New York from One World Observatory
New York from One World Observatory

One World Observatory – Experience New York From 102 floors!

The first time I experienced a SkyScraper was during my first international trip when I was in Chicago to attend KubeCon. That’s when I visited Sky Deck Chicago which is a 100-storey building with an observatory. That was my first time at such a height and the city looked surreal. After that, I headed to New York, a city with many skyscrapers.

Considering the time and the budget, I decided to visit the One World Observatory that overlooks the Upper Bay and the Statue of Liberty.

As a kid growing up in India, I was always fascinated by Skyscrapers. I used to be engrossed in those science and technology books that talked about the biggest and grandest things in the world. The first tallest building I visited was my dad’s office in Ahmedabad and this was in the early 2000s. It was a 10-storey building and I was amazed to see the buses so tiny! Fast forward to 2024, I’ve visited some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. 

In this post, I’ll share my experience and all the details you need to plan your visit to the One World Observatory in New York.

One World Observatory – Engineering Marvel

Opened in 2014, One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at a symbolic height of 1,776 feet. It’s built at the same site in lower Manhattan as the twin towers that were destroyed during the 9/11 terror attacks. The brand new One World Trade Center stands tall as a remarkable architectural accomplishment and a resilient symbol of rebuilding in the face of immense tragedy. 

The One World Observatory is at the top of this iconic building on the 101 and 102nd floors. It offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of New York’s iconic skyline from 1250 feet above. And because of this 360-degree viewing experience, I decided to visit this observatory and not the others in the city. 

How To Visit One World Observatory

One World Observatory is located at One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. The main entrance is along the West Side of West Street between Vesey and Fulton Streets.

  • By Subway: Take the E train to the World Trade Center station – Oculus (prefer this because of the iconic architecture of this station), or the A/C/1/2/3 trains to Chambers St/Park Place.
  • By Bus: The M55 bus runs along West Street with a stop right by One World Trade Center.

The observatory is open from 9 AM to 9 PM from Monday to Sunday.

One World Observatory Tickets

There are multiple packages offered at the One World Observatory. Below are some of the packages that one can choose depending on the experience you need:

  • Standard: $44
  • Combination: $54 – dedicated lifts, priority entry, $5 food and drink coupon and digital guide (it’s an iPad with AR based app that you can point to places you see)
  • All-Inclusive: $64 – This includes all from above along with arrival at any time, and a $15 coupon to drink and eat at the cafe upstairs. 
  • VIP Tour: $76 – includes a guided tour of the observatory, escorted entry and a $15 food and drink coupon.

Apart from these, they have different packages like late-night packages where you can visit after 5 PM and get a $15 discount, group and family discounts.

I booked the standard pass at $47 including taxes. I had pre-booked it before leaving India. I booked it for 3 PM as most of the other slots later in the day were booked. Being a map/geography junkie, I wanted to witness the sunset but all the 5 PM ones were booked. 

My One World Observatory Experience

Though I mentioned that one can take a New York Subway to reach the One World Trade Center, I actually walked to this place. I was walking back from Brooklyn Bridge passing Vesey Street and finding the iconic World Trade Center stationOculus.

Oculus - New York
Oculus – New York

This railway station is right out to a sci-fi book. It looks like a spaceship and it’s nothing like any other railway station. The station is massive and is a shopping mall inside with one side of it leading to the train station. I spent time walking around the mall and utilising my team before my time slot at the observatory. 

From there, I walked past the 9/11 memorial where the twin towers once stood. Ever since I had seen them in some book in school, I always wanted to visit, but alas that never happened. The 9/11 memorial is also located here which I visited after my observatory visit read more about 9/11 museum and memorial. 

Entry To The One World Trade Center

I arrived at the observatory around 3:30 PM and I was worried if they would allow me entry, but they did. You can also book tickets on the spot, but I booked it online so I could directly get to the building. A long stretch of escalator took me to the entrance of the observatory. And like any other important place in the USA, this also has an airport-style security. Large bags can be kept in lockers, and I was allowed to go in with my bag pack. 

Entrance to the One World Observatory
Entrance to the One World Observatory

The entrance is grand and has a massive screen that shows in real time people who are visiting the observatory from different parts of the world. So with every scan, it puts a pin on the massive map and shows some statistics of visitors for the day. 

After this, you take a walk to the elevators that take you to the top. The elevator ride is one of the best, even the Chicago SkyDeck one was good when it comes to the animations and video within the elevator. The elevator wasn’t too crowded (as I had thought since most folks would come only by sunset) and it was also one of the quickest, ears popped by the time we reached the top. 

New York From The Top

The 360-degree views of New York from the top are surreal, keep walking around the place to spot some iconic New York buildings. You can see the whole New York City skyline. Look out over the tall buildings of Manhattan. You’ll spot famous landmarks like the Empire State Building in Midtown. To the east, you can see the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan. The Manhattan Bridge runs parallel right next to it over the East River. Further away, you’ll see the iconic Statue of Liberty standing in the harbour. You can look across the Hudson River to the skyline of New Jersey on the other side.

New York from One World Observatory
New York from One World Observatory

Apart from this, you must also experience the City Pulse show. It exhibits a really unique show that uses cutting-edge technology to present the heartbeat of New York City through lights, sounds and video projection. It takes live data streams like traffic, weather and even social media activity to create a choreographed display across multiple screens. The sights and sounds synchronise to make you feel fully immersed in the kinetic energy pulsing through the city streets below.

City Pulse show at One World Observatory.
City Pulse show at One World Observatory.

A Beautiful Sunset

The sunset from up at One World Observatory was just breathtaking. As the sun started to dip below the horizon, the whole sky became painted in the most incredible shades of orange, pink and purple. It was like a constantly changing watercolour masterpiece up there.

Beautiful sunset from One World Observatory
Beautiful sunset from One World Observatory

Watching the sunlight gradually fade across the Manhattan skyline was mesmerising. The tall skyscrapers almost seemed to glow golden for a little while as the day transitioned to night. The Statue of Liberty had an almost magical aura around it from the warm sunset hues reflecting off the harbour.

Definitely recommend catching the sunset up at the Observatory if you can!

PS: Though they mention that this is a timed entry, the exit isn’t time-based on my visit. So I came at 3:30 PM and left around 6-6:30 PM after the sunset.

Viewing Experience Not To Be Missed

After coming back down from the top of One World Observatory, I felt so amazed. Seeing the sunset over New York City from way up high was incredible. The colours in the sky were so beautiful as the sun went down and the city lights started twinkling everywhere. Taking in all the famous sights like the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty from 1,776 feet up was an experience I’ll never forget. The City Pulse show with the lights and sounds made me feel like I was part of NYC’s nonstop energy.

One World Trade Center is a very special place. It reminds us that even after terrible events, we can rebuild and move forward stronger than before. Visiting the Observatory lets you see this tough, vibrant city in a totally unique way from the very top. It’s an amazing view that everyone should experience at least once!

That’s it for this blog post. I hope you found this helpful in planning your visit to the top in the future. Feel free to reach out to me for any assistance. Drop your thoughts in the comments below, tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj, DM on Atulmaharaj on Instagram, or Get In Touch.

About Atulmaharaj

A seasoned blogger and a content marketer for close to a decade now. I write about Food, Technology, Lifestyle, Travel, and Finance related posts. Blogging brings me joy and the best part is I get to read and e-meet so many amazing bloggers! PS: I'm also the founder for :) Favorite Quote: "Traveling is like reading a book, one who hasn't traveled, hasn't turned a page.

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