The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is a tribute to the lives lost on September 11, 2001, and on February 26, 1993 (World Trade Center bombing).
It is also known as National September Memorial and Museum and attracts more than 3 Million tourists every year.
In this article, we explain everything you must know before visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
What to expect?
This tourist attraction has two parts to it.
The 9/11 Memorial is located at the site of the former Twin Towers.
It comprises of two massive waterfalls and reflecting pools – each an acre in size.
The names of around 3,000 victims of the Sep 11 and Feb 26 terrorist attacks September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993, terrorist attacks are inscribed on bronze panels lining the two Memorial pools.
The memorial is free to visit – you don’t need to buy tickets.
The 9/11 Museum is part of the 9/11 Memorial.
In an attempt to keep the memory of 9/11 alive, the Museum documents the incident with 23,000 images, 10,300 artefacts, 500 hours of video, and 2,000 oral histories of the dead provided by family and friends.
You will need tickets to visit the Museum.
Since there are long lines at the ticketing counter, it is wiser to buy 9/11 Museum tickets in advance.
Tip: Freedom Tower, which has the One World Observatory, the World’s tallest viewing platform, is also located in the same complex.
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is at the One World Trade Centre site in lower Manhattan at 180 Greenwich Street, New York.
How to reach?
It is best if visitors use public transport to get to 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
Since this tourist attraction doesn’t have parking facilities and since on-street parking is limited in lower Manhattan, we don’t recommend driving.
- A, C, 1, 2, 3 to Chambers Street
- A, C, J, Z, 2, 3, 4, or 5 trains to Fulton Street
- 2 or 3 trains to Park Place
- E train to World Trade Center
- R train to Rector Street
- R train to Cortlandt Street
- 1 train to Rector Street
- M5 Southbound: get down at Broadway and Thames Street
- M5 Northbound: get down at Trinity Place and Rector Street
- M20 Southbound: get down on South End Avenue between Liberty Street and Albany Street
- M22 Southbound: get down on Vesey Street between North End Avenue and West Street
The nearest taxi stand is at West Street and Liberty Street and on Vesey Street at West Street.
The 9/11 Memorial and the Museum have different opening hours.
9/11 Memorial timings
The Memorial at Ground Zero opens daily at 7.30 am and closes at 9 pm.
9/11 Museum timings
The 9/11 Memorial Museum operates daily.
From Sunday to Thursday, it opens at 9 am and closes at 8 pm, with the last entry at 6 pm.
On Friday and Saturday, it opens at 9 am and closes at 9 pm, with the last entry at 7 pm.
The last entry at the 9/11 Museum is always 2 hours before the closing time.
Museum’s holiday hours
During the holidays, the 9/11 Museum extends its closing time to accommodate the extra crowd.
December 26, 9 am to 9 pm
December 27, 9 am to 9 pm
December 30, 9 am to 9 pm
Best time to visit
The 9/11 Museum attracts large crowds all through the year.
Irrespective of the season or day of the week, this Museum gets the maximum crowd between noon to 3 pm.
That’s why the best time to visit 9/11 Museum is as soon as it opens – between 9 am to 11 am.
If you can’t make it in the morning, we recommend a visit anytime after 5 pm.
If you want to avoid the crowd, one of the best ways is to buy your 9/11 Museum tickets online.
You can then skip the long lines at the ticketing counter, and stand in the shorter lines at the entrance.
How long do 9/11 Museum and Memorial take?
If you are the kind of tourist who quickly rushes through everything, you can get over the 9/11 Museum in an hour.
However, if you want to explore everything in detail, you will need at least three hours.
As for the 9/11 Memorial, you can see what is to explore in 30 minutes.
However, some tourists walk around for much longer contemplating the events of the fateful day.
Waiting times at 9/11 Museum
The 9/11 Museum has timed entry tickets, which means it is never overly crowded inside.
However, you can end up waiting in long lines outside.
If you have already bought your 9/11 Museum tickets online, your waiting time is shorter.
Let us explain in detail.
When you have NOT bought tickets in advance
If you haven’t already purchased 9/11 Museum tickets online, you must line up at the ticket counter.
Depending on the time of the day and day of the week this waiting time can go up to 45 minutes.
At the ticket counter, there will be a sign mentioning the next time slot for which tickets are available for purchase.
This information will help you decide if you want to stand in the ticketing line or not – because you may not always get the tickets for immediate next time slot.
For instance, if you reached the ticketing line at 2 pm and the next available time slot is 4 pm, you will have to wait till 4 pm to get inside the Museum.
So even though you may have your tickets by 2.30 pm, you may still have to wait for your turn to come.
When you have already bought the tickets
While booking your 9/11 Museum tickets online, you have to pick your time slot.
On the day of your visit, all you have to do is reach the Museum 15 minutes before the time mentioned on your tickets.
Since you already have the tickets, you can skip the line at the ticketing counter (and save yourself up to 45 minutes).
Look for time-based entry lines where everyone with tickets gets to stand.
Within 15 minutes, you will be allowed to enter the Museum.
Free admission Tuesday
Every Tuesday from 5 pm to 8 pm visitors can enter the 9/11 Museum for free.
Even though free admission Tuesdays allow free entry into the 9/11 Museum, you are expected to make a small payment of at least $10.
Of course, you can refuse to pay – it is entirely your choice.
Two weeks in advance, a limited number of tickets for these Tuesday evenings are available for online booking.
Even at the 9/11 Museum’s ticketing office, these ‘free tickets’ are limited in number and distributed on a first come-first served basis.
