Ellis Island
Ellis Island
4.5
Historic SitesPoints of Interest & LandmarksHistory Museums
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Visitors can retrace the steps of their ancestors at this famous landing point that welcomed millions of immigrants to the United States.
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Neighbourhood: Ellis Island
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  • Lonnie G
    44 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth the stop!
    Nice place to visit and hang out. Spent time int he facility and exhibits but also enjoyed having a bite to eat and resting in the park like setting. Facility should get 5 stars. Excellent. Prepare to spend alot of time waiting on the ferries. Not enough running and you will spend much of your day in line. Ferries get 1 star.
    Visited June 2023
    Written 23 July 2023
  • Siena
    44 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Our history and today’s issue
    Great experience, very educational. 2 hours just fly by. So much to observe. As We are facing immigration issues today, we can all revisit here Ellis island to see how our country was formed and know what your great grand parents experienced. Be educated, be smart and compassionate. My 18 years old daughter spend much time just learning how USA formed by immigrants from all over the world. She says what she learned in school finally connected, and able to deepen her understanding of this country. After visit here, you can go back to Manhattan with fresh pair of eyes to see everyone’s life and being. Wished cafeteria offers different types of food, commemorate different ethnic foods.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 30 August 2023
  • A Midlife Adventure
    Dursley, United Kingdom2,768 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are a must do experience but allow the best part of 4-6 hrs to do it justice
    We caught the ferry across from The Statue of Liberty at about 11 am. It wasn’t too crowded and you basically off load straight into the museum We picked up an audio guide to ensure we learnt everything we could and didn’t miss anything. For us this was the end of a longer journey having visited the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp where a lot of the European immigrants bought passage to the New World. We didn’t really learn anything new and to be honest found the museum in Antwerp far more informative. Every American should visit to understand that the Native Americans are the only true real Americans. Everyone else is descended from an immigrant and as such should perhaps have more compassion for those seeking a better life in the current age. We were there for several hours and finished our day by taking the ferry back to Battery Park.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 13 October 2023
  • SylviaTourstein
    1,316 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    NPS - Ellis Island Museum ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sylvia 4-star = amazing
    Stepping into the Ellis Island Museum is a step into history. This is a very emotionally engaging place to visit. The pictures are not always joyous and neither are the tales. Be prepared with an open mind and open heart. Kids also may get bored of all the walking as there are lots of words and explanations. There are some interactive places where kids can pull back windows to learn facts. Our favorite was the music wall and to see how much American music has been influenced by the songs and instruments of other countries. Look out the windows. The museum provides curious views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. Take a moment to enjoy the scenery and reflect on the historical significance of the place. Take your time. There is a lot of historical information.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 1 November 2023
  • Kdawg282
    Doylestown, Pennsylvania1,589 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Stop by once!
    Stop by a see it once after visiting the Statue of Liberty. A quick visit to scroll through some of the grounds and info is all you need unless you have history here from your family that you want to look into yourself. I enjoyed the visit but most of my family came other means, no need to spend a ton of time here.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 3 November 2023
  • Megan
    New Zealand15 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Hard hat tour - totally worth it!
    Would highly recommend the hard hat tour! We got to see the hospital where people were cared for on the island. Irwin was our guide and he was really great. Had so much passion and a personal connection to the island. His knowledge was awesome, he gave us a great overall rundown of the island and afterwards we did a tour of the museum but Irwin had covered most of it in the tour!
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 4 November 2023
  • joseph w
    Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom107 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must visit.
    Regular ferry service with snack bar on boat. Great way to see New York City skyline. Staff were very nice . The museum well laid out and informative. Nice Cafe on site. Very Interesting place well done.
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 14 December 2023
  • Kevin B
    Mount Juliet, Tennessee3,621 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    What a great experience
    Visiting here was an amazing and humbling experience. As a descendent of immigrants (some of who came through here), my wife and I loved touring every aspect of Ellis Island, from seeing just how the evaluation process occurred once they got here to learning more about the people who risked everything on the American Dream. The facility is quite large and it has numerous exhibits to view. We came here after touring The Statue of Liberty and it was an amazing day filled with American History. It takes more guts than you can ever imagine to leave everything you know and hope things will work out in a distance and unfamiliar land. We are both so grateful to our ancestors and this place for helping them accomplish that dream.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 26 January 2024
  • F G
    8 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Absolutely AMAZING
    I’ve always wanted to visit Ellis Island and walk the floors my grandfather walked when he came to the US from Poland. This was very heartwarming and very meaningful and memorable. This museum is extremely immaculate, and so much to see and learn. I could’ve spent hours and hours here. The self guided audio tour was amazing and very informative. I hope someday I can go back again. I highly recommend Ellis Island, especially if you have a family history there.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 8 February 2024
  • Irene Eng
    2,365 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    a good research place
    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.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 25 April 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles7,334 reviews
Excellent
4,290
Very good
2,097
Average
709
Poor
180
Terrible
61

ems_jls
Marlboro, NJ127 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Family
The Hard Hat Tour is on the expensive side but worth it. It takes you away from Island 1, where the main buildings are, to Island 2 and Island 3, where the hospital and laundry and a few other buildings once were and which you cannot get to otherwise. They have been preserved in a state of "arrested decay" which is quite photogenic in its own way. And yes, you do have to wear a hard hat for most of it, in case some of the decay unarrests itself.

