The Staten Island Ferry | Free Statue of Liberty Ferry (2024)

Walking ToursBus ToursThings To DoTravel SavingsPrivate ToursContact

Updated: April 19, 2024

ByCourtney Shapiro

This post is about taking the free Staten Island Ferry. As local tour guides, we've all taken the ferry several times because it's a great free way to get out on the water and enjoy the views.

Here we share insider tips like the best time to take the ferry, where to stand for the best views of the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan and more.

We’ve also included the thoughts from some of the more than 230,000 members of our NYC Travel Tips Facebook group.

Our popular group consists of locals, regular visitors to NYC, and those just getting to know the city. There's no need to join the group to read posts, comments and recommendations.

So take a look at our group for more ideas or ask a question yourself!

  • How to Get Here
  • Best Times to Ride
  • What You Will See
  • Things to Do Near the Ferry
  • Statue of Liberty Ferry
  • Other NYC Boat Tours


Riding the free Staten Island Ferry is by far one of the very best bargains in New York City andone of the most memorable things you can do during your trip.

For more travel ideas, check out our definitive guide on Things to Do in NYC.

The ferry is a commuter ferry that shuttles back and forth from the Whitehall Terminal at the tip of Manhattan to the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island.

The ferry runs 24 hours a day giving you many opportunities to ride it. You can even ride the ferry at night and see the city sparkle!

Audio Tour

We have created a GPS-led audio tour to accompany you on your ride to Staten Island and back.

One of our tour guides explains what you will see from the ferry.

Here's a sample of our audio guide.

Download it now. $2.99


TheStaten Island Ferry leaves from the Whitehall Ferry Terminal, which stands on the southern tip of Lower Manhattan.

It's best to start by using this Google Maps link for directions to the Staten Island Ferry, by subway, bus, car, or on foot.

The Staten Island Ferry | Free Statue of Liberty Ferry (7)

Most people will come by subway, and there are several train lines within a few blocks, so you most likely won't have to change trains to get here.

If you are new to the subway system, check out our posts on which subway pass to buy andnavigating the New York subway. Also, see our post on free subway apps.

Directions by subway

  • 1 trainto South Ferry- right next to the terminal
  • R trainto Whitehall Street - a short two-block walk to the terminal
  • 4 or 5 trains toBowling Green - approximately a 7-minute walk to the terminal
  • If the above lines are not convenient for you, you can use these stations, but will require you to walk about 15 minutes to reach the terminal:
    • J and Z trains to Broad Street
    • 2 and 3 trainsto Wall Street

If you are considering purchasing a hop-on-hop-off bus ticket to get you around or to give you an overview of NYC, then note that all companies have a stop near the Staten Island Ferry.


Podcast Episode: Listen to tour guides Lori and Katherine discuss taking the free Staten Island Ferry on an episode of our NYC Travel Tips podcast.

This podcast offers bite-sized audio clips with tips on how to plan your trip to NYC.

You can get our podcasts on Apple, Google, or wherever you get your podcasts.

How Long is the Staten Island Ferry Round Trip?

You should plan for at least 60 - 90 minutes for your journey once you arrive at Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Lower Manhattan.

The ferryrides each way are approximately 25-30 minutes.

The Staten Island Ferry | Free Statue of Liberty Ferry (9)

You must get off at the Staten Island side and you can join the queue to take the same ferry back to Manhattan, so it is possible to spend an hour on the ride back and forth.

However, depending on the size of the crowd that is waiting to go to Manhattan, you may need to take the next ferry for the return trip to Manhattan.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The ferry does not stop at the Statue of Liberty. We have a detailed post on how to get to the Statue of Liberty.

Is the Staten Island Ferry Free?

The Staten Island Ferry is free! That means the price is zero. There is no ticket needed to ride the ferry in either direction.

Beware of scammers trying to sell you a ticket for the Staten Island Ferry.YOu may see some standing in front of the ferry terminal. Don't engage with them -- just keep walking.

What is the Ferry Schedule?

The Staten Island ferry runs 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. You can ride it day and night. Night rides are quite beautiful.

The ferry schedule is easy to understand.The ferries run every 30 minutes, on the hour and on the half-hour (so, 12:00, 12:30, 1:00, 1:30).

