The USA is largely a nation of immigrants, and no site underscores the fact more profoundly than Ellis Island. From 1892 to 1954 the island hosted the main immigration station for entry to America, processing more than 12 million third-class arrivals. Almost 50% of Americans have an ancestor who arrived here, having traveled on an often perilous journey across the sea.
Today the island is part of the adjacent Statue of Liberty National Monument. The Immigration Museum is housed in an iconic red-brick building built in French Renaissance style, which replaced the original wooden building that burnt down in 1897.
The museum brings the immigrant experience to life with a fascinating self-guided tour. Exhibits include photos, films, archive material, recordings, and the American Family Immigration History Center.
This was the best hour spent in NYC. To see the bridges, Freedom Tower, Empire State Building, Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty was amazing. Next stop was Top of the Rock, also booked through Viator. Highly recommend Viator for booking tours.
Review by Barbara B, April 2013
Doing what: Skip the Line: Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Walking Tour
The group was small and the tour guide was excellent with a thorough knowledge of the area. It was very well organised and we would definitely recommend. A really great day.
Good purchase if you want to visit New York. Absolutely !
Ellis Island lies south-west off the tip of Manhattan in Upper New York Bay. The island is actually shared by the cities of New York and New Jersey.
To visit Ellis Island, catch a Statue Cruises ferry from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan; first stop is the Statue of Liberty, followed by Ellis Island. The closest subway stations for Battery Park are South Ferry or Bowling Green.