Perhaps the definitive emblem of American freedom, the Statue of Liberty is a must-see attraction on any visit to New York City. Sure, it can be seen from dozens of vantage points around Manhattan: the 86th floor of the Empire State Building, Battery Park, Brooklyn Bridge, the One World Observatory… and the list goes on. But nothing beats getting right up close with a roundtrip on the ferry to Ellis Island, where you can visit the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and various parts of the Green Goddess herself. Yep, that even includes the 162-step climb up the internal spiral staircase and into the famous crown: one for those with a head for heights only! Read on for our guide to the best times to visit this American icon.

Opening hours

The park is comprised of Ellis Island, Liberty Island and their various attractions, and is open from 9AM until 5.45PM daily, including most holidays. The park is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Please check the Statue City Cruises website for the most up-to-date ferry schedule and seasonal variations on opening hours. Advance booking is required.

Your Go City attraction pass includes the return ferry trip, plus entry to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and ground level area of the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

Passengers viewing the Statue of Liberty from aboard a ferry

Best time to visit the Statue of Liberty

The first thing to know is that the Statue of Liberty is one of the most-visited attractions in NYC. The second is that, if you plan to visit both Ellis and Liberty islands in one day, you should aim to get as early a ferry as possible. Services start running from 8.30AM in summer, which should even leave early risers with enough time for a leisurely breakfast before boarding.

Summer is Lady Liberty’s busiest season, with more frequent ferry services leading to denser crowds and, by extension, longer lines. Spring and fall see slight dips in tourism, meaning less time spent waiting around, while winter is the quietest season of all, with queues often non-existent. But it’s a hardy soul who braves the cold of Liberty island in New York’s famously freezing January.

Inevitably weekends are busier than mid-week, but it really is all relative and there is truly no quiet time to visit the statue. Our recommendation is to catch the first ferry departures Tuesday–Thursday if you really want to beat the crowds and get inside the museums ahead of anybody else.

Note that the popularity and limited capacity of the statue’s crown and pedestal areas (not included in the standard ferry ticket) mean advance booking is essential.

Table of the quietest and busiest times for visiting the Statue of Liberty

Getting to the Statue of Liberty

The only way to get to the Statue of Liberty is via ferry from departure points in Battery Park in Manhattan or the Liberty State Park in New Jersey.

Aim to arrive approximately 30 minutes before your scheduled departure time as there’s a required security screening of all passengers before boarding.


You can check the latest schedule and book tickets on the Statue City Cruises website. All ferry tickets include access to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and Statue of Liberty Museum and grounds. 

If you want to visit the pedestal or climb the spiral staircase to the crown, you’ll need separate tickets. These must be booked in advance via the Statue City Cruises website.

Save money with a Go City Explorer or All-Inclusive pass for New York attractions, which includes your ferry ticket plus entry to the museums. Passes also give you access to dozens more iconic attractions around the Big Apple, including the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Guggenheim and the Empire State Building’s 86th-floor observation deck.

Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty pictured from above

Where to eat

Fancy a picnic? You’re welcome to bring your own food and non-alcoholic drinks to both islands, but all items must be sealed during the screening process and large coolers are not permitted. No food or drink can be taken inside the pedestal or crown of the Statue of Liberty; lockers are available for storing items.

There are also snack bars on the ferries as well as cafes serving a variety of sandwiches, snacks, salads and ice creams on both islands.

In brief…

Visiting as early in the day as possible, ideally Tuesday to Thursday during spring or fall makes for the most comfortable weather conditions and the shortest lines. In truth, there is no time to visit the Statue of Liberty when it won’t be at least a little busy, but the tenet of booking the earliest ferry in the day holds true regardless of season or day of the week. It really is your best chance of dodging the lines and being first inside the museums before the tourist crowds descend.

Finally, don’t forget to book your tickets in advance, especially if you plan to visit the pedestal or crown areas.

Get the Go City attraction pass to make great savings when visiting this and other top New York City attractions!

Useful links 

Book tickets online

Get the Go City attraction pass for New York

Visit the Statue of Liberty with Go City

Further information for visiting the Statue of Liberty