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Visiting the One World Trade Center is a very special experience, not only does the Memorial outside serve as a humbling reminder of the origins of the buildings, the observation platform named the One World Observatory arguably provides the best views over the city. On our many visits here we have never been disappointed and can truly say that this observation deck has earned its spot as one of the most special places in the city.
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One World Observatory: the tallest building in the world?
With a height of 1,776 feet (1776 was the year of the declaration of independence), the One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the Western hemisphere. There are only a few structures that are taller, such as the Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates. Standing 2719,82 feet tall, it leads the list of tallest buildings in the world.
One World Trade Center’s 104 floors include over 853,000 square feet of office space, 3 observation platforms located on the 100 to 102nd floors, a lobby that is open to the public, and a variety of restaurants. Up till 2009, the new World Trade Center was to be called Freedom Tower but the name was changed to One World Trade Center before its opening. The Port Authority considered the name Freedom Tower to be too emotionally charged.
The One World Observatory opened on May 29, 2015, and gives its visitors incredible views of the city. The One World Observatory offers much more than just fantastic 360-degree views. The platform also serves as a venue for events, offers snack options, and installations that explain the history of the building. Five high-tech elevators will take visitors from the lobby to the platforms in an impressively short time of 60 seconds. The elevator takes you through 500 years of Manhattan’s history, with only a brief appearance of the One World Trade Center towards the end. This animation is a great touch and gives you a sense of scale as you are shooting up towards the 102nd floor in the elevator. Check out the video below!
Tickets for the One World Observatory
You have different ticket options for the observation platform One World Observatory. What is really useful is that the One World Observatory also sells flex tickets meaning that you can fit it into your sightseeing schedule more freely and also according to the weather. It is also possible to print your tickets at home, meaning that buying tickets online is a whole lot more convenient!
How much do the tickets cost?
Tickets for the observation platform cost $38 for adults; $31 for children ages 6 – 13; $35 for seniors (age 65+). There is no admission charged for children age 5 or under. This means prices are very similar to those of the Empire State Building.
We recommend tickets with priority admission as fast track entry will save you a lot of time queueing.
Due to its popularity, the building is usually very crowded meaning that you can often get caught in a long queue outside. With a priority ticket, you will get to the observation platform faster for just $22 more.
Are the tickets to One World Observatory included in the New York passes?
Yes! One World Observatory is included in the Sightseeing Day Pass, Sightseeing Flex Pass, New York Pass and New York Explorer Pass. For an overview, take a look at our complete guide to attraction passes in NYC!
What is the best time to visit One World Observatory?
The tickets for the observation platform of One World Trade Center are expensive, meaning that it’s a good idea to make the most of your visit. Our recommendation is to try and get there 1 to 1.5 hours before sunset and so that you have a full two hours on the observation deck to watch the sunset. Time will pass quickly and if you time it this way you will be lucky enough to look out over New York City as day changes tonight and all the skyscrapers start to twinkle as they turn their lights on.
Remember to get there slightly beforehand as you need to factor in the time it takes you to get to the top. With tickets that have a fixed timeframe for your visit (for example: “Tuesday, August 28, 2015 – 6:00 p.m.”) you should arrive approx. 45 minutes to an hour earlier. With a priority ticket, getting there 30 minutes early should be enough.
How to get to the World Trade Center
Oculus transportation hub offers a variety of possibilities to arrive and depart from the One World Trade Center. You will also find the One World Trade Center Lounge and shopping opportunities in the futuristic-looking building next to the OWTC. The exact address is 285 Fulton Street. From the transportation hub, you can take the PATH trains, ferries, and subway lines A C E R J Z and 1 2 3 4 5
Is there a military discount for the One World Observatory?
Yes! There is a reduced ticket price of $20 + tax for up to 5 guests for the One World Observatory.
Recommended: read my complete and up-to-date guide to military discounts NYC
What else is nearby?
Also, be sure to check out the 9/11 Memorial and 9/11 Memorial Museum. They are places of remembrance and of reflection and give you the opportunity to do so in peace and quiet. The Memorial and the Museum, in combination with the viewing platform or separately, are a must.
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I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On this blog, I want to share everything I have learned and discovered, so you can have the best time in the greatest city in the world.