Apr 01, 2017

One World Observatory

By Joanne Colella

As the song goes – on a clear day, you can see forever. Or at least it seems like you can see forever if you happen to take a day trip to One World Observatory in lower Manhattan.

The observatory encompasses three floors – levels 100, 101, and 102 – at the top of the tallest building in the western hemisphere, the One World Trade Center building. The enormous, floor-to-ceiling windows provide stunning, unparalleled panoramic views of New York City, the surrounding waterways, iconic bridges and landmarks, outlying boroughs, and New Jersey. In the nearly two years since its official public opening on May 29, 2015, One World Observatory has become a must-see attraction for millions of visitors from all across the country and around the globe. Guests are strongly advised to reserve tickets in advance online – you can schedule your visit by date and time – and be prepared for lines upon your arrival, because the crowds are allowed entry by time slot. But it is well worth the wait!

Situated, of course, right next to the site of the September 11 Memorial and Museum, one might assume that it would be a somber venue, but that is actually not the case at all. Instead, the observatory is a vibrant, upbeat, and proud celebration of New York City, its history, people, places, culture, and events. As you first enter, you will pass through the Global Welcome Center and a program called “Voices” that tells the personal stories of the workers who built One World Trade Center, and another called “Foundations,” with facts about the very bedrock on which it stands. Groups are then guided onto several oversized elevators, which rise with lightning speed to the top floor in less than a minute. During those 60 seconds, however, you will be treated to an amazing time-lapsed visual history of New York City from the 1600s to today.

Upon emerging from the elevator, you will next view a brief and energizing video presentation about the sights, sounds, rhythm, and pulse of New York, followed by the dramatic unveiling of the city’s breathtaking views from nearly 1,300 feet up. From that point on, visitors can wander through the three floors of exhibits, 360-degree views from every window, and live presentations and recommendations from global ambassadors on things to do and see, along with eateries that include both a casual café and a fine dining restaurant.

One World Observatory is open year-round, seven days a week, from early in the morning until well into the evening, so whether you’re seeking an exciting, fascinating family outing with the kids or a planning a uniquely romantic night at sunset or under the starry skies with that special someone, it makes the perfect day – or evening – trip. From April 1 through May 4, hours are 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; from May 5 through September 4, hours are 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Regular hours during the rest of the year, except some holidays, are 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Regular admission prices are $34 for adults, age 13-64; $32 for seniors, age 65+; $28 for children, age 6-12; and free for children age 5 and under. There are also various priority, flex, discount, and special package ticket prices available, so be sure to check on the website for details.

Even if you’re a native New Yorker who thinks you’ve already seen it all in the big city, you probably haven’t seen it like this. One World Observatory is located at One World Trade Center, 285 Fulton Street in New York City. Enter on West Street, at the corner of Vesey Street. For information, call (844) 696-1776 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit www.oneworldobservatory.com.