The One World Trade Centre Observatory opened on May 29, 2015 almost 15 years after the tragic attack on the previous World Trade Centre. It was built to be the tallest structure in the USA and its architectural height (1776m) is a deliberate reference to the year that the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. The Tower has since become a iconic part of New York city representing both, the city’s recovery after the 9/11 tragedy as well as its beauty skyline. The One World Trade Center Observatory offers the best views of the city along with several installations that highlight the city as well as its recovery from disaster. The Tower itself is a must-see tourist destination that offers guests a unique and breathtaking perspective on the city of New York.
Quick Jumplinks to Navigate the Guide
- One World Trade Centre Construction & History
- One World Observatory Tickets
- The One World Observatory Experience & View
- Inside One World Trade Center NYC
- Comparing One World Observatory, Empire State Building & Top of the Rock
- One World Observatory - All You Need To Know
- One World Observatory Reviews
- Insider Tips
One World Trade Centre Construction & History
Almost immediately after the twin towers fell in the 9/11 attacks, plans were under motion to construct a new tower that would replace the felled towers. In December 2002, designs by Daniel Libeskind (designer of the Burj Khalifa) were selected as the winning entries of a competition run by the lower Manhattan Development Corporation.
After the winning designs underwent several changes because of disagreements with Larry Silverstein, the leaseholder of the site, the final blueprints were formally unveiled on June 28, 2005. The January 2008, cranes were moved to the site and construction of the foundation began; however construction of the foundation would not be completed until two years later. The construction of the final spire was completed on May 10, 2013 and after 8 years of construction,the One World Trade Center was inaugrated on 3 November, 2014. A year and 6 months later on May 29, 2015 , the One World Observatory was opened to the public.
One World Observatory Tickets
The One World Observatory Experience & View
The views from the One World Observatory are the best panoramic skyline views you can find of New York City. The One World Observatory experience begins at the underground level of the tower where you will be guided to the SkyPods. On the way, you will pass through the Foundations and Voices installations that offer unique perspectives into the building itself. Once on the SkyPods, you will be treated to a video of New York’s changing cityscapes right from the 1500s to present day. When the elevators open to the 102nd floor, you will be shown a video called the “See Forever Theatre” which opens out to the first views of the city. You will then proceed to the 100th floor observatory where you will get some brilliant views of the city below! To the North, you have views of the Hudson River, Downtown Manhattan, the Empire State Building and more. To the South, you'll see Battery Park, Brooklyn, southern tip of the Financial District, Governors Island, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor, Staten Island, all the way upto New Jersey.
Inside One World Trade Center NYC
Voices is a 14-minute video installation just after the Welcome centre. The video features interviews with the people who were involved in the construction of the One World Trade Centre. These clips include interviews with works who had to be hoisted up 1000ft during the construction of the tower! If you’ve ever wondered about the people responsible for building the colossal buildings around New York, this video gets you a few minutes with some of them.
Once you enter the One WTC, you will pass through the Foundations room. This room is designed to resemble a cave and highlights the bedrock on top of which the One World Trade Centre has been built. While it may seem strange to abruptly pass through a cave-like installation, the room has been created to stress the stability and strength of the construction of the One World Trade Center.
The SkyPod Elevator is one of the fastest elevators in the world and takes you up to the 102nd floor of the One World Trade Centre in less than a minute. The most interesting part of this experience is the video that plays during the ride – it shows you the changing cityscape of New York right from the 1500s to the present. If you look carefully, you’ll even catch a glimpse of the old Twin Towers.
The City Pulse is an interactive installation on the 100th floor of the One World Trade Centre, in the main area of the observatory. It allows hosts and presenters to present guests with information on a wide range of topics. You’ll find two City Pulse stations on the Observatory floor that the presenters can interact with on the fly, depending on the interests of the guests.
See Forever Theater
On the 102nd floor of the One World Trade Centre, you’ll see a big screen switch on as soon as you leave the elevator. On the screen, you’re treated to a video of NYC’s most iconic destinations and sights. Right after the video ends, you are given your first view of the outside skyline. Many guests find this reveal to be the top highlight of their experience at the One World Trade Center Observatory.
There is a lot to do on the 100th floor One World Trade Center Observatory, but the highlight is mostly definitely the 360-degree panoramic views you get of New York City’s skyline. The Main Observatory area is your opportunity to gaze at and take photos of the views that include the Harbour and Manhattan. Keep your camera's handy at this point.
Observatory: Sky Portal
In the main observatory of the One World Trade Centre, you will find the Sky Portal. It is a stretch of glass display floor tiles that stream live footage of the city right below you. This gives the guests a slightly nauseating experience where they will feel like the only thing between them and the ground (over a 1000ft below) are some glass panels and steel beams.
Dining at the One World Trade Centre Observatory comes with a couple of options. Located on the 101st floor of the tower are three dining options: the One Café, the One Mix bar, and the One Dine restaurant. Each of them offers guests a different take on classical New York staples and mostly importantly, they all offer spectacular views of the city below.
