Updated on 19 Oct, 2019
One World Trade Center is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center Complex in Lower Manhattan, New York City.
It is also known as ‘Freedom Tower.’
The main attraction in this complex is the observational deck called ‘One World Observatory.’
From this 100th floor observatory, you get to see fantastic views of New York.
In this article, we explain everything you need to know before you visit One World Observatory.
1. Ticket discounts
2. Observatory tickets
3. Tickets FAQs
4. How to reach
5. Opening hours
6. Best time to visit
7. Tour duration
8. iPad Explorer
9. One World with Passes
12. Best observatory in NYC
One World Observatory discounts
There are many types of One World Observatory tickets.
On all these tickets, kids five years and below get a 100% discount. That is, they can enter for free.
However, senior visitors and older kids get discounted rates only on One World Observatory’s Standard Reserved Ticket.
A Standard Reserve adult ticket for One World Observatory (OWO) costs 37 USD.
Kids aged 6 to 12 years get a 6.6 USD discount, and senior citizens (65+ years) get a 1 USD discount on the full ticket price.
That’s why if you are traveling with kids or seniors, it is best to book the standard tickets.
One World Observatory tickets
You have many options to choose from while booking your One World Observatory experience.
You can either buy the Standard ticket or the Priority ticket. Or you can decide to stretch your day and book a One World Observatory combo ticket.
We explain all the options below.
How One World Observatory tickets work
Since One World Observatory tickets are timed, while buying them, you must choose your preferred time of visit.
As soon as you make the purchase, One World Observatory online tickets get delivered to your inbox.
On the day of your visit, show the ticket in your email and walk in. No need to take printouts!
You must be at the attraction at the time mentioned on your ticket.
Even though you don’t need to buy tickets for kids five years and below, you still need to mention them on the ticket booking page.
1. Standard Tickets
Since this is the most value-for-money option, it is the most popular One World Observatory ticket.
This ticket helps you skip the line at the ticket counter, and get into the attraction right away.
However, this ticket doesn’t let you skip the other three lines – line for the security check, and queue for the elevators to go up to the observatories and then get down.
It gives you access to all three floors of One World Observatory – Levels 100, 101, and 102.
Adult ticket (13 to 64 years): 37 USD
Youth ticket (6 to 12 years): 30.50 USD
Seniors ticket (65+ years): 35 USD
Child ticket (up to 5 years): Free entry
*If you prefer to have a drink or two while taking in the stunning views of New York views from the observatory, check out the Drink in the View tickets. You get to choose between Beer, Wine, or Prosecco (Italian White Wine).
2. Priority Tickets
If you buy this One World Observatory ticket, you get to skip all the four lines at this New York attraction.
1. Line at the ticketing counter
2. Security check line (you Fast track through this queue)
3. Line at the elevators, to go up to the observatories
4. Queue at the elevators, to come down and exit
That’s why these are also known as ‘Skip All Lines’ tickets.
These tickets are also referred to as ‘Combination Tickets’ because it includes the ‘One World Explorer’ worth 15 USD.
‘One World Explorer iPad’ is a virtual iPad guide which makes the high price of this ticket, well worth it. Learn more about Explorer iPad
This ticket gets you to access all the observatory floors – levels 100, 101, and 102.
Adult ticket (6 years and above): 48 USD
Child ticket (up to 5 years): Free entry
3. One World Combo tours
There are three main reasons why combo tours are popular among tourists planning to visit One World Observatory.
1. OWO tickets tend to be costly, and combo tours are a great way to save up to 25% on your ticket expenses.
2. Since One World Observatory takes only one to two hours, tourists prefer to combine more activities for the same day.
3. One World Observatory is part of Ground Zero, and there are lots of other attractions nearby which tourists can visit together.
Here are some of the best combination tours which also include a visit to One World’s observation deck –
Visitors usually have lots of questions before booking their One World Observatory tickets.
We try and answer them here –
Yes, you can buy One World Observatory’s tickets online here.
When you buy them in advance, you save yourself a lot of time and energy.
Many tourists don’t know this and get tired by just waiting in the long lines.
The Observatory’s Box Office is at the corner of West and Vesey Streets, inside the main Observatory entrance, so you don’t need to buy your tickets in advance.