There is a limit of 4 tickets per person.
Buy one discount Pass and save up to 40% on ticket costs during your New York holiday. Buy New York Explorer Pass
9/11 Museum tickets
9/11 Museum’s tickets come in many combinations and they can be cancelled up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
The 9/11 Museum tickets we have showcased below get emailed to your inbox immediately after purchase.
On the day of your visit, at the entrance, show the ticket on your smartphone, and walk in.
You don’t need to take any printouts.
The different options are –
1. Non-guided Museum & Memorial tickets
This is the cheapest and the most popular 9/11 Museum ticket.
You get to see everything in the 9/11 Museum and also get to explore the Memorial.
While booking the ticket, you must opt for a time slot.
Adult ticket (18 to 64 years): $28
Senior ticket (65+ years): $22
Youth ticket (13 to 17 years): $22
Kids ticket (7 to 12 years): $17
Infant ticket (6 years & below): Free entry
2. Guided tour of Museum & Memorial
This is a 2-hour guided tour, and after the guide leaves you can continue to stay on and explore for as long as you want.
You start with the St. Paul’s Chapel, then see the Memorial pools, finally enter the Museum without waiting in any lines.
Note: Considering the nature of this tourist attraction, the local New York guides provide a more personal feel.
Adult ticket (13+ years): $69
Kids ticket (4 to 12 years): $55
Infant ticket (3 years & below): Free entry
3. Guided tour of Museum, Memorial & Observatory
This is a five-hour long tour, and you can opt either the 10.30 am slot or the 2 pm slot.
This tour is everything the previous tour offered plus access to the One World Observatory, which is in the nearby Freedom Tower.
Freedom Tower is the 417 meters (1,368 feet) tall making it the 4th tallest building in the USA.
From its observatories in 100th, 101st and 102nd floors you can see amazing views of New York.
Adult ticket (12+ years): $109
Kids ticket (4 to 11 years): $99
Infant ticket (3 years & below): Free entry
4. Guided tour of Ground Zero & Memorial
Some parents with kids below ten years of age may not want to take their kids to the 9/11 Museum.
This is because a certain maturity and understanding is needed to comprehend the events of September 11.
If you are one such parent, this is just the perfect tour for you because you only explore Ground Zero and the Memorial.
New Yorkers who have a personal connection to 9/11 guide this walking tour.
Adult ticket (18+ years): $35
Youth ticket (12 to 17 years): $35
Kids ticket (7 to 11 years): $30
Infant ticket (3 to 6 years): 30
5. Guided tour of Museum, Memorial & Statue of Liberty
You start this five and a half hour tour, by first exploring the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
Your guide then gets you to 9/11 Memorial & Museum for reflecting on the events of 11 September.
*Transportation between Battery Park (where you will get down from the State of Liberty ferry) and the 9/11 Memorial isn’t covered in this ticket. But you must know that the distance is just 800 meters (or half a mile), so walkable.
Adult ticket (12+ years): $90
Kids ticket (2 to 11 years): $60
9/11 Tribute Museum tickets
The 9/11 Tribute Museum aims to help visitors understand the events surrounding the largest emergency response and recovery effort in the USA.
The visitors can see personals stories of the victims displayed at the exhibitions.
The operating hours are from 10 am to 6 pm. The last entry takes place 30 minutes before closing.
You will need around 45 minutes to explore this Museum.
The Tribute Museum is located 500 meters (0.3 Miles) from the 9/11 Memorial.
The 9/11 Tribute Museum tickets cost $15 for adults, $10 for senior citizens and students with valid IDs and $5 for children below the age of 3.
What to see at the 9/11 Museum?
There are five exhibitions to see, out of which two form the core of this Museum – the Historical exhibition and the Memorial exhibition.
1. Historical Exhibition
The historical exhibition narrates the story of 9/11 using various media such as artefacts, images, testimony and archival audio and video.
The Historical Exhibition has three parts – the Events of the Day, Before 9/11, and After 9/11.
Note: Visitors younger than 10 years of age may find the historical exhibition overwhelming. Adults accompanying younger visitors must exercise discretion during the visit.
2. Memorial Exhibition
This exhibition features photographs of approximately 3000 victims of the 9/11 carnage and the Feb 26, 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
Using the touch-screen panels, you can look up individual profiles.
Victims’ items which were donated by the family members are also on display.
3. Witness at Ground Zero
On September 11, 2001, even as the planes crashed into the twin towers, French photographer Stephane Sednaoui filmed the incident from the roof of his building in lower Manhattan.
This exhibition displays more than 500 pictures of his photographs taken between September 12 and 16.
4. Rebirth at Ground Zero
Rebirth at Ground Zero is a 270-degree panoramic media installation.
Six months after 9/11, time-lapse cameras installed at strategic locations started capturing the transformation Ground Zero.
You will get to see the output at this exhibition.
5. Sports after 9/11
The Sports After 9/11 is a special exhibition which narrates how sports and athletes helped to console a grieving nation.
And how they gave the country reasons to cheer after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
This exhibition illustrates many iconic moments, which you can’t afford to miss.
9/11 Museum’s audio guide
These audio guides provide themed tours suitable for age groups.
The ‘Witnessing History Tour’ narrates an overview of what happened on 9 September, and later.
The ‘Discovering History Tour’ is designed for 8 to 11 year old kids and provides an age-appropriate narration of 9/11.
The ‘Building History Tour’ tells the story of recovery and rebuilding through the voices of architects, recovery workers etc.
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