Presented to the United States as a gift from France in 1886, the Statue of Liberty stands in New York Harbor as a symbol of freedom to people all over the world. As one of the most popular tourist destinations in New York City, the statue draws thousands of visitors every day. If you’re in good shape and want to see New York from a unique perspective, exploring the inside of the statue is a worthwhile adventure.
When you visit the Statue of Liberty, you have several options for exploring the monument. To begin, you must take a boat on Statue Cruises from either Battery Park in New York or the ferry terminal at Liberty State Park in New Jersey. You can choose from several ticket options. To explore the inside of the statue, you should purchase a ticket that provides transportation to the island and access to the crown and pedestal. The National Park Service allows only 240 people per day to climb to the crown; 1,000 daily tickets are available for the pedestal, at time of publication. If you can’t get inside the statue, you can still take the cruise and explore the grounds of Liberty Island.
About the Climb
Once inside the Statue of Liberty, you can explore the museum in the pedestal and then begin the climb to the crown. The climb itself is strenuous – 354 steps, equivalent to 20 stories – and recommended only for people in good physical health. The area inside the statue stairwell is cramped, with steep steps only 19 inches wide. The head clearance is only 6 feet, 2 inches, and it tends to get very hot in the statue; on summer days, it can be as much as 20 degrees hotter than it is outside. If you suffer from heart or respiratory issues, vertigo, claustrophobia, fear of heights or have any mobility issues, the National Park Service recommends that you avoid climbing to the crown. Only children who are at least 4 feet tall and accompanied by a responsible adult can climb the statue.
Security at the Statue of Liberty is tight, and you’ll need photo ID to pick up your reserved tickets. When you reserve your crown visit, you’ll need to provide the names of everyone in your party – up to four people – so the names can be printed on the tickets. Upon arrival, each adult in the party will have to show photo ID, and everyone will undergo security screening. When you go to the crown, you can bring only a camera and medication with you; in the pedestal area, you can carry your purse, but backpacks, strollers and electronics other than cameras are prohibited. The NPS also prohibits any food or drink, including water, from both the pedestal and crown, so get a drink before you enter the statue for your climb.
Because of the cramped quarters and security procedures, wait times to get into the Statue of Liberty can stretch into hours. Reserve your tickets as soon as possible, up to six months in advance. You can pick up your tickets at the ferry terminals in New York and New Jersey, but allow plenty of time, as waits to get tickets can be almost two hours during peak times. In addition, the wait times at security screening to enter the Statue of Liberty often extend an hour or more. The actual climb into the crown can take 30 minutes or more, depending on your physical shape and the number of visitors in front of you.