Freedom Tower Observatory Tickets

This post is about the Freedom Tower observatory in NYC, how to plan your visit, get tickets, discounts as well as tours.  You can purchase your skip-the-line tickets now.

 

PLAN YOUR VISIT


TIP: CitySights is offering a combination bus tour, boat tour, and observatory for just $63 adult.  If you can only visit one of the skyscraper observation decks, read our post Which to visit: Empire State Building, Top of the Rock or the Freedom Tower.


Plan Your Visit

In this section, we cover how to choose a ticket, including explaining the difference between standard, priority and flexible tickets.  We also suggest the best time to visit, security and prohibited items, as well as tips on how to get here.  

Timed Tickets

Freedom Tower provides timed tickets in order to keep crowds manageable. As a result, you may want to consider purchasing admission ahead of time in order to ensure that you can enter One World Trade Center.

Although most of their tickets are timed, it’s important to note that they also provide flexible admission for tourists who don’t know when they will arrive.One World Observatory Ticket

Several visitors indicate that they managed to buy tickets within 30-60 minutes of arriving, so getting them in advance might not be an absolute necessity.

However, you could save money and time by ordering your tickets with either a tourist pass or a combo package.

A general admission ticket will guarantee you entry to the Freedom Tower at a specific time and date. It is recommended to arrive at least 15 minutes ahead of time.

A priority ticket will allow you to skip to the front of the line and get in ahead of everyone else. You’ll also have the opportunity to skip elevator lines and go straight up to One World Observatory.

A flex ticket will allow you to enter the building pretty much whenever you want and receive skip-the-line access. This final option is also the most expensive.

For more information, make sure to check out our section detailing ticket prices and the different ways you can get admission to Freedom Tower.


Best Time to Visit

Thanks to the timed tickets at One World Trade Center, the crowds are usually pretty manageable no matter when you choose to visit.

Bearing that in mind, it’s important to remember that you can skip to the front of the line and avoid waiting for the elevators by purchasing a priority ticket. This is one of the best ways to make sure that you won’t have to wait for much of anything while visiting.

Whether you get tickets ahead of time or directly at the Freedom Tower, it will be important to keep their hours in mind.

Observatory Hours

September-April

  • 9am-9pm
  • last ticket sold at 8:15 pm

May-September

  • 8am-9pm
  • Last ticket sold at 8:45 pm

Late guests can stay until 10 pm

According to several visitors, there are two times to consider when going to One World Observatory: early morning and early evening.

Although timed tickets keep the lines manageable, this landmark still gets pretty busy in the late morning and early afternoon.

 

Best Time to Visit One World Observatory

 

Some visitors have mentioned waiting in line for around 1 – 2 hours during especially popular days and hours. If you want to visit during these hours, consider purchasing a priority ticket in order to avoid long waits.

 

 

Busiest Time One World Observatory

 

Guests also indicate that the Freedom Tower is far more popular than usual on weekends and during warmer months. In order to avoid large crowds and long lines, we recommend visiting on Tue-Thu, if possible. 

Even though your tickets are timed, there is no limit on how long you can stay at One World Observatory. Travelers who have been to this landmark suggest setting aside at least 1 ½ – 2 hours for your visit.

If you plan on seeing other sites in the area such as the 9/11 Museum + the 9/11 Memorial, you will want to set aside a lot more time for those activities. Guests recommend planning to spend at least 2 hours at the museum and 1 hour at the memorial.

 

Sphere World Trade Center

 

The One World Trade Center is also very close to the Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street and the Statue of Liberty, so you may want to consider spending an entire day in lower Manhattan.  

Check out our guide to the area.

Whether or not you choose to make a day out of this trip, you can always take a break right across the street from the One World Trade Center at Brookfield Place and get a bite to eat at their food court.

Visitors who plan on doing more than just seeing the 9/11 Museum + Memorial and One World Trade Center might want to consider taking one of our pay-what-you-like walking tours. We offer several tours nearby, including some that either start or end at the Freedom Tower.


Security Information

Before you head out to One World Trade Center, it will be important to make sure that you don’t bring anything that is prohibited. In order to ensure the security of the building, certain items are not allowed inside.

