Considered New York City’s best tourist bargain, the completely free Staten Island Ferry is a half-hour ride from Manhattan to Staten Island featuring incredible views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the city skyline.

Leaving every half hour from the southern tip of Manhattan near the Financial District, the Staten Island Ferry ride provides an outdoor, unobstructed view of Manhattan from the New York Harbor. The trip to and from Staten Island requires that you disembark, however the round trip only takes approximately 1.5 hours. You won’t want to miss the truly exquisite view of the Manhattan skyline which can be seen from the back of the boat as you leave Manhattan. Watching the city skyline slowing shrink away as the ferry moves further away is an incredible experience. Take note, the outdoor seats fill fast and you’ll want to be sure to board quickly in order to grab one.

If you are looking for a great sunset “cruise,” you can time your ferry trip as the sun sets. You’ll be amazed at the beauty of Manhattan’s twinkling nighttime lights on your return trip. Planned correctly, you can take in some shopping, or visit the 9-11 Memorial, Jewish Museum, or Native American Museum that are located in the area; before your ferry ride.

The Staten Island Ferry has been shuttling passengers on the 5.2-mile run between the St. George Terminal in Staten Island and the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan since 1905. The Ferry carries over 22 million passengers annually and is New York City’s most reliable form of mass transit, with an on-time performance of over 96 percent!

Each day, five boats make 109 trips, carrying approximately 70,000 passengers. The boats make over 35,000 trips annually, and ferry ensure that the ferries receive regular cleaning, fueling and maintenance, and keep on schedule. On weekends, three boats are used that make 77 trips on Saturday and 68 trips on Sunday.

The Whitehall and St. George Ferry Terminals have state-of-the-art heating and air conditioning systems, and feature waiting rooms that are over 19,000-square-feet each. Passengers can relax in the area greenspace, shop at the retail stores and snack shops, or use restroom areas at both locations.