Almost half of Americans are descended from the 12 million migrants that passed through first Federal immigration assessment station on Ellis Island hoping to achieve the "American Dream". To preserve this fundamental piece of shared history, Ellis Island was gazetted as part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965.
After undergoing a major restoration, the processing halls where immigrants underwent legal and medical examinations were transformed into the Ellis Island Immigration Museum by the National Park Service to educate visitors about this national gateway.
Ellis Island is situated in New York Harbour and is only accessible by ferry, departing from Battery Park. Arrive early to avoid the lines; waiting times can exceed an hour during peak periods. Concessions are available on the island, but a more cost effective and appetizing option is to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the ample green space on Ellis Island. It is possible to book a ferry tour that visits both Liberty Island and Ellis Island in one day, but it is an ambitious undertaking.
The museum offers a variety of ranger guided tours, interactive performances, self-guided audio tours and a short film, which all give a good introduction to the immigrant experience on Ellis Island. Shutterbugs will enjoy the "Silent Voices" photographic exhibition chronicling the years Ellis Island was abandoned in the mid 20th century. The Ellis Island Junior Ranger program distributes a free children's activity booklet available from the information booth.
From March to October, free monthly genealogy workshops are offered on Ellis Island. Archives are housed in the American Family Immigration Center and you can research your ancestry on their website or in the center's research room. Genealogy enthusiasts will want to pack a pencil and paper to take rubbings of their family names listed on the Wall of Honor.
Facts For Your VisitFee: Yes
Address: Ellis Island, United StatesMap of nearby accommodations:
|Subway Line||Nearest Station||Walking Time|
|1||South Ferry||4 minutes|
|N or R||Whitehall Street||5 minutes|
|4 or 5||Bowling Green||5 minutes|
How to get to Ellis Island and the Immigration Museum by Subway
Take the 1 train to South Ferry, turn left into Battery Park or take the N or R train to Whitehall Street, head north toward Pearl Street, turn left on Bridge Street, follow path into park or take the 4 or 5 train to Bowling Green, head south on Broadway, turn right on Battery Place, turn left on Greenwich Street and continue into park.
Look for the Statue Cruise Ticket Office which is located inside the Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park.
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Ratedout of 5
A must see experience even if you don’t have relatives who migrated to the US. Bare in mind that this country was practically built by migrants and this is one of the most important milestones of its history. The museum is so original that is makes you feel like you were there when it was all happening.
Timos Charlaftis - 1 month ago
Really enjoyed our visit to the island. Hard to imagine the true meaning of an early immigrant’s journey until you watch the short movie in the theater onsite. Not a place for small children, they will be bored quickly.
Andrew Grove - 1 month ago
What a fascinating place, steeped in history & quite tear-jerking at times. Beautiful island, intriguing architecture & a place I’m eager to take my husband to visit.
Willow Lennard - 2 months ago
It was emotional experience! But we really enjoyed it. It was easy to go around the rooms and listen to the information throughout a device in many languages 👍
Awatif Alshammary - 3 months ago
The island is beautiful. It gives a nice view of the Manhattan skyline. You can also see the back side of the statue of liberty. There is a good museum and a cafe. The outside eating area is breezy and surrounded by green trees. You will see many birds around.
Nafisa Noor - 4 months ago