5 Things to Do at the One World Observatory

Many guests visit the One World Observatory, which occupies floors 100-102 of the One World Trade Center, for the once-in-a-lifetime view of Manhattan. The following is a list of things to do while you’re up there!

1. Voices/Foundations

Experience “Voices,” a walk-through video montage featuring the men and women who built the One World Trade Center. Next, get a close-up look of “Foundations,” the Manhattan bedrock on which NYC was built.

2. Sky Pod Elevator

Take a ride in this elevator to watch 500 years of NYC’s history transpire before your eyes.  LED technology surround you to create an immersive experience.

3.  Main Observatory

Head over to the Main Observatory on the 100th floor, where you have a 360-degree view of Manhattan.

4. Observatory: Sky Portal

The Sky Portal is a 14-foot glass disc. Stand on it and look down if you want to catch a glimpse of the city below.

5. Dining

Several options await you if you’re hungry: One Dine (upscale restaurant), One Cafe (cafe), and One Mix (bistro).

5 Facts About St. Paul’s Chapel

  • The Chapel was named after St. Paul, who was born as Saul of Tarsus in the early first century and martyred in Rome in year 67.

  • The original Chapel opened in 1776, but was rebuilt in 1790 after the Great Fire of 1776. 

Learn more about St. Paul’s on one of our walking tours.

What to Eat in the Financial District

Paying their respects at the 9/11 Memorial and the Museum is the highlight of many of our guests’ trips to New York City. Given all there is to see and learn, a visit can last anywhere between a couple of hours and an entire day. If you plan on staying in the area for a while, consider any of the restaurants or eateries on the following list, which we have carefully curated to accommodate a range of budgets and palates.

Luke’s Lobster26 S. William St

Image Courtesy of Alexis Lamster (https://www.flickr.com/photos/amlamster/5836929808)

Inspired by Maine, Luke’s Lobster prides itself on offering some of the freshest seafood around.


The Capital Grille120 Broadway

Image Courtesy of Youngking11 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Capital_Grille_Restaurant.jpg)

With locations throughout America, The Capital Grille is a popular chain of steakhouses that offers American cuisine.


The Dead Rabbit, 30 Water Street

Image Courtesy of Morabito92 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Guinness_da_Bar.jpg)

This Irish pub offers cocktails, craft beer, and other libations, such as their “world-famous Irish coffee” and “the best Guinness in New York.” 


Go! Go! Curry, 12 John Street

Image Courtesy of Guilhem Vellut (https://www.flickr.com/photos/o_0/9464555464)

This curry house’s menu showcases Japanese curry in almost all its dishes.


Veronica’s KitchenFront Street & Pine Street

Image Courtesy of ThingsEyeDo (https://www.facebook.com/thingseyedo/photos/a.1216465858426970.1073741828.1216425405097682/1216466765093546/?type=3&theater)

The story behind this successful food cart is the American Dream. Decades ago, Veronica immigrated to the United States from her native Trinidad. Now her food draws long lines of loyal customers.


Pronto Pizza141 Fulton Street

A local favorite, Pronto Pizza offers classic pizzas and entrées.


Eataly NYC Downtown, Westfield World Trade Center

Image Courtesy of Karl Mikoy (https://www.flickr.com/photos/carlmikoy/5069160988)

An Italian marketplace that is co-owned by celebrity chef Mario Batali, Eataly operates in multiple locations across the U.S. and the world. Business Insider wrote about the uniqueness of this location, mentioning that it is the “first in New York to offer sit-down and grab-and-go breakfast options as well as menus for lunch and dinner.”


The Fulton Center, 200 Broadway 

Image Courtesy of MusikAnimal (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fulton_Center_mezzanine_2014.jpg)

The Fulton Center is, first and foremost, a major subway hub. It is also a shopping center that includes Shake Shack (burgers and milkshakes) and Wasabi (sushi and Japanese hot food).

Testimonials from New Yorkers on 9/11

Ask New Yorkers to talk about 9/11, and they will likely recall the day and events that unfolded in vivid detail: the clear September morning, where they were when the towers fell, the shock and disbelief, and the feeling of irrevocable change that settled in the aftermath.

We asked our tour guides to share their memories of that day. As diverse as they may be, their firsthand accounts of the tragedy and heroism of 9/11 speak to the unifying experiences of being a New Yorker and an American.

The Morning Of On the morning of September 11th 2001, I woke up just like any other day. I worked on the 15th floor of 10 Exchange Place in Jersey City, a skyscraper on the Hudson River right across the Hudson River from the World Trade Center. I remember how nice of a day it was- about 70 degrees with a nice breeze. Sometimes early September in New York can be sweltering, but that day was as pleasant as they come. –Tom S.

