From One World Observatory, you get to view New York City from one of the highest observations decks in Manhattan. The entire visit is state of the art, from the high-tech elevator ride to the time-lapse video at the Forever Theater to the digital guides that teach you more about NYC. In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about how to visit One World Observatory.
We have visited One World Observatory twice. The first visit was July 2015, on one of the last days of our trip around the world. More recently, we visited One World Observatory in April 2022.
What is One World Observatory?
One World Observatory is the observation deck on One World Trade Center.
One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. It opened on November 3, 2014 and One World Observatory opened to the public in May 2015.
One World Observatory takes up three levels of One World Trade Center and the highest of these is the 102nd floor. At 1,268 feet, this is the highest indoor observation deck in New York City. You can get a slightly loftier view from the Apex at Edge (1,271 feet), which is an outdoor observation deck which you can only get to by wearing a harness and climbing up the outside of the skyscraper.
One World Trade Center
How to Get to One World Trade Center
One World Trade Center is located at 285 Fulton Street. The entrance into the building is on West Street.
Subway: The closest stop is the World Trade Center station on the E line. One World Trade Center is accessed from the Rector Street Station on Line 1, the Park Place station on Lines 2 and 3, or the Cortland Street Station on Line R.
PATH Train: From Hoboken to World Trade Center or from Newark to World Trade Center.
Taxi/Uber/Lyft: Get off at the intersection of Vesey Street and West End.
Entrance to One World Observatory
How to Visit One World Observatory
Hours of Operation
The One World Observatory is open 7 days a week. Regular hours are from 9 am to 9 pm, but these can change seasonally. To confirm hours directly on the One World Observatory website, click here.
Ticket Options – One World Observatory Website
Standard General Admission Tickets: Prices are advertised as starting at $38 for an adult, plus any taxes and processing fees that apply. These tickets have a timed entry, which is specified while purchasing tickets online.
Combination Tickets: Prices are advertised as starting at $48 for an adult plus any taxes and processing fees that apply. These tickets also have a timed entry but you get priority access to the security check and to the elevators, reducing your wait time.
All-Inclusive Tickets: These tickets allow you to select a 3 to 4 hour entry window instead of a specific entry time, giving visitors more flexibility in their plans. You also get priority access to the security check and to the elevators. And if you think you will purchase something at the cafe, bar, restaurant, or gift shop while you are there, then the $15 off perk that comes with these tickets can help offset the overall cost of your experience. Adult ticket prices are advertised as starting at $58 per ticket plus any taxes and processing fees that apply.
VIP Tour Tickets: These tickets give visitors a VIP experience, which includes an escorted entry and a guided tour. You also get the $15 off perk as mentioned with the All-Inclusive tickets. These tickets are the most expensive, with adult ticket prices advertised as starting at $68 per ticket plus any taxes and processing fees that apply.
To purchase tickets online directly through the One World Observatory website, click here.
Ticket Options – Get Your Guide Website
Skip-the-Ticket-Line Entrance Ticket: These tickets are equivalent to the Standard General Admission Tickets offered by the One World Observatory website. The last time we checked, after accounting for taxes and fees, the total price is cheaper on the GetYourGuide website for all age groups.
One World Observatory Ticket Booth
What to Expect on Your Visit to One World Observatory
After showing your tickets, you will pose for photos and then walk past the Horizon Grid that shows photos and videos of nearby places and historic moments in New York City.
The Horizon Grid
Elevator Ride to the 102nd Floor
The elevator ride to the 102nd floor is the best of the observation decks in New York City. On all four walls of the SkyPod Elevators are LED screens. As the elevator ascends, a time lapse transformation of New York City shows the evolution and growth of this city. You get to watch as the first settlements spring up and then are replaced by larger buildings and then the skyscrapers that we see today.
See Forever Theater
Before entering the One World Observatory viewing area, visitors are shown into the See Forever Theater, where a second time-lapse video about life in New York was shown.
One World Observation Deck
After the video, you enter the observation deck. You walk down two flights of stairs to the 100th floor. This observation deck covers the entire floor of the building, so you get 360° views of New York and New Jersey, as you make a loop around the building.
