A symbol of freedom since her inauguration by President Grover Cleveland in 1886, the Statue of Liberty stands on Liberty Island in New York Harbor and rises 354 steps from the ground floor entrance to her crown.
Designed by respected French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi and given by the French government as a gift of friendship and to mark the U.S.’s 100th birthday in 1876, the Statue of Liberty rises from the New York harbor and is officially titled “Liberty Enlightening the World.”
In Emma Lazarus’s poem, which is engraved on the base, Lady Liberty says: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
For millions of people who came by ship to United States in the last century, either as privileged tourists or needy, hopeful immigrants – the Statue of Liberty represented the freedom to hope for a new beginning.
TIP: Free Entry with The New York Pass & Free round-trip ferry ticket. New York Pass allows you to skip the ticket purchase line by presenting your Pass at the Eastern National bookstore inside Castle Clinton National Monument to receive your ticket for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ferry.
Visiting Lady Liberty
The short, privately operated Ferry boat-ride from Battery Park in lower Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty is just a bit easier on the nerves than the ocean-crossing journey of immigrants of the last two centuries. The emotional jolt that the first glimpse of the icon gives today’s Native Americans may be more muted, but it’s a jolt nonetheless.
- Ferries leave daily every hour from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan to Liberty Island, from 9am to 2pm, with extended hours throughout the summer. Plan to go early on a weekday to avoid the crowds that get rather large in the afternoons, weekends and holidays.
- Keep in mind you’ll have some stairs to climb when visiting Lady Liberty. Ferries make Liberty Island fully accessible, but accessing the monument requires walking up 26 steps.
- Full-service bathrooms are available on Liberty Island.
- Free ranger-led tours are available on Liberty Island, leaving from the base of the Statue.
- If you’re going inside of the Statue of Liberty, only small purses and camera bags are allowed (and will be inspected). Save your any hassles and rent a locker in the Liberty Island gift shop.
- If you have children ages 7-12 there is a Junior Ranger Program available. Pick up a free booklet when you arrive on Liberty Island.
Getting to Liberty Island and The Statue of Liberty
The only way to get to Liberty Island is by boat. However, round trip fare on the ferry includes admission to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Ferries operate from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan 7 days a week, from 9:30am to 5:00pm.
Traveling to Battery Park in Lower Manhattan
- Traveling by train, take the 1 or 9 train to the South Ferry station, the 4 or 5 train to the Bowling Green station, or the N or R train to the Whitehall Street station.
- Traveling by bus, take the M15 (East Side) marked “South Ferry” or the M6 (West Side) from 57th Street.
- Traveling by car, take the East Side Drive (FDR Drive) south to Battery Park and State Street or the West Side Highway/West Street/Route 9A south to Battery Place.
- Privately operated parking lots are also located along West Street and South Street in Lower Manhattan (beneath FDR Drive). Parking can be limited so arrive early or take public transportation.
- Castle Clinton National Monument: the visitor center for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the building was built as a fort in 1807.
- The Stature of Liberty pedestal is built on a concrete foundation within the 11-pointed, star-shaped walls of Fort Wood.
- The seven rays of the Statue of Liberty’s crown represent the seven seas and seven continents.
- A new torch was added, during a 1984-86 restoration initiated by then President Ronald Reagan, with a24-carat gold leaf-coated flame. The original torch can be viewed on display in the main lobby.
- The observation decks in the pedestal and crown offer spectacular views of Manhattan.
- A museum inside the base of the statue offers a history via photos, prints, videos and oral histories.
- The Statue of Liberty is maintained by the US Park Services and is open to the public free of charge