However, we recommend you buy OWO tickets before you visit the attraction because it will help you save you 15-30 minutes of waiting time at the venue.
Yes, you can purchase same-day (or next day’s) One World Observatory tickets.
You can do this from the ticket counters at the venue, or if you want to save yourself waiting time, you can buy them online.
During peak hours, this waiting time at the ticket counter lines can go up to half an hour, and that’s why we recommend buying them online.
For an adult, One World’s Priority tickets are 11 USD costlier than the Regular ticket and for a 6 to 12-year-old child, they are 18 USD more expensive than the Regular ticket.
We don’t recommend the Priority ticket unless you are short of time or would like to welcomed like a VIP.
Yes and no.
One World’s Regular Ticket is timed – you must decide on a preferred time slot while purchasing them and then stick to it.
However, the Priority ticket doesn’t have a time on it – on the day it is booked for, you can visit the attraction at any time.
On your lucky day, you can turn up exactly at the time mentioned on your ticket and go straight in.
But every day is not a lucky day, and that’s why a 15-20 minute buffer is better.
The One World Observatory does not check an ID proof for entry.
If you have booked your tickets online, you only have to show the ticket in your email.
No need to take print outs.
Priority tickets are worth it if…
– You are visiting during the peak summer months
– You can’t plan your visit during the non-crowded hours of 8 to 10 am
– You don’t have much time, but want to visit One World
– You don’t mind costlier tickets for a much better experience
Besides, if you buy Priority tickets, you won’t have to wait in any queue.
VIP tickets (also known as the Priority Tickets) include the following:
– No timed entry. You can visit anytime during the day
– Priority lane access, which saves you time
– Access to all three observatories at One World
– Access to One World Explorer (an audio-visual way to explore New York’s skyline), which if bought alone costs 15 USD
If you are a tourist in New York and want to know more about every building, go for the iPad explorer experience.
A small amount of money spent can give you an out of the world informative experience.
If you are going up One World Observatory just for the fantastic views, skip the iPad Explorer.
No, this New York attraction doesn’t have the traditional audio guide.
However, the Observatory offers One World Explorer, an enhanced audio/visual experience.
One World Explorer is an iPad application that offers virtual helicopter tours of New York’s most prominent buildings. It comes free with the Priority ticket.
Yes, to visit the restaurant located on the 101st floor of Freedom Tower, you need to have tickets to the Observatory.
How to reach One World Observatory
The One World Observatory is in the heart of Downtown Manhattan.
Located on 285 Fulton Street, its entrance is on West Street. Get directions
One World Trade Center,
285 Fulton St. 45 fl. Street F,
Manhattan, NY 10007.
Phone: (844) 696-1776
It is cheap and best to reach the One World Observatory using public transport.
The World Trade Center Station on ‘E’ Line is closest to One World Center observatory.
It is also the last stop of the Subway line.
The next best option is reaching the Fulton Street Station, which is served by Lines 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, and Z.
Many tourists feel that it is much easier to find the Observatory from Fulton Street.
However, depending on where you are coming from, you can take one of the many other Subways. Subway Map
|Subway Stations||Lines Served|
|World Trade Center||E|
|Cortlandt St. Station||1, R and W|
|Park Place Station||2 and 3|
|Fulton St. Station||2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, Z|
|Rector St. Station||R and W|
|Chambers St. Station||A and C|
If you are in New Jersey, Path train is a good option.
Take the Trans-Hudson PATH rail from New Jersey to WTC Station.
Since the World Trade Center is the terminal station on the Path circuit, getting down needn’t be in a rush.
Maintenance update: Till December 20, 2020, PATH’s World Trade Center Station will be closed on weekends (excluding major holidays). It will shut down at 12:01 am on Saturday and open again at 5 am on Monday. On such days, the PATH service to the World Trade Center will end at Exchange Place Station. Latest PATH updates
If a bus is your preferred mode of transport, get onto either of these buses – No 22, No 5, No 20, No 9, or No 103.
Hop on Hop off Bus
If you are booked on a Hop on Hop off Bus Tour experience, you can get down at either the 11th, 12th, or 13th stop on the Downtown route.
