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 every year to enjoy fantastic views of New York’s skyline.
Table of contents
- What to expect
- One World Observatory hours
- Best time to visit One World Observatory
- How long does One World Observatory take?
- One World Observatory discounts
- One World Observatory tickets
- Tickets FAQs
- 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
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.
If you prefer to skip all the lines (security, elevators, etc.), opt for the Priority tickets.
If money isn’t an issue, you would prefer a luxurious experience to check out the Flex Package.
One World Observatory hours
During the peak months of May to September, One World Observatory opens at 8 am and closes at 9 pm every day of the week. The last entry is at 8.45 pm.
However, the observatory changes its timings many times during the year.
|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 enjoying the experience till 10 pm.
The ticket office opens daily at 9 am but we don’t suggest you 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|
|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.
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 also get to 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 into 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 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.
However, at night it is difficult to identify the buildings which form NYC’s skyline.
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.
One World Observatory discounts
On One World Observatory tickets, kids five years and below get a 100% discount – they can enter for free.
Senior visitors and older kids get discounted rates only on One World Observatory’s Standard Reserved Ticket.
The standard One World Observatory ticket for an adult aged 13 to 64 costs $41.
Kids aged 6 to 12 years get a $6 discount, and senior citizens (65+ years) get a $2 reduction on the full ticket price.
That’s why if you are visiting with kids or seniors, it is best to book the standard tickets.
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 decide to 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.
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 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’s Standard tickets offer the most value for money – they are the cheapest and 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 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): $41
Youth ticket (6 to 12 years): $35
Seniors ticket (65+ years): $39
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 referred to as ‘Combination Tickets’ because it includes 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 gets you to access all the observatory floors – levels 100, 101, and 102.
Adult ticket (13 to 64 years): $52
Youth ticket (6 to 12 years): $46
Seniors ticket (65+ years): $50
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 at 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 much 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): $85
Youth ticket (6 to 12 years): $78
Seniors ticket (65+ years): $83
Child ticket (up to 5 years): Free entry
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 –
- Can I buy One World Observatory tickets online?
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 by just waiting in the long lines.
- Do I need advance tickets for One World Observatory?
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 the 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 you 15-30 minutes of waiting time at the venue.
- Can I buy same-day One World tickets?
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.
- Should I buy the Regular tickets or the Priority tickets at One World Observatory?
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.
- Are One World Observatory tickets timed?
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.
On the day it is booked for, you can visit the attraction at any time.
- If we already have a timed One World Observatory ticket, how much time in advance do we need to be there?
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.
- Is a photo ID required with an online One World Observatory ticket?
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.
You don’t need to take printouts.
- Is One World Observatory’s Priority ticket worth it?
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.
- What are the inclusions of One World Observatory VIP tickets?
VIP tickets (also known as the 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
- Is One World’s iPad Explorer worth it?
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.
- Does the One World ticket include an audio guide?
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.
- To visit the restaurant, do I need the Observatory tickets?
Yes, to visit the restaurant located on the 101st floor of Freedom Tower, you need to have tickets to the Observatory.
Explorer iPad experience
If you can afford it, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 11th, 12th, or 13th stop on the Downtown route.
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 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.
Food and drinks
Dining at the top of the World is an experience of its kind 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: 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 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 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 the 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.
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
From Top of the Rock, you enjoy a view of the classic Empire State Building set against the Manhattan skyline.
You also have a relatively unobstructed view of Central Park from the Rock, which is not available 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 of them and walk out of the building delighted 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.
If you are still undecided, we recommend a more detailed comparison between One World Observatory and Top of the Rock.
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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