There is one exception. During weekday rush hours, the ferries run every 15 minutes.

Rush hours are 6:00 a.m. until9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

See the full schedule here.

TIP: If you take a night ride, you might consider combining it with our 9/11 Memorial and Brooklyn Bridge Touroffered at 8 p.m. on several days each week from March through October.

When is the Best Time to Take the Staten Island Ferry?

Assuming you are starting your voyage from Manhattan, the best time to take a ride is to avoid rush hours, particularly the afternoon rush hour.

According to the ferry's Facebook page, the most popular weekday off-peak times are from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., with Wednesdays being the busiest day.

If you want a less crowded ferry, we suggest that you take the ferry any weekday between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. or anytime after 7 p.m.

If you think 7 p.m. is too late, remember that in summer the sun sets much later.

And evening rides on the ferry are beautiful.

In fact, riding the Staten Island Ferry at this time is one of our top 10 things to do at night in NYC.

Keep in mind that these ferries are huge. They can carry over 6000 passengers.

You shouldn't have any issues taking photos of the Statue of Liberty or other sights along the way.

Bottom line: Take the ferry when it works best for your schedule. If you have flexibility, use our recommendations above. No matter what time, the ride will be amazing.

What else should you know?

  • You must get off the ferry at the Staten Island Terminal and then re-board to head back to Manhattan.
  • Free Wi-Fiservice is available in each terminal and also on the ferries.
  • Bikes are permitted aboard the ferry.
  • Snacks and food are sold on the ferry, including beer. They are a bit pricey though.
  • There are bathrooms on the ferry, though not as clean as the bathrooms in the terminals.
  • No smoking is allowed.


The ferry's route offers stunning views of Lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island,and Governors Island. +

You can also see the hilly terrain of Brooklyn, and in particular, Brooklyn Heights.

You will have a slightly distant view of both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge.

Be sure to take our free guided audio tour to accompany you on your ride on the Staten Island Ferry.

And check out our post on the 28 best spots for views of New York City.


Since the ferries ride back and forth the same route every day, you will have a view of theStatue of Liberty and Ellis Islandon both legs of the round-trip.

Most people want to see Lady Liberty right away, so when you board in Manhattan, head to the right side (starboard side) of the ferry and make your way upstairs to the outdoor deck.

Stake a spot along the railing and as far to the back of the vessel as you can.

This ensures that you will have the best view possible to see the Statue of Liberty on your ride to Staten Island.

Not all ferries are identical, but the image below is of a typical vessel.

The Staten Island Ferry | Free Statue of Liberty Ferry (11)

On your return trip, you might like to see the other view, so again, when you board to return to Manhattan, go to the right side (starboard side) upstairs deck of the ferry.

Although, it should be a bit less crowded on the Statue of Liberty side on the return trip.

For the best Lower Manhattan views and photo-ops, stand in the back of the ferry when departing Manhattan and the front of the ferry when departing Staten Island.

The Staten Island Ferry | Free Statue of Liberty Ferry (12)

One more point, you can still get good views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and other points of interest in New York Harbor from the lower decks.

These decks don't have outside seating, but there are windows and you can get good photos.


The Staten Island Ferry is one of the best free attractions in NYC and its Lower Manhattan location means there is plenty to do before or after your ride.

TIP: Be sure to schedule yourride on the Staten Island Ferry so you can join us on one of our pay-what-you-like Lower Manhattan Tours.

If you prefer, use our freeself-guided tour of Lower Manhattanor our Lower Manhattan audio tour.

Here are our recommendations for the best things to do before or after your ferry ride:

  • Visit the9/11 Memorial and Museum.and soar to the sky at the top of One World Observatory(Freedom Tower).
  • Explore Battery Park with historic monuments and shady trees and benches.
  • Take a Wall Street tour or explore it on your own with ourSelf-Guided Walking Tour of Wall Street.
  • Take a picture with the iconicCharging Bull.
  • Go to the South Street Seaportwith stunning waterfront views, shopping, and historic buildings and tall ships.
  • Stop byFraunces Tavern,the pub where George Washington did when he said farewell to his troops as he left the military to become the first President of the United States.
  • Visit the historic and beautifulTrinity Churchwith its magnificent stained-glass windows.


