On the Water | Downtown Alliance

On the Water

Manhattan’s waterfront has shaped the history of the city and the United States. The harbor in Lower Manhattan is also home to some of the city’s most renowned and recognizable attractions. A visit to New York would simply be incomplete without time on the water.

Begin your day here early to allow enough time to take in all the sights, starting with the Statue of Liberty. Lady Liberty is recognized worldwide as the symbol of American freedom. The massive monument — designed by sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame — was a gift from the French, commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Visitors are able to explore the grounds surrounding the statue as well as climb the 354 steps to an observation deck within Lady Liberty’s recently renovated crown. If you plan on taking in the view from the top, make your reservations beforehand. "Flex Tickets" are available for those who need them.

After you’ve had your share of the majestic green lady, the same ferry that brought you to the Statue of Liberty will take you onward to historic Ellis Island.  To be allowed to visit both attractions, be sure to board the ferry before 1 p.m. Upon arrival, relive the immigrant experience at the formidable Immigration Museum. Between 1892 to 1924, Ellis Island and the grounds of the museum greeted close to 12 million immigrants as they arrived in the New World.

If you still haven’t had your fill of water-related activities, New York Water TaxiCircle Line Downtown and Statue Cruises offer a great variety of boat tours. These views from the water can’t be beat. With tours operating all day and into the night, enjoy an entertaining and stimulating close-up of New York City’s magnificent harbor.

Continue your waterfront experience with an evening stroll along the East River Esplanade. Along the restored path and piers are a number of vibrant activities, shops, restaurants and nightlife. You can also stay connected and take advantage of the free public Wi-Fi provided by the Alliance for Downtown New York.