April 25, 2022
Things To Do on Liberty Island (Besides the Statue of Liberty)
When you buy your ferry ticket to visit the Statue of Liberty, chances are that your plans include seeing the Statue of Liberty and not much else. Sure, you walk through Liberty Island to get to Lady Liberty herself, but did you know there are several other things you can do while on the island?
Going to the statue is a must, but there are also other sights to see while you’re there. Here are some suggestions for things to do on your next trip to Liberty Island — besides visiting the Statue of Liberty.
Take in the view
One of the best parts about being on Liberty Island is the views you get of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and even New Jersey. Take some time to roam around the island and capture it all on camera or simply enjoy it.
These are views that you can’t get anywhere else, and they’re simply stunning. This is one of our favorite places to grab photos of tour groups!
Visit the Statue of Liberty Crown Cafe
Once you’ve made it to Liberty Island, you might just be hungry. If you haven’t brought food along, pop into Statue of Liberty Crown Cafe for something to eat.
You’ll find your standard American fare there, like sandwiches and fries, plus you can grab a coffee for a chilly day. The cafe is generally open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. but those hours can vary based on the season.
Explore the Statue of Liberty Museum
The Statue of Liberty Museum is 26,000 square feet of history and interactive exhibits for guests to enjoy.
You can see how the statue was built and even take a virtual ride through the interior — which is especially appealing if you don’t have a ticket to get to the crown of Lady Liberty or you’re not able to make the trip up.
Plus, guests can leave their picture behind at the end of the museum walk-through to be included in the Becoming Liberty of the Inspiration Gallery. The museum is free to enter once you’re on Liberty Island and keeps the hours of the statue itself.
Take a tour
If you want to be sure to see all that Liberty Island has to offer, consider a guided tour, like our Statue of Liberty Express Tour. In this time-efficient tour, you’ll spend two hours taking in Liberty Island, including the museum, the Manhattan skyline views, and, of course, Lady Liberty.
Great for families, groups and solo travelers, the tour is all contained — plus you’ll get expert tips on New York City from the pros. The tour even includes your ferry tickets to get there, making it as simple as can be!
Buy a souvenir at the gift shop
No trip to Liberty Island is complete without something to show for it, like a souvenir from the gift shop. Located near the cafe, the gift shop has plenty of items to purchase for yourself or for friends and family to show for your trip to see Lady Liberty.
There’s also a bookstore where you can find books with more photos of the statue and more on her history. This is a great pit stop after you’ve made your rounds on the island and seen everything you want to see, as the gift shop is near the dock where you’ll grab the boat back to Manhattan or to Ellis Island.
Local tip: Sure, you can buy Statue of Liberty souvenirs all over New York City, but there’s only one place you can buy your statue souvenirs with the statue looming over you, and that’s on Liberty Island.
Admire the Sculpture Garden
The Sculpture Garden on the grounds of Liberty Island contains statues of the people who had a hand in creating the Statue of Liberty and the grounds of Liberty Island. Here are some of the people you’ll find statues of:
- Edouard de Laboulaye, who proposed the idea for the statue
- Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, the designer of the Statue of Liberty
- Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the engineer who created the internal support system of the statue and, more famously, the Eiffel Tower
- Joseph Pulitzer, who helped raise funds for the pedestal the statue stands on
- Emma Lazarus, who wrote the poem “The New Colossus” to raise money for the pedestal
Don’t forget to snap photos of the cherry blossoms on the island if you visit in the spring!
Enjoy a scenic picnic
You can bring your own food along to eat on Liberty Island and enjoy some relaxing time on the grounds. Visitors are welcome to bring food and drinks to the island with them and eat at various seating areas around the island. There are so many good views around the island you can enjoy while you’re eating too — like the view of Manhattan!
Visit Flagpole Plaza
Flagpole Plaza gives you great all-around views of the island and the skyline across the water. This is a beautiful spot to stop and reflect or just be. (It’s also a great meeting point if your group splits up to explore!)
Be sure to snap some pictures here and get the views from all sides.
Bonus: Go to Ellis Island
While Ellis Island isn’t actually on Liberty Island, it’s very close! Your ferry to Liberty Island also makes a stop at Ellis Island, so you can easily add this to your trip and explore there as well.
Learn the rich history of the island and of New York at the Ellis Island National Immigration Museum and the American Family Immigration History Center. Plus, see the names of the immigrants who came through here on the American Immigrant Wall of Honor.
All of these are included with your ferry ticket and are accessible while the island is open. If you want a guided tour of Liberty and Ellis islands together, that’s an option, too!