The abandoned hospital complex at Ellis Island, which is spread across 29-buildings on the south side, has been closed for over sixty years, but you can explore the off-limits compound on a behind-the-scenes hard hat tour this weekend. Guests are invited to go inside and explore special access areas of the site such as the contagious disease wards, morgue, and laundry facilities while learning about the history of the site, which served as an FBI field office and Coast Guard training facility in addition to an immigration hospital. 

Led by a docent of Save Ellis Island, the non-profit responsible for the preservation and rehabilitation of the site, guests will venture through areas of the hospital which are not accessible any other way. Throughout the tour guests will also see pieces of the haunting site specific art installation Unframed. Unframed is comprised of a series of life sized historical images from Ellis Island’s archives that were pasted on walls, doors, windows, floors and furniture throughout the complex by world renowned artist JR. Join us this Saturday to experience this unique adventure!

Behind-the-Scenes Hard Hat Tour of the Abandoned Ellis Island Hospital


  • Explore the over 100-year-old contagious disease hospital, which has been abandoned since 1954
  • See an exhibition by the world-renowned artist JR, who has placed life-sized historic photographs of Ellis Island immigrants on interior walls of the hospital buildings
  • Visit the Laundry Building, where 3000+ pieces of laundry were washed and sanitized daily
  • Discover the kitchen, autopsy room and other usually off-limits places
  • Get special access inside the original morgue and long abandoned FBI offices


“Wow… just wow… this is one one of my top ten tours ever…” — Thom H, Trip Advisor

“Fantastic tour – Our guide Barbara was really passionate and really good at sharing her knowledge – So amazing to discover all the JR art pieces along the visit as well – Thanks Untapped Cities for this great experience!” — JDumas2017, Trip Advisor

“Great experience all around. First, the folks at Untapped did a great job communicating everything you need to know, providing great information and the ferry tickets via email. Also, sent a text message the day of the tour. Barbara, our tour guide was fantastic. Very knowledgeable and passionate about Ellis Island. She welcomed questions throughout the tour. Being a part of the Untapped Cities tour provided even further access to some of the off limit areas. Tons of great photo ops. My girlfriend and I had a fantastic time. I highly recommend this tour.” — Szmakman, Trip Advisor

Behind-the-Scenes Hard Hat Tour of the Abandoned Ellis Island Hospital


Behind-the-Scenes Hard Hat Tour of the Abandoned Ellis Island Hospital

See our full lists of upcoming public tours and Insider events!