Ground Zero and The National September 11 Memorial Museum are significant sites in New York City’s history. The historic landmarks honor those who died in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. But there’s a lot to see and it can be confusing to decide how to plan your trip to these must-see memorials. Here’s how to visit Ground Zero and 9/11 Memorial Museum, with information on tickets, hours, tours, and more
Pro Tip: Bookmark this article as a helpful guide for your visit to Ground Zero, the 9/11 Memorial Museum. You can also use our helpful guide for planning your trip to New York City to see the best sites and eat tasty food.
Ground Zero and 9/11 Memorials: What We’ll Cover
Ground Zero is a large area that’s known as the area where the World Trade Center towers collapsed and the many months of clean up occurred. Here you’ll find the National September 11 Memorial Museum, the 9/11 Memorial Pools, the FDNY Memorial Wall, and the One World Trade Center where you can explore their observation deck at the top of the building. Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:
- One World Trade Center Hours and Ticket Info
- 9/11 Memorial Hours and Ticket Info
- 9/11 Memorial Museum Hours and Ticket Info
- What to See and Do
- Ground Zero and 9/11 Memorial Tours
- Important Facts and History
One World Trade Center: Hours, Tickets, and Directions
One World Trade Center remembers those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It is not only the tallest building in the World Trade Center Complex but also in the nation. It’s an impressive sight to view from the outside at 1,776 feet high. However, the inside is also something to see. Here, you’ll find the Oculus subway, Westfield Shops, and restaurants.
While here, check out One World Observatory. It sits at the top of One World Trade Center boasting city views at 102 stories high. And you can try an interactive tour and food from the restaurant and bar.
Admission fee to One World Trade Center: There is no fee to enter the World Trade Center Westfield Shops or Oculus.
Hours: Westfield Shops at the Oculus are open daily, Monday-Saturday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Sunday hours are from 11:00 am-6:00 pm.
Admission fee to the One World Observatory: General admission starts at $38 per person.
Hours: The Observatory is currently open Thursday through Monday from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm.
Directions: Get here by subway taking the 1 to WTC Cortlandt, the E to World Trade Center, or the R W to Cortlandt. One World Trade Center will be less than a 5-minute walk from the subway station.
Address: 50 Church Street, New York
9/11 Memorial: Hours, Tickets, and Directions
The 9/11 Memorial opened ten years after the September 11th terror attacks as a place for healing. You’ll find the Memorial Pools, Memorial Glade, and Survivor Tree here to visit quietly and reflect on their meaning for this special area.
Admission fee: There is no fee to visit the 9/11 Memorial.
Hours: The 9/11 Memorial is open daily from 10 am – 5 pm.
Directions: Get here by subway taking the 1 to WTC Cortlandt or the E to World Trade Center. The 9/11 Memorial will be less than a 5-minute walk from the subway station.
Address: 180 Greenwich Street, New York
Pro tip: If you are visiting on September 11th, you may be able to see the Tribute in Light ceremony. This art installation projects two beams of light high in the sky resembling the Twin Towers. And you don’t necessarily have to be at the memorial to see it. The installation can be viewed within a 60-mile radius in the Lower Manhattan area.
National September 11 Memorial Museum: Hours, Tickets and Directions
The 9/11 Memorial Museum reflects on the terror attacks on September 11th and the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. The 110,000 square feet space hosts artifacts and images that tell personal stories of victims, rescue workers, and others impacted.
Admission Fee: General admission for the 9/11 Memorial Museum is $26 for adults and $15 for youth (7-12 years old). Young adults from 13-17 are charged $20. Both seniors 65 and older and college students have a discounted rate of $20. Admission for veterans is $18. A museum tour with admission is $46 per adult.
Hours: The 9/11 Memorial Museum is open Thursday-Monday from 10 am – 5 pm.
Directions: Get here by subway taking the 1 to WTC Cortlandt or the E to World Trade Center. The 9/11 Memorial Museum will be less than a 5-minute walk from the subway station.
Address: 180 Greenwich Street, New York
Pro Tip: The 9/11 Memorial Museum offers free admission on Mondays from 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm. If you’re looking to get free tickets you’ll need to plan ahead and register online here.
What To See and Do
There’s a lot to explore and visit around the 9/11 Memorials, and you don’t want to miss anything. Here are the important things to see at each location.
One World Trade Center
- Take a ride on the SkyPod elevator where you’ll experience the New York City skyline through video and illusion.
- One World Explorer interactive iPad guide that lets you learn the history of New York City’s most iconic buildings with a tap of a finger.
- The two Memorial Pools are at the site of the former North and South Towers. Both have two of the largest man-made waterfalls that descend 50 feet. The name of the victims from both 1993 and 2001 (including Flight 93 and the Pentagon) are etched in the bronze wall found alongside the pools.
- The Memorial Glade represents rescue workers and others who were exposed to toxins after the attack and during the long months of cleanup.
- There is also the Callery pear tree that survived the attacks. It was later replanted at the Memorial and named the Survivor Tree.
- The bronze FDNY Memorial Wall, which honors the firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11. It is not in the Memorial but just a short two-minute walk away.
9/11 Memorial Museum
- The FDNY Ladder 3 firetruck that was recovered from the World Trade Center site.
- The memorial exhibition featuring a floor-to-ceiling photo showcase of the victims.
- Artifacts from victims that help shed light on their lives before the bombings.
Ground Zero and 9/11 Memorial Tours
All the guided in-person tours are led by New Yorkers with a connection to 9/11. There are several tours to choose from, including the 90-minute All Access Ground Zero Tour with museum and One World Observatory entry for $109 per adult. Other options include only a guided tour of Ground Zero ($39 per adult), or a tour and entrance to either the museum or One World Observatory ($79 per adult).
There is also the official 9/11 Memorial Audio Guide app ($1.99) with a 40-minute tour discussing the attacks and Memorial design. The audio guide is narrated by a New Yorker who lost a family member on 9/11.
Facts About Ground Zero and the 9/11 Memorials
Though many tourists might be familiar with the events of September 11th, some may not know these important facts about Ground Zero and the 9/11 museum, thanks to the official 9/11 Memorial website and History.com.
- Before the Twin Towers fell they were both over 1,300 feet in height. The North Tower was 1,368 feet high while the South Tower reached 1,362 feet.
- The first plane hit the first tower at 8:45 am at approximately the 80th floor, and the second plane hit the South Tower at 9:03 am at approximately the 60th floor.
- The buildings took roughly ten seconds to collapse to the ground bringing with them about 300,000 tons of steel.
- Almost 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks (2,983 total), and 343 of those were firefighters who are also honored at the FDNY Memorial Wall.
- To create the 9/11 Memorial there was an international competition that took place In 2003. The following year, architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker were announced the winners with their design titled Reflecting Absence which featured the two pools and white oak trees we see today.
- The Memorial Pools are about the size of one acre each and took ten years to build. The National September 11 Museum opened its doors three years later and continues to be one of the most popular museums to visit in NYC.