Complete Guide to Statue of Liberty National Monument in New York! Everything you need to know to plan a great trip to this bucket list park including Liberty Island ferry rides, history, things to do, and more.
Statue of Liberty National Monument
Visiting the Statue of Liberty is a Bucket List National Park Moment.
There is nothing quite like the first moment you see the statue. We have had the opportunity to visit a few times and every time has been truly amazing.
A few years ago we sailed past the Statue of Liberty on a cruise and all I could think about was how symbolic the statue was for people immigrating to the United States and how it continues to be an icon of the United States.
About Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is an American Icon and recognized worldwide. Located in New York Harbor the Statue is one of the top things to do in New York City.
The Statue was a gift from France to the United States. It is a symbol of freedom.
How tall is the Statue of Liberty?
The Statue of Liberty is 151 feet tall and stands on a pedestal that is 154 feet tall, making the height of the entire sculpture 305 feet 1 inch from the ground to the tip of the flame.
The Statue is equivalent to a 22 story building.
When was the Statue of Liberty built?
The Statue of Liberty was initially proposed by Edouard de Laboulaye to represent liberty.
In 1870, French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi began designing the statue called "Liberty Enlightening the World".
In 1876, work began to construct the statue by French artisans and craftsmen.
They completed the arm holding the torch in 1876 and it was shown at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
In 1878 the head and shoulders were finished. They were displayed at the Paris Universal Exposition.
Between 1881 and 1884 the entire statue was completed and assembled in Paris.
In 1844 construction of the pedestal was started in the United States.
The statue was disassembled and shipped to the United States on the French ship Isere. The Statue arrived in New York Harbor on June 17, 1885.
In 1886 the pedestal was completed and the statue was reassembled.
The iron frame designed by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel was the first piece reconstructed.
The final section to be completed was the Statue of Liberty's face.
On October 28, 1886, the "Liberty Enlightening the World" statue was officially unveiled.
More than one million New Yorkers turned out to cheer for the statue.
Check out all of these great statue of Liberty Facts
What is the Statue of Liberty Made of?
The Statue is made of 3/32 inch Copper. The same as two US pennies put together.
Why is the Statue of Liberty Green?
The Statue is green because the copper has naturally oxidized to form a green coating called a "patina".
The patina is as thick as the copper in many places and forms a protective barrier so the copper statue does not wear away.
What direction does the Statue of Liberty face?
The Statue faces southeast and was strategically placed inside of Fort Wood. The position allows ships to see the Statue as a welcoming symbol when they pull into New York harbor.
What is the Statue of Liberty Holding?
The Statue of Liberty is holding a tablet in her left hand. The tablet has the date of American Independence July 4, 1776, written on it in Roman numerals - July IV, MDCCLXXVI
Is the Statue of Liberty worth visiting?
Absolutely Yes! As an American, I see it as a rite of passage, especially learning all of the meanings and representations the Statue holds. This is definitely a park that people never forget.
History of the Statue of Liberty
Revered as a national treasure, the Statue of Liberty is a colossal sculpture located on Liberty Island (previously known as Bedloe Island) in New York Harbor in New York City.
The long history between the United States and France includes them being both allies and enemies. During the American Revolution, France provides key support to the Americans fighting to gain independence from Britain.
On February 6, 1778, France and the U.S. established the Treaty of Alliance stating their partnership against Great Britain.
France admired the courage America showed in their fight for freedom as they remembered their defeat in the Seven Year’s War against their enemy, England.
In 1865, Édouard de Laboulaye, a prominent French political thinker, author, and anti-slavery activist, came up with a historic idea.
America had just ended its Civil War and de Laboulaye had been a long-standing supporter of Abraham Lincoln and the idea of freedom for all. He was greatly moved by Abraham Lincoln and America’s fight to gain freedom and liberty for enslaved people.
The centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence was also drawing near and de Laboulaye proposed the idea of giving the United States a monumental gift.
French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi agreed with de Laboulaye’s idea. The project needed considerable funding and for that reason, the construction did not begin until 1875.
The vision was that of a statue of a woman holding a torch and was to be called Liberty Enlightening the World.
An agreement was made that France would build the statue and assemble it in America, while America would be responsible for raising funds to build the pedestal.
Fundraising efforts in America included prizefights, benefit theater shows, and auctions.
Bartholdi enlisted the assistance of Alexandre Gustave Eiffel to lend his expertise to structural issues. Eiffel had just finished creating his vision for his famous Paris tower, which would be completed in 1887.
Eiffel helped design the massive skeletal framework for the Statue of Liberty which was pertinent for the statue to be structurally sound and also made it possible to relocate it in pieces to America.
In July 1884, the statue was completed in France and ready to move across the sea. That same year, construction on the granite pedestal had begun in America.
