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

Ellis Island and the Immigration Museum Reviews

Rated 4.6 out of 5 Star Rating

4 Star Rating This island is a stone throw away from Liberty Island. Actually we get there from Liberty, on the same ticket from CityExperiences. The Island is pleasant to walk around, a cafe to take a break and a museum and library to visit. This other post, also under 'Ellis Island', is more on the museum: https://maps.app.goo.gl/A6Nfv2KHpyijFukp6
Irene Eng - a month ago

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4 Star Rating This was cool to see, but it’s definitely a “one and done” for me. A lot of interesting info inside the museum with some great photography. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t take the time to re-visit.
Kate Warren - a month ago

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5 Star Rating Beautiful island, rich of immigrants history. The museum is free and there’s a fantastic view of Manhattan and the statue of liberty!
Andrea Ronchetti - 2 months ago

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5 Star Rating Well worth the trip. There are audio tours included with your ticket. We only did the first one about early immigrants landing at Ellis island. Junior ranger program for kids. Boats were very busy... Recommend going early in the morning.
Jennifer MacLachlan - 2 weeks ago

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4 Star Rating Fascinating museum. It is very cool to see what immigrants back in the day had to go through. Throughly recommend.
Adrie Quinn - 2 months ago

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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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