The Statue of Liberty has been my backyard for many years, but it was only recently that I paid my first visit. Most people who plan their trip here do not experience the climb to the crown because it requires advance planning. If you do have the opportunity to see Lady Liberty, however, it is worth the experience to hike the steps to the top.
It is easy to plan your trip to the crown. The official provider of tickets is Statue Cruises. I paid $21.50 per person for tickets, which include:
- round trip ferry ride from either Battery Park in New York City or Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey (you can return to either destination).
- priority entry into the screening facility.
- Ellis Island as an included stop. I opted to stay on the ferry and skip it as I’ve already been years ago.
- access to the Fort Wood section of the pedestal.
- access to the crown of the statue.
The ticket you will want to buy is the “Crown Reserve.” Generally, you will find decent availability on weekdays but for weekends you’ll most likely have to book further in advance. We booked in early June because we specifically wanted to go during a Sunday in October.
You can only purchase a maximum of 4 tickets per order, and you have to put name of each person down. They will require ID for each adult. I believe this is not only for security reasons but also prevents people from re-selling the tickets.
If you are driving, I highly suggest departing from Liberty State Park as there is a plenty of parking. You’ll want to avoid the lot closest to the terminal, it is free but limited to 1-hour. There’s a paid parking lot with a small fee for daily parking right before that lot. If you have time and don’t mind a short walk, you can try to find parking at one of the free lots throughout the park. The closest one is located here and is less than a 15-minute walk to the ferry terminal.
As you arrive on Liberty Island, you will notice an outdoor terrace area and an adjacent concession vendor selling very mediocre (and pricey) food items. I highly suggest you eat beforehand. At the screening area to the pedestal, you will have an expedited line apart from everyone else. You can rent lockers for $2 for 2 hours to put your stuff in. Large bags, umbrellas and strollers are not allowed inside the pedestal.
There are 215 steps to the top of the pedestal; the stairs are wide and it is a quick walk. However, there is an elevator for those that have difficulty with steps.
My friends Glenn and Ayumi on the stairs leading to the Pedestal.
You’ll get a chance to take a break and walk around the pedestal for a bit. Then there are additional steps from the pedestal to the crown–it is another 162 steps to the top. These stairs aren’t difficult, but they are very narrow which can make things uncomfortable if you are a tall, wide, or claustrophobic. There is no elevator from the pedestal to the crown.
This is the spiral staircase that leads up to the crown. There are two sets, one for up and the other for down.
The stairs are narrow heading to the crown.
Chances are there will be a backlog partway through and you’ll spend some time waiting on the stairs itself. Make sure not to miss the inside of Miss Liberty’s face on your way up.
Once at the top you’ll quickly realize how small the crown is as you’ll see people exiting and going back down the opposite staircase.
Peak out of the left side of the windows of the crown and you’ll be able to see Miss Liberty’s tablet.
As for the torch on the other side, you will only be able to see it but you will not be able to access it. You’ll hear stories of people saying they’ve been to the torch, but this is highly unlikely as there is no longer any public access to that area since 1916.