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The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Ride the ferry through the history pages of immigration to the United States; a must for anyone visiting New York City
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 7.5 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview:  This should be the first stop on your list if you are visiting New York City for the first time. There are more things to do in New... more »

Tips:  The first ferry leaves for Liberty Island (and then onto Ellis Island directly after) at 8:30am and the last ferry leaves Ellis Island... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Ticket Counter

Walk across Battery Park toward the water where you will see signs (and likely large crowds) leading to the ticket counter.

While in Battery Park, look for the sculpture of the world made from metal. This sculpture was below the towers of the World Trade Center, and you can see some damage was done to it. Today there is a flame below it to... More

2. Ferry to Liberty Island

Once you buy your ticket follow the line to board the ferry to Liberty Island. The ferry will first go to Liberty Island, then to Ellis Island and finally back to the dock at Battery Park, but you will want to get off on both islands to walk around and explore.

The boat can be quite packed, especially during peak tourist season, but you will get ... More

The Statue of Liberty was given to the United States by France more than 100 years ago to honor the friendship formed between France and the United States during the American Revolution. However, the meaning has since changed and today Lady Liberty stands tall as a symbol of democracy and liberty; she is the most recognizable symbol of freedom and... More

4. Sculptures of Important People

Near the back left of the statue (from the statue's perspective) you will find bronze sculptures by Edouard de Laboulaye, who had the original idea for the statue. He saw America as one of the hardest fighters for democracy (especially after the Civil War), and he helped give the statue as a gift in the hopes that France would also develop a... More

5. Cafe and Gift Shop

Before you catch the ferry to Ellis Island you may want to stop off at the gift shop for some souvenirs. There is also a cafe here where you can replenish your energy for the next leg of your trip.

After you have seen enough of the statue, head back to the dock where you first got off of the ferry and wait for the next one. The next stop on the tour is Ellis Island, where all immigrants first stopped before entering the United States.

For many visitors, the trip to Ellis Island can be an emotional one, especially when you consider that many millions of Americans today can trace their roots back to an ancestor who passed through Ellis Island on the journey to a better life in America.

The natural island is only a little larger than the current museum; the rest of the island was... More

If you have extra time before the next ferry arrives, walk around the side of the island to the long wall with the names of the thousands upon thousands of people who passed through Ellis Island before entering the United States.

They are alphabetical and it's fun to look for the names of relatives.

9. Ferry Back to New York

After a long, day full of history you are probably ready to get back to the main land. Board the ferry for the last time and ride back to the dock near Battery Park where you started.