by Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman
When I was 26 I moved to New York by myself. I didn’t know anyone so I stayed at a youth hostel in Times Square. I had never been to New York before and through the daze of the first few days I managed to make some friends at the youth hostel and together we visited one of New York’s most popular landmarks: The Empire State Building.
I remember it was a very powerful experience, to see all of these strange new skyscrapers and buildings and to wonder what my new life here will be like. After the visit I went back to the hostel and started focusing on finding a job and a place to live. Eventually I met my husband and we had three kids and although our older kids always pointed at the Empire State Building whenever they saw it, it had never occurred to me to take them up there. A couple of weeks ago we had the opportunity of trying the New York Pass and we so we went to see it, along with other attractions.
We began the day super-early because we wanted to beat the lines at the Empire State Building. This was a smart move. The only line we were in moved pretty quickly and the fact that we didn’t have to stop to buy a ticket only made things move faster. The view from the Observation Deck was simply breathtaking. The kids had fun pointing out the buildings and landmarks and asked what everything was. They spend a lot of time visiting the different neighborhoods in the city so it was really nice to be able to show them everything they already know from a totally different perspective.
After the Empire State Building we stopped for a quick brunch at a nearby diner and then walked over to 7th Avenue to Madison Square Garden for the All Access Tour. This tour was simply phenomenal! My husband and middle child are big Knicks fans and love other sports in general so they they were really interested in seeing the arena. I’m a big lover of “behind the scenes”-type tours so I was intrigued by all of the little secrets that most people don’t know about. MSG has recently undergone a major renovation and everything looked shiny and brand-new. We got to sit in one of the private VIP suites, learn tidbits and trivia about events that occurred in the Garden, plus we got to stand right where the red carpet is – where the NY Rangers would walk on in a few hours when they step into the area to play. The staff was getting ready for a Rangers game so we got to watch some of the preparation, which was really neat.
The view from the VIP suite:
The VIP Suite:
This is where the players enter the arena:
View from the highest seats:
After the tour we walked over to Times Square to visit Madame Tussauds. We had been there last spring but it’s been such a fun experience for the kids (not to mention an easy one-hour stroll through the wax figures) that we couldn’t say no.
A New York Pass for adults costs $85 per day. Here’s what the attractions would have cost if I did NOT have the pass:
Empire State Building: $29
Madison Square Garden All Access Tour: $27
Madame Tussauds: $36
You can actually end up seeing more attractions during the day. (We went with small kids, so we took our time). The New York Pass is like a credit card that you swipe and it allows you to visit 80 attractions, museum, walking tours, behind-the-scenes tours and boat rides for free. There’s also a discount on restaurants, Broadway shows, shopping and other attractions. You can choose from 1,2,3,5 or 7 days.
Each pass comes with a pocket-sized guidebook with invaluable information that tells you everything you know about all of the attractions, times they’re open, what transportation to use, etc., plus whether they’re free or come with a discount. There are also NYC maps, a subway map and useful telephone numbers. This is something you’d want to keep and give to out-of-town guests.
Click here for more information on the New York Pass.
I was not compensated for this post. I received complimentary passes.
Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman is the owner of Mama’s Bites and has also written for The Huffington Post. She has been living in New York City for thirteen years and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature as well as a Law Degree, but blogging is her true passion. Maytal is a stay-at-home mom to three kids (ages 7, 5 and 2) and loves finding great products that make her family’s life easier.