Comparing One World Observatory, Empire State Building & Top of the Rock
One World Observatory
Empire State Building
Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center)
|Standard Ticket Inclusions||
Access to all installations in tower and the observation deck
Access to ESB 86th Floor Observatory + Skip-the-line; Flexible tickets (valid for 1 year)
Access to the observation decks on floors 67, 69 and 70 + Flexible tickets (valid for 6 months)
Views of the entire NYC area including the most famous landmarks
Views of NYC including the statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge
Stunning views of Manhattan and major landmarks of New York City
285 Fulton Street
350 5th Ave
Tallest open-air observatory
Has both, open and enclosed areas in the observatory; 3 observation decks (floors 67, 69, and 70)
No open-air areas
Visits may be affected by bad weather
Viewing Deck is not as high up as the other two
One World Observatory - All You Need To Know
One World Observatory Hours
The One World Observatory is open 7 days a week.May 1 – September 4
- 8:00 AM until 9:00 PM.
- Last ticket is sold at 8:45 PM
- 9:00 AM until 9:00 PM.
- Last ticket is sold at 8:15 PM
- 9:00 AM until 9:00 PM.
- Last ticket is sold at 8:15 PM
Check daily hours here before booking your tickets
Getting to the One World ObservatorySubway
- The closest stop to the One World Trade Center is the World Trade Center station on Line E. You can also reach the One World Trade Center from the Rector Street Station on Line 1, the Park Place station on Lines 2 and 3, or the Cortland Street Station on Line R.
- You can take a direct PATH train from Hoboken or Newark to World Trade Center
- If you're coming by taxi, get off at the intersection of Vesey Street and West End.
- DSLR cameras and flash pieces are permitted inside the One World Observatory. However, video cameras, recording devices, tripods, lights, and other such equipment are not permitted
- You will not be permitted to carry outside food or beverages inside One World Observatory
- All forms of payment are accepted at One World Observatory - Cash, Credit Card (AMEX, Visa, Master Card, Discover), and Travelers Checks.
- Strollers are permitted into One World Observatory, however you will have to fold the stroller while traversing the elevators and escalators.
- One World Observatory tickets are strictly non-refundable bases. On occasions of rare visibility, a voucher maybe issued for un-used ticket holders to re-enter on another date and time within 14 consecutive days. This is subject to availability and at the discretion of the Observatory
- For a sedate experience, you should allow 45 minutes to 1 hour for your One World Observatory Tour.
- Since the dining options are located on the 101st floor only those with tickets to the Observatory can access the restaurants.
One World Observatory Reviews
Just visited One world observatory today and was totally blown away from the view. On a clear day, you can see Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Governor's Island, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn/Manhattan Bridges. If you hate waiting on line for tickets, just go online and buy the Priority Anytime tickets which are good for 6 months from your purchase date. You will be introduced to a show going up and coming down in the elevator. Going up- a history of Manhattan from the 1500s to present day. Coming down- an outside view of NYC from the building.
If you see only thing in NYC, this would be it! Amazing architecturally, tecnologically and emotionally, you can't beat it!! I would highly recommend the sightseeingpass as it allows you to not wait in line as long!
Read what others have to say about One World Observatory on TripAdvisor.
- Check the weather reports before booking your One World Trade Center Observatory tickets. This will minimise the chance that you will be stuck with cloudy weather and a hazy view of the city during your visit.
- The best time to visit the One World Observatory is around sunset. Watching the Manhattan skyline glisten under the warm orange hues of the sun is simply delightful.Do keep in mind that these hours also happens to be the most crowded hours.
- If you're not fond of crowds, try visiting One World Observatory first thing is the morning, around 9 AM.
- You can book your tickets online to avoid the crowded lines. During peak season, lines outside One World Trade Center queue upto 1 hour, so skip the hassle and buy your tickets online.
- Make sure you charge your smartphones and cameras! You don’t want to have your battery die on you while you try to take photographs of those beautiful views.
- Also, make sure you wear dark coloured clothing for photos. We recommend this because the glass is quite reflective and can make light coloured clothing appear very bright on photos.
- Make sure to download the One World Explorer, an enhanced AV experience iPad application in place of a traditional audio tour. It will make your experience more immersive and enjoyable.
- Make sure you visit the 9/11 memorial fountains on your way out.
Ready to head to the One World Observatory?
FAQs: The One World Observatory
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people visit the One World Observatory for that once-in-a-lifetime view of New York City. From the top of the One World Trade Center, guests can marvel at 360-degree views of Manhattan, the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge and New York Harbor, all while staying indoors.
Top of the Rock is an observatory on top of Rockefeller Center, while One World is an observatory on One World Trade Center. Both buildings are in Manhattan, and One World Trade Center is approximately 8 kms (5 miles) from Rockefeller Center. Top of the Rock is further north than the One World Observatory.
How much time do I need to visit the Observatory? You should allow approximately 45 minutes to 1-hour to complete your visit.
Even though your tickets are timed, there is no limit on how long you can stay at One World Observatory. Travelers who have been to this landmark suggest setting aside at least 1 ½ - 2 hours for your visit.