Before the Crowds Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour

See Lady Liberty up close and get in touch with your roots at the gateway to New York City

Travel Flexibly 4.7 / 5 See All 14 Reviews · 4.00h · New York, United States

Want to see the iconic Statue of Liberty up close while you’re in New York? How about retracing the steps of the millions of families who passed through Ellis Island to chase their American dream? Then join a passionate local guide for a journey into NYC’s incredible history, with skip-the-line round-trip ferry tickets included. Admire Lady Liberty up close then explore museums that tell the stories of New York’s most famous monument and the people who made their life-changing journeys here.

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  • Round-trip ferry from Manhattan
  • Explore Liberty Island
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Statue of Liberty Museum
  • Ellis Island
  • Ellis Island Immigration Museum
  • Great views of the New York skyline
  • Back to the city in time for lunch

You'll meet your friendly local guide and the rest of your small group at a convenient spot in Manhattan, from where it's a short stroll to the Liberty Island ferry. You'll bypass the line and board the boat to see the Statue of Liberty, then explore the museum that tells the story of this iconic symbol of freedom.

Next, it's time to explore Ellis Island—where millions passed through on their way to start a new life in the US. As you explore the island and fascinating Immigration Museum, you'll discover the emotional stories of some of brave people who risked it all for a shot at a better future in America. Your tour ends back in Manhattan, with return ferry tickets included.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour Description

Your 3-hour guided tour includes:

  • Early morning start with fewer crowds

  • Skip-the-line round-trip ferry tickets

  • Statue of Liberty admission tickets

  • Guided tour of the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island

  • Admission to the Statue of Liberty Museum and Exhibit

  • Audio-guide tour of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum

  • A passionate New York tour guide

  • Maximum group size of 20

Ride the Liberty Island Ferry

After meeting in Battery Park in Manhattan, your guide will help you bypass the line to catch an early ferry to Liberty Island before the peak tourist crowds arrive. As you sail across the bay, your guide can point out some of the iconic buildings that make up the New York skyline, and you'll hear some of the background of the world-famous monument you're about to see close up.

See the Statue of Liberty Up Close

One of the United States' most important and recognizable landmarks, Lady Liberty looks proudly over the bay and attracts millions of visitors every year. Arriving earlier in the morning usually gives you a more peaceful experience than at peak times.

Once copper in color before oxidization turned it that familiar shade of green, the 151-foot statue was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel. Yes, that name does sound familiar, it's the same architect who designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French Government to the US as a representation of freedom after the abolition of slavery in the US in the 1860s.

Reportedly in 1865, the famous French abolitionist Édouard René de Laboulaye told Bartholdi: "If a monument should rise in the United States, as a memorial to their independence, I should think it only natural if it were built by united effort—a common work of both our nations."

Inaugurated 20 years later in 1886, the Statue of Liberty stands as a symbol of not only freedom and liberty but the friendship between France and the United States. Hear the full story from your guide, take a look around the excellent museum and exhibit, and get those treasured photos next to a true US icon!

Discover the History of Ellis Island

After leaving Liberty Island, you'll make the short journey to nearby Ellis Island for the next part of your tour. Until its closure in 1954, Ellis Island was the primary entrance into America from Europe, and over 12 million people entered the US through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954. You'll follow their first moments in America, from the first sight of the flame from a top Lady Liberty to the processing they undertook once they disembarked from weeks long sea voyages.

Each hopeful migrant would be processed, medically examined, and if all went well, granted entrance into the United States of America. In the museum, your guide will take you through the journey that millions took as they disembarked the ship that they had been on for weeks. You will see the Baggage Room, Registry Room, and Medical Examination Areas that each passenger went through. Imagine walking these halls where perhaps even your own ancestors once walked.

You will also see the the areas that determined whether Ellis Island was the "Isle of Hope" or the "Isle of Tears" as those who did not pass the examinations could be detained in the dormitories for weeks. With your guide you will be immersed in this emotional experience of hope, tragedy, and new beginnings.

After taking in the history of Ellis Island, you'll use your return ferry ticket to head back to Manhattan where you'll have the afternoon to enjoy more of the Big Apple.

What you get with this tour
Early morning start with fewer crowds
Skip-the-line round-trip ferry tickets
Statue of Liberty admission tickets
Guided tour of the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island
Admission to the Statue of Liberty Museum and Exhibit
Audio-guide tour of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum
A passionate New York tour guide
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See what people are saying

14 total reviews

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4.7/5 (based on 14 reviews)
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1 stars
Not as expected
12 October 2023
Reviewed by
Heidi Cluff

We expected we would not have to wait in long lines and expected to beat the crowds, as the tour advertised. Instead we waited 20 extra minutes for all 23 people to arrive, and then stood in the same long lines as everyone else for the security check and to get on the same ferry as everyone else standing in line. We didn’t beat the crowds on the ferry or the island. We had a very nice tour guide named Lily who was friendly and knowledgeable - and spoke English and her native Spanish language. We didn’t know the tour was going to be in English and Spanish - which was nice for those 6 who didn’t speak English, but was a little tiring to wait while everything she said was translated. Anyway, while I wouldn’t do this again - I’d suggest people go on their own, Lily gets a 10 for being very pleasant and doing a great job sharing information about the history of the island and statue! We were super impressed with her!

Very informative
26 August 2023
Reviewed by
Maria Stumpf

Our tour guide Jorge was amazing. Very friendly and very knowledgeable. We learned a lot of new things about the Statue of Liberty and Ellis island

30 July 2023
Reviewed by
Larry Daniels

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to bring?

As you'll be on your feet quite a lot, we recommend wearing comfortable shoes and bringing a water bottle in the summer.

What to bring?

As you'll be on your feet quite a lot, we recommend wearing comfortable shoes and bringing a water bottle in the summer.

Does this tour visit the crown or pedestal?

Guided tour groups are unable to visit the pedestal or crown due to new regulations from the State of Liberty. However, you'll have access to the entire Liberty Island, including the recently built museum.

Is Ellis Island included?

Yes, the final portion of the tour is Ellis Island. Your guide will provide an introduction outside the museum then provide audio guides for a self-guided tour.

Does this tour skip the line?

Your guide will help you bypass the line to board the ferry, and you'll also have skip-the-line admission to the Statue of Liberty. Please note that you will still have to go through compulsory security checks, and some lines might form.

Will I get seasick on the boat?

It's a short journey and the bay is protected and relatively calm, but if you're particularly prone to motion sickness then please brings your regular medication.

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