Ellis Island and the Immigration Museum

Ellis Island and the Immigration Museum offers great views and green space along with a look back into the experiences of early immigrants

View of Ellis Island Immigration Museum from Ferry
View of Ellis Island Immigration Museum from Ferry cc licensed photo by buggolo

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 Visit

Fee: Yes

Address: Ellis Island, United States

Reviews

Rated 4.6 out of 5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating It’s the first stop for ferry to Statue of Liberty from New York or New Jersey. If you have time then don’t skip the place. You can check the next ferry time for Statue of Liberty so that you can time your visit in accordance. It has whole history of US immigration process and how it used to work. The museum relishes all the history and gives wonderful experience. Don’t forget to go behind in the park and take clicks with New York skyline in the background. Overall a nice experience.
nilesh palkari - 2 months ago

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5 Star Rating What a wonderful place to learn about your family's history, and see the statue of liberty up close. I found some names on the wall on Ellis Island that I'm going to explore. Very reasonably priced also.
Tammy Spearman - 3 months ago

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5 Star Rating Plenty to see, do, and read. Allocate at least an hour to explore the first floor, and there are three floors of information. They have a gift shop full of souvenirs and a cafe. Do the audio tour for more indepth tour.
Town Traveller - 2 months ago

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5 Star Rating Ellis Island is a historical treasure that transcends the boundaries of one's knowledge or expertise in history. As someone who might be considered a "history noob," I was absolutely captivated by the depth and significance of this iconic destination. Stepping onto Ellis Island felt like stepping back in time. The sheer magnitude of the immigration process that took place here is awe-inspiring. The exhibits and artifacts on display paint a vivid picture of the immigrant experience, from the trials they faced to the hopes that drew them to the shores of America. Even for someone like me, whose knowledge of history might be limited, the storytelling within these walls is both accessible and emotionally resonant. Beyond its historical significance, Ellis Island offers breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. The combination of this stunning backdrop with the profound history it holds makes it a must-visit destination for anyone, regardless of their familiarity with history. Ellis Island is a testament to the resilience and dreams of countless individuals who sought a new life in America, and it's an experience that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the tapestry of stories that make up this nation's history.
Jiak Papa - 5 months ago

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Directions

Subway Line Nearest Station Walking Time
1South Ferry4 minutes
N or RWhitehall Street5 minutes
4 or 5Bowling Green5 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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