In 1885, French workers disassembled the statue and packed it for the voyage to New York using over 200 crates.
When it arrived at its intended spot, it was reassembled upon the newly built pedestal. On October 28, 1886, the United States held a massive dedication ceremony for its gift from France.
Over a million people were in attendance, gathered either on the island or in the city of New York. Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi was in attendance along with many French dignitaries.
Sadly, the man who was named the “Father of the Statue of Liberty, Édouard de Laboulaye, had died in 1883 and was not able to see his vision dedicated.
President Grover Cleveland officially dedicated the Lady of Liberty amidst a parade down Broadway with canons, sirens, and bands.
Marching in the parade were firefighters, soldiers, and veterans including the 20th Regimen of Colored Troops.
Bartholdi was quoted as saying
“The dream of my life is accomplished; I see the symbol of unity and friendship between two nations – two great republics.”
Bartholdi’s vision included many examples representing how the French felt about their ally, America.
Lady Liberty’s crown is meant to represent “light” as the spikes are like rays of the sun striking out into the world. The tablet which she holds is inscribed with the date of America’s independence – July 4, 1776, written in Roman numerals.
The broken shackle of chains at her feet represents the emancipation of slaves.
In 1924 the government made the statue a national monument. The National Park Service took over care of the statue in 1933.
In 1956, the name of Bedloe Island was changed to Liberty Island.
By 1965, Ellis Island was closed as an immigration station and became part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument.
Numerous modifications have been made to the torch over the years. In 1886, two rows of holes were drilled at the bottom of the torch to make way for illumination through it.
Until 1901, the U.S. Lighthouse Board operated the Statue of Liberty as the torch was used as a navigational aid for sailors.
Over the years, the copper was removed in certain places and cathedral glass was added. In 1931 a new lighting system was installed in the balcony around the flame.
In the 1980s it was determined that the torch had been weathered and corroded beyond repair. The original torch was removed in 1984 and replaced with a replica of Bartholdi’s design.
The original torch is kept on display at the Statue of Liberty Museum.
Things to know before your visit to the Statue of Liberty
$0.00 - There is no entrance fee but all visitors have to purchase ferry tickets.
Planning a National Park vacation? America the Beautiful/National Park Pass covers entrance fees for an entire year to all US National Park Sites and over 2,000 Federal Recreation Fee Sites.
The park pass covers everyone in the car for per vehicle sites and for up to 4 adults for per-person sites.
Buy on REI.com and REI will donate 10% of pass proceeds to the National Forest Foundation, National Park Foundation and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities.
Learn more about National Park Passes for parks that have an entrance fee.
Free Entrance Days -Find the five free entrance days the National Park Service offers annually.
EST - Eastern Standard Time
Pets are not permitted on Liberty Island.
We had great cell service while visiting the park.
Access to the island is by ferry only.
Free Wi-Fi is available within the gift shop and throughout the public dining area adjacent to the Crown Café.
Insect repellent is always a great idea when outdoors, especially if you are around any body of water.
We use Permethrin Spray on our clothes before our park trips.
Make sure to bring your own water bottle and plenty of water with you. Plastic water bottles are not sold in the park.
All visitors must go through security screening before boarding the ferry to Liberty Island.
The security screening is similar to going through security at the airport.
Make sure to plan extra time for security.
Prohibited items include, but are not limited to:
- ALL weapons, including firearms, any dangerous items, any "dual-use" items that could be dangerous. All of these items are strictly prohibited in the park and on the ferry system.
- Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), drones, and other similar remote-controlled flying devices or vehicles.
- LARGE packages. Suitcases, carry-on luggage, and other large parcels will not be permitted on the ferry systems or at Liberty and Ellis Islands.
- Face masks and/or costumes that are designed to conceal the identity of a person are prohibited.
- All permanent and erasable markers.
Secondary Security Screening
Visitors to the crown or pedestal will need to go through a secondary screening.
A food and drink concession is located on Liberty Island. You can also bring your own food with you.
Large coolers are not allowed.
There are no gas stations within the park.
Drones are not permitted to be flown or carried onto the island.
National Park Passport Stamps
National Park Passport stamps can be found in the visitor center. Make sure to bring your National Park Passport Book with you or we like to pack these circle stickers so we don't have to pack our full book.
Electric Vehicle Charging
There are EV Charging Stations throughout New York City.
Details about the Statue of Liberty National Monument
Size - 12 acres
Check out how the National Monument compares to other National Parks by Size.
The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886.
It was designated as a National Monument in 1924.
National Park Service employees have been caring for the statue since 1933.
In 2021, the Statue of Liberty had 1,556,482 park visitors
In 2020, the Statue of Liberty had 576,396 park visitors.
In 2019, the Statue of Liberty had 4,240,461 park visitors.
National Park Address
New York, NY 10004
Statue of Liberty Map
Where is the Statue of Liberty?
