New York Explorer City Pass | Deals and Discounts

This post explains how to use the New York City Explorer Pass to save money on popular tours and attractions.

We also attempt to answer the question of whether it’s worth the money or not.

In addition to these factors, we’ll also provide details about how to save money on the passes themselves!

Let’s get started!


HOW DOES IT WORK?

The New York Explorer Pass is a service that allows you to pay one flat price for 3, 4, 5, 7, or 10 different attractions.

It’s pretty straightforward. The more activities you choose, the more money you’ll potentially save.

Depending on which tours and attractions you choose, you should save somewhere around 30% off of retail prices, though you could potentially save up to as much as 50%.

Some of the attractions included with the Explorer Pass include skip-the-line privileges, allowing you to avoid potentially long waits in a ticket line.


COVID-19 Update:

Most NYC attractions are open but have limited capacity or other restrictions currently in force.

You can find out more information by clicking on the attraction links on the Explorer Pass website.


Listen to tour guides Lori and Katherine discuss these passes on an episode of our NYC Travel Tips podcast.

This podcast offers bite-sized audio clips with tips on how to plan your trip to NYC. You can get our podcasts on Apple, Google, or wherever you get your podcasts.


HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Here is a breakdown of how much you can expect to pay per activity with each level of this tourist pass.New York City Explorer Pass

The numbers in red are the average price per attraction/tour for each type of pass.

These prices are as of May 2021. Be sure to check their website to confirm prices. (TIP – they often offer deals)

  • 2 Attraction Pass- $73 for adults and $51 for children
    • [$36.50/attraction/adult and $25.50/attraction/child]
  • 3 Attraction Pass- $94 for adults and $70 for children
    • [$31.30/attraction/adult and $23.30/attraction/child]
  • 4 Attraction Pass- $124 for adults and $89 for children
    • [$31/attraction/adult and $22.25/attraction/child]
  • 5 Attraction Pass- $140 for adults and $107 for children
    • [$28/attraction/adult and $21.40/attraction/child]
  • 6 Attraction Pass- $159 for adults and $124 for children
    • [$26.50/attraction/adult and $20.66/attraction/child]
  • 7 Attraction Pass- $178 for adults and $139 for children
    • [$25.43/attraction/adult and $19.86/attraction/child]
  • 10 Attraction Pass- $229 for adults and $175 for children
    • [$22.90/attraction/adult and $17.50/attraction/child]

Although this service is a great way to save money on popular activities, some of the 90+ attractions included may actually be cheaper without the pass.


How does it compare to other tourist passes?

When it comes to tourist attraction discount passes, the Explorer Pass, and its competitor, the Sightseeing Flex Pass, are in the middle ground.

This is a great option if you know that you want to see at least 3 popular tours and attractions, but you don’t want to feel like you are in a rush.

For a tour pass calculator, click here.

New York City Passes

In comparison, an all-inclusive pass requires you to pay per day (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 10 days) for dozens of attractions.

This type of pass has even more savings potential than the Explorer Pass, but you will need to keep busy to realize these savings.

It’s also the riskiest type of pass as you could end up losing money if you don’t use it correctly

Most passes include a similar list of popular items, but there are significant differences. Read our section on whether the Explorer Pass is worth the money.

We have a whole post dedicated to the differences of all available tourist attraction passes available in NYC.

 


How long is The Explorer Pass valid?

Another advantage of the Explorer Pass is that it is valid for a total of 30 days.

If you’re planning to visit NYC for a week or more, then this is an excellent benefit to consider which isn’t included in other passes.

While some of the tours they offer may require reservations, you’ll have pretty much an entire month to use the pass, so there shouldn’t be too many problems with that.


Are there any limitations?

Each location you choose to visit will count as one of the attractions on your pass – there are no multiple entries allowed.

There’s no risk in getting the New York Explorer Pass.

Even if you decide not to use it, you can get a full refund for non-activated passes at any time within the first 30 days of purchase.

 


TOP ATTRACTIONS NYC EXPLORER PASS

Although there are more than 90 different activities included with the New York Explorer Pass, some of them are undoubtedly better than others. 

In this section, we’ll provide a list of the most popular attractions that give you the best bang for your buck, ensuring you’ll receive the biggest possible discount.

