From the late 19th century until the 1950s, Ellis Island was the port of entry to the United States for tens of millions of passengers. In the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, it remains a powerful symbol of the nation's immigrant tradition. These days, it's a museum where you can see artifacts relating to immigrant history—including, in the new Peopling of America Center, the years before station’s opening and after its closure—and even search the records for your own relatives.
How do I get there? Statue Cruises runs the official ferry from the Battery to Ellis Island (and Liberty Island, home of the Statue of Liberty, as well). The ferry is the only way to reach the island.
How do I make a day of it? Included in your ticket price is a trip to the nearby Statue of Liberty, where you’ll disembark first. Seeing the two sights is a big day in itself, but there’s also plenty to explore in Lower Manhattan—the neighborhood from which your ferry departs, and where it returns when you're done.
Is a tour included? Yes. The basic self-guided audio tour is 45 minutes and is designed to simulate what it was like for new arrivals at Ellis Island.
How do I look up my family’s immigration records? The archives at the museum’s American Family Immigration History Center, which include records from 1892 to 1957, are searchable in person or online.