The Statue of Liberty is located in New York Harbor between New York City and Jersey City, New Jersey.
Is the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island?
No they are separate islands that are pretty close to each other. The statue is on Liberty Island.
Estimated distance from major cities nearby
Newark, NJ - 7 miles
Philadelphia, PA - 78 miles
Baltimore, MD - 166 miles
Boston, MA - 194 miles
Washington DC - 199 miles
Virginia Beach, VA - 284 miles
Norfolk, VA - 290 miles
Estimated Distance from nearby National Park
Acadia National Park - 483 miles
Shenandoah National Park - 305 miles
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 698 miles
Cuyahoga Valley National Park - 443 miles
Indiana Dunes National Park - 749 miles
Where is the Park Visitor Center?
There is a visitor information center located on Liberty Island.
Getting to the Statue of Liberty
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) - 10 miles
Teterboro Airport (TEB) - 15 miles
LaGuardia Airport (LGA) - 17 miles
John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) - 43 miles
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) - 100 miles
Morristown Municipal Airport (MMU) - 26 miles
Westchester County Airport (HPN) - 42 miles
Closest Subway Stations
Bowling Green Station - 6-minute walk
Whitehall St - South Ferry - 8-minute walk
Statue of Liberty Ferry
The only authorized ferry to take visitors onto the island is Statue City Cruises.
These ferries leave from:
Battery Park - the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City, Castle Clinton National Monument, Battery Park – Liberty Island, New York, NY 10004
Liberty State Park - located in Jersey City, New Jersey, Liberty State Park, New Jersey – 1 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City, NJ 07305
Private boats are not allowed to dock at Liberty Island.
Statue City Cruises is the ONLY ferry service authorized by the National Park Service to sell tickets for, and provide transportation to Liberty and Ellis Islands.
Tickets sold by street vendors will not provide access to the grounds on Liberty Island.
The line to get back on the ferry to New York City can get really long! We HIGHLY Suggest planning extra time for getting on and off the ferry especially if you have show tickets or something you need to be back in the city for.
When you book your tickets and set a reservation time this is your entry time into the security facility not a specific ferry departure time.
Ferries depart approximately every 25 - 30 minutes from the New York departure point.
Children under the age of 17 must be accompanied by an Adult.
Statue Cruise Ticket Options
General Admission - includes round trip ferry service, Statue of Liberty Museum and Grounds, Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, and an Audio Tour.
Crown Reserve - includes all of the above plus admission to the Statue of Liberty Pedestal and Statue of Liberty up to the Crown.
Pedestal Reserve - includes all of the general admission plus access to the Statue of Liberty Pedestal.
How to book ferry tickets
Online - www.statuecitycruises.com
Phone - 201-432-6321
The reservation center is open from 11 am–5 pm (Eastern Time), Sunday through Thursday, and 11 am–5 pm (Eastern Time), Friday and Saturday.
National Park Passes do NOT provide a discount for ferry tickets.
Is the Statue of Liberty Wheelchair Accessible?
The grounds around the statue on Liberty Island are wheelchair accessible.
If you have reservations to enter the monument there is wheelchair access to the museum and exterior of Fort Wood.
A wheelchair lift is available from where the main pedestal elevator stops to the top of the pedestal.
The outdoor observation deck and balcony are not wheelchair accessible. The interior of the pedestal to see the inner skeletal structure of the statue is accessible.
Best time to visit the Statue of Liberty
The best time to visit the Statue of Liberty is early in the morning!
The earlier you visit in the day most days equals fewer crowds. This also gives you time to visit both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
New York Weather and Seasons
New York City experiences all four seasons with warm humid summers and cold snowy winters.
The warmest weather in New York City is from June 2 to September 16th with an average temperature above 76 degrees Fahrenheit.
The coldest weather in NYC is from December 3 to March 12 with an average daily temperature below 48 degrees Fahrenheit.
Snow often occurs between November 26 to April 2 with February being the snowiest month with an average of 6 inches.
Best Things to do at the Statue of Liberty
One of the top things to do at the Statue of Liberty is taking a selfie. LOL!
It is always fun to see how people are posing and the photos they are trying to get while visiting the Statue.
Visit the Pedestal
Visitors who wish to visit the pedestal must make a reservation ahead of time!
There are approximately 215 steps which are equal to climbing 10 stories to the top of the pedestal.
The elevator can only be used for visitors who cannot use the stairs.
Pedestal Reservations are handled by Statue City Cruises. Advanced reservations can be made online or over the phone.
Reservations are NOT available on Liberty Island. They have to be made before you board the ferry.
Visitors who have reservations for the pedestal must go through a secondary security screening.
There are lockers that can be rented near the secondary screening. Make sure you bring $.25 quarters with you for the lockers. There are change machines that take $1 and $5 bills nearby.
