One World Observatory in New York City is an observation deck unlike any other. It’s one of the top places to see in NYC, and after seeing it from different viewpoints (including from above!), we highly recommend visiting it.
This skyscraper, which is also known as the Freedom Tower observatory, opened in 2015, becoming one of the most famous buildings in NYC. As another impressive structure at the World Trade Center complex, One World Observatory’s height of 1,776 feet makes it the tallest building in NYC and the entire Western Hemisphere. Also, if you’re wondering, the height does correspond to the year the Declaration of Independence was signed!
The World Trade Center observation deck is on the 100th floor, making it 1,268 feet tall. If you want to see the Big Apple from this viewpoint, you can get your ticket here. That said, if you plan on visiting other attractions, consider getting a New York attraction pass, such as the New York Pass.
Of course, I encourage you to keep reading to learn more about this observatory at One World Trade Center, so you have the best experience possible.
Guide to visiting One World Observatory at the World Trade Center
To help you plan your visit to New York’s One World Observatory, I’m sharing everything you need to know, including pricing, hours, and dining options. This is one of the best observation decks in New York City, so I highly recommend seeing it in person!
In this One World Observatory guide, you’ll find:
- One World Observatory ticket prices
- One World Observatory hours
- The One World Observatory experience
- ONE Dine at One World Observatory
One World Observatory ticket prices
Admission to One World Observatory starts at $47, and you can get your skip-the-line, timed-entry ticket here. You can also upgrade to the Combination ticket or All-Inclusive ticket to elevate your experience.
The timed-entry Combination ticket grants you priority access to the SkyPod elevators and the Digital Skyline Guide. The All-Inclusive ticket is a flexible entry option with priority elevator access, the Digital Skyline Guide, and a $15 voucher to the gift shop or restaurant.
I should mention that if you plan on visiting several top attractions in the Big Apple, you should get a New York city pass. All of the passes include One World Observatory, but I recommend checking our guide to see which pass includes the attractions you’d like to visit.
That said, I think the New York Pass is the best option because you’ll save money on the One World Observatory ticket price as well as landmarks like the Empire State Building and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
One World Observatory hours
One World Observatory’s hours are 9 am to 9 pm, Monday-Sunday. Keep in mind that the latest you can enter is 8 pm, so if you want to visit One World Observatory at night, be sure to get there before then.
If you want to eat here, ONE Dine at One World Observatory is open daily from 1 pm to 9 pm.
One World Observatory views
The views from One World Observatory are among the best in the entire city. From the 100th floor, you’ll be able to see over most of Manhattan’s iconic skyscrapers.
One World Observatory’s 360° viewpoint allows you to see New York Harbor, the East and Hudson Rivers, and the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. You’ll also get amazing views of New York’s most famous landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Center, and Central Park.
In fact, you can see all five boroughs from up here, and if you want the best views of Lower Manhattan at night, One World Observatory’s panoramic indoor deck is an ideal lookout spot.
The One World Observatory experience
In addition to its breathtaking views, the Freedom Tower observatory offers a variety of attractions and activities to round out your visit. Here is what you can expect from your One World Observatory experience:
Global Welcome Center
One of the first things you’ll see when you enter One World Observatory is the Global Welcome Center. It’s the world’s largest curved indoor LED and chronicles visitors’ places of origin. You can add yourself to the registry and join the collection of millions of locales.
The Horizon Grid is another thing you’ll see before ascending to the Freedom Tower observation deck. This multi-screen grid showcases highlights and memorable visitors from the observatory’s history. As you walk past the 145 screens, you’ll learn more about the observatory and the different landmarks you can see from the viewing deck.
When it’s time to go up to the 100th floor, you’ll ride the SkyPod elevators at One World Observatory. These impressive elevators travel at 28 mph, transporting you to the observation deck in just 47 seconds.
See Forever Theater
Another cool thing to see inside One World Observatory is the See Forever Theater. It shows two performances every hour and uses state-of-the-art audio and visual effects that mimic NYC’s environment of bustling locals, awe-struck tourists, and honking taxis.
While taking in the incredible 360° views from One World Observatory, check out the other activities here, such as the Sky Portal, a 14-foot-wide translucent disk. As you walk across it, you’ll see a real-time view of the streets below, which is taken from the HD cameras on the Freedom Tower’s spire. It’s the closest you’ll get to a glass floor at One World Observatory, and it’s quite impressive, especially for kids.
