One World Observatory is an observational deck on the 100th floor of the One World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower.
One World Trade Center is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center Complex in Lower Manhattan, New York City.
More than 2.5 million tourists go up the building’s high-speed elevators yearly to enjoy fantastic views of New York’s skyline.
The observatory offers panoramic views of the city skyline, including landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
This article explains everything you need to know before purchasing your One World Observatory ticket.
Table of contents
- What to expect at One World Observatory
- One World Observatory tickets
- Tickets FAQs
- One World Observatory hours
- Best time to visit the observatory
- How long does One World Observatory take?
- Explorer iPad experience
- One World Observatory with New York Pass
- How to reach One World Observatory
- Tripadvisor reviews
- Food and drinks
- Best observation deck in New York?
What to expect at One World Observatory
More than 90% of the tourists book the Standard Ticket, which lets you skip the long ticket counter lines at the ticket counter. It is the cheapest and the most popular ticket.
Opt for the Priority tickets if you prefer to skip all the lines (ticket counter, security check, elevators, etc.).
If money isn’t an issue, and you prefer a luxurious experience, check out the Flex Package.
One World Observatory tickets
Visitors can choose from many types of tickets while booking their One World Observatory experience.
You can either buy the Standard ticket or the Priority ticket.
Or you can stretch your day and book a One World Observatory combo ticket.
How online tickets work
Since One World Observatory tickets are timed, you must choose your preferred time of visit while buying them.
Once you 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 least 15 minutes before 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.
One World Observatory discounts
The standard One World Observatory ticket for visitors aged 13 to 64 costs $48.
Kids aged 6 to 12 get a $7 discount, and senior citizens (65+ years) get a $2 reduction on the total ticket price.
Senior visitors and kids get discounted rates only on the Standard Reserved Ticket and NOT on the Priority Tickets.
This is why it is best to book the standard tickets if you are visiting with kids or seniors.
On One World Observatory tickets, kids five years and below get a 100% discount – they can enter for free.
One World Observatory’s Standard tickets offer the most value for money – they are the cheapest yet the most popular.
More than 90% of the users visiting this New York Observation Deck buy the Standard entry tickets.
This ticket helps you skip the line at the ticket counter and immediately get into the attraction.
However, this ticket doesn’t let you skip the other three lines – the line for the security check and the 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): $48
Youth ticket (6 to 12 years): $41
Seniors ticket (65+ years): $46
Child ticket (up to 5 years): Free entry
One World Observatory’s Priority tickets are also known as ‘Express Admission tickets’ because they help you skip all four lines at the 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
Some visitors also call it the ‘Skip All Lines’ tickets. Image: Tripadvisor
These are also called ‘Combination Tickets’ because they include the ‘One World Explorer’ worth $15.
‘One World Explorer iPad’ is a virtual iPad guide that makes this ticket’s high price well worth it. Learn more about Explorer iPad.
This ticket lets you access all the observatory floors – levels 100, 101, and 102.
Adult ticket (13 to 64 years): $59
Youth ticket (6 to 12 years): $52
Seniors ticket (65+ years): $57
Child ticket (up to 5 years): Free entry
If money is not an issue but you prefer a luxurious experience, we recommend the One World Observatory Flex Package.
With the Flex tickets, you can arrive any time on the selected day – you won’t be bound to a time of visit.
Once you reach the attraction, this ticket allows you to skip all the lines and head straight to the observatory.
The One World Explorer (the virtual guide iPad) worth $15 is part of the ticket, making your visit more memorable.
With these tickets, you also get a $15 credit, which you can use for drinks in one of the bars or restaurants of the observatory.
Adult ticket (13 to 64 years): $70
Youth ticket (6 to 12 years): $63
Seniors ticket (65+ years): $68
Child ticket (up to 5 years): Free entry
Visual Story: 15 must-know tips before visiting One World Observatory
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 are costly, and combo tours are a great way to save up to 25% on ticket expenses.
2. Since One World Observatory takes only one to two hours, tourists prefer to combine more activities on the same day.
3. One World Observatory is part of Ground Zero, and there are many other attractions nearby that 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 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 of waiting in long lines.
The Observatory’s Box Office is at the corner of West and Vesey Streets, inside the main Observatory entrance, so if you want, you can buy entry tickets at the venue.
However, we recommend you buy One World Observatory tickets before you visit the attraction because it will help you save 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.
We don’t recommend One World Observatory’s priority tickets because they are $11 costlier than the standard tickets.
More than 90% of the visitors to the observation deck buy the cheaper, standard ticket.
If you are short of time, opt for the priority ticket.
For both Standard and Priority tickets, you must decide on a preferred time slot while purchasing them and then stick to it.
However, the Flex Package ticket, which offers a royal treatment to the visitor, is not timed.
You can visit the attraction any time on the day it is booked.
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 lucky, so a 15-20 minute buffer is better.
The One World Observatory does not check ID proof for entry.
If you have booked your tickets online, you only have to show the ticket in your email.
You don’t need to take printouts.
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 Priority Tickets) include the following:
– 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
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 go to One World Observatory 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 on the 101st floor of Freedom Tower, you must have tickets to the Observatory.
