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9/11 Ground Zero FAQs

Info about the memorial, museum, observatory, and guided tour

Memorial, Museum, and Observatory

What is "Ground Zero"?

Ground Zero is generally defined as the site of the former World Trade Center and areas surrounding it.

What is the 9/11 Memorial?

The 9/11 Memorial is the plaza located at the site of the former Twin Towers. The memorial was built to commemorate the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, which killed six. It features two enormous waterfalls and reflecting pools, each about an acre in size, set within the footprints of the original Twin Towers. The design evokes a sense of hope and renewal and creates a contemplative space separate from the usual sights and sounds of a bustling metropolis.

What is Freedom Tower and OWO?

The One World Trade Center, known also as Freedom Tower, is the nation’s tallest skyscraper. It’s located near the northwest corner of Ground Zero. The “Skypod” elevators at Freedom Tower go up 1,250 feet to the One World Observatory, often called OWO. The observatory features breathtaking views of the city and surrounding areas, letting you see as far as Philadelphia!

What is the Oculus?

The Oculus is the outside structure of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. It’s architecturally unique, but it’s functional as well, serving as the subway entrance and an extensive shopping center. Though our tour doesn’t usually include a visit inside, your guide may make a quick stop in the Oculus to give you the opportunity to appreciate its airy, pearly white interior.

If I miss the tour, can I still get my ticket for the museum or observatory?

Your tour concierge will give you your museum or observatory ticket (or both if you’ve selected both upgrades) when you check in for your tour.

Guided Tour

How long is the tour?

Our guided tour of Ground Zero is 90 minutes. If you choose an experience with entry to the 9/11 Museum or the One World Observatory — or both — you’ll want to allow additional time for those attractions.

How long should I spend in the 9/11 Museum or One World Observatory?

Both the museum and observatory visits are self-guided, so you can go at your own pace. Most people spend about two hours in the museum. However, if you have booked our 2 p.m. tour, your time may be limited to 90 minutes due to the museum’s 5pm closing time.

What should I know before visiting the 9/11 Museum?

You’ll get a timed entry ticket to the 9/11 Museum if you purchased the upgrade. Depending on availability, your ticket may be for immediately after the tour or some time later. The museum reserves the right not to admit you if you are early or late for your timed entry. You can’t exit and reenter the museum.

There’s a security checkpoint before entering, and all large bags will need to be left at the coat check. You can bring in food and beverage but need to eat it at the atrium level. Flash photography and talking on cell phones aren’t allowed.

What should I know before visiting the One World Observatory?

Tickets to Freedom Tower are limited.

You’ll get a timed entry ticket to the One World Observatory at Freedom Tower if you purchased the upgrade. Tickets are only available on specific dates and times and can’t be used at any other time. Your entry time will be on the same date of your tour, typically a few hours after the tour start time. However, entry time may vary based on availability. If there’s no availability, we’ll notify you so you can choose another date, another tour, or receive a refund.

What is your refund and rescheduling policy?

We offer a 100% refund up to 24 hours before your tour start time for the guided tour portion of your experience. Attraction tickets are non-refundable.

We also offer free rescheduling up to 24 hours before your tour start time for our memorial and museum experiences. There is a $35 per person charge for rescheduling experiences that include the One World Observatory. For any of our tour packages, once you’ve rescheduled once, there are no refunds if you decide not to take the tour.

Are there bathrooms available?

There are bathrooms in St. Paul’s Chapel. There are also bathrooms inside the 9/11 Museum and Freedom Tower if you have tickets for entry.

Is the tour accessible for wheelchairs and strollers?

Yes, the tour is accessible for both wheelchairs and strollers.

Is the tour appropriate for children?

Yes, our guided tour of Ground Zero is appropriate for all ages. The subject matter is covered sensitively, and we’ve had many families enjoy our tours over the years. Kids 4-12 can join our tour at a reduced rate.

What is the tipping policy?

Tips are always appreciated by our guides but never expected. They should be given if you believe your guide did an outstanding job and want to show your appreciation.

Does this tour cover the 9/11 Museum or Freedom Tower?

Our 9/11 Ground Zero Tour covers the 9/11 Memorial and other sites at Ground Zero but does not include entry to the 9/11 Museum or Freedom Tower, though your guide may talk about these landmarks. If you’d like to add either or both of these onto your experience, please see our other tour options.