Is It Worth It...To Visit One World Observatory?

Everything you need to know about what it’s like to visit New York City’s highest observation deck.

One World Observatory entrance NYC

Envision yourself enjoying a delicious meal while gazing upon the twinkling lights of New York City, with 360-degree views of the Big Apple all around you.. Since 2015, the One World Observatory has been offering this experience  from the highest point in the Western Hemisphere. Situated atop the One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, this incredible observation deck boasts panoramic views stretching out 45 miles on a clear day. Read on to find out exactly what you can expect on your visit to the lofty landmark.


Entering the Space

One World Observatory ticket NYC

Photo: Julia Mitchem

I entered the observatory through the Oculus, right after getting off the 4 train at Fulton Street. You can choose to enter from ground level into the One World Trade Center or enter through the Oculus like I did. I visited on a Thursday evening, and it was not too busy.  The entrance to the Observatory has a fun, futuristic feel, with red carpeting, silver fixtures, and an almost amusement park-esque buzz of excitement in the air. 

After going through security, you will walk up to the Global Welcome Center. As you approach, a large map display will show up on the wall, showcasing the home destinations of visitors to the venue. Fun fact: this data is presented on the largest curved indoor LED display in the world. Next, you’ll pass by the Horizon Grid, which is powered by a whopping 145 screens, and shares information about the history of New York, especially Lower Manhattan.


Exploring the Observatory

One World Observatory NYC

Photo: Julia Mitchem

To get to the Observatory, you’ll take a quick ride in the SkyPod Elevators, where you’ll ascend 102 stories in a mere 47 seconds. You’ll want to make sure to face the back of the elevator to watch a digital presentation of the 500-year transformation of New York City. Note: If you experience motion sickness or have a sensitivity for lights and sounds, I would refrain from watching and choose to face forward. 

After stepping out of the SkyPods, you’ll enter the See Forever Theater. This was one of my favorite parts of the experience: an audiovisual presentation set to the sounds of the city. At the end, the screens rise to reveal the NYC skyline timed to the crescendo of the music. Some of the visitors alongside me clapped in awe. It was a special moment and a spectacular way to reveal the views. From here, I explored the panoramic views, showcasing New York City’s landmarks in true wonderment.


Uncovering Rich History 

One World Observatory

Photo: courtesy of One World Observatory

History buffs will love an interactive presentation station known as City Pulse, featuring knowledgeable guides who  dive into the history of the city’s famous points of interest, neighborhoods, history and culture. There is also an option to use an iPad for a guided exploration that allows you to learn more about the city. As you move around the building, your screen will move with you.


Celebrating in the Sky

One World Observatory restaurant

Photo: courtesy of One World Observatory

After spending time marveling at the views from 1,250 feet above, you can keep living the high life with a luxurious night in the sky at ONE Dine restaurant. This swanky eatery and bar is headed up by Executive Chef Reuel Vincent, and the menu is built around New American cuisine with influences from the chef’s Caribbean background and New York City’s diverse cultures and cuisines. The menu is packed with seasonally influenced dishes and clever, city-inspired cocktails like “The A Train” (vodka, aperol, passionfruit, and agave. Perched on the 101st floor, the restaurant looks out on north-facing city views: marvel at city emblems from the Empire State Building to the George Washington Bridge. For those looking for a quick bite or casual drink, there is also an on-site café and small bars located around the conservatory. You definitely won’t go hungry while visiting!

So, is a visit to The One World Observatory worth it? Absolutely. With its truly breathtaking views and elegant atmosphere, One World promises an unforgettable journey high above the city. Whether you’re diving into the informative interactive touches, savoring a tasty meal with not just a view, but the view, or simply taking in the panoramic scenery, The One World Observatory provides a truly stunning perspective on New York City.



One World Observatory, 117 West St.,

How to get there:

Subway directions:

  •  A/C/E

    • Take the A or C to Chambers St.

    • Take the E to the World Trade Center

  •  R/W 

    • Take the R or W to Corlandt St.

  •  1/2/3

    • Take the 1 to WTC Cortlandt St.

    • Take the 2 or 3 to Fulton St.

  •  4/5

    • Take the 4 or 5 to Fulton St.


When to go:

Currently, the Observatory is open from Monday to Sunday between 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. — the hours change seasonally.

Tickets & more information:