One World Observatory hours
During the peak months of May to September, One World Observatory opens at 9 am and closes at 9 pm every day of the week. The last entry is at 8 pm.
However, the observatory changes its timings many times during the year.
|3 Oct to 19 Dec||8 am to 9 pm||8 pm|
|20 Dec to 5 Jan||8 am to 10 pm||9 pm|
|6 Jan to 30 Apr||10 am to 9 pm||8 pm|
|1 May to 2 Sep||9 am to 9 pm||8 pm|
|3 Sep to 2 Oct||9 am to 9 pm||8 pm|
Once inside the One World Observatory before the cut-off time, you can continue enjoying the experience till 10 pm.
The ticket office opens daily at 9 am, but we suggest you don’t line up at the ticketing counter.
To avoid wasting time standing in the queue, 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|
|11 September||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 the observatory
If you want to avoid the crowd, the best time to visit One World Observatory is as soon as they open for the day at 9 am.
One World Observatory offers fascinating views of the New York skyline, and it is out of this world during sunset.
If you want stunning views, the best time to visit the Observatory is just before sunset.
You can reach the attraction an hour before sunset to give yourself enough time to reach the top of the observation area.
Besides stunning sunset views, you can enjoy the New York skyline during the day and at night.
Best time to take photographs
In the morning, it isn’t easy to take pictures of the Eastern side of the building, i.e., Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn North, etc.
At noon, the sun is not shining on you, making it 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 so that you are in the Observatory at noon.
One World Observatory at night
The best way to enjoy One World’s night view is to reach during sunset and stay till the skyline lights up.
However, only some have that luxury of time.
However, it is difficult to identify the buildings that form NYC’s skyline at night.
How long does One World Observatory take?
During the peak summer months, most visitors need around two hours to explore One World Observatory, and rest of the year; you only need an hour.
During crowded times – summer season, school holidays, festivals, etc. – 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, you can still save time on crowded days.
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.
Explorer iPad experience
If you are not on a budget holiday and can afford an additional expense on the admission ticket, we recommend you opt for One World Observatory’s Explorer iPad.
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.
Looking at the NYC skyline through the iPad Explorer, you see labels against prominent buildings – 40 total.
You will get a virtual helicopter tour of the building/site when you touch a label.
Once up close, you 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 atop the Freedom Tower is NOT part of the New York City Pass or The Explorer Pass.
However, you can access 85+ other New York attractions 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.
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
Address: One World Trade Center, 285 Fulton St. 45 fl. Street F, Manhattan, NY 10007.
Public transport is cheap and the best to reach the One World Observatory.
The World Trade Center Station on the ‘E’ Line is closest to the One World Center observatory.
It is also the last stop of the Subway line.
The next best option is reaching Fulton Street Station, served by Lines 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, and Z.
Many tourists feel that finding the Observatory from Fulton Street is much easier.
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.
If a bus is your preferred mode of transport, get onto either of these buses – No 22, 5, 20, 9, or 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 Downtown route’s 11th, 12th, or 13th stop.
Find out more about New York HOHO bus tour.
Many One World Observatory reviews on Tripadvisor suggest that tourists who want to experience New York City from a high should look no further than One World.
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 are also mentioned.
The reviews on Yelp and Tripadvisor also mentioned Sky Portal, the 14-foot wide circular glass disc where 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 with 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.
Food and drinks
Dining at the top of the World is a unique experience, and One World Observatory offers two restaurants.
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.
Hours: 1 pm to 10 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 and 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 see?
Two of the comparisons which come up often are – One World vs. Empire State and One World vs. Top of the Rock.
One World Observatory vs. Empire State Building
At One World, the Sky Pod elevator with a digital time-lapse highlighting 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 Northeastern New Jersey (including Lady Liberty).
One World’s Explorer iPad is another fantastic way to enjoy the New York skyline, which you won’t find at the Empire State Building.
What’s more – from the One World Observatory, you can also see the Empire State Building.
The only thing that needs to be added to 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 tickets, it is worth it. Buy Tickets.
Or, if you still favor New York’s oldest Observatory, buy Empire State Building tickets.
If you aren’t sure yet, check out a more detailed comparison between Empire State Building and One World Observatory.
One World Observatory vs. Top of The Rock
You can view the classic Empire State Building set against the Manhattan skyline from Top of the Rock.
You also have a relatively unobstructed view of Central Park from the Rock, which is unavailable with any other observation deck.
It also offers excellent views of the Chrysler Building, One World Trade Center, Bank of America Tower, Flatiron Building, Brooklyn Bridge, and the surrounding buildings in Midtown Manhattan and more.
Both the Top of the Rock and One World Observatory are on par with each other.
You can choose either and walk out of the building delighted with your observational deck experience in New York.
Just that One World Observatory ticket prices are lower – you save some money. Buy Tickets.
Or, if you want to give Top of the Rock a try, book your visit now.
We recommend a more detailed comparison between One World Observatory and Top of the Rock if you are still deciding.
Tip: Free entry to Top of the Rock is part of the City Pass, the Explorer Pass, and the New York Pass. Check out the New York Passes.
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