NYC Tourist: Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

You know how people always tell you to play tourist in your own city? Well This past weekend, we decided to do just that. See my husband hadn’t ever been to the Statue of Liberty, so once we moved here we decided to rectify that.

So, is it really so difficult to go to the Statue of Liberty that I need to write you a post about it? Well, no. But I know as a tourist with limited time, I would want to know just how worthwhile the trip is, hidden secrets, how long etc. 

So today, I bring you CKay Studios guide to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. 

ckaystudios guide to the statue of liberty
ckaystudios guide to the statue of liberty


Location: Battery Park (Click here for more detailed information).

Time frame: With Ellis Island being in the shape it currently is in, you won’t spend as much time here as you normally would. Altogether with the ferry rides, climbing the crown, and visiting Ellis Island, we spent about 4 hours give or take. It’s important to realize this is not a quick stop like walking into Times Square or Top of the Rock. You could most definitely spend more time, but spending much less would be hard, you would really have to be running from thing to thing.

Concessions: There are concessions everywhere, on the ferry, on Liberty island, and Ellis Island has a cafe. I will warn you, premiums on all things and lets just say I would pass on the ferry snacks. You can’t bring a cooler or anything, but you could sneak in a few snacks in a pocket or purse and definitely bring water, you will need it. 

Tip #1

You can but tickets at Liberty State Park where you board the ferries, but I found it better to buy online here for several reasons. First, even though we went in the middle of January (i.e. not prime viewing time); there was a line at the ticket booth but because we had online tickets, we just stepped up to the window, got our printed tickets, and were on our way. Also, access to the crown sells out months in advance, so going the day of is not going to get you access to anything but the islands themselves and possibly the pedestal. 

ckay studios libertys eye
ckay studios libertys eye

Tip #2

You want, no NEED to go into the crown. I seriously don’t know if I’ve had such a cool experience at a “tourist” location.  you literally see the inside of the statue. The reinforcing rehab, touch the copper, see the eye and face up close, and it is seriously quite a thrilling adventure. That being said, you have to be in good physical shape. It’s a lot of stairs. Also, if you are claustrophobic, probably not a good idea for you. Wear good shoes as even if you don’t go up in the crown there is quite a bit of walking. And dress appropriately. You will be outside quite a bit. 

manhattan skyline ckaystudios
manhattan skyline ckaystudios

Tip #3

Take pictures! Lots of them, not only of the statue and other cool selfie opportunities, but Liberty Island gives you a magnificent view of of the Manhattan Skyline. 

Tip #4

If you are going up to the pedestal or the crown, you will need to check any bag you have. Lockers are $2 and cash only. This is a requirement. 

Also, you can take the elevator up to the pedestal, but you will encounter a line. Again, we went at off peak time but it was an additional 10-15min wait just for the elevator. We opted for the stairs. Yes, there are a lot!

ckaystudios liberty flame
ckaystudios liberty flame

Tip #5

After you go through security to get to the pedestal, you should go through the museum that is up one flight of stairs. It is a great short museum on the building of the statue. It’s engaging and you will assuredly learn something new. 

ckaystudios ellis island
ckaystudios ellis island

Tip #6

Go to Ellis Island!

Believe it or not, some people skip this part. If nothing else, it is a beautiful old building, but it is filled with amazing information that you would not ordinarily have access to. 

There is also a great movie they show, but be warned it is 45 minutes long. We did not opt for it this time, but I have seen it and really enjoyed it. Plus, it’s a nice break if you are weary from walking. 

ckays tudios inside ellis isand
ckays tudios inside ellis isand

Tip #7

Be warned, that since Hurricane Sandy, Ellis Island is just not the same. Because they are unable to keep the correct temperature and humidity control in the building, pretty much all the artifacts are gone. They have set up an interesting museum on the ground  floor, but the upper floors are quite depressing as they are a shell of what they once were. But still climb the stairs, the Registry Room has the most stunning herringbone ceiling and old windows. On the third floor there is a room dedicated to Hurricane Sandy, the damage, and repair efforts that is interesting. 

Tip #8

Did you go too late in the day to go to Ellis Island? Your tickets will allow you to go back for 48 hours after your ticket date.

Tip #9

The audio tours are free! Also, there is a live guided tour at Ellis Island that I hear is amazing. We have not done it, but friends suggested it was a not to miss item. Just remember, everything takes time….

Tip #10

Don’t want to spend the time or money ($20-30) going to the islands? Take the Staten Island ferry there and back. It’s free, and will get you some pretty photos. If you have the time though, I would do it!

The Statue of Liberty is truly awe-inspiring.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Seems like a by-gone era were we welcomed the “refuse” of the world for the chance of the better life. I sometimes wish we still lived in that time were immigrants were welcomed for being people rather than what they could potentially contribute to our economy. 

Adventure on,


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