As you walk around the indoor, climate-controlled observatory, you’ll notice the City Pulse installation. This multi-media setup consists of interactive screens you can tap and swipe to learn more about the history of the World Trade Center, its observation deck, and nearby attractions. Tour Ambassadors, who oversee the installation, can help you identify iconic sights from above as well as NYC’s different neighborhoods.
Digital Skyline Guides
If you get the Combination or All-Inclusive ticket to One World Observatory, you’ll have access to the Digital Skyline Guide. During your visit, you’ll get an iPad to carry around as your virtual guide. The screen highlights 40 skyscrapers and famous New York landmarks, which you can tap for more information and a birds-eye view.
Among the attractions you can explore are Central Park, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, and Yankee Stadium.
ONE Dine at One World Observatory
While the 100th floor is reserved for the observation deck, the 101st floor is where you can dine at One World Observatory. If you’re wondering what the 102nd floor is for, it’s reserved for ASPIRE, a premier event space.
ONE Dine at One World Observatory is the Freedom Tower’s acclaimed restaurant that boasts seasonal dishes, excellent service, and of course, mesmerizing views. The gourmet meals are prepared by renowned chefs, and you can choose from a delectable assortment of appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts.
The menu includes fresh recipes and regional ingredients including Atlantic salmon, New York strip steak, and NY-style cheesecake. ONE Dine is a beautiful place to treat yourself to a special dinner and drinks. Indulge in a glass of wine or champagne or opt for one of the signature cocktails while taking in the panoramic views of the city.
The restaurant is open Monday-Sunday from 12 pm to 11 pm, and you should reserve a table in advance.
Other things to do at the Freedom Tower observatory
While you’re exploring the observatory at One World Trade Center, take advantage of your time to see the other nearby attractions.
First, The Oculus is right next door and offers additional dining and shopping options. The coolest thing about this place is its unique design, which resembles a white dove taking flight. It was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, spans 350 feet wide, and has a height of 160 feet.
I also recommend visiting the nearby 9/11 Memorial and Museum, one of the best museums in NYC where you can learn about the events of September 11, 2001. Along with thousands of photos, videos, and audio recordings, there is a beautiful memorial with reflecting pools and a Survivor Tree.
If you want to visit One World Observatory and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in the same trip, I recommend getting the New York Pass or this combo ticket.
Finally, round out your visit by stopping at Liberty Park, an elevated green space overlooking the World Trade Center complex. This one-acre park is a pretty place to take a breather and admire the views, as well as see The Sphere, a bronze sculpture made from rubble salvaged from Ground Zero.
FAQs about the Freedom Tower observatory
Before I end this visitor guide to the World Trade Center observation deck, I’ll answer some common questions you may still have.
Where is One World Trade Center?
The observation deck at One World Trade Center is at 285 Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan, NYC.
How high is One World Observatory?
The height of One World Observatory is 1,268 feet, while the actual building is 1,792 feet at the tip.
When is the best time to visit One World Observatory?
To avoid crowds, the best time to visit One World Observatory is when it opens in the morning. However, for the nicest views, go right before sunset.
How far is One World Observatory from the 9/11 Memorial?
It’s a 3-minute walk from One World Observatory to the 9/11 Memorial.
How many floors does One World Observatory have?
One World Observatory is 94 stories tall, but its top floor is designated as the 104th floor.
How much time to visit One World Observatory?
A self-guided tour of One World Observatory takes about one hour.
Is One World Observatory worth it?
Yes! The Freedom Tower observation deck is one of the tallest observatories in NYC, and its panoramic views of Manhattan are unmatched.
Which is better: One World Observatory or the Empire State Building?
It depends on what you’re looking for. If you consider One World Observatory vs. the Empire State Building, the former is the taller structure. Also, One World Observatory is newer and offers lots of history and interesting activities. To be fair, the Empire State Building is an iconic part of the NYC skyline, so it’s also worth visiting.
Is One World Observatory the same as the Freedom Tower?
Yes, One World Observatory was formerly known as the Freedom Tower, although some people still use that name.
That’s it for this guide to One World Observatory! If you have any other questions, or you want to share your experience, feel free to leave me a comment below. Until then, have an awesome time at the Freedom Tower observation deck!