New York City

Statue of Liberty New York

The Statue of Liberty stands on a small island in the middle of the New York City harbor. Designed by Sculptor Frederick Auguste Bertholdi, it was a gift of international friendship from the people of France in commemoration of the USA centennial anniversary in 1876. The 151-feet (46-meters) tall monument stands atop a granite pedestal above the walls of a star shaped abutment. It was not completed and dedicated until October 28 1886. It was designated a National Monument on October 15, 1924. The Statue of Liberty has become one of the most universal symbols of Freedom and Democracy.

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Ride the Ferry to Liberty Island

You can visit the statue and view it at close range by riding the Statue Cruises Ferries from Battery Park at the downtown tip of Manhattan or from Liberty State Park in New Jersey. All of the excursions include a visit to nearby Ellis Island with its Immigration Museum. Liberty Island and Ellis Island are open for visitation every day between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM except December 25. Ferry tickets cost $12.00 for adults and $5.00 for children. They can be purchased at Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park or at the Railroad Terminal Building and Museum in Liberty State Park on the New Jersey side. You can also purchase tickets up to six months in advance by telephone or on the Internet. The telephone number for ticket reservations is 1-877-523-9849 and here is a link to the Internet reservation page:

Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor © Mike Leco /
The Statue of Liberty stands on a small island in the middle of the New York City harbor.

The statue is much more impressive when you are standing at its feet looking up. It is worth taking the ferry to Liberty Island just for this view. You cannot enter the statue itself, but you can tour the promenade at the base of the statue and you can enter the observatory inside the base and look up into the inner structure of the statue. There are no added charges for these tours. You can reserve them when you purchase your ferry tickets. Only a limited number of time-based tickets are available for these tours each day, so you should reserve your place early.

When you visit Liberty Island, you get a free trip to Ellis Island, home of the National Immigration Museum. This island once served as the immigration clearance center for millions of immigrants and refuges arriving in the USA from foreign lands. It was the first place where many of our grandparents set foot on American soil, and thus has a unique history that is significant to millions of US citizens.

Arrive Early in the Day

The lines to board the ferry can sometimes get very long, so arrive early. If you go after 3:30 PM, you may not have sufficient time to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You can only visit the island and see the statue from outside, unless you obtain a free timed visitor's ticket. You can enter the base of the statue with a free timed visitor ticket, but you can not climb up into the statue.

The ferries from Battery Park in Manhattan take you to Liberty Island first. You must take a ferry from Liberty Island to Ellis Island before returning to Manhattan. The ferries from New Jersey stop at Ellis Island first, then take you to Liberty Island before returning. Allow at least two hours for your visit and longer if you want to spend some time at the museum.

The Staten Island Ferry

If you cannot afford the time to visit Liberty Island, or if you arrive too late in the day, take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferries depart from the terminal at the eastern end of Battery Park just a few blocks from the Statue of Liberty Ferry. The ride takes you across New York harbor past the Statue of Liberty with a great view of the Manhattan skyline. The round trip takes about one hour and costs nothing! It is a great way to see the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline without spending a lot of time and without spending any money.

Written by: Mike Leco
Top Photo Credit: © US National Park Service
Photo Description: The Statue of Liberty