Inside One World Observatory

The view of New York from One World Observatory’s Observation Deck is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

You can see as far as the earth’s curve when the day is clear. Explore the whole of New York in an instant.

You can marvel at the 360-degree views of Manhattan, the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor, and more. 

A quick stop at the observatory is a must when visiting Ground Zero.

Because the observatory is part of the World Trade Center, the entrance is only a few steps from the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. 

Aside from seeing some of the most beautiful sights in the city from above, there are a variety of things to do inside one world observatory. 

Also, you can find a list of what to see inside One World Observatory below. 

But first, let us explain how One World Trade Center and the observatory came to be and how they are linked to 9/11 and the Ground Zero sites.

The observatory on floors 100-102 of One World Trade Center has an essential connection to the rest of Ground Zero. 

It was built in the aftermath of 9/11 to restore the World Trade Center and bring business back to the area, and it was completed in 2014.

The structure is called the Freedom Tower because it symbolizes the city’s and our country’s ideals of freedom and independence.

Fact: Its height, at 1,776 feet, corresponds to the year of America’s birth.

With its height and magnificence, the One World Observatory creates an immersive experience for visitors in conjunction with the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

The museum depicts the 9/11 tragedy, while the One World Trade Center observatory and Freedom Tower commemorate the city’s recovery and ongoing success.

While planning your visit, you will ask what to see inside one world observatory.

Tourists can see views from the observation deck of the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building. 

Take the SkyPod elevator to the top, where you’ll be greeted by three floors of exhibits, restaurants, and sightseeing opportunities across New York City. 

Now that you’ve learned more about One World Trade Center, here are some things to do inside one world observatory.

The Oculus

The Oculus
Image: Wikipedia.org

The Oculus, a transportation hub and shopping mall inside one of New York’s most unique buildings, is located across the memorial plaza from One World Trade Center. 

It’s a quick stop on your way into the World Trade Center before heading to the observatory. 

You could stop for a bite to eat, browse the shops, or admire the incredible architecture.

Global Welcome Center: Voices and Foundations

Global Welcome Center Voices and Foundations
Image: Yelp.com

The One World Observatory inside experience begins with the Global Welcome Center, a video wall that changes to show different states and countries.

It also greets you in multiple languages. 

Then you’ll watch Voices – a video montage featuring the men and women who designed and built One World Trade Center. 

Before you see the building, listen to their inspiring stories about it.

Finally, you can see Foundations, an exhibit that depicts the Manhattan bedrock upon which NYC and the World Trade Center were built. 

Without it, skyscrapers like the ones you see today would not be possible.


The elevator ride at One World Observatory is also called the Skypod, the fastest elevator in North America.

As a bonus, the One World Observatory elevator ride takes you through hundreds of years of New York City history. 

You get to travel 102 stories in just 47 seconds. 

As you move up from the unsettled lands to audacious skyscrapers, you will get a glimpse of 300 years of the history of New York City. 

The elevator’s sides are LED screens, giving you an experience similar to time travel.

Beginning with the lush green fields and trees that once surrounded Manhattan, you’ll witness the city’s growth and development right before your eyes.

See Forever Theatre

See Forever Theatre
Image: Yelp.com

When you reach the top of One World Trade Center, you will enter the See Forever Theater instead of being directed to the observation deck. 

The theater is a high-tech audio and visual experience culminating in your first view of the city skyline.

The film footage is a brief montage of Newyork city life, featuring its streets, people, buildings, food, and what it feels like to explore the city from a great height. 

It’s the ideal way to begin your exploration of the city from a new perspective.

One World Explorer

The One World Observatory inside provides the One World Explorer rather than a typical audio tour. 

It’s an interactive guide that takes you on virtual tours of the most famous buildings and attractions in New York.

The explorer will bring you up close to what you see as you gaze out from the observatory. 

You must scan the skyline and choose which locations to learn about.

Fact: You can even take the experience home by streaming the photos and videos on your device when you leave.

The Skyview and Restaurant channels are available on the One World Explorer:

The Skyview channel: Labeled the city skyline as you move from window to window. 

There are forty different labeled sites that, when touched, will virtually fly you there to see it up close. 

An accompanying video will tell fascinating stories and history about each location.

The Restaurant Channel: It takes you on a tour of ten of the city’s most well-known eateries. 

The Restaurant Channel
Image: Yelp.com

You’ll leave the observatory knowing where and what to eat in New York.

The One World Explorer is a $10 upgrade from a standard ticket, but it can significantly improve your experience at the observatory.

The Sky Portal

The Sky Portal
Image: Wikimedia.org

Sky Portal at One World Observatory is a 14-foot wide glass circle that lets you see what is happening 100 stories down. 

If being adventurous is your thing, you should try this!

The portal provides one of the most memorable and unique views in the One World Trade Center observatory. 

It even uses real-time, high-definition footage of the street below to help you see what’s happening thousands of feet below.

OWO Dining Experience

One Dine
Image: Yelp.com

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could relish your favorite dishes with a spectacular view?

The dining level on the 101st floor is only accessible to guests with One World Observatory tickets

Experience premium A La Carte dine and drink at One Mix, One Dine, or One Cafe.

One Dine: This upscale One Dine restaurant serves a variety of seasonal dishes as well as signature dishes. 

Premium cuts of meat and fresh seafood are available. 

You can also choose a three-course prix-fixe menu created by the chef. 

Reservations are recommended, especially if you have a large group, and the restaurant is open daily from 11.30 am to 8 pm.

One Cafe: It is also known as Savoy Illy Caffe & Gelateria and serves an authentic Italian coffee blend, tea, cold brew, and various small treats. 

If you need a quick pick-me-up, this is the place to go.

One Cafe
Image: Yelp.com

One Mix: This elegant bar offers a diverse cocktail menu. 

The bar has walk-up seating only and offers stunning views to enjoy while sipping your drink.

Souvenirs to Remember Your OWO Trip

Are you looking for a souvenir from your trip?

Well, the One World Observatory’s Gallery on Level 100 has you covered. 

Many items in this section were created specifically for the observatory and will not be found elsewhere.

There are also souvenir photos available. 

The photo area is located on the 101st floor, and you can buy photos as you exit the observatory.

OWO at the One World Trade Center

The observation deck at One World Observatory is unlike any other in New York. 

Incorporating technology and history creates a much more immersive experience than simply a beautiful view (though the view is pretty amazing). 

And because of its location at Ground Zero, the Freedom Tower is unlike any other building in New York.

You’ll leave having seen the city from new perspectives and hopefully with a greater appreciation.

Enjoy a guided tour of Ground Zero if you want to learn more about the 9/11 sites, including the World Trade Center. 

You’ll hear personal stories about the 11 September attacks from a New Yorker who was in the city that day, and you can upgrade your tour to include observatory tickets. 

It’s the most efficient way to see the World Trade Center in a few hours.


What is the sky portal at One World Observatory?

The Sky Portal at One World Observatory is a 4.2-meter-wide (14-foot-wide) circular glass disc that provides a unique perspective using real-time, high-definition views of the streets 100 stories below. 

The Sky Portal appears suspended over the streets below, similar to the Ledge at Skydeck Chicago.

Featured Image: Gagliardi Photography

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