No first time trip to New York City is complete without a stop at the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty is an iconic part of not only New York City but American society.
Millions of people over the years have glimpsed Lady Liberty on their way to Ellis Island seeking a better life and freedom from things like persecution and famine. Though Ellis Island no longer serves the same immigration purpose that it used to, 3.5 million people continue to visit this emblem of freedom each year.
There are two main ways to visit the Statue of Liberty, both by ferry. One way is through New York City, departing from Battery Park. The second way is through Jersey City departing from Liberty State Park.
We did a lot of research, figuring out the best way to get to the Liberty National Monument (which includes the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island). We decided on getting to the Statue of Liberty through New Jersey.
From beginning to end, the process was flawless.
Here’s how to get to the Statue of Liberty and, in my opinion, one of the best ways at that:
From anywhere in New York City, make your way to the World Trade Center Transportation Hub.
Get a ticket for PATH service to Exchange Place Station. Take the train across, or rather under, the Hudson River to Jersey City.
From here, it is possible to walk to the Statue of Liberty ferry terminal, but it’s about a 30 minute walk with a short ferry ride. Instead, call your favorite method of catching a cab or car and hitch a ride to the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal.
You know you’ll be going the right way when you’re driving through Liberty State Park along a long road with the sea in view. Take this road, Audrey Zapp Drive, all the way to the end where you can be dropped off.
Walk by this old train terminal into the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal building (the large brick building) for ticketing.
You can purchase tickets in advance or in person. There are a couple of different types of tickets that basically determine your level of access at the Statue of Liberty.
- Reserve Ticket – Allows you access to Ellis Island and the ground of the Statue of Liberty.
- Pedestal Reserve Ticket – All of the above and access into the Statue of Liberty up to the pedestal, this includes access to the museum inside the Statue of Liberty.
- Crown Reserve Ticket – All of the above and access in the Statue of Liberty up to the crown.
From ticketing, make your way to the south east corner of this park to reach the ferry gangway and pass through security.
Eventually, you’ll be on the ferry. If you happen to go during a cold day, dress warmly, as the breeze only makes the trip colder.
First stop, Ellis Island.
The ferry boats on this route depart from Ellis Island to Liberty Island (where the Statue of Liberty is) approximately every hour and five minutes. This makes timing both easier and more difficult.
Essentially, you will probably have a little less than an hour to go through Ellis Island before you’ll want to be at the dock to Liberty Island.
For me, this was a good amount of time to check out the museum and take in some history. Others may want to take more time at the museum and wander the ground of this Island of Hope including checking out the hospital and disease wards. You will just want to time your stay so that you don’t miss the next ferry to Liberty Island.
Tip: Be sure you’re in line for the ferry to Liberty Island and not Battery Park. If you get on the wrong ferry, you will miss the Statue of Liberty.
After catching the ferry boat from Ellis Island, you’ll make your way to Liberty Island, where Lady Liberty stands prominently.
From here, New York City will look so tiny.
Because we purchased Pedestal Reserve Tickets, we made our way through the queue outside and into the Statue of Liberty.
Inside, there were replicas of various aspects of the Statue of Liberty including this torch.
You’re able to browse the museum as you like, but one of the first things we decided to do was head to the pedestal to check out the view.
To get to the pedestal, you have to walk up a series of steps.
Having walked so much around New York City the days prior, it wasn’t that much of an exercise to make it to the pedestal area. There were, however, other people who were taking things more slowly.
The pedestal area itself is pretty narrow. You can probably fit about two people side by side in the walkway. This makes taking any photos within the space somewhat tricky.
Back inside, the museum is a cool walkthrough of the history of Lady Liberty and her place in American society. We spent about and hour and a half going through Liberty Island on our own.
Once you’re finished with visiting the Statue of Liberty, you can travel back to Liberty State Park by getting on the ferry to New Jersey, or head to New York City, by way of the opposite line. We took the ferry boat the opposite direction, stopping first back at Ellis Island, then arriving at Battery Park in Manhattan to continue the rest of our NYC adventure.
Because this method departs from New Jersey, it has fewer people than the 2nd method (departing from NYC). When we visited, the boat ride wasn’t packed going to Ellis Island, nor was it that impacted when heading to the Statue of Liberty.
It was busy going back the reverse commute, but this was because we took the ferry originating from Battery Park.
An additional benefit of going this route is that you end with the Statue of Liberty. Personally, I feel as though this is a better experience than the other route which ends with Ellis Island.
Hope this helps you in your quest to see the Statue of Liberty!