One day in NYC
If you had one day in NYC where would you go? Where would you stay? Recently my family and I were faced with these questions. We have two young kids under 5 years old so we needed to make sure whatever we did would hold their attention, but also be interesting for the adults. We were also driving up and wanted to stay somewhere away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. So, here is where we stayed and what we did during our one day in NYC. (Along with info on visiting Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.)
Where we stayed
Since we were driving up to NYC because of the delay of our cruise we wanted to stay somewhere close but not actually in NYC. After a lot of searching, we found a hotel, the Hyatt Regency on the Hudson in Jersey City, and it perfect! My full review of the hotel will be up soon, but the reason the hotel is perfect is because of its location. It is on the water looking straight at Manhattan with easy water taxi access to get to Manhattan and other locations.
The first place we visited was Ellis Island. Surprisingly it is very easy to get too. From the Hyatt Regency Jersey City, it is about a 15 minutes drive to the Statue of Liberty parking. (30 Audrey Zapp Dr, Jersey City, NJ 07305) This is where you can hop on the Statue Cruises ferry at Liberty State Park that will take you to Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and back! (Click HERE to see the Ferry schedule, and click HERE to see/purchase tickets.
Currently, ticket prices for the ferry, access to Ellis Island, and Pedestal access to the Statue of Liberty are $19.25 for Adults, $14 for ages 62+, $9 for ages 4-12, and Free for ages 0-3) I highly suggest getting to the ferry in time for their first departure of the day since visiting Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty can take hours. (Currently, 9:30 am is their first ferry.)
Ellis Island The Registry Room at Ellis Island
Statue of Liberty
After you are done visiting Ellis Island you can hop back on to the Statue Cruise ferry and it will take you to the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. If you are hungry there is the Crown Cafe on Liberty Island where you can grab a bite to eat. With your tickets, you may get different access to different parts of the Statue of Liberty. There is ground, pedestal, and Crown access.
Statue of Liberty our NYC visit
Since my kids are too small for Crown access we went with the pedestal access. To get to the top of the pedestal you can either take the elevator or climb the 215 steps to the top. (We climbed, and our legs felt it for a few days after. Haha!) If you climb to the Crown there are 354 steps! When you are done and getting ready to head to the ferry back to Liberty State Park don’t forget to buy a souvenir at the gift shop on Liberty Island. (To plan your trip or learn more about the Statue of Liberty you can click HERE.)
How long does it take to visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty?
How long it takes to visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty really depends on you, and what time of year you visit. (That is why I recommend getting on the first ferry of the day.) For us, it took about 3-4 hours to visit both, but we also went in February when it is not busy. We took our time on Ellis Island, ate lunch on Liberty Island, walked around the Island, and then went up into the Statue of Liberty pedestal. If you go during the warmer months it will be a lot busier and the security screening points will take a lot longer. (You go through Airport type security screening to get on the ferry, and also to go up in the Statue of Liberty.)
9/11 Memorial & Museum
Our last stop of the day was the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. From the Hyatt Regency Jersey City, access to Manhattan is really easy. Next to the Hotel is the Harborside Ferry and you can take that to Brookfield place. (Click HERE for ferry info and ticket prices.) The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is just a short walk from the Brookfield place ferry. (Other places that are close are Brookfield Place Shopping center and the Oculus.)
Side Note: Knowing the content that the 9/11 Memorial & Museum holds we decided to leave our young kids at the hotel with Grandma. If you have older kids (10 and up) or infants (0-1 year) they may be fine. The atmosphere is very somber and quiet in the Museum and we knew our kids would have a hard time.
9/11 Memorial at night 9/11 Memorial during the day
It is free to visit the 9/11 Memorial, but there is a cost to visit the Museum. (Click HERE for ticket prices.) My husband and I spent over 3 hours in the 9/11 Museum. I cried most of the time I was there. (Bring tissues, but if you forget they have them throughout the Museum.) When we emerged from the 9/11 Museum it was night time, and time to head back to the hotel. Again just a short walk back to Brookfield place ferry, and a short ferry ride back to Jersey City.
I would do it all over again
This was my first visit to NYC, and I would do it all again. Next time I travel to NYC without the kids I would love to actually stay in the city. (But I would stay at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City again with the kids in a heartbeat!) Have you been to Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, or the 9/11 Memorial and Museum? If you could spend just one day in NYC what would you do? Let me know in the comments!
If you are ever on a road trip to NYC make sure you stop at Hershey Park on your way. You can click HERE for my review!