The following items can not be brought inside the pedestal:
-Food and drink. Water can be brought in a clear plastic bottle.
-Backpacks and drawstring bags including purses shaped like a backpack.
-Suitcases, duffle bags, or any oversized bags
Statue of Liberty Museum
The Statue of Liberty Museum opened in May 2019.
The museum has three interactive galleries that allow visitors to learn more about the statue's history.
The Immersive Gallery has a 10-minute multi-media experience.
The Engagement Gallery gives visitors the opportunity to explore how sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and a team of artisans built the statue.
The Inspiration Gallery gives visitors the opportunity to reflect and see the original torch.
The roof deck is a great area on top of the museum that offers epic views of New York Harbor and the Statue.
A visit to the Statue of Liberty Museum is the perfect way to learn more about this US icon.
The Junior Ranger program is an amazing way for visitors of all ages to learn more about the park.
When arriving to Liberty Island, the first building on the left-hand side is the park Information Center.
The National Park Service is currently conducting rehab work on the walls of Fort Wood.
Fort Wood is the eleven-point star-shaped fort that was built between 1808 and 1811.
The fort was part of New York harbors defense system.
There are no true hiking trails while exploring Liberty Island.
That being said we do suggest wearing comfortable shoes. Every time we visit the Statue of Liberty we are amazed at the walking we do and how thankful we are for comfortable shoes.
There is the potential for a lot of standing so make sure you are comfortable.
Additional ways to see the Statue of Liberty
If you are looking for different ways to view the Statue of Liberty here are a few options that do not include stepping onto Liberty Island.
New York CityPASS - Visit 5 major New York City attractions at significant savings including the Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Intrepid air and space museum, and Guggenheim Museum.
1 hour cruise around the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island - Sail within 100 feet of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Cruise under the Brooklyn Bridge and passed South Street Seaport, Marvel at the skyline of Lower Manhattan from both the east and the west sides.
NYC: SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Experience Ticket - Re-imagine New York City with a visit to SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. Transcend 93 floors above the concrete jungle and step into an immersive, multi-sensory art experience with sweeping 360 degree views of the city.
Chinatown and Little Italy Food Tour - Immerse yourself in the history and food of Little Italy and Chinatown
Manhattan Island Helicopter Tour - Experience the beauty of Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty, the Intrepid Air and Space Museum, and more
9/11 Memorial & Museum Timed-Entry Ticket - Reflect on the events of September 11, 2001 when visiting the poignant 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Listen to personal stories of remembrance & resilience following the attacks.
There are so many epic things to do in NYC with kids!
How to beat the crowds at the Statue of Liberty?
The best way to beat the crowds is to arrive early in the morning. Skip the busy afternoon ferries and spend time enjoying the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
We also suggest making sure you book your ferry tickets ahead of time!
Where to stay when visiting the Statue of Liberty
There is no National Park Lodges within the park.
For a fun adventure check out Escape Campervans. These campervans have built in beds, kitchen area with refrigerators, and more. You can have them fully set up with kitchen supplies, bedding, and other fun extras. They are painted with epic designs you can't miss!
Escape Campervans has offices in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, New York, and Orlando
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge - 5-star luxury hotel in the heart of Brooklyn Heights, a neighborhood in Brooklyn. All 194 individually decorated rooms offer comforts such as premium bedding and air conditioning,
Holiday Inn Express New York City - Wall Street - Hotel located near One World Trade Center with rooms rejuvenated in 2017. located close to Battery Park and National September 11 Memorial, and provides free to-go breakfast, a grocery/convenience store, and dry cleaning/laundry services. Stay connected with free in-room Wi-Fi, and guests can find other amenities such as a gym and a business center.
Hilton Garden Inn NYC Financial Center/Manhattan Downtown - 3-star hotel revitalized in 2017 and located near One World Trade Center. Free in-room Wi-Fi is available to all guests, along with a 24-hour business center and a restaurant.
Moxy NYC Downtown - 4-star hotel near One World Trade Center. All guestrooms at Moxy NYC Downtown boast perks such as laptop-compatible safes and air conditioning, in addition to amenities like Wi-Fi and sound-insulated walls.
Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan/Downtown East - Located close to Brooklyn Bridge, Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan/Downtown East provides a free breakfast buffet, a grocery/convenience store, and dry cleaning/laundry services. In addition to a gym and a business center, guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
Click on the map below to find current rates for hotels and vacation rentals in New York City.
Parks near the Statue of Liberty National Monument
Governors Island National Monument
African Burial Ground National Monument
Federal Hall National Memorial
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Gateway National Recreation Area
Check out all of the National Parks in New York along with neighboring National Parks in Connecticutt, National Parks in Massachusetts, National Parks in New Jersey, National Parks in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island National Parks, and Vermont National Parks
National Park Service Website