More than three million people visit the Statue of Liberty in New York City each year. It is, undeniably, one of the iconic images not only of New York but of the entire United States. If you are headed to New York this season, it’s wise to learn as much as you can about “Lady Liberty” to help you get the most from your visit.
The Statue of Liberty, originally called “Liberty Enlightening the World,” was a joint effort of the French and American governments to commemorate the 100th birthday of the United States. The French would design the statue and the Americans would erect a star-shaped base/pedestal and supply the land on which it would stand.
The 305-foot-tall copper statue was designed and cast by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi with assistance from Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel. However, a lack of funds from both the French and the Americans delayed the project until 1886. The pedestal, designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, was completed in April of that year, and the statue was erected and dedicated in October.
An $87 million renovation was completed on the statue and pedestal between 1984 and 1986, and the statue was rededicated and re-opened to the public on July 5, 1986.
Practical information about visiting the Statue of Liberty
Liberty Island, the site of the Statue of Liberty, is accessible only via ferry from Battery Park in New York City or Liberty State Park in New Jersey. An audio, self-guided tour is included with the ferry ticket. Park rangers also offer free 45-minute guided tours of the island and the statue throughout the day. Please note that access to the statue’s crown and torch is limited.
- Separate (free) tickets are necessary to visit the pedestal and the Liberty Island Museum. These must be obtained before departing the ferry piers.
- Facilities at Liberty Island include a museum gift shop and the Statue of Liberty Crown Cafe.
- Liberty Island is open between 8:30 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. daily.