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This post is about how to get free tickets to The Vessel, a 150-foot tall (47 m) sculpture/spiral staircase with great city views, as well as tips to plan your visit.
Part conventional structure, part sculpture, the Vessel is probably the most unusual staircase you have ever seen.
Made of concrete and bronzed steel, the Vessel is a spiral staircase that is 150-feet tall (47 m), with 154 interconnecting flights of stairs with 80 landings that you can stop at along the way.
This “one-mile vertical climbing experience” has over 2,000 individual steps. Don’t worry, you can always take the elevator.
Regardless of how you get to the top of the Vessel, you will enjoy a different perspective of the city and the Hudson River.
You can visit the Vessel for free, though you must get a ticket.
You can book your tickets in advance or try to get same-day tickets, which are limited in quantity. We explain more below.
The Vessel is open every day from 10 am to 9 pm.
There is a very limited number of free tickets that can be reserved online for up to 14 days in advance. You are allowed to request a maximum of six tickets.
When you reserve in advance, you can choose a date and time to arrive. You must enter the Vessel within one hour of your requested time. Once you enter, you can stay as you’d like.
Keep in mind that the last entry time is 8 pm as the Vessel closes at 9 pm. If you want more than an hour at the Vessel, try to get an earlier time slot.
If you want to reserve tickets for a date beyond 14 days in advance, you can reserve a Flex Pass ticket.
A Flex Pass allows you to choose your date and time for a future visit up to six months in advance. Note that future ticket availability may be limited.
Flex Pass tickets can only be reserved online or by contacting the Vessel at (332) 204-8500 or email email@example.com.
Note: There is a $10.00 convenience fee per ticket. So while your visit to the Vessel isn’t actually free, $10 is not a lot to have the kind of flexibility you want.
TIP: Flex Pass Advance Tickets are included with the purchase of the New York Sightseeing Pass and the New York Flex Pass. If you have one of these tourist discount passes, you won’t have to pay the convenience fee.
Read our post comparing NYC tourist discount passes to see which one, if any, is best for you.
Starting at 9:30 am each day, you can get a free, same-day ticket. These are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.
Free tickets are available from one of the kiosks located in 20 Hudson Yards and also in the Public Square and Gardens. (See a map of Hudson Yards here).
Same-day tickets are issued for the next available time slot. This means that there is no guarantee that you will be able to enter as soon as you arrive.
You may have a long wait before your entry time. Fortunately, there are plenty of things to do nearby.
If you find yourself with a few hours until your entry time, consider taking a walking tour in the area. (See below).
The Vessel is located in the center of Hudson Yards a large complex of includes shops, residential apartment buildings, public green space, and commercial space.
Hudson Yards is on the west side of Midtown Manhattan at 10th Avenue and 33rd Street, just near the Hudson River.
Use this Google Maps link to get directions from your starting location to The Vessel.
Or you could just let us take you here. Take a look at the tours we offer below.
If you are new to the NYC subway, then you might find the following posts helpful:
Before or after your visit to the Vessel, consider taking one of our pay-what-you-wish guided tours of the High Line.
A tour of this amazing elevated park can easily be combined with your visit to the Vessel.
Our All-in-One Downtown Manhattan Tour concludes at the northern end of the High Line which is just blocks away from the Vessel.
Check our tour calendar to see if our tour times work well before or after seeing the Vessel.
If you can’t make it to one of our guided tours, there are other options, such as our GPS enabled audio tour of the High Line or taking a tour with a different tour operator.
See our post on High Line tours to read reviews of companies that offer High Line tours.