Prohibited Items

  • Weapons
  • Firearms
  • Food & Drink
  • Professional Cameras
  • Recording Devices
  • Lighting Equipment
  • Tripods
  • Pets

Items Allowed

  • Service Animals
  • Strollers
  • Wheelchairs
  • Personal Cameras
  • Smartphones
  • DSLR Cameras
  • Flash Pieces

How to Get Here

The Freedom Tower’s address is 285 Fulton St, New York, NY 10007 and it’s located in the Financial District in Lower Manhattan at the corner of West and Vesey Streets.

The entrance is located on the West Plaza alongside West Street at the Northwest corner of the World Trade Center site and is bordered by Vesey Street to the North.

There are numerous subways nearby as well as a few buses. You can use this link to Google Maps to get exact directions from your starting point to One World Trade Center.

 

Freedom Tower map

 

If you are new to riding the subway, check out our posts:

 


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TICKETS  

Travelers who would like to purchase their tickets ahead of time should keep the following information in mind while planning out their trip. For more details, make sure to read our explanation of the timed tickets at Freedom Tower. 


TIP: General admission tickets are included for free with the purchase of the Sightseeing Unlimited and Sightseeing Flex passes. You should also read our sections on combo tickets and discounts


General Admission

  • $34/Adults | $32/Seniors | $28/Children
  • Children 5 and under are FREE
  • Skip-the-Line is NOT included
  • Must use at time stamped on the ticket
  • More information or to book

Priority Ticket

  • $56 per person
  • Children 5 and under are FREE
  • Skip-the-Line is included
  • Must use at time stamped on the ticket
  • More information or to book

Flexible Tickets

  • $61/Sunset Flex
      Come anytime after 33 pm
  • Skip-the-Line is included
  • $67/Day Flex
    • Come anytime on a specific date
    • Skip-the-Line is included
  • $67/Anytime Flex
    • Come on any day at anytime
    • Skip-the-Line is included

Click here to purchase flex tickets.

If you want to avoid long lines and pick the best time to see the Freedom Tower, make sure to read our Plan Your Visit section for helpful tips.


Discounts on Freedom Tower Tickets

There are several ways to obtain discounted tickets, either as part of a tour bus combination ticket, or part of a tourist discount pass or as part of an organized tour that also includes the 9/11 Museum and/or Memorial.  Some options may work better for you than others.  It really depends on what else you plan on visiting while in New York City.  Some walking tour companies offer tours of the 9/11 Memorial that also include tickets to the Freedom Tower’s observation deck. 


Purchase a ticket as part of a bus tour package.

Several bus tour companies offer combination tickets that combine bus, boat, and attractions, such as One World Observatory.  We’ve listed the best value option below, but be sure to read our bus tour comparison page to learn more about other companies’ options.

  • CitySights NYC Tours also offer a broad deal that gives you tickets to One World Observatory (plus)
    • 48 hours of hop-on-hop-off bus, that includes all of Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx + a night tour.
    • hop-on, hop-off boat cruise
    • free entry to the Museum of the City of NYC or the New York Historical Society
    • $84 – Adult | $74 – Child
    • Ultimately, you would be getting the Observatory tickets at 50% off.
    • More information or to book.

Purchase a tourist discount pass

There are several tourist discount passes that offer you unlimited access to 40-60 tours and attraction tickets all in one single discounted price.  Other passes let you choose à la carte, while others offer 3, 5 or 7 options.  Savings could be anywhere from 20% to 50%, it really depends on which pass you choose.  

The passes that include One World Observatory are the Sightseeing Pass Unlimited, the Sightseeing Pass Flexible.  Several bus companies also offer passes.  


As of 2017, the following offers were valid:

 


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TOUR OF THE FREEDOM TOWER

The Freedom Tower’s observatory’s official name is One World Observatory.  You may hear it referred to by different names based on its association with past events and locations:  the 911 Observatory, the World Trade Center (WTC) Observatory, the 911 Freedom Tower.

Whatever you call it, this tower is like no other in the world. A visit to its sky-high observatory is simply unforgettable. Just read the reviews.

The tour of the Freedom Tower is self-guided, but there are guided tours of the memorial outside that include tickets to the Freedom Tower observatory.  The Freedom Tower is also a stop on both our Lower Manhattan and 911 Memorial GPS audio tours.

 

 

Upon entering the building, you pass through an airport-style security check. (Bring as few belongings as possible to speed up this process. Be prepared to empty your pockets, remove your belt and walk through a metal detector. Your belongings will be screened and there are several prohibited items which you will find listed under our security information section.

