An off the beaten path visit to the Statue of Liberty

When you think about main tourist sites in New York, the top sites that come to mind are Empire State building, Times Square, Central Park and the Statue of Liberty.

On our second visit as a family to New York, we met up with a couple of friends that were living in New Jersey to go visit the Statue of Liberty. As we all know, there is nothing like sightseeing with locals! I was prepared to endure hours waiting in line with a 3.5 year old for a ferry at Battery Park… but our friends knew a shortcut!

We headed to Jersey City, to the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal. To start, the place is an old train station and the Lower Manhattan views from there are stunning.

Map from Mappery.com (link below)

There were virtually no lines and it was all well sign-posted.

Ferry and admission prices… from 2009!

I could not believe we waited less than 10 minutes to board the ferry! First stop was Ellis Island, but we didn’t disembark there as we wanted to leave it for another time where we could dedicate a whole day for it.

People getting off at Ellis Island. We’ll come back just for Ellis Island!

Upon arrival at the Statue of Liberty, we wanted to have some fun taking pictures.

Right after we got off the ferry
Just like Liberty!

 Our little one loves food courts and will always try to get some snacks even when it’s not snack time. Since she is such a great travel buddy, why not get some torch-style french fries cone to share as a family? Even a themed-coffee cup for mom and dad?

Yum! Torch-style french fries cone.
Liberty-themed coffee cup!

With the snack part done, time to actually go inside! There we actually had to stay in line for a bit, but it was worth it. They have an exhibit telling the story of the Statue of Liberty, which was a gift from France the the United States being dedicated on October 28, 1886. In the exhibit they show how the statue came by in pieces from France and was assembled almost a year after its arrival in the States.

The torch inside

It was a very good day out, we all learned something and I realized the Statue of Liberty was a lot smaller than it seemed on TV.

View from the ferry

And my advice to anyone going to visit the Statue and/or Ellis Island for the first time or not is to try taking the New Jersey ferry like we did. You can easily access Jersey City taking the path train from Manhattan and then a tram to Liberty State Park to take the ferry. The views from Jersey City and Liberty State Park are breathtaking, you will spend less time waiting in line, will take cool pictures and be able to say you had an off the beaten path experience when visiting one of the least off the beaten path tourist sights.

Links for more info:

* Statue of Liberty Official Website: http://www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm

Note that due to hurricane Sandy damages, the Statue of Liberty is closed until the restoration is complete; to have an idea of the damages check out the official website above with before and after pictures and for further updates

* PATH Train: http://www.panynj.gov/path/

* Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (Jersey City Tram): http://www.njtransit.com/hp/hp_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=HomePageTo

* Mappery.com for a cool map that shows the ferry routes from New York and New Jersey: http://mappery.com/Statue-of-Liberty-National-Monument-Map

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