In part 2 of New York sights to see I’m focusing in on what you can do in Lower Manhattan. This is a plan for a day – which I have tried out myself! – however you can spread this over 2 days if you want to spend more time exploring (or shopping!).
Ride the Subway
It’s a long walk to lower Manhattan (I’ve done it!) so I’d recommend either getting the Subway to Bowling Green or South Ferry. Both are accessible for all the attractions in the area. You can plan your route here at the MTA website.
If you have purchased tickets for a hop on and off bus tour – such as CitySightseeing – you can also use the bus and get off at the Battery Park/Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty Ferry stop.
When you arrive everything is in walking distance – so easy to get around – although make sure you wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot to explore!
Staten Island Ferry
If you arrive at South Ferry Subway stop your first sight will be of the Staten Island Ferry. If you arrive at Bowling Green its a 5-10 minutes walk away. This free ferry ride gives you unrivalled views of the city and the Statue of Liberty and its well worth it! You can see how close you get to the Statue of Liberty in the picture below.
It’s very easy to go over and then come back directly on the next ferry and a round trip takes about an hour or so. I’d avoid peak work times as it does get busy. The picture below is an example of just how great the views of NYC are. I took this stood outside at the back of the ferry – its really worth fighting your way through the crowds to get some good shots from here.
From the Staten Island Ferry Terminal you can follow the path around to Battery Park. There are great views out of the harbour and Statue of Liberty along the way. This area is lovely to walk around in the Spring and Summer – there is a park, gardens and monuments to explore.
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
Make sure you book your tickets to the Statue of Liberty in advance – I’d recommend 3-4 weeks ahead to get the slot you want. If you want to visit the Pedastal or the Crown you will need to book much further ahead. I’d recommend a morning slot as the trip takes time – 3-4 hours depending on how busy it is – and the later you sail the more of your day it will take up. I’d also recommend the morning if its late Spring and Summer – it gets hot and you are quite exposed on the Island – so also make sure you wear sun screen. I fried in the sun waiting for the boat!
I’d aim to arrive half hour to an hour ahead of your trip as with most attractions in New York you need to go through security and this one can take time – just join the queue as soon as you arrive and you will get on the next available boat.
The boat gets busy and I’d recommend travelling on the top deck if the weather is good – it can be a bit of a scrum to get there however the views of the Harbour and the Statue of Liberty are worth it!
On arrival most people head straight to the Statue of Liberty I’d recommend walking around the Island first and just appreciating the views of Manhattan. You can then finish up at the Statue. I’ve visited in the Spring, Summer and Winter and looking back over the City from the Island is something that stays with you forever.
As you continue your walk around the Island nothing prepares you for the impressive close up view of Lady Liberty. Its mad! It does get busy in this spot so be prepared for the crowds all battling to get a picture and selfie in front of her!
We had lunch here when we last visited. There’s some great places to enjoy a picnic if you have bought food with you, or you can eat at the restaurant. We have eaten here – mainly American fare – and it was reasonably priced and good value for money.
One word of warning make sure you plan you departure carefully – the queues for the boat back can be long so keep an eye on this especially if its sunny. On my last visit we had to queue for over an hour to get on a boat.
You can go straight back to Manhattan or go via Ellis Island. Access to Ellis Island is included in your ticket price so if you have time and are not rushing off to explore something else make the most of it. You can visit the Immigration Museum and walk in the footsteps of the people that arrived in New York in the late 1800s.
I visited Ellis Island on my first trip to the Statue of Liberty however I now tend to head have straight back to New York to visit Brooklyn Bridge or do some more shopping!