Many people may wonder what it’s like to visit the One World Observatory at the World Trade Center. While the sentiment for each individual visitor will likely be unique, with a spectrum of emotions ranging from somber and reflective to pride and amazement, there’s no denying that it’s truly an unforgettable experience.
The Observatory first opened to the public in the fall of 2014 and stands symbolically at 1,776 feet (paying homage to the year that United States of America declared its independence and became its own country), making it the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and 6th tallest in the world. By comparison, in 1886 the Statue of Liberty was the tallest structure in New York at 305 feet (the equivalent of a 22-story building), which was later drastically surpassed by other iconic New York City landmarks like the Empire State Building (1,250 feet) and the Chrysler Building (1,046 feet).
Inside the glass and steel structure, elevators whisk you up 102 floors in less than 60 seconds as you’re surrounded by floor-to-ceiling historical imagery of the development of New York City from 1500 to the present. This sets the stage for the breathtaking 360-degree panorama that’s to come once you reach the main observatory level. As you circle the floor, your view will be anchored by the city skyline to the north, Brooklyn to the east, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis and Governor’s Island to the south and New Jersey and the Hudson River to the west.
Interactive tablets are available for an additional fee if you wish to “scan” the skyline for more information about the sights that stretch out before you. To linger longer, choose from dining options ranging from a casual café to a fancier restaurant. Also consider buying timed tickets online in advance to avoid waiting in long lines, or if you have your heart set on taking in the magnificent skyline at sunset.