The Staten Island ferry is a free commuter ferry that connects Manhattan and Staten Island. This ferry service carries 60,000 passengers a day, 24/7, 365 days a year, between Staten Island and lower Manhattan and it’s one of the best free things to do in New York City. If you are lucky enough to find a place along the outside rail, you’ll see the Statue of Liberty the way millions of immigrants did when their ships sailed into New York Harbor en route to Ellis Island. You’ll also have a terrific panorama of the NYC skyline.
The Staten Island Ferry offers views of some of the New York’s most famous sights, including Ellis Island, the Lower Manhattan skyline, Verrazano Narrows Bridge, Elizabeth Seaport, and the Statue of Liberty. Other attractions visible from the ferry are the World Financial Center, 40 Wall Street, tugboats and large cargo ships, the forested residential areas on Staten Island, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, and Governor’s Island.
The Staten Island ferry runs 24/7. The ride takes about 25 minutes with departure times every 15-20 minutes during rush hour. All ferries are equipped with restrooms and concession stands that sell sandwiches, snacks and drinks. Ferries leave every 15-20 minutes or so and the trip from Whitehall Terminal in Manhattan to the St. George Terminal on Staten Island takes about 25 minutes each way. The pier is in lower Manhattan in Battery Park. For security reasons, all passengers must get off the boat even if they want to go back to Manhattan right away.
The Staten Island Ferry, like the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, is one of New York’s must-do free activities. The Staten Island ferry is free and gives you fantastic views of Lower Manhattan as you leave, and of course the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. If you want to see the Statue of Liberty for free, then ride the Staten Island ferry. To see Lady Liberty, you’ll want to be on the right side of the ferry as it leaves Manhattan and on the opposite side when it leaves Staten Island. The Statue of Liberty will still be some distance away so you’ll need a camera with a really good zoom function to get really good shots.
Carrying over 1.5 million tourists annualy, the Staten Island Ferry is the third most visisted attraction in New York City, following the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. The Ferry is FREE and runs all day, seven days a week. A fleet of 8 boats make the rounds every day, rain or shine.