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The Oculus Center is one of New York City’s most architecturally stunning buildings.

Its futuristic design makes the Oculus a standout among the surrounding structures of NYC.

So what is the Oculus? This post answers that question and also covers where the Oculus is located, how to get there and what you can do at this space-age-looking wonder!


Where Is The Oculus Located?

The Oculus is in the Lower Manhattan district of New York City and is part of the World Trade Center.

Its official address is 50 Church Street. But you won't need to know the street address to find the Oculus! You simply cannot miss this building! 

The Oculus is easily accessible by multiple subway lines including all the lines that go to the WTC:

  • 2/3/4/5/A/C/J/Z lines to Fulton Street 
  • 1 to WTC/Cortlandt Street
  • E to World Trade Center
  • R/W to Cortlandt Street
  • PATH train from New Jersey

Use this Google Map to get exact directions from your departure point.


What Is The Oculus?

Now that you know where it is and how to get there, you probably want to know what exactly the Oculus is!

The Oculus’s primary purpose is to serve as a transportation hub.

Oculus Transit Hub

With access to 12 subway lines and the PATH train to New Jersey, the Oculus serves over one million commuters a week. 

Inside the Oculus is a shopping mall with dozens of shops, eateries and public restrooms. 


Things To Do At The Oculus

Officially, the Oculus is the name of the building in which the Westfield Shops and Dining are located. 

Westfield Shops and Dining at the Oculus is open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Since it’s easier to use one word instead of four, we’ll stick with the Oculus for this article!


Shopping

The Oculus is great for shopping, and while it isn't the biggest shopping mall in New York, there are plenty of excellent stores on two levels to keep you busy.

Oculus Shopping mall

You can walk underground via the west concourse to Brookfield Place which has even more shops and wonderful views of the Hudson River.

See the store directory.


Dining

As part of the World Trade Center, with access in and out of three huge commercial buildings including One World Trade Center, the Oculus is a perfect spot for office workers to grab lunch.

Shoppers and those passing through the transportation hub have several small eateries to choose from, including Eataly, a large food hall with counters selling Italian specialties.

Eataly

There are also a few full-service restaurants.

See the list of dining options.


Events at the Oculus

From April to October, you can grab food and drinks at the Beer Garden.

Oculus Beer Garden

Every Friday from May to October, Smorgasburg, a NY iconic food market, sets up 20 food stalls outside along the Oculus’s north plaza.

On the north plaza of the Oculus, every Tuesday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm from June to October, there is a green market selling locally produced goods from the regional area. 

You’ll find foods like strawberries, cider, vegetables, baked goods, hard cider, beef and dairy, baked goods and even handcrafted potato vodka!

The North Plaza has a nice open space so there are from time to time live performances of music or dancing. There are even yoga classes in the warm months!

Oculus Plaza

In winter, a pop-up holiday market fills up the atrium of the Oculus which is decked out in Christmas decorations. 

See what's going on at the Oculus.


Things To Do Near The Oculus

There are so many attractions within walking distance of the Oculus. Just outside the Oculus is the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

One World Observatory (Freedom Tower) is a four-minute walk across the WTC plaza. 

You are also just a seven-minute walk from Wall Street and a 15-minute walk to the free Staten Island Ferry offering amazing views of Lower Manhattan.


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About The Author

Courtney

Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker fascinated with the city’s history, culture and cuisine. She loves exploring the world, as well as sharing her travel expertise with others. She joined the Free Tours by Foot team in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She has a law degree, a teaching degree and a worn-out passport. Her motto is “Have backpack, will travel”.
Updated: October 10th, 2022
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