8:46 am and 9:03 am  I was in my office when the first plane harpooned the North Tower at 8:46am. While watching the flaming building from the trading floor, I attempted to contact the observation deck to make sure they left immediately. At 9:03 the second tower was struck with the resulting blast slamming the building, bending in the windows, followed by the concussions of the sound, and then the transfer of energy through the rock which shook the building. With no plan on what to do when planes hit towers, decisions were made and our floor was evacuated. –Tony

9:15 am 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. –Jon

10:45 am On 9/11, I was working as a news reporter for a financial magazine. I arrived at the office near Penn Station at 10:45 am, walked into the newsroom, when a co-worker shouted, “The World Trade Centers are gone!” I said, “That’s impossible!” He exclaimed, “Look out the window!” I looked outside and could not believe what I was seeing – black smoke rising from where the Towers once stood. –Sandy

The Aftermath Suddenly, it hit me that my mom was on a plane. My brain immediately jumped to the worst case scenario. I am extremely lucky that it was not the worst case scenario, but she was on one of over 255 US bound flights diverted to Canada when US air space was closed that day. She, along with about 6,000 others, landed in a tiny town called Gander Newfoundland which has a population of around 7,000 and an airport that normally sees just a few flights per day. The airport was so over capacity that it took them 19 hours to get off the plane. I have to mention that the people there were wonderful – they put food out on the ice rink because it was the only place in town large enough to keep food cold for that number of people – and they made up beds everywhere they could, including on church pews. My mom had a generous gentleman offer her an air mattress her first night, which she refused because she did not want to seem privileged above anyone else, and after one night on a church pew she went and found him again and got the air mattress. She was stuck in Gander for one full week. –Nathalie

The feeling of disbelief still haunts me to this day. How could something as permanent as the Twin Towers collapse? It shook me to my very core. The area of Lower Manhattan was closed for four days as was the New York Stock Exchange. Goldman’s offices were also closed. When subway service resumed on Saturday, I made my way downtown to see the destruction for myself. Upon exiting the subway the first thing that struck me was the smell. The cloying smell of burning rubble and steel but mixed with the very pungent smell of nearly 3,000 decaying bodies. A smell I will never forget. –Tom C.

Two days later I returned to work in a city that had completely changed. Military soldiers with machine guns lined the street in Times Square as I walked to my office. We were evacuated again that day due to more bomb threats at Grand Central. Subways were shut down again. In 2000 I worked in the South Tower as a temp and I was supposed to fly out of Newark airport, where Flight 93 departed from, on September 12th and I can’t help thinking how lucky I was and still am. –Tauren


Rebuilding Ground Zero: The Architects Behind the 9/11 Memorial and Museum

The 16-acre 9/11 Memorial occupies the site where the former World Trade Center complex once stood. It commemorates the September 11, 2001 attacks, the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, and the thousands of lives lost.

Restoring Ground Zero presented an opportunity to not just rebuild, but also to create a narrative about the tragedy and heroism of New Yorkers and Americans on 9/11.

Design Competition

Plans for a memorial were conceived soon after 9/11.  In 2003, an international design competition was held, and it received 5,201 submissions from 63 countries.

Image Courtesy of Svein-Magne Tunli (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:911_Memorial_The_National_September_11_Memorial_tunliweb.JPG)

Michael Arad and Peter Walker

Landscape architects Michael Arad and Peter Walker were named the winners. The following, provided by the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, is an excerpt from their design statement:

This memorial proposes a space that resonates with the feelings of loss and absence that were generated by the destruction of the World Trade Center and the taking of thousands of lives on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. It is located in a field of trees that is interrupted by two large voids containing recessed pools. The pools are set within the footprints of the Twin Towers. A cascade of water that describes the perimeter of each square feeds the pools with a continuous stream. They are large voids, open and visible reminders of the absence.

The surface of the memorial plaza is punctuated by the linear rhythms of rows of deciduous trees, forming informal clusters, clearings and groves. This surface consists of a composition of stone pavers, plantings and low ground cover. Through its annual cycle of rebirth, the living park extends and deepens the experience of the memorial.

The Memorial Jury

Members of the Memorial Jury, which included family members of 9/11 victims, NYC officials, and noted artists, issued a statement in 2004 about the winning design. The following is an excerpt:

Of all the designs submitted, we have found that “Reflecting Absence” by Michael Arad, in concert with landscape architect Peter Walker, fulfills most eloquently the daunting but absolutely necessary demands of this memorial. In its powerful, yet simple articulation of the footprints of the Twin Towers, “Reflecting Absence” has made the voids left by the destruction the primary symbols of our loss. By allowing absence to speak for itself, the designers have made the power of these empty footprints the memorial. At its core, this memorial is anchored deeply in the actual events it commemorates-connecting us to the towers’ destruction, and more important, to all the lives lost on that day….

While the footprints remain empty, however, the surrounding plaza’s design has evolved to include beautiful groves of trees, traditional affirmations of life and rebirth. These trees, like memory itself, demand the care and nurturing of those who visit and tend them. They remember life with living forms, and serve as living representations of the destruction and renewal of life in their own annual cycles. The result is a memorial that expresses both the incalculable loss of life and its consoling regeneration.

9/11 Museum and the Pavilion 

The National September 11 Memorial Museum’s 110,000 square feet of exhibition space houses artifacts that commemorate the events and victims of 9/11.

Davis Brody Bond

In conjunction with Michael Arad and Peter Walker, lead architect David Brody Bond (a.k.a. DDB) designed the museum. Based in lower Manhattan, DDB has worked on numerous projects throughout the city, including Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Apollo Theater Foundation, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum.

Image Courtesy of Farragutful (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:National_9-11_Memorial_New_York_02.JPG)


SNØHETTA, an award-winning international architecture and landscape firm, designed the Museum’s pavilion.  In addition to the 9/11 Museum, the firm has worked on the Alexandria Library in Egypt and the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, Norway.

Learn more about the Memorial on one of our tours, led by expert guides with personal connections to 9/11.