This post lists the 4 best places or ways to get a view of the Statue of Liberty for free, most notably the Staten Island Ferry.
To be clear, there is only one ferry, run by Statue Cruises, that lets you disembark on Liberty Island to actually visit the Statue of Liberty.
However, this one option is not free, and we have a post explaining how to reach Liberty and Ellis Islands.
For this post, we focus on the options from ferries or land that allow you to get very close to Lady Liberty, if not up close and personal.
And, in the video below, Canden, a tour guide with us, Free Tours by Foot NYC, summarizes these options.
STATEN ISLAND FERRY
This free commuter ferry travels very close to the Statue of Liberty.
You will want to have your camera out and ready to go, as the ferry passes Lady Liberty at a fairly fast speed.
Still, without a doubt, this is the best view of the Statue of Liberty you can get for free.
In fact, riding the Staten Island Ferry is one of the very best things you can do for free in NYC.
And, in this video, Canden explains how to plan your ride on this ferry, including where to sit to get that great photo.
You will also get stunning views of Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn Heights, and a distant view of the Brooklyn Bridge.
To learn more, check out our post on the Staten Island Ferry.
Also, be sure to download our free Staten Island Ferry audio tour to accompany you on the cruise.
Take The NYC Ferry
This commuter ferry connects the five boroughs and has a route from Midtown West to Staten Island.
The ferry passes the Statue of Liberty, slightly closer than the Staten Island Ferry does.
Tickets are $4 one way (so it's not exactly free - but come on!). See the schedule here.
If you are on the west side of Manhattan (near West 39th Street) or Battery Park City, this ferry is a great option to see Lady Liberty.
Like the Staten Island Ferry, it also ends at St. George Terminal on Staten Island.
If you want to do more sightseeing in Lower Manhattan, just take the free Statue of Liberty ferry back to Battery Park City!
For information on how to ride this ferry throughout NYC, read here.
This park is at the tip of Lower Manhattan and has expansive vistas of the New York harbor including a view of the Statue of Liberty.
You can walk along the waterfront or sit on one of the benches that look out on the water.
Our guide to Battery Park lists other things you can see and do in the park.
TIP: Our pay-what-you-wish Lower Manhattan Tour visits Battery Park where your guide will point out the Statue of Liberty in the distance and tell you about the statue’s history.
If you can’t make our live tour, you can try our Lower Manhattan Audio Tour which can be taken at any time of the day or night.
Here is a sample.
Governors Island is a small island in the East River less than one mile from Lower Manhattan.
Its location affords visitors spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty.
For unparalleled views of the Statue of Liberty, New York harbor, and the city skyline, head to Outlook Hill, which is 70 feet tall and accessible via a winding path.
Our post on Governors Island details how to get there, when to visit, and what activities exist.
LIBERTY STATE PARK
This waterfront park in New Jersey is just across the river from Lower Manhattan.
This park offers the closest free view of the Statue of Liberty from the land.
You can get there easily by public transportation. There is a ferry that departs from Lower Manhattan.
Our post on how to ride NYC ferries includes information on this ferry.
You can also take the PATH train (New Jersey’s version of the subway) from Manhattan, followed by a light-rail ride and a short walk to the park.
If you have a pay-as-you-go MetroCard, you can use your card on the PATH system.
This section lists ways to get great views of Lady Liberty that are not free, but that we believe are worth the money.
Some of these options may already be on your list of things you want to do in NYC.
Most of these options are included for free when you purchase certain NYC tourist discount passes.
Take a Sightseeing Cruise
There are numerous sightseeing cruises you can take in NYC, including those that offer very good, if not excellent, views of the Statue of Liberty.
For example, Circle Line’s Liberty Cruise takes you past the Statue of Liberty, as well as Ellis Island, and the World Trade Center.
In addition to the up-close views, the cruise features entertaining commentary about these sights.
Learn about other cruises that feature the Statue of Liberty on their route by reading our post on NYC boat tours.
Go to the One World Observatory Observation Deck
The observation deck at One World Observatory (the ‘Freedom Tower’) offers breathtaking views of New York Harbor, including the Statue of Liberty.
Though you do have to buy tickets (and they aren’t cheap), a visit to One World Observatory is an unforgettable experience.
Read our post on One World Observatory to find out about getting tickets, the best times to visit, and other helpful tips.
If any of the above activities are of interest to you, consider getting an NYC tourist discount pass to save money.
In addition to covering the price of a ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty, tourist passes also often include the following activities and attractions at no extra cost:
- Statue of Liberty Tall Ship Cruise
- Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
- Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum
- Rockefeller Center Tour
- One World Observatory
- Empire State Building
- Circle Line Cruises
- Top of the Rock
- And more!
Depending on which pass you choose and how you use it, you could save anywhere from 20% - 50% off ticket prices for some of the most popular NYC attractions, including the activities listed above.
For more details, read our post on New York tourist attraction discount passes.
Take a Helicopter Tour
Given the steep price of these tours, we don’t recommend you take one just to get a view of the Statue of Liberty!
But if you are already considering a helicopter tour of NYC, the Statue of Liberty is one of the highlights of the awesome aerial views you will get from the sky.
For more information, see our post on helicopter tours of New York City.
From the Brooklyn Bridge, one gets an incredible 360-degree view of New York City.
Looking south over the water, you can see the Statue of Liberty off in the distance.
Just north of the Overlook, at the “10th Avenue Square”, look south out onto the Hudson River.
Though Lady Liberty will look very small, the view makes for a nice photo.
See our self-guided tour of the High Line for a map of the park.
On the weekends you can ride this ferry for free from Wall Street to the Ikea store in Brooklyn and back again.
The ride is relatively short, but the views are outstanding.
Not only will you see the Statue of Liberty, but you will also see the Brooklyn Bridge nearby and the skyline of Lower Manhattan.
To find out more about the Ikea ferry, read our guide to NYC ferries.