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Ground Zero Tour Highlights

Local guides. Firsthand stories.

Ground Zero and 9/11 Memorial Tours

Tours of the 9/11 Memorial plus tickets for the 9/11 Museum and One World Observatory

Guided tours led by New Yorkers with personal connections to the events of 9/11

When the planes hit the Twin Towers on September 11th, the world watched as one of the most recognizable symbols of power and freedom fell. From the smell of fire to the sound of sirens, New Yorkers witnessed firsthand the events of that day. Even now, they can recall the moments of tragedy and heroism that tested and ultimately strengthened our city.

Walk with us as we explore Ground Zero. Hear firsthand accounts from guides who remember 9/11. Learn about the new World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Take a moment to honor the lives lost and to see and celebrate New York City’s resilience.

Firsthand Accounts

As longtime New Yorkers, we'll never forget September 11, 2001, and the days that followed. We each had different experiences, but together they tell a shared story. Here, our guides relate a few of their memories from 9/11.

Read more firsthand accounts from our guides

On September 11, I awoke to a delightful break from the sweltering heat and humidity we had endured all summer long. I was singing at a nursing home, a distance away from the Financial District, and had begun engaging with the residents in the dementia unit when a nurse ran in saying, “A small plane just hit the twin towers!” We ran to the TV and watched in horror, along with 2 billion other people, as the second plane hit. This was no accident. All I could think was “Wow, it’s going to take a long time to repair this damage.” My heart broke in a thousand different ways as I watched what happened over the next hour or so. The Activities Director said I could go home if I wanted to and that the residents on the Dementia Unit would not really know the difference. Those words struck a nerve in me. I wanted to stay. I wanted to have a few more hours in a room full of people who did not know the world just changed.


I was sleeping in on September 11, 2001, and was awakened at around 9:15am by the sound of fire engine sirens- lots of them. I looked out of the apartment window, out into the gorgeous Indian summer day, and saw a stream of firetrucks racing downtown. A big plume of thick smoke was visible in the sky as I looked south from 24th street. Judging by its size, I figured it must have been in a nearby neighborhood.


I went to bed in my Hell’s Kitchen apartment about 6am and didn’t wake up until the phone rang at 11:30am. My wife at the time answered and, from the conversation, I could immediately tell that something terrible had happened, the extent of which I couldn’t fathom until I turned on the TV and witnessed the nightmare that had happened just three miles to the south of me. The World Trade Center had been attacked and was now gone.


Read more firsthand accounts from our guides

Ray our guide gave the day the respect it deserved. He told us what it was like to be a New Yorker not only that day but since. He talked about people who were intimately involved in the day, including his family members. To walk up to the Pools where the towers stood is one thing, but to get the story behind how and what’s there, is so much more

Robert Duncan

His account was informative and emotional but showed the resilience and determination of the New York people. We toured the chapel, the plaza and the memorial itself, which is obviously very emotional. John was able to give us the information that we would most definitely had missed if we hadn’t taken this tour.

Kim Gordon

Great experience… the tour was a bit surreal and Fred relayed the stories and how the events that day impacted New Yorkers.

Jean-Jack Pollet

See more reviews on Tripadvisor

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The tour is wheelchair accessible. However we do not provide wheelchairs.

The 9/11 Memorial is also designed with accessibility in mind, including chamfered corners so that someone who is seated can experience the same views as someone standing.


During our tour, there are restrooms in St. Paul’s Chapel. There are also bathrooms inside the 9/11 Museum and Freedom Tower if you have tickets for those attractions.

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Our guided tour is 90 minutes. You can also add on a visit to the 9/11 Museum, which takes about two hours, and the One World Observatory at Freedom Tower, which takes about an hour.