This borough is often overlooked by tourists, but Staten Island has quite a bit to offer.

As shown in the video above, there are several attractions near the ferry terminal.

TIP:One secret tourists don't know about New York City is that Staten Island is home to some of the best pizza in the city!

To find out where you can grab an incredible slice or whole pie, see our postThe Best Pizza in New York City.

Self-Guided Tour of St. George in Staten Island

Click on the interactive map to make it larger

(1) St. George Ferry Terminal

(2) The Staten Island September 11th Memorial

The Esplanade, located on the Northern Shore of Staten Island, has unparalleled views of Manhattan’s skyline.

If you walk along the Esplanade from the Ferry Terminal you will come to the beautiful "Postcards" Memorial, completed in 2004. Use these Google Maps directions to find it.

This memorial was the first 9/11 memorial completed in New York Cityand is dedicated to the 275 Staten Islanders who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack.

Each victim has a plaque with their name, date of birth, and where they worked at the time of the attack.

The two fiberglass structures frame the location of the former towers across the river.

(3) Staten Island Borough Hall

10 Richmond Terrace

Staten Island’s Borough Hall is 100 years old and serves as the seat of the local government.

The building is in the French Renaissance style and has a beautiful clock tower.

The lobby is decorated with 13 murals, measuring 6.5’ by 13’. These murals depict Staten Island history and were part of a Depression-era WPA project.

They are the largest collection of WPA artwork anywhere in New York City.

Admission is free.

(4) St. George Theatre

35 Hyatt Street

This magnificent 1800-seat theatre opened in 1929 as a vaudeville and movie house.

During the day the lobby is open to the public so that visitors can admire the ornate interior, with its large chandeliers and grand staircases.

The theatre presents a full schedule of performances at night, so check out the St. George Theatre websiteto see the full lineup!

(5)Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden

1000 Richmond Terrace

If you are willing to take a 10-minute bus ride, visit the historic and bucolic Snug Harbor Center.

It's free of charge to the public and open 7 days a week from dawn to dusk.

Opened in 1883 as a home for retired sailors, Snug Harbor covers 83 acres and has 20 different gardens.

There is also a collection of five Greek Revival buildings, the largest group of this kind in the United States.

Today these buildings are museums and art galleries, and one is the second oldest concert hall in New York City.

The enchanting gardens include the Victorian-style White Garden and the Secret Garden, which has a hedge maze.

There is also the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden which is the only one of its kind in the country. It is designed to reflect a Ming Dynasty Garden of the 18th and 19th centuries.

(6) The Staten Island Museum

1000 Richmond Terrace, Building A

This museum opened in 1881 and is home to over two million artifacts, with some dating back as far as 12,000 years.

They have an extensive art collection, ranging from Ancient Egyptian to Modern art.

There is a Natural Sciences collection that includes a “Cabinet of Curiosities” and exhibits of native animals.

The collection of Native American artifacts is considered to be the most comprehensive exhibit about Native Americans in the New York area.

You can also learn about the Staten Island Ferry's history before you return for your return trip!

Admission is free (with a suggested donation).

See what other free museums there are in New York City.

Quick Facts About Staten Island

Staten Island is the least populous of the five boroughs, but the third-largest in terms of land size.

Staten Island claimed to have the world’s largest landfill, called the Fresh Kills Landfill.

It closed in 2001, reopened briefly to receive the debris cleared from the World Trade Center site, and is now being converted into NYC’s second-largest park.

Staten Island is the only borough not connected to the New York City Subway system.

Cornelius Vanderbilt, the railroad tycoon and financier of Grand Central Station, was born in Port Richmond, Staten Island, on May 27, 1794, of Dutch/English background.

At 16, Vanderbilt started his ferry service and he was the conductor of the ferries -- until he became one of the richest Americans in the 1800s.

Some of the first humans passed through Staten Island about 15,000 years ago. The first permanent settlers were a Lenape tribe, about 5,000 years ago.

The first recorded European contact with the island was by Giovanni Verrazano in 1520. He was sailing on the French ship La Dauphine and they anchored for one night.

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which spans the waterway between Brooklyn and Staten Island, is named for him.

