10 Things to Know Before You Visit the Statue of Liberty in Winter

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Are you trying to decide if you should visit the Statue of Liberty in winter? If you’re headed to NYC for a winter trip, you don’t need to skip the Statue of Liberty! You just need to come prepared so you have the smoothest (and warmest) trip possible! 

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How to Visit the Statue of Liberty in Winter

Essential Travel Resources for 2021 & 2022

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Everything You Need to Know to Visit the Statue of Liberty in Winter

I’ve had the privilege of visiting NYC over two dozen times, so of course, I’ve been to the Statue of Liberty more than once. And what a lot of people want to know is, is it worth it to visit the Statue of Liberty in winter? I say, absolutely!

This is especially true if this is your first visit to the city or you don’t know if you’ll be back for a long time. If you know (for some reason) that you’re coming back in the spring or summer, then you might want to wait. Otherwise seeing the Statue of Liberty in January, February, or even December is still really delightful!

You just need to follow some common-sense tips to make sure you really enjoy your trip.

Dress in Layers

United States New York State of Liberty Woman Taking Selfie

You’ll be in a variety of environments on your tour, so you want to be able to dress up and dress down as needed. You don’t want to overdress and get overheated, and, of course, you don’t want to freeze!

Here are my suggestions for what women should wear for sightseeing like this in NYC in winter:

A Winter Coat: You need that can handle the cold like this North Face parka

Thermal Layers: This ultra-lightweight down layer is my new #packinggoals. I don’t own one, but my friend Allison does and she wore hers while we were stuck at a Serbian bus stop in the cold early morning. I was so jealous, and this is on my future packing lists for anywhere I go that’s cold. It’s great because you can wear it on its own when you need a quick layer of warmth, but you can also wear it under your coat when it’s really cold outside.

Shoes: Upgrade your regular city boots to a waterproof version.

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Socks: Upgrade your socks to thick, warm wool socks.

Gloves: In NYC, you’ll be doing a lot of navigating on your smartphone, especially when you need to use public transit. I found it incredibly annoying to have to take my gloves off every few minutes, so I upgraded to tech-friendly gloves like these. They’re also clutch for using your phone to take pictures.

Winter Scarf: You want a thick knit scarf that you can pull up and cover your face when necessary.

Leggings: You’ll want to be covered from head to toe when you’re outside. Regular leggings are great for late autumn, but for winter swap them for leggings that are lined with fleece for extra warmth. You can wear them under dresses or even slip them under your jeans.

Hat:fleece-lined knit cap will keep you warm, and you’ll fit right in with the locals.

United States New York State of Liberty

Here is what I suggest men wear in winter:

A Winter Coat: You need that can handle the cold like this North Face parka.

Wool Baselayer: You’ll want an extra boost of warmth under your shirt as a wool baselayer.

Shoes: Upgrade your regular city boots to a waterproof version.

Socks: Upgrade your socks to thick, warm wool socks.

Gloves:  Upgrade to tech-friendly gloves like these so you can use your smartphone for pics and to help navigate.

Winter Scarf: You want a thick knit scarf that you can pull up and cover your face when necessary

Hat:fleece-lined knit cap will keep you warm, and you’ll fit right in with the locals.

These items won’t just be good for visiting the Statue of Liberty. They will come in handy during your entire trip. However, the Statue of Liberty is one of the coldest winter activities in NYC because it’s out on the water.

Plan for the Coldest Part to Be on the Ferry

United States New York State of Liberty Stephanie

If you’re outside, you’re positioned for the best selfies, especially when the Statue of Liberty is coming into frame. However, it’s also the coldest part of the day since you’ll be zooming over the harbor, wind going strong, and water bouncing up into your face. I get cold just thinking about it now.

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Layer up before you leave, and if you’re too cold outside you can make your way into the ferry. 

You Will Be Outside a Lot

United States New York State of Liberty -2

This is just not an activity you can do entirely inside. You will be outside a lot.

The line for security is outside, walking around the island is outside, and seeing the statue is outside. You will also be outside when you wait for your ferry to depart both islands (sometimes these waits can be very long).

If you just can’t stand the cold, then don’t skip on the layers and prepare to brace yourself!

You Can Escape the Cold a Bit on Liberty Island

United States New York State of Liberty in January

After you’ve seen everything you want to see on Liberty Island,  you can go into the cafe and souvenir shop to get out of the cold. 

If you purchased Pedestal or Crown tickets, you’ll also find some warmth during your time inside the statue.

