Statue of Liberty National Monument | PARK AT A GLANCE

Statue of Liberty at sunset

Statue of Liberty at sunset

PARK OVERVIEW

While Statue of Liberty National Monument was created only in 1933, the statue itself was erected in 1886 in the middle of Fort Wood on what was then called Bedloe’s Island. Today ferries depart every 20 to 40 minutes from Battery Park in New York City and Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey, bringing over 4 million people to Liberty and Ellis islands each year, making Statue of Liberty National Monument one of the Top 20 most visited National Parks.

Three types of tickets are available to see the statue: one allowing access to the grounds of Liberty Island only, one for access to the top of the statue’s pedestal, and one for access to the crown of the statue. Regardless of ticket type, all visitors can attend free Ranger-guided tours of Liberty Island and can enter the newly opened Statue of Liberty Museum.

All tickets include a visit to Ellis Island as well. The island became part of Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965 but did not open to the public until 1976. It closed eight years later when a massive restoration project on the Main Immigration Building began. Work was completed in 1990. Guests have unrestricted access only to the Main Immigration Building that now houses the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. While most people spend a couple of hours browsing through the exhibits, it would take two full days to see everything and to read all of the information in the museum.

The National Park Service and Save Ellis Island, Inc. also offer a guided tour of the dilapidated hospital complex on Ellis Island. Called the Hard Hat Tour, this is the only way to see a section of the island other than the museum. Tickets are required.

There is a café on each island that serves sandwiches, burgers, pizza, and other typical lunchtime fare. Visitors can also bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages in a small handbag or standard-size backpack. No coolers are allowed.


OPERATING HOURS

Liberty and Ellis islands are open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Hours vary depending on the season, but tend to be from at least 9 AM to 5 PM, with extended hours during the summer and holidays. For the current schedule, visit the National Park Service’s official Basic Information web page for Statue of Liberty National Monument.


FEES

While there is technically no fee to visit Statue of Liberty National Monument, there is fee for the ferry to the islands and an additional charge for access to the pedestal and crown of the statue. Because there is no fee to visit the park, National Park passes are not valid.

There is also a fee for the Hard Hat Tour on Ellis Island. All other Ranger-guided tours are free.

To purchase tickets, visit Statuecruises.com. Statue Cruises is the only National Park authorized concessionaire that sells tickets to Liberty and Ellis islands. Other vendors offer you a chance to “see” the Statue of Liberty, but these are either harbor cruises that pass by Liberty Island or complete frauds. Purchasing a ticket from Statue Cruises is the only way to actually set foot on the islands.


SCHEDULING YOUR TIME

For a thorough visit to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, plan to depart on the first ferry of the day and spend the entire day at the park.

Liberty Island

If you would like to visit only the Statue of Liberty, time spent depends on the ticket you purchase. For those with a General Admission ticket, which gets you on Liberty Island only and not into the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal or crown, an hour should be sufficient. If you attend the Ranger-guided tour of the island, which lasts 45 minutes, you might spend up to two hours.

Those with Pedestal and Crown tickets may spend more time due to going through security. The pedestal and crown are nothing more than elevated viewing platforms, so a ticket holder could get to the top, snap a few photos, and be back down in a half hour.

What may consume most of your time is a visit to the Statue of Liberty Museum, though as with any museum, time spent depends on your interest in the subject matter. It takes a full hour to see the exhibits and read through all of the information. I read everything in the museum, went to the top of the pedestal, and took the Ranger-guided tour of the island, and counting travel time on the ferry and a break for lunch, I spent five hours on Liberty Island.

Ellis Island

For most people, a visit to Ellis Island will entail nothing more than seeing the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. This is a Smithsonian-size museum that could take two days to cover. I spent nine hours over two days and finally gave up trying to read and see everything. However, most people will have their fill of immigration history in two hours, and I recommend allotting at least that much time in order to do the museum minimum justice. The only other activity at Ellis Island is the Hard Hat Tour of the old hospital complex, which takes 1.5 hours (and requires a ticket purchase).

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Last updated on November 22, 2021
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