One World Observatory

New York City, NY


If you have the opportunity to visit New York City in the future, be sure to put One World Observatory on your “must see” list. 

The building itself is a breathtaking site as it rises 1776 feet up from street level. The One World Observatory is located on floors 100-102 of this beautiful new One World Trade Center Building. On a sunny day with blue skies, this reflective building is even more impressive. It proudly claims the title of the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building.

I was recovering from knee surgery when we visited NYC this past summer, so we booked our visit online and paid extra for the VIP “Skip the Line” Expedited Entry tickets. These upgraded tickets were a god send! Instead of standing and sweating outside for hours with hundreds of others, we bypassed all the general admission ticket lines and were ushered right in. We entered through the front doors, cleared security and walked directly to the elevators. We were inside the Observatory in less than 5 minutes. The VIP tickets were a little costly but they were worth every penny to me.

The 60-second ride in the elevator to the 100th floor was very smooth. The elevator walls were LED screens that illustrated 500 years of NYC’s past history as we ascended to the top floors. When the elevator stopped, we stepped out and saw the skylines and city scenes that awaited us. (Near the elevators, you can rent iPads that actually label the sights you are viewing.) The Main Observatory had outstanding panoramic views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey, and all surrounding areas. On a clear day like we had, we could see 50 miles out in every direction. Fantastic!

In the center of one area was the Sky Portal. This is a large glass disc that you can walk across or stand on. It shows the actual street 100 floors below you and was a little scary for me. I did not care for standing on glass and seeing people, cars and taxis moving below me in real time…..a little unsettling, to say the least.

 As we walked around the circular site, all the area views were spectacular from this vantage point. We saw something different in every direction. We spotted the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan, the NYC bridges, the rivers, barges & boats, Time Square, the Empire State Building, Central Park, the Chrysler Building and the 9/11 Memorial next door – just to name a few. It was a very neat experience and something I will never forget. 

The observatory itself was quite open and spacious and there was plenty of room for everyone to get great views. The elevator rides are conveniently timed to keep crowds evenly dispersed. We never felt crowded or unable to see what we wanted. There were restrooms, restaurants, a gift shop, and various speakers scattered throughout the 360 degree site. You choose to spend as little or as much time here as you prefer.

When you decide to leave this building, you are merely steps away from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. It was somewhat mentally difficult and quite emotional for me at times being in this building on this very sight. More than once, I stood and gazed out at the horizon looking for airplanes and imagining that horrific day that will forever be locked in my memory.

This sight has so many memories for all of us and I think NYC has done a tremendous job with the One World Observatory. Please visit if you have the chance – it is very worthwhile. If you have visited, please leave your comments below. I would love to hear of your experiences.

Rest in peace, all those unfortunate souls who lost their lives here on 9/11. Your spirits live on.

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