The next European on the island was Henry Hudson, sailing for the Dutch. The island was named Staaten Eylandt (translation: States Island) in honor of the Dutch Parliament.

Staten Island was occupied by British troops throughout the American Revolution.

Staten Island became a part of New York City in 1898 when the five boroughs consolidated.

However, it was called the Borough of Richmond at the time (Staten Island is in Richmond County). It did not begin to be commonly called Staten Island until 1975.

Staten Island is the only borough without anNYC Department of Corrections major detention center.

Sailor’s Snug Harbor opened in 1833, as the country’s first home for retired seamen. Today it is a public park.

There was a movement in the 1980s in Staten Island that favored secession from New York City. It failed.


While we hope this post provides you with enough information about the ferry, here are some tips from members of our New York Travel Tips Facebook group.

One of the most common questions visitors to New York City taking the ferry for the first time have is “What is the best time to take it?”

Kira, a local commuter, corroborates our advice. Avoid rush hours!

The Staten Island Ferry | Free Statue of Liberty Ferry (13)

Dawn, a former commuter has some interesting insight -- it isn't just the rush hour that can cause crowds. In peak tourist season on weekends, lots of tourists take the ferry.

Use Dawn’s tip to steer clear of any crowd if there is one. Make your way to the downstairs of the ferry and head to the back, especially for the ride out. You’ll get amazing views of Lower Manhattan.

The Staten Island Ferry | Free Statue of Liberty Ferry (14)

Camille agrees with Dawn about going to the bottom back of the ferry and reassures that weekends aren't that bad.

The Staten Island Ferry | Free Statue of Liberty Ferry (15)

Another frequent question is if you have to get off the ferry in Staten Island or if you can stay on for the trip back to Manhattan.

In addition to answering the question, Betty recommends where to sit on the ferry for the best views.

The Staten Island Ferry | Free Statue of Liberty Ferry (16)

David mentions that you might be able to hop on the next ferry back, depending on timing and Millie did just that!

The Staten Island Ferry | Free Statue of Liberty Ferry (17)

If you are torn between going to the Statue of Liberty or taking the Staten Island Ferry, group members suggest you consider what kind of experience you want.

The free ferry is a quick trip that will get you some nice pictures of Lady Liberty and great views of Lower Manhattan.

If you want a richer experience, visit the Statue of Liberty.

The Staten Island Ferry | Free Statue of Liberty Ferry (18)

Many people ask if the ride is choppy and if they should be worried about seasickness. No one said they had a problem, even those who do typically get seasick on a vessel.

The Staten Island Ferry | Free Statue of Liberty Ferry (19)

If you have time to spare and feel like exploring Staten Island, these group members chime in with what you can do there. For information on these sights, see our self-guided tour above.

The Staten Island Ferry | Free Statue of Liberty Ferry (20)

If you have more questions about the Staten Island Ferry (or anything else about NYC) that we haven't covered here, check out our New York Travel Tips Facebook group!

The Staten Island Ferry | Free Statue of Liberty Ferry (21)


  • New York City boat tours and cruises
  • Pay-what-you-wish walking tours of Lower Manhattan
  • NYC Tourist Concession Passes
  • 28 Top Views of NYC

About The Author

The Staten Island Ferry | Free Statue of Liberty Ferry (22)

Courtney Shapiro

Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker fascinated with the city’s history, culture and cuisine. She loves exploring the world, as well as sharing her travel expertise with others.She joined the Free Tours by Foot team in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She has a law degree, a teaching degree and a worn-out passport. Her motto is “Have backpack, will travel”. READ MORE...

Updated: April 19th, 2024

The Staten Island Ferry | Free Statue of Liberty Ferry (2024)


Does the Staten Island Ferry pass the Statue of Liberty? ›

The Staten Island ferry takes you right past the statue for free, while those on bigger budgets can reserve a room with a view at the luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel. Here are 10 ways to get a great look at the Statue of Liberty, starting with the cruises that resumed service to Liberty Island on July Fourth.

Which ferry is best for the Statue of Liberty? ›

Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry serves as a commuter ferry between Manhattan and Staten Island. It makes dozens of trips a day, leaving every 20-30 minutes. Since the service is completely free, this is a great option for viewing the Statue of Liberty up close.