All prices are current as of October 2019.

As you can see, all of these attractions are typically much more expensive when you purchase individual tickets. 

Even if you’re only interested in a few of these activities, it may still be worth picking up the Explorer Pass for the discount.

Here are a few more attractions you may want to consider. 

Some of these attractions could be cheaper with other tourist passes/deals. There may also be some price changes over time, but in most cases that will only increase the discount. 

If you want to get the best possible deal, please make sure to read our full post covering New York tourist passes and compare each service.

 


IS THE EXPLORER PASS WORTH IT?

As a reminder, when using the Explorer Pass, the lowest price you can expect to pay per attraction is $22.90 for adults and $17.50 for children (unless they are running special discounts). 

It will become quickly obvious that there are some tours and attractions included in the Explorer Pass that simply won’t be worth it and you will likely be better off paying for them separately.

Nevertheless, some might feel that the convenience of the pass makes it worthwhile to spend a little extra on certain services, and this is what the tourist pass companies are banking on.

That said, the following attractions are much cheaper on their own or through other discount services, so you’d be better off not using the New York Explorer Pass for admission to these locations.

  • The Statue of Liberty
    • $19.25/Adults | $9/Children
    • $3+ cheaper without a pass
  • 9/11 Memorial Museum
    • $26/Adults | $15/Children
    • Just a few dollars cheaper with the pass
    • Free on Tuesday evenings
    • 10% off with CitySights 
  • Yankee Stadium Tour
    • $25 per person
    • Only a few dollars cheaper with the pass
  • American Museum of Natural History
    • $23/Adults | $13/Children
    • Almost no price difference
    • 10% off with CitySights
    • Explorer Pass does not include add-ons
    • pay-what-you-wish admission available
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    • $25/Adults | Free for kids 12 and under
    • Only slightly cheaper for adults with the pass
  • LEGOLAND Discovery Center
    • $24.99 before 4 pm | $20 after 4 pm
    • Not much cheaper with the pass
  • New York Botanical Garden
    • $23/Adults | $10/Children on weekdays
  • The Museum of Modern Art
    • $25/Adults | Free for kids 16 and under
    • Free admission on Friday from 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Other Factors to Consider

In addition to these activities, it’s also worth noting that there are many walking tours included with the Explorer Pass. 

We offer several pay-what-you-wish New York walking tours which are an excellent alternative that won’t cost as much, so it doesn’t make any sense to use the pass for these services.

You may also want to keep in mind that the New York Explorer Pass only provides general admission for a majority of the attractions included. 

Some attractions offer premium experiences that you will need to pay additional for.

Several of the locations featured on this pass offer their own discounts for seniors, students, and active-duty military.

There are also quite a few attractions that offer free or very cheap tickets for children, so it will be important to consider where you want to go and what they charge for kids before purchasing a pass for your young ones.


How to Save Money on the New York Explorer Pass

In addition to the discounts you can get with this service, there are also usually at least a few different ways to save money on the purchase of a New York Explorer Pass.


1. Look into Group Discounts

New York Explorer Pass actually offers their own discounts for people traveling in groups of 10 or more. Make sure to call them before making a purchase to learn more about this offer.


2. Check for Frequent Sales

During the off-season, Explorer Pass will typically offer sales on their passes. These discounts typically range from 20% – 50% off, so there’s a lot of potential to save a decent chunk of money on the pass.

If you plan to travel to New York City during the offseason, this could be a great opportunity to significantly cut your costs.


3. Use a Discount Site

You can usually find the New York Explorer Pass on discount sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, and at times they will offer special prices you won’t find anywhere else.

In addition to their pricing structure, these sites also frequently offer additional coupon codes for an extra 10% – 20% off, and you might be able to use these coupons to save even more money on this tourist pass.


4. Check Costco

Although they are not currently offering any deals on the New York Explorer Pass, Costco has sold this product in the past, and there’s always a chance they will do so again.

If you’re already a Costco member, this could be a great way to use your membership to save money on travel expenses.


5. Children’s Discount

Depending on which level of pass you get, you can save anywhere from $14 – $54 on New York Explorer Passes for your children. 

That said, it should be noted that many of the activities and attractions they offer are already free or cost much less for kids.


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About the author

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers.

Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.