The Statue of Liberty is clearly one of the most patriotic and quintessentially American tourist stops you’ll ever put on your travel itinerary. In New York Harbor since 1885, this mammoth monument to the American ideal of “Liberty and justice for all” (and to the admiration of the French people for that “Great Experiment” just across the Atlantic), the Statue of Liberty is an icon that every American and tourist alike will remember seeing for a lifetime.
Ways to See the Statue of Liberty
There are many ways to see Lady Liberty. For example, you can see her through the support cables of the Brooklyn Bridge or from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook. Or, you can see her from the picture windows at the Museum of Jewish Heritage or from your hotel room window at the Ritz-Carlton located at Battery Park (hotel staff even provide you with a telescope.) Furthermore, if you like to walk or are a bike enthusiast you can pedal on over and see Miss Liberty from Battery Park itself or from Liberty State Park on the Jersey Shore.
But none of these views let you get really up close and personal or get a truly amazing photo-op of you and your entourage standing in front of the massive copper statue on Liberty Island. For that, you’ll need to take the Liberty Cruise to the Statue of Liberty and get out and explore the island a bit.
Benefits of the Liberty Cruise
There are many benefits to the Liberty Cruise aside from the basic fact that it takes you to Liberty Island to see the great symbol of American freedom and the instantly recognizable symbol of New York City.
First, you get to see Battery Park before your departure. To be seen are Castle Clinton, East Coast Memorial (to World World II heroes who died right off the coast from German U-boat attacks), and the glittery, creative SeaGlass Carousel. Then, you embark on the ferry boat to the statue right from “The Battery,” as the park is now officially named.
Next, you get a wonderful view of the New York coastline from the boat on the way over. And you’ll also see the imposing image of Miss Liberty growing larger and larger as you approach her island-footstool. This is also a great time to capture amazing pictures.
Then, on shore, you can go on a guided or audio tour of the island – or explore it on your own. There is a museum that will fill you in on the details of the statue’s momentous history. And the Crown Cafe (not in the crown, but near the museum) will give a chance to stop and refuel. A walk over to the gigantic flagpole and US flag, fluttering grandly in the oceanic breeze, is also worthwhile.
After seeing the statue and re-embarking on your ferry, you also have the option of coasting over to the island next door: Ellis Island. There, you get a glimpse into the history of immigration to the US through the station that once operated there. The museum of immigration on Ellis Island is a great complement to the Liberty Island stop – and it’s part of the same national monument.
Finally, note that you can get free or highly discounted Liberty Cruise tickets included in some New York City bus tours. And you can book the bus tour and the liberty cruise online well ahead of time at a very affordable price tag. (It’s one of the few things that are truly cheap when it comes to NYC tourism.)
One more thing: you’ll need to buy special tickets and far in advance (online is best) to get pedestal and/or crown access.