After security, you go down an escalator and enter a series of halls with looping videos. The first one is Voices, which sharestories of those who built One World Trade Center.

Next is Foundations, a narrow hallway lined with fake bedrock to give you a sense of just how solid a foundation was needed to have built the Freedom Tower. 

You then take the Sky-Pod elevators where you will climb 1,250 feet (381 m) in less than 60 seconds!  The Sky-Pod elevators have LED screens on all sides showing a 47-second time-lapse video of 500 years of New York City history from a wide open green land mass to a tiny Dutch settlement, then a small city and then the rapid transformation into a modern metropolis.

If you have a VIP entry ticket (see Tickets below) you can bypass the Voices and Foundations exhibits and go directly to the elevators. This is great if you are in a rush, but some may enjoy the entire experience.

 

 

The elevator arrives in the blink of an eye to the 102nd floor where you are led into the See Forever Theater, a long room lined with panels on which a two-minute video about New York City is shown. At the end of the video, the panels disappear into the ceiling and floor to reveal the breathtaking view to the north and east of the tower.

Since the 102nd floor is reserved for private events, you are led down to the 101st floor where a snack café, a bar, and a fine dining restaurant are located.

But you didn’t come up to eat, you came for the views. Finally, on the 100th floor, you will be mesmerized by the 360-degree panoramic view of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. On a clear day, you can see about 50 miles in any direction.

You can walk over the Sky Portal, a 14-foot-wide (4 m) circular disc with screens that use real-time video feeds to simulate the view from 100 stories up. Also, live guides will introduce you to the “City Pulse” interactive skyline concierge with information about the city and its landmarks.

 

Freedom Tower view dusk

 

Plan to spend 45 minutes to an hour for your visit. Of course, you can stay longer staring at the view that goes on forever. Or grab a snack the cafe or bar and visit the gift shop.

If you loved the view from the Freedom Tower, you might want to check out one of the other observation decks in the city, the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock, which both have great views that include the Freedom Tower. If you can only visit one of the skyscraper observation decks, read our post Which to visit: Empire State Building, Top of the Rock or the Freedom Tower.

 


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WHY CHOOSE ONE WORLD OBSERVATORY?

One World Observatory offers one of the best views of NYC, but the competition is pretty fierce. Both Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building have incredible and historic views of the city. With that in mind, let’s discuss a few reasons why you may or may not want to visit this landmark.

Perfect for Photographers

If you are interested in photography, One World might be the best observatory to visit. Unlike some of the other observation decks in the city, you are allowed to bring a DSLR camera and take high-quality photos. While Empire State Building will let you bring small cameras, Top of the Rock does not allow any type of professional camera. If you want to get some very nice photos of the New York skyline, this is an excellent opportunity.

Closest to Statue of Liberty 

If you want the best-unobstructed views of the New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty, One World Observatory is going to be your best bet. It is closer to this monument than any other observation deck in the city. This also makes it easy to combine a trip to both locations in one day.

Although you can see Lady Liberty from both Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building, it will be much further out and more difficult to see.

Not Centrally Located 

Unfortunately, since the One World is so close to the Hudson River, it isn’t exactly the best spot to get a 360° view of Manhattan. In comparison, Top of the Rock is very close to sites such as Central Park, Times Square, Trump Tower and the Empire State Building. If you’re not too worried about getting a good view of the Statue of Liberty, you may want to consider a different observation deck.

If you need more help picking just one of the skyscraper observation decks, read our post Which to visit: Empire State Building, Top of the Rock or the Freedom Tower.

 


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TOURS AND NEARBY ACTIVITIES IN LOWER MANHATTAN

Before or after your visit to the Freedom Tower, consider taking one of our pay-what-you-wish guided tour of Ground Zero and 9/11 Memorial. On Tuesdays, we run our 9/11 and World Trade Center Tour at 1 pm. If you visit the Tower in the afternoon, join us on our 911 Memorial and Brooklyn Bridge Night Tour at 7 pm. We also recommend you do at least one of these free activities. These are among the highlights of any New York visit!

Helpful tips when visiting Lower Manhattan

If you would like to join us on one of our tours, take a look at our tour calendar.  We offer more than 35 tours that explore many parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. We also have more than 20 self-guided tours you can use on mobile devices.

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Written by Courtney Shapiro

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