On the observation deck is the Sky Portal. If you stand on this circle of glass and look down, you can see the city 100 stories below.
Looking north from One World Observatory (photo taken April 2022)
Looking east from One World Observatory (photo taken April 2022)
Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge (photo taken April 2022)
Looking southeast from One World Observatory (photo taken April 2022)
View of the Statue of Liberty (photo taken July 2015)
One World Observatory (floor 100) and the upper level is ONE Dine (floor 101).
One World Explorer
You have the option to rent One World Explorer. This iPad is an interactive guide to New York City. As you walk around the building and gaze out at the city, One World Explorer displays facts and information about what you are looking at. If this is your first time in New York, or you are visiting with kids, consider renting one of these iPads. Not only will it identify famous landmarks but it makes the visit more enjoyable and educational for kids.
Dining at One World Observatory
There are three places at One World Observatory for food and drinks.
This upscale restaurant is located on the 101st floor, just above the main observation deck (which is on the 100th floor). Many tables are located along the edge of the restaurant, offering great views looking northwest from One World Observatory. We dined here on our most recent visit. The food and the drinks are very good so if you like the idea of sitting down to lunch or dinner on your visit to One World Observatory, make a reservation in advance.
ONE Mix and ONE Cafe
ONE Mix is a cocktail bar and ONE Café is a small café that serves snacks, coffee, and tea.
Best Time to Visit One World Observatory
Sunset is the best time to visit One World Observatory. Planning to arrive just before the sun sets gives you views during the daylight hours, but also gives you the opportunity to watch the sunset over Manhattan and then at night, as the city lights turn on. To do this, plan on being here for an hour or more. It may be more crowded at this time, so keep that in mind.
If you do not like the idea of crowds, go first thing in the morning, at 9 am. Most likely, there will be no lines and very few people in the One World Observatory.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a visit to One World Observatory last?
Expect to spend 1 to 2 hours at One World Observatory. This includes the time it takes to enter the observatory, watch the film at the Forever Theater, and take in the views of New York City. If you plan to have lunch or dinner at ONE Dine, add another hour onto this estimate.
Is One World Observatory worth it?
One World Observatory is one of five observation decks in Manhattan. Each observation deck offers a different experience.
If you are checking off visits to the world’s tallest buildings, put One World Observatory on your list.
We enjoyed our experience at One World Observatory, but it’s not our favorite observation deck in New York City. The Edge offers the most thrilling view, especially if you do City Climb. SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is the newest game in town and the entire experience is awesome and the views are the best in the city, in my opinion. And you can’t go wrong with a visit to the iconic Empire State Building. You can see photos from all of these in our Guide to New York City’s Observation Decks.
What else can I do in the area?
The 9/11 Memorial Plaza is an 8-acre site where the World Trade Center Twin Towers once stood. The foundations of the Twin Towers have been converted into reflecting pools and the surrounding area is now a grove of trees. This is located next to One World Trade Center.
The 9/11 Memorial Museum is a museum commemorating the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Tickets are available online and two to three hours is the recommended time to see this museum.
9/11 Memorial and the Oculus
If you have any questions about how to visit One World Observatory, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information about New York City
NYC OBSERVATION DECKS: In our article Best Observation Decks in New York City, we rank all of the observation decks by price, height, and best view. We also have detailed guides on The Edge, and SUMMIT One Vanderbilt.
BEST OF NEW YORK CITY: For a list of the top experiences in New York City, read our article Best Things to Do in New York City.
NYC ITINERARY: In our article 5 Days in New York City, we included detailed daily itineraries for exploring New York City. You can do all five days or follow just a day or two, if you have less time in the city.
CHELSEA & HUDSON YARDS: In our article Best Things to Do in Chelsea and Hudson Yards, learn about the best things to do in the area, with suggestions on where to eat and where to stay.
BROOKLYN: If you have plans to visit Brooklyn, read our article How to Spend One Day in Brooklyn.
Read all of our articles about the United States in our United States Travel Guide.
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