If you want to pick up a Statue of Liberty souvenir, make sure to set aside time to visit the giftshop. 

Visiting Ellis Island in Winter is a Breeze since You’ll Mostly be Indoors

Ellis Island in Winter

While you will want to admire the beautiful architecture on the island, most of your time spent on Ellis Island will be indoors learning about Ellis Island’s history and operations. 

This means those layers will really come in handy since the complete bundled-up option you need for Liberty Island and the Ferry will be too much while you’re touring the museum.

All Statue of Liberty Tickets include admission to Ellis Island. Remember that you must make your reservations ahead of time.

You’ll Feel Warmer if You Fuel Up Right

United States New York State of Liberty Snack Stand

Don’t skip breakfast (or lunch) before your tour. You will be happier and warmer if your body has enough fuel to feed your internal furnace if you will.

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You can purchase (overpriced) snacks outside the boarding area if you must, but I’d personally get something a little tastier. 

If you show up hungry, there are snack stands on both islands. You can also bring your own food with you (but no coolers).

New York Winter Weather is Probably Colder than You Think

United States- New York - Skyline

New York winters are cold! Even though I lived in Philly, which is just a couple of hours south of NYC, I was always shocked how cold it was.

You can thank all of the wind coming in off the water for the extra chill in the air.

In December, the average temperatures are 32°F-43°F. This translates to 0°C to 6°C.

In January, the average temperatures are 27°F to 39°F, which is the equivalent of -3°C to 4°C. 

In February, the average temperatures are 28°F to 41°F, or -2°C to 5°C.

One word of caution though. The windchill factor often makes it seem much colder than what the thermometer says. You should also keep in mind the potential for snow.

You Can Visit the Statue of Liberty All Winter Long…Almost

United States - New York - Statue of Liberty in Snowglobe

You can visit the Statue of Liberty all winter long, except on Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November) and Christmas Day (December 25th). Yes, that means you can even visit on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day!

In winter, there are fewer ferries during the day, so make sure you plan accordingly.

Make Your Reservations Early

United States New York State of Liberty Boat

Even though there are fewer people and smaller crowds during the winter, you still need to book your reservations early. They will still likely sell out in advance.

During your visit, you need to arrive early to go through security.

It’s Just as Magical in Winter

The ferry was very, very windy

Yes, you’ll be a bit cold and there will be wind blowing through your hair. But the Statue of Liberty is an amazing place to visit year-round, and it’s no less special in winter. It might even be better since fewer crowds mean you’ll have more peace and quiet to think about these important places and their significance. 

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5 Things to Pack for Your Trip to New York

Canada - Toronto -Luggage

 

In addition to the warm clothes I recommended above, make sure you bring these items:

 

The Lonely Planet New York guidebook. It can be kind of a pain to find the major guidebooks once you land, or you’ll find them overpriced. I always like to pick mine up ahead of time.

 

An Unlocked Cell Phone so that you can use a local sim card while here to help navigate public transportation and when you’re on the road. (For people without American cell phone plans).

Backup Charging Bank for your cell phone since you’ll be using it as a camera, GPS system, and general travel genie.

A Camera since New York is super photogenic. I use a mix of my Nikon D810 and my  Samsung8 smartphone these days.

 

A Great Day Bag so you can carry what you need with you (like your camera, snacks, water, sunscreen, cash, etc). My current favorite is the Pacsafe Citysafe, which is especially great for New York because it has many anti-theft features designed to deter pickpockets. It also transitions to a night bag more easily and won’t embarrass you if you go to dinner directly after sightseeing all day. 

More New York Travel Resources

Post-show, post-makeup retouching selfie.

Headed to New York? Check out my guides to renting a car in NYCmy Hamilton-inspired list of things to do in New York, and how to visit the Statue of Liberty. And of course, if you want New York Instagram captions, check out my massive list of New York quotes and fun New York Puns.

 

Planning on doing a bit of shopping? Check out my New York souvenir and gift guide.

 

Spending some time in Brooklyn? Here are the best things to do in Park Slope.

 

I also have podcast episodes on the history of Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Penn Station for you to listen to before (or during) your trip!

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Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

Before you leave for New York make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’ll be hanging out in large cities where pickpockets can pray on tourists.

 

I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for three years, and I happily recommend them.  If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what’s stolen or broken.

Pin this Guide to Visiting the Statue of Liberty in Wintertime for Your Trip!

Visit the Statue of Liberty in Winter

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