Go City or CityPASS: Which sightseeing pass should you get in New York City?

New York City, an iconic global hub, offers an overwhelming abundance of attractions, from the soaring heights of the Empire State Building to the historic corridors of the American Museum of Natural History. For tourists navigating this bustling metropolis, Go City or CityPASS New York City present themselves as convenient solutions to explore the best of what the city has to offer. 

These sightseeing passes not only offer discounted access to numerous attractions but also streamline the sightseeing experience. This article will compare these two popular options, helping you decide which pass best suits your travel itinerary in the Big Apple.

The Evolution of Sightseeing Passes

The concept of sightseeing passes is not new to the world of travel. CityPASS, a pioneer in this domain, was first launched in San Francisco and Seattle in 1997, expanding soon after to include New York City and Boston. 

This innovative idea quickly gained traction, offering tourists a simplified and cost-effective way to explore major attractions. In parallel, Go City, a more recent entrant, emerged in 2017 from a merger of Europe’s Leisure Pass and the USA’s Smart Destinations and New York Pass. Today, Go City has expanded its reach across more than 30 cities on five continents, reflecting the growing popularity of flexible sightseeing solutions.

Understanding CityPASS New York

CityPASS New York offers a curated experience with three different pass options: the classic New York CityPASS, the New York C3, and the New York C-All. The classic CityPASS allows access to five must-see destinations, including the Empire State Building and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, with some options allowing you to choose between attractions like the Top of the Rock Observation Deck or the Guggenheim Museum. 

The C3 and C-All passes expand these choices, offering access to a wider range of 11 and 10 destinations, respectively. These passes provide a blend of iconic landmarks and unique attractions, catering to a diverse range of interests. However, the catch lies in their validity; from the day of the first use, you have only 9 days to explore, making it ideal for short stays.

How does Go City or CityPASS work?

Here are following tips:

Go City

  • Choose a Pass: Go City offers two main types of passes – All-Inclusive and Explorer. The All-Inclusive pass allows you to visit as many included attractions as you want within a set number of days. The Explorer pass lets you choose a specific number of attractions to visit over a 60-day period.
  • Purchase and Download: After purchasing online, you can download the pass to your smartphone (via the Go City app) or print it out.
  • Activate the Pass: The pass activates upon visiting the first attraction. For the All-Inclusive pass, you must use it on consecutive calendar days. For the Explorer pass, you have 60 days from first use.
  • Visit Attractions: Present your pass at each attraction. Some attractions may require reservations, so it’s important to check in advance.


  • Select a CityPASS: CityPASS is available in various cities and typically offers one standard pass option per city, which includes a set number of must-see attractions.
  • Purchase: Buy the CityPASS online and receive a mobile ticket or printable ticket.
  • Use the Pass: CityPASS activates upon visiting the first attraction. You then have 9 consecutive days to visit the included attractions.
  • Visit Attractions: Show your CityPASS at each attraction. In some cases, you can skip the ticket line and head straight to the entrance. Some attractions might require reservations.

Exploring Go City New York

In contrast, Go City New York champions flexibility and variety. It covers a broad spectrum of attractions, from the Empire State Building to lesser-known gems like the Museum of Sex. The pass’s validity period is notably longer; you have two years to start using the passes, and 60 days from the time you activate the first ticket. 

Go City or CityPASS New York City

This extended duration makes it perfect for those who plan multiple visits or longer stays in the city. Go City reviews approach suits those who prefer to spontaneously choose their destinations, offering a buffet of experiences across the city.

Making the Most of Your Sightseeing Pass

To ensure a rewarding experience with your New York sightseeing pass, whether it’s CityPASS or Go City, here are some essential tips:

Plan Ahead: Review the list of attractions each pass offers and prioritize those you are most interested in. Some popular destinations may require advance reservations, so it’s best to book early.

Utilize the Apps: Both CityPASS and Go City offer user-friendly apps. These apps not only store your pass digitally but also provide valuable information on each attraction, including hours of operation and reservation requirements.

Be Time Conscious: Especially with CityPASS, where the usage window is just 9 days, it’s important to schedule your visits efficiently. Try to start early in the day to make the most of your time.

Explore Beyond the Usual: While famous landmarks are a must-see, both passes include unique attractions that might not be on every tourist’s radar. Take this opportunity to explore something new.

Seek Assistance if Needed: Don’t hesitate to ask for help at the attractions or use the customer service options provided by the pass. Staff are generally familiar with the passes and can offer guidance.

Comparing Go City or CityPASS New York City: Pros and Cons

When choosing between CityPASS and Go City, consider the following factors:

Flexibility: Go City offers more flexibility with a longer validity period and a wider range of attractions. It’s ideal for those who have an extended stay in New York or plan to visit the city multiple times.

Convenience: CityPASS is more streamlined, with a smaller, handpicked selection of attractions. It’s perfect for short visits or for first-time tourists who want to cover the most iconic sights.

Cost-Effectiveness: Both passes offer substantial savings, but the degree of saving depends on your selection of attractions. CityPASS tends to be more straightforward in its savings, offering up to 46% off.

Ease of Use: CityPASS has a more simplified process for booking time slots and entering attractions due to its smaller roster of options. Go City, with its vast array of choices, might require more planning per attraction.

FAQs: CityPASS and Go City New York

Q: How long is CityPASS New York valid for?

A: CityPASS New York is valid for 9 consecutive days starting from the day of first use.

Q: Can I choose any attractions with CityPASS New York?

A: CityPASS offers a set list of attractions, with some options allowing a choice between two places.

Q: What makes Go City New York different from CityPASS?

A: Go City offers more flexibility with a wider range of attractions and a longer validity period (60 days from first use).

Q: Is Go City New York suitable for longer stays?

A: Yes, its extended validity makes it ideal for longer visits or multiple trips to New York.

Q: Can I save money with both passes?

A: Yes, both passes offer savings compared to regular admission prices, but the amount depends on how many and which attractions you visit.

Q: Are the passes digital or physical?

A: Both CityPASS and Go City offer digital passes through their respective apps, adding convenience and ease of use.

Conclusion: Which Pass to Choose?

Selecting the right pass depends on your individual travel style and needs. For first-timers in New York who have a few days and wish to experience the most iconic attractions, CityPASS is an excellent choice. Its simplicity, combined with significant savings, makes for a hassle-free experience. Conversely, if you’re a returning visitor, have more time to explore, or are a local seeking new experiences in your own city, Go City offers an unmatched range of options and flexibility. Its extensive validity period allows for a more leisurely exploration of the city’s diverse offerings. In conclusion, both CityPASS and Go City provide valuable options for exploring New York City, each catering to different types of travelers. 

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