last week in February 2016. That is great if it is "suggested" now, but it isn't listed on the link you posted. Perhaps it has changed since the list was compiled?

Posted by
278 posts

Little known fact but most of the museums are "suggested" donation. Depending on how many museums you plan to visit, I would skip the pass. My Brooklyn based daughter pays $5 a visit.

Posted by
646 posts

Be careful to double check with the sights. Our daughter went on a choir field trip and everyone got a pass. But some things listed as free with the pass (the zoo for instance) were not honored at the site.

Posted by
8767 posts

Thanks everyone! We won't get a pass. We leave in one week. I can't wait!

Posted by
2328 posts

Andrea, a very interesting and unusual museum and experience in NYC is the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Instead of celebrating elegance, it focuses on the various waves of immigrants who have lived in the tenements of the neighborhood. The museum is an old tenement apartment building, and your visit would include your selection of one or more tours of certain apartments (refurbished as the they were occupied by residents of varying ethnicities in different decades) or walking tours of the neighborhood. Very different and worthwhile experience!

Posted by
5465 posts

I haven't been to the Tenement Museum, but I want to warn that many posters on other boards warn to book that one in advance. It's unusual in NYC, an accompanied tour only, or something like that, and capacity is VERY LIMITED. It's also not PWYW.

EDIT: For those shut out of the Tenement House Museum, a second-choice might be the Merchant House Museum, that was a better-off family's residence. (They have had the good sense to move some focus to the servants as well as the owners.) There are some individual period interiors, like luxury mansion interiors at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, also to be seen in NYC.

Posted by
809 posts

Just want to second the recommendation of the Tenement Museum. I visited with my teen daughter some years ago, and we liked our tour so much we signed up for a second one that afternoon!

Posted by
1143 posts

Hi Andrea!
I want to "third" the suggestion of the Tenement Museum.
I've been twice and would gladly go again -- It's that interesting and well-done!

Posted by
8767 posts

Thanks to Tim's recommendation I just booked tours at the Tenement Museum. We will do the Sweatshop Worker tour, followed by the Outside the Home walking tour. Fingers crossed the weather will be good!

Posted by
13487 posts

Andrea, you're probably running around NYC as we speak but let us know how everything went for you when you get back?

Posted by
13487 posts

Me too. It's yucky in a LOT of places today and will be worse tomorrow. Very glad she'll be home safe and warm!

Posted by
8767 posts

We did make it home finally! We had a 3 hour delay in Newark. We had a 3 hour layover in Chicago, so I just knew we would miss our connecting flight. Well, that flight had a 4 hour delay. Instead of arriving in Sacramento at 10:05 p.m. We arrived around 2:15 a.m. An hour later I was snug in my bed. If we didn't have our travel meeting who knows how long I would have slept!

We had a great time in NYC! We arrived at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday after taking a red eye from Sacramento. We took the train to Penn Station and it was an easy walk to our hotel. They stored our bags for us. We bought 7 day subway passes (we definitely got our money's worth out of them!) and headed to the Lower East Side. We ate at Katz's, then walked around a bit before our Tenement Museum tours. We really enjoyed the tours, even though it was very cold during the walking tour. We stopped midway to get something hot to drink. It began snowing shortly after the tour ended. We don't get snow at home, so I quite enjoyed it.

Other museums we went to were the Museum of Natural History (we were there all day!), the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Thank you for letting me know that the prices at Natural History and the Met were suggested prices. We paid $10 each. We were going to go to the Jewish Heritage Museum after the 9/11 museum, but I was so emotionally drained I just couldn't do it. Maybe next time. We spent a day going to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. We enjoyed wandering through different neighborhoods and experiencing the holiday decor at Rockefeller Plaza, the windows at Saks and Macy's, etc. We saw The Front Page on Broadway, purchasing the tickets at the TKTS place in Times Square. On Thursday we had tickets to see the The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Normally they keep the audience lined up outside, but because of the cold temps they took pity on us. After standing outside about 30 minutes we got checked in. Then we were able to be indoors until the taping began a few hours later. It was a lot of fun. Carnegie Deli is around the corner from the Ed Sullivan Theater, so we went there for dinner. It was worth standing in line for half an hour in the very cold weather to be able to eat there before they close at the end of the month. I liked Carnegie better that Katz's.

We look forward to returning to NYC in the future. Preferably in the Spring or Fall, now that we've already seen it during the holiday season. The advice I got here definitely helped with the success of our trip. Thanks again everyone!! Happy Holidays!