The Staten Island Ferry is an iconic symbol of New York City’s smallest borough. The stout orange ferryboat carries commuters between Staten Island’s St George Ferry Terminal and Manhattan’s Whitehall Terminal about 100 times per day. The ride takes 30 minutes, runs every half hour, and it is free! I recommend hopping on the ferry for spectacular views of lower Manhattan, and a glimpse into Staten Island life.
As you ride towards Staten Island, you can see landmark sights like Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty to your right. On the left side of the boat, you’ll get views of Governor’s Island and Brooklyn. Ride at the front of the boat for the best views and the easiest disembarking. There is a concession stand on board, selling the usual snacks, but they are famous for their cheap “ferry beers.” A ferry beer ranges from $3-$4, probably the cheapest you’ll find in NYC, and there’s nothing quite as relaxing as sipping your beer while enjoying the breeze on the outer deck. I like to time my ferry ride around sunset, when the buildings of Manhattan’s financial district reflect the orange sky, and the copper-green Statue of Liberty is cast in a flame-red silhouette.
If you want to take a round-trip, you do need to disembark the ferry and re-board through the waiting room. If you want to explore Staten Island’s north shore, the St George Theater, Staten Island Museum, and SI Yankee Stadium are all within walking distance from the ferry terminal.