Before hopping on the ferry for the Statue of Liberty, meet your guide at Battery Park to receive your reserve-line ticket. Then enjoy the views of Manhattan and Staten Island from the ferry. Once at the statue, climb the 215 steps to get to the pedestal and enjoy the amazing views of the lower Manhattan skyline. Learn about the history of Lady Liberty and how it was constructed.
After, hop back on the ferry and make the short journey to Ellis Island, the immigration center where more than 12 million immigrants entered the United States from 1892 to 1954. Spend about 2.5 hours exploring and be sure to check out the restored Great Hall of Ellis Island Immigration Museum and the many intriguing interactive displays. Later, return to lower Manhattan via ferry and indulge in lunch (at your own expense) before reuniting with your guide in Battery Park.
See the 9/11-related sites, including St. Paul’s Chapel, a place where New Yorkers gravitated to in order to bond and pray in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Inside there are many memorials, including hand-drawn cards, photographs and personal items.
Stroll over to the National September 11 Memorial to have a look at the twin reflecting pools, complete with falling water, the footprints of the Twin Towers. Be sure to stop by the Fireman’s Memorial, the ‘Survivor Tree,’ the sole tree that survived the fall of the buildings, and symbol of the strength of the Big Apple and its denizens.
Here is the where the guided portion of the tour ends. But it’s where you get the most spectacular view of New York City and surrounding area. With your pre-reserved ticket, skip the line and head to the elevator of One World Observatory. Board the Skypod (aka elevator) and be prepared to elevate: in the sixty seconds it takes to get to the 102nd floor, watch an incredible video of the history of New York City and how much it has changed over the centuries.
From 1,250 feet (365 meters) above the city, take in the 360-degree views. Step into the Sky Portal, a 14-foot wide (4-meter) disc in the floor that shows the streets below in live HD. Then enjoy the many interactive options, including City Pulse, which shares stories of the Big Apple.
If all that viewing has built up an appetite or thirst, head to the 101st floor where there are dining, cafe and bar options. Spend as much time as you like checking out the view or feasting on food.