Everything you need to know about visiting the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Island, New York, 10004).
Since 1886, the Statue of Liberty has held her torch high in New York Harbor as the quintessential symbol of American liberty, and no trip to NYC (perhaps no trip the United States), is complete without a visit to the Mother of Exiles at Liberty Island. The statue’s massive pedestal houses an observation deck as well as exhibits detailing the fascinating history of the 305-foot copper statue designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and gifted to the U.S. from France to celebrate the friendship of the two nations. Check out the original torch and read the bronze plaque with Emma Lazarus’s poem “A New Colossus” (you know, the tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to be free). The National Park Service offers daily tours of Liberty Island as well as neighboring Ellis Island, which served as the first stop for more than 12 million immigrants between 1852 and 1954. While admission to both parks is technically free, visitors must buy ferry tickets to get there. Be sure to book online well in advance, as day-of tickets tend to sell out quickly—especially in the summer months.
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Visit the crowning achievement
Access to Lady Liberty’s crown was closed to the public after 9/11, but beginning in 2009, a limited number of daily visitors are allowed to climb the 354 steps and enjoy the stunning view. But the trek—which can take three or more hours and is roughly the equivalent of 20 stories—isn’t for everyone. At 19 inches wide, the steps are steep and head clearance is just 6’2”, plus it can be up to 20 degrees warmer inside than outside, making it a no-go for anyone with claustrophobia, vertigo and heart or respiratory issues. Tickets, which must be purchased through Statue Cruises, fill up quickly, so it’s recommended that you book online three months or more in advance.
Have a personal island party
For a truly memorable fete, throw your next bash at Liberty Island. Since the 1930s, the spot’s been hosting weddings, corporate events and other parties at Ellis and Liberty Islands. Companies like Evelyn Hill will arrange food and bar packages customized for each group of up to 350 people, or it can help coordinate with approved outside vendors. You can even end the evening with fireworks show. But no promises Lady Liberty won’t upstage the bride.
Train to be a ranger
Liberty Island has been under the jurisdiction of The National Park Service since 1965, and any child with an interest in history and nature should check out the Junior Ranger Program. They can even sign the junior ranger pledge after their visit to see Lady Liberty.
Our New York editorial team is constantly updating and reviewing the best attractions, activities and venues across the city, so that you're always in the know, with the best of NYC. at your fingertips. The Statue of Liberty was most recently updated with new tips on June 30, 2017.