Is the Staten Island Ferry worth going on? ›

EXCELLENT! The Staten Island ferry is a FREE ferry, operating 24 hours a day between New York's financial district of Manhattan and Staten Island. The ferry is large, comfortable, with decks you can walk onto to take iconic photos of the Statue of Liberty.

Is the Staten Island Ferry still free? ›

The Staten Island Ferry provides service every day, year-round. It is free to ride the ferry.

Is it worth taking the ferry to the Statue of Liberty? ›

From the views of the harbor and cityscape, to learning more about its history and standing in awe of this magnificent monument, a ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty provides an unbeatable experience full of wonder and amazement.

How long is the wait for Statue of Liberty ferry? ›

School groups are required to make a reservation with Statue City Cruises prior to their trip. Students will have to go through airport-style screening before getting on the ferries. Lines for the ferries often take 30 minutes or longer. All visitors must pass through security screening.

Why is the Staten Island Ferry free? ›

Eliminating the ferry fare was seen as an action to standardize Staten Islanders' MetroCard fares with those of commuters in other boroughs. Despite the fact that the ferry fare had netted $6 million in annual revenue for the city, its abolition only cost the city about $1 million.

What side to sit on the Staten Island Ferry? ›

When heading from Manhattan to Staten Island, the Statue of Liberty will be on the right-hand side of the boat (i.e. Starboard side). This direction of the ferry route also operates closest to the Statue of Liberty, in turn meaning the best views of the free Ferry route.

Can you just ride the Staten Island Ferry? ›

You do not need a ticket to ride the Staten Island Ferry. How often does the Ferry operate? The Ferry runs 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week. More frequent service, (every 15 or 20 minutes,) is provided on the weekdays during the rush hours of 6:00AM- 9:30AM and 3:30PM-8:00PM, with 30-minute service to follow.

Why is Staten Island so popular? ›

Staten Island is most well-known for its green park spaces, museums and historical buildings. It is often considered the “borough of parks” because of its numerous natural spaces.

Can you go on top of the Staten Island Ferry? ›

Go to the Top Deck for Photos. The Staten Island Ferry provides a great option to see the Statue of Liberty and the lower Manhattan skyline at no cost.

How to get free ferry to Statue of Liberty? ›

New York free ferry to Statue of Liberty from Whitehall Ferry Terminal. Free ferry: New York Statue of liberty is a free ferry that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You don't need a ticket to board it; just show up and board the next available ship. It is so simple.

What do you see on the Staten Island Ferry? ›

Staten Island Ferry Guide: Enjoy Statue of Liberty & Harbor Views | NYC Tourism.

How long is the ride on the Staten Island Ferry? ›

The crossing takes 20 minutes. At Staten island, if you can get off quick you may be able to rush round and get straight on the ferry back.

What does the Staten Island Ferry cross? ›

For more than 200 years, the Staten Island Ferry's iconic orange fleet has easily become one of the most recognized symbols of our borough. These boats transport millions of passengers across the Hudson River from the St. George Ferry Terminal to Manhattan's Whitehall in downtown Battery Park.

What major landmarks does the Staten Island Ferry pass on its way to Manhattan? ›

The ferry ride affords views of the Downtown Jersey City skyline, the Lower Manhattan skyline, Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island, Ellis Island, Governors Island and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.

Is there a free ferry to the Statue of Liberty in New York? ›

New York free ferry to Statue of Liberty from Whitehall Ferry Terminal. Free ferry: New York Statue of liberty is a free ferry that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You don't need a ticket to board it; just show up and board the next available ship.

What is the route of the Staten Island Ferry? ›

Route Information

The Ferry operates between the St. George Terminal on Staten Island and the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. The trip is about 25 minutes. The Ferry ride is free.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Last Updated:

Views: 6037

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Birthday: 1999-05-27

Address: Apt. 171 8116 Bailey Via, Roberthaven, GA 58289

Phone: +2585395768220

Job: Lead Liaison

Hobby: Lockpicking, LARPing, Lego building, Lapidary, Macrame, Book restoration, Bodybuilding

Introduction: My name is Sen. Ignacio Ratke, I am a adventurous, zealous, outstanding, agreeable, precious, excited, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.