Our tour guide, Melissa, brought a great combination of knowledge and passion to her commentary without overdoing it. She capably answered many questions about Ellis Island in general, not just the hospital aspect.

Also a must if you are a "Godfather Part II" obsessive as one in our group was.

The tour is 90 minutes and take care of food and bathrooms before you start.
Written 15 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

drwatson32
Shawnee, OK1,499 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Family
We enjoyed this stop on our ferry ride. The ranger talk was very informative and covered areas of three floors. Buy tickets for the ferry ride at Castle Clinton. This ferry will take you to the Statue of Liberty. Spend some time there and then board the next ferry to Ellis Island at your leisure.
Written 6 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

christina t
5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Family
This is truly an emotionally engaging place - one can imagine the lives of the people who passed through its doors. Beautifully presented, thoughful and well preserved. Stories that are well over 100 years old and yet still so actual since many people around the world today find themselves in the same situation as all those families many years ago.
Written 20 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cantw82go2
Walkerton, Canada36 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Friends
Good to see once but found it underwhelming. If on a tighter schedule I wouldn’t recommend unless a specific interest or connection
Written 18 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brian B
Arlon, Belgium156 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Business
Fabulous window into the migrant past of the US. Individual stories, photos and items bring personal journeys / persons to life. Crazy to see the anti-migrant rhetoric almost exactly the same as it is today in the US.
Written 12 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

soinic
Lux.2,534 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
So much to visit on Ellis island: the National Museum of Immigration has exhibits, theaters, café ....

The museum's three floors exhibitions explain the immigrants' experiences upon arrival.

You can look up ancestors in the American Family Immigration History Center.

Interesting and it also affects you very much.
Written 11 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kyle C
Prince George, Canada14 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Solo
Excellent museum with a lot of history and great exhibits. Main hurdle is that this is connected to Liberty Island ferries (either New York/Battery Park or New Jersey) so crowds and wait times can be quite high due to limited capacity and need to take ferry. Otherwise an excellent place to visit if you are a fan of museums and local history.
Written 5 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Irene Eng
New York City, New York2,365 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Friends
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.
Written 25 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

marianne08rey
Puerto Galera, Philippines198 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Friends
Ellis Island, located in New York Harbor near the Statue of Liberty, served as the United States' largest immigration station from 1892 to 1954. Named after its 18th-century owner, Samuel Ellis, the island was expanded over time by landfills.

Before it became an immigration station, Ellis Island was used for various purposes by the U.S. government, such as serving as a munitions arsenal during the War of 1812. The federal government bought the island in 1808 and it was used as a fort during the Civil War.

On January 1, 1892, Ellis Island replaced Castle Garden (located in Battery Park, Manhattan) as the main immigration center for the United States. The first immigrant to pass through Ellis Island was Annie Moore, a 15-year-old girl from Ireland who arrived with her two younger brothers to join their parents in New York City.

From 1892 to 1924, more than 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island in search of a better life in America. Most of these immigrants were from Europe, escaping poverty, religious persecution, and political unrest.

The processing of immigrants at Ellis Island involved a series of medical and legal inspections to determine if they were fit for entry into the United States. Those who failed these inspections could be sent back to their home countries.

In 1924, the Immigration Act was passed, which greatly reduced the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States and effectively ended mass immigration to America. After this, Ellis Island was mainly used as a detention and deportation center for immigrants.

The island was closed as an immigration center in 1954 and declared surplus federal property. It was neglected for many years until it was restored and turned into a museum and national monument. The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration opened in 1990 and today, it attracts millions of visitors each year who come to explore the history of American immigration.
Written 27 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Farwriter
London, UK134 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Solo
For me, Ellis Island is a must-see for anyone interested in social history. I just really wish there was another way to get there which wasn't via the awful Statue Cruises experience and wasn't lumped in with a visit to Liberty Island. However, it is worth enduring the lengthy queues and aggressive security to see the place where so many thousands of people first entered New York between the 1880s and 1920s. There are actually lots of buildings on the island although only the main building is open to visitors. I spent over five hours here and could easily have spent longer. I was one of the first people into the building in the morning so managed to see the beautiful registry hall completely empty. The displays explaining the process of medical and legal checks the immigrants would have endured were so interesting and moving. Other displays look at the countries where immigrants came from and their reasons for leaving, and attitudes to immigration over the years. Some very interesting anti-immigration cartoons from various points throughout history. On the top floor there is a display about the history of Ellis Island itself, showing the growth of the island and its various uses and when all the buildings were added, and another exhibition shows artefacts from some specific families who entered through Ellis Island. I also really enjoyed seeing some photographs taken of Ellis Island when it was derelict in the 1980s - I wished there were more of those. So eerie and atmospheric. There are also some exhibitions about pre-Ellis Island immigration and about immigration up to the present day. I had to skip these because my brain was full but they looked interesting!
Written 21 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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ELLIS ISLAND: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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