New York City is a unique and wonderful place. As a born and raised New Yorker, I have been fortunate enough to experience and explore much of what New York City offers.

But even those not from New York know it is often crowded and expensive. So what is the best way to avoid the crowds, especially now as we continue to navigate this pandemic safely and stay on budget while enjoying all these great city offers? The New York pass is an option that provides perks and easy access to maximize your New York experience with less of the crowds and exorbitant prices.

statue of liberty new york city

So what is the New York Pass?

The New York Pass is an app with a planning guide, navigation, and digital passes for the entertainment you choose to book. The pass also offers discounts and fast passes that you can book in advance, up to 90 days, by planning your trip and booking your passes with the app.

Your passes will activate on the app when you go to your first attraction. You will then be able to use the pass for the remainder of your trip, and you can go to as many places as you want consecutively throughout the trip. It is an easy, safe, and budget-friendly way to approach your experience.

What attractions can you book with the New York Pass?

There are a variety of attractions you can book using the app. They are organized into categories to make your planning experience more enjoyable. The categories you can choose from include:

Must See

In this category, there is a mix of the most popular sites in the city for you to choose from, and there is no limit to how many attractions you choose to visit in any category. One popular option from this section is the Empire State Building Observatory. There you will have the chance to visit the historic building and see the spectacular view. Another option in this category that is often chosen is “The Ride,” an interactive, entertaining bus tour located in Midtown, Manhattan. Are you ready to explore, enjoy, and save? This list is loaded with options all over the five boroughs.

What’s New

This category offers discounts and freebies on food tours that take you around the city to taste the unique and delicious food you can get in various neighborhoods. You will be able to find Jazz events and more as well!

The next few categories are helpful if you know specifically what types of venues you are looking to see when you visit.

Museums

New York has a wide variety of museums for those of all tastes and interests. The New York Pass offers discounted or free access to museums all over the city, such as the Modern Museum of Art (MOMA.) You will see sculptures and works of art from artists such as Andy Warhol and Vincent Van Gogh. Another option with a different perspective on artistic representation is the Museum of Sex. There you will experience art that encourages interaction in conversation with a classically taboo subject for many based on the art they see there.

Take your pick of all the beautiful attractions that express the artists’ perspectives and expressions represented in New York at a discounted price or for free, and get the most out of your vacation without blowing your budget!

An added bonus for your budget!

All of the categories on the app offer various options free of charge when you purchase the pass, which is even better than a coupon! Check your app!

Traveling in the time of Covid

Thankfully, New York is no longer the hotspot for Covid that it once was, and things are beginning to open up again. Unfortunately, not everything is back to normal, so booking online, contacting the attractions ahead of time, and planning in advance is helpful. Hence, you are aware of any closures or restrictions around the city when you are there.

Due to the changes caused by the pandemic, New York Pass is offering full refunds on unused passes for up to 90 days after purchase. Thanks to this new option, you will not have to worry about losing money if you need to cancel for any reason. To be safe before traveling, also make sure you stay up to date on travel restrictions before going anywhere.

So is it worth it to get the New York Pass?

Discounts, freebies, the ability to organize your activities, and more. This is a great deal if it offers the things you want to experience while in New York. On average, you will need about $235 a day to enjoy the city and cover basic expenses. Having all of these discounts and free opportunities will allow you to do more on your trip without blowing your budget if you want to see the sites and experience the available options.

There are other ways to enjoy the city as well without only visiting the main tourist attractions. New York City has miles of beautiful beaches in Brooklyn and Queens. Pay your way onto the sand, but the boardwalks are free! You can also find both expensive and inexpensive food options to fit your needs.

You can also do walking tours of the neighborhoods you are interested in seeing, which is also free unless you decide to go shopping. Make sure you decide what kind of trip you want to have. If you are going for options like this, the pass may not be the best option.

So here are my good and bad perspectives on the New York Pass. It is a good idea to purchase the pass if:

1. You are coming to New York for the first time

There are many things to do in New York, and it can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Having many of your options organized in one place will make it easier to decide what you want to start with from the major attractions, and then you can plan other things from there if you choose to.

2. You are planning to visit a bunch of the more expensive and popular options. You also want to skip the lines.

The discounts and free options are worth it if you are saving money by purchasing the pass and getting to see more attractions for less money.

No one likes lines and crowds, but now it is more important than ever to stay safe, plan ahead, skip the lines and large crowds.

3. You want to see as much as possible while you are in New York, and you don’t care how packed your schedule is.

When you purchase this pass, the more you see, the more you save, so get ready to explore!

You may not want to get the New York Pass if:

1.You are moving to New York, or you are staying for an extended period.

The pass has the best value when using it over a few days and packing your schedule with attractions. If you will be there for a while, you may want to space out your visits to the attractions.

2. You are more interested in seeing the free and low-cost attractions around the city.

This all depends on your travel style. You will only be able to decide if you crunch the numbers and make sure the pass is worth the same or more than you will be spending at the places you decide to go throughout your trip.

3. If you are a student and have a valid student ID from your school

Make sure the student discounts you get at many places will not save you more than the pass. You want to be sure you are getting the best deals!

In the end, it all comes down to what kind of traveler you are. The New York Pass is a great deal if you want to see the more expensive attractions such as the River Cruise or the Empire State Building, and you want to pack your schedule to see as many attractions as you can. If you are looking for a more laid-back trip or want to see more free and low-cost attractions, it may not be the best option for you.

Plan ahead and decide what you want to see when you visit New York and crunch the numbers to see how you can have the best trip and save the most money in the process. Either way, you will be visiting a fantastic city that I am happy to call home. Visit soon!

This post originally appeared on Savoteur.

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