Things to do at One World Observatory

One World Trade Center, housing the observatory on floors 100 to 102, is closely connected to Ground Zero. 

Completed in 2014, it was built after 9/11 to redevelop the World Trade Center site and rejuvenate business in the area. 

Known as the Freedom Tower, it symbolizes the city’s resilience and the nation’s values of freedom and independence. 

Standing at 1,776 feet, its height represents the year America was founded. 

Together with the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the One World Observatory and Freedom Tower provide visitors with an engaging experience.

 The museum narrates the events of 9/11, while the observatory and tower celebrate the city’s revival and continued success. 

This article will outline the top activities at One World Observatory.

1. Global Welcome Center

The experience at the One World Observatory begins at the Global Welcome Center. 

Here, a video wall displays various states and countries, welcoming visitors in many languages. 

This installation aims to celebrate the diverse backgrounds of every visitor. 

Next, visitors move to Voices, a walk-through video montage showing the people behind the construction of One World Trade Center. 

They share inspiring stories about the building’s creation. 

Additionally, visitors can view Foundations, an exhibit displaying the Manhattan bedrock, the foundation for New York City and the World Trade Center. 

This exhibit emphasizes the bedrock’s vital role in enabling modern skyscrapers.

2. SkyPod Elevators

Although visitors can’t avoid riding the elevator, it remains an enjoyable experience. 

While most observation decks in the city offer a fast elevator experience, The SkyPod at One World Observatory is the fastest elevator in North America.

As a bonus, OWO’s elevator ride provides a unique journey through hundreds of years of New York City’s history. 

LED screens line the sides of the elevator, allowing passengers to travel through time as they ascend. 

Beginning with the lush green fields and trees that once covered Manhattan, passengers witness the city’s growth and development right before their eyes.

In just 47 seconds, passengers transition from unsettled lands to the bustling concrete jungle of skyscrapers. 

By reaching the top, they’ve ascended 102 stories and experienced over 300 years of history.

3. One World Explorer

The One World Observatory features the One World Explorer, an interactive guide providing virtual tours of New York’s key buildings and attractions. 

As visitors gaze out from the observatory, the explorer brings them up close to what they see. 

All they need to do is scan the skyline and select the places they want to learn about.

As a bonus, visitors can continue the experience at home by streaming the photos and videos on their own devices.

The One World Explorer features two channels: Skyview and Restaurant.

The Restaurant channel suggests ten famous restaurants, aiding visitors in choosing where to eat in New York City.

4. See Forever Theater

Visitors encounter the See Forever Theater on the 102nd floor. 

This horizontal theater displays various aspects of life in New York City, from landmarks to the subway system. 

The immersive experience concludes with screens lifting to reveal a stunning view of Manhattan for about 10 seconds.

5. Horizon Grid

After the Global Welcome Center, visitors enter a dark “tunnel” with 145 screens on the Horizon Grid’s right side. 

These screens show animated landmarks worldwide, like London’s Big Ben and Paris’ Eiffel Tower.

6. Sky Portal

The Sky Portal is a 14-foot-wide glass circle. 

Those who dare to step on it can see the city 100 stories below. 

This feature provides one of the most unforgettable and unique perspectives at the One World Trade Center observatory.

It uses real-time, high-definition footage of the street below to glimpse what’s happening thousands of feet down.

7. The Oculus

Situated in the bustling heart of the World Trade Center complex, the Oculus is an architectural marvel designed by Santiago Calatrava. 

With its soaring wings and intricate ribbed interior, this striking structure serves as a transportation hub that seamlessly blends form and function. 

Visitors who go to One World Observatory can pause to admire the Oculus’ grandeur, capturing stunning photographs showcasing its unique design. 

Beyond its visual appeal, the Oculus offers a glimpse into the resilience and rebirth of this iconic site.

8. Dining Experience

One World Observatory dining option with breathtaking views to create a truly memorable experience. 

Visitors can indulge in upscale cuisine at the Observatory’s signature restaurant – One Dine. 

The menu features locally sourced ingredients and innovative dishes inspired by the city’s diverse culinary landscape. 

For those seeking a more casual experience, the Observatory’s café offers a selection of light bites, refreshments, and delectable treats. 

9. Shopping

After marveling at the stunning views and exploring the Observatory’s exhibits, visitors can take home a piece of their experience at the on-site retail shop. 

Here, they’ll find a curated collection of souvenirs, apparel, and unique gifts designed to commemorate their visit to this iconic New York City landmark. 

From stylish accessories adorned with the Observatory’s logo to books and multimedia, One World Observatory offers something for every taste and budget. 

Whether seeking a memento for themselves or a special gift for loved ones, visitors will surely find the perfect keepsake to cherish for years to come.

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