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Ellis Island

The Statue of Liberty gets all the attention, but don’t forget to hop off the ferry at Ellis Island. Active as the country’s primary immigration center from 1892 to 1954, millions of newly arrived peoples from across the globe passed through its doors.

The museum offers a fascinating look at the people who created the melting pot that America is today. Exhibits feature collections of the belongings immigrants brought from their homelands, as well as photographs, interactive displays and oral histories.You can walk through the hallways and imagine how newcomers waited in tiny rooms while under quarantine.

The Peopling of America Center is a series of galleries illustrating the global nature of immigration and historical highlights, starting in the 1550s.After a thorough investigation of the museum offerings, grab a bite of appropriately unhealthy food and enjoy the grounds of the island with views of lower Manhattan.The ferry will transport you back to the present with an improved appreciation for the struggles and triumphs of the American immigrant. You might even find an ancestor or two in the process.

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