Find out more about New York HOHO bus tour
One World Observatory hours
One World Observatory is open seven days a week.
However, its open timings keep changing all through the year.
|Time period||Open hours||Last entry|
|3 Oct to 19 Dec||8 am to 9 pm||8.15 pm|
|20 Dec to 5 Jan||8 am to 10 pm||9.15 pm|
|6 Jan to 30 Apr||9 am to 9 pm||8.15 pm|
|1 May to 2 Sep||8 am to 9 pm||8.45 pm|
|3 Sep to 2 Oct||9 am to 9 pm||8.15 pm|
Once inside the One World Observatory before the cut off time, you can continue to stay and enjoy the experience till 10 pm.
The box office opens daily at 9 am. However, we don’t suggest you line up at the ticketing counter.
To avoid wasting time standing in line, buy One World tickets online.
Special day timings
On special days, the One World observatory’s timings change –
|Special Day||Open hours||Last entry|
|New Year’s Day||11 am to 10 pm||9.15 pm|
|Independence Day||8 am to 6 pm||5.15 pm|
|September 11||12 pm to 9 pm||8.15 pm|
|Thanksgiving Day||8 am to 9 pm||8.15 pm|
|Black Friday||8 am to 9 pm||8.15 pm|
|Christmas Eve||8 am to 10 pm||9.15 pm|
|Christmas Day||11 am to 10 pm||9.15 pm|
|New Year’s Eve||8 am to 8 pm||7.15 pm|
Best time to visit One World Observatory
If you want to avoid the crowd, the best time to visit One World Observatory is between 8 am to 10 am.
Sunset, the best time to visit
Sunset is also a great time to visit any observatory.
That’s why One World Observatory is most crowded just an hour before sunset.
It is best to book your One World Observatory tickets an hour before sunset and give yourself enough time to reach the top of the observation area.
Besides stunning sunset views, you also enjoy the New York skyline during the day and at night.
Best time to take photographs
In the morning, it is difficult to take pictures of the eastern side of the building, i.e., Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn North.
At noon, the sun is at its peak, and it is the best time to take pictures from all sides of the One World Observatory.
If you are interested in photography, we recommend you plan your trip in such a way that at noon, you are in the Observatory.
One World Observatory at night
The best way to enjoy the night view One World offers is to reach during sunset and stay till the skyline lights up.
However, not everybody has that luxury of time.
In case you land up after all lights are on, be aware that at night it is difficult to identify the buildings which form NYC’s skyline.
How long does One World Observatory take?
On a non-peak day, you can complete your tour of One World Observatory in an hour.
However, if you visit One World Observatory on a peak day – summer vacations, school holidays, festivals, etc. you need more than two hours.
During crowded times, you need an hour extra because there are long queues at the ticketing counter, the security check, the elevator lines, and the queue at the lifts to get down.
However, there are workarounds. If you book the cheaper and most popular Standard tickets, you can skip the line at the ticket counter.
If you book the costlier Priority ticket, you can skip all the lines and finish exploring One World Observatory in an hour.
Note: If you plan to visit one of the three restaurants on the 101st floor, you will need more time.
One World’s ‘Explorer iPad’ experience
If you can afford it, we recommend you opt for the ‘Explorer iPad’ experience.
How does it work?
The Explorer iPad has two channels.
The Skyview Channel
The Skyview Channel takes you on a virtual tour of New York’s most iconic sites.
When you look at the NYC skyline through the iPad Explorer, you see labels against prominent buildings – 40 of them in total.
When you touch a label, you will get a virtual helicopter tour of the building/site.
Once up close, you get to see exciting videos and hear engaging stories about the building/site.
The Restaurant Channel
TV food network celebrity David Rosengarten hosts the Restaurant Channel.
He gives insider information on New York’s little known restaurants, famous for what they serve.
One World’s Explorer iPad experience is available in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Hindi.
One World Observatory’s Explorer iPad comes free with the Priority ticket.
One World Observatory with New York Pass
One question frequently asked by tourists planning their visit to One World Observatory is: “Is One World Observatory included in the New York Pass?”
It should have been. But unfortunately, the answer to that question is “No!”
One World Observation deck on top of the Freedom Tower is NOT part of the New York City Pass or The Explorer Pass.
However, 85+ other New York attractions can be accessed for free or at a discount with New York Explorer Pass.
Sightseeing Flex Pass
Fortunately, for tourists who believe in Discount cards, there is hope.
The NYC Sightseeing Pass is the only pass that includes free admission to One World Observatory.
All you have to do is walk up to One World Observatory, present your NYC Sightseeing Pass and walk-in for free.
Sightseeing Flex Pass helps you save up to 65% of ticket costs and lets you access 100 attractions in New York for free.
One World Observatory reviews
Many reviews on Tripadvisor suggest that tourists who want to experience New York City from a high should look no further than the One World Observatory.
The reviewers were especially thrilled by One World Trade Center’s high-speed elevator, which shoots visitors straight to the three-story observatory in just 47 seconds.
Many tourists who gave positive reviews mentioned the impressive time-lapse technology in the elevators, showcasing NYC’s transformation over the last 500 years.
At the top, spectacular 360-degree views of New York City’s waterways, iconic skyline, and renowned landmarks also found mention.
The reviews on Yelp and Tripadvisor also mentioned Sky Portal, the 14-foot wide circular glass disc on which visitors could stand and see unobstructed views of the streets 100 floors below.
These were especially popular among families with kids.
The reviewers also mention that the OWO provided them an emotional connection, something the other observatories in NYC can’t.
After all, One World Observatory stands on the very spot where the twin towers once stood.
One World Observatory restaurants
Dining at the top of the World is an experience of its kind.
One Dine – highest in the USA
One Dine, the highest restaurant in the United States, is accessible only to One World Observatory ticket holders and requires reservations.
The 101st-floor fine dining establishment serves a seasonal menu and offers craft beer, wine, and cocktails overlooking the main observation floor. Reserve now
Hours: 11.30 am to 9 pm
Last entry: 7.30 pm
One Mix – for a spontaneous stop
For small plates and drinks, head to One Mix.
Besides the drinks, guests can enjoy shareable plates as well as thoughtfully sourced and crafted selections of burgers, sandwiches, seasonal salads, and bar snacks.
Reservations are not required; walk-ins are welcome.
Hours: Daily between 11 am to 9 pm
Best observation deck in New York?
New York City has some of the most excellent observational decks in the World.
With so many observational decks, tourists visiting New York get confused. Which one should they visit?
Two of the comparisons which come up often are:
We will try to help answer the question, “Which is the best observatory in New York City?”
One World Observatory vs Empire State Building
At One World, the Sky Pod elevator with a digital time-lapse that highlights five centuries of New York City’s evolving landscape is breathtaking.
Seeing Forever Theatre™, an audio-visual experience that explores NYC’s skyline, is another perk here.
In the southern part of Manhattan, One World Observatory has excellent views of the Financial District below, the Hudson River and the East River, and the Northeastern New Jersey (including Lady Liberty).
One World’s Explorer iPad is yet another fantastic way to enjoy the New York skyline, which you won’t find at Empire State building.
What’s more – from the One World Observatory, you can see the Empire State Building as well.
The only thing missing from OWTC is an open-air observatory, which the Empire State Building has.
One World Observatory is a better Observatory than the Empire State Building. Though the tickets to One World Observatory are a bit costlier than Empire State Building’s tickets, it is worth it. Buy Tickets
Or if you still favor New York’s oldest Observatory, buy Empire State Building tickets.
One World Observatory vs Top of The Rock
From Top of the Rock, you enjoy a view of the classic Empire State Building set against the Manhattan skyline.
From the Rock, you also have a relatively unobstructed view of Central Park, which is not available with any other observation deck.
It also offers excellent views of Chrysler Building, One World Trade Center, Bank of America Tower, Flatiron Building, Brooklyn Bridge, and the surrounding buildings in Midtown Manhattan and more.
Both Top of the Rock and One World Observatory are on par with each other.
You can choose either of them and walk out of the building fully satisfied with your observational deck experience in New York.
Just that One World Observatory ticket prices are lower – so you save some money. Buy Tickets
Or if you want to give Top of the Rock a try, book your visit now.
Tip: Free entry to Top of the Rock is part of City Pass, the Explorer Pass, and the New York Pass. Check out the New York Passes
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