The Staten Island Ferry is an economical way to get a great view of New York City by boat. Free for everyone, the ferry runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Discover who should take the Staten Island Ferry, how long to budget for the trip, reasons why you should skip this attraction, and alternative ways to see.
Iconic: Both tourists and locals recognize the distinct, giant orange ferries that slip soundlessly through the harbor to shuttle visitors back and forth to Staten Island.
Photographic: From the ferry, you’ll get photos of the New York City Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan Skyline, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, Governor’s Island, and Brooklyn.
Architectural: You’ll snag views of some of New York City’s most famous buildings, including One World Trade Center and 40 Wall Street.
Kid Friendly: Kids love the 30-minute ferry ride and getting out into the New York City Harbor.
Historic: Created in 1817 by Cornelius Vanderbilt (yes that Cornelius Vanderbilt) in 1817, the Staten Island Ferry still shuttles passengers to and from Staten Island (and some even on historic ferries).
Cinematic: Movies like Trainwreck, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and Working Girl. Check out a more comprehensive list!
Outdoorsy: I recommend sitting outside on the Staten Island Ferry to catch the best views and some fresh air!
Like a Local: Locals not only take the ferry as a means of transportation, we often ride the ferry just for fun, too!
Cost/Money Savers: Free!
Time Commitment/Time Savers:
Fly-By: 60 minutes. If you’re the first one off the ferry at Staten Island, you can easily hop on the next ferry out in less than five minutes.
In-Depth: 90-120 minutes will get you to Staten Island, time for a beer on the pier, and back on the boat.
Need to Know:
- You need to disembark the ship once it docks on Staten Island before the return journey back to Manhattan.
- Sit on the right side of the boat on the way to Staten Island (or, stand on the rear deck) for the best views of the Statue of Liberty.
- Stand on the rear deck for the best views of Manhattan.
- Sit on the right side of the boat during the ride to Manhattan for amazing views of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, Governor’s Island, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Why You Should Skip:
- If you’re planning on taking another boat tour (like visiting Liberty and Ellis Island, the hop-on, hop-off ferry, or the East River Ferry), you can skip the Staten Island ferry.
When to Go:
The Staten Island Ferry runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
How to Get There:
Walking: Walk to the tip of Manhattan Island (keep walking till you hit water). If you’re facing Battery Park, the Staten Island Ferry will be on your left.
Subway: You can get directly to the Staten Island Ferry via the R or W trains to Whitehall Street or the 1 train to South Ferry.
Taxi/Car: Hop in a taxi or car, and tell them to take you to the Staten Island Ferry terminal!
Bus: Take the M5, M15, M15 SBS or M20 bus to the Staten Island ferry terminal.
Related Attractions/Other Ways to See:
East River Ferry: Enjoy great views of the East River, New York Harbor, Brooklyn and Manhattan for only $2.75.
Statue Cruises: Get directly to Liberty and Ellis Islands for just over $18 for adults and $9 for children. Note: Statue Cruises is the only company that goes directly to the islands.
Hop-On, Hop-Off Ferry: Take a 45-minute boat ride of the Hudson River and the New York City Harbor for around $35 per person.
Need more inspiration on how to focus only on what you love in NYC? Check out a full list of attractions.
Don’t forget to read a few articles on how to hack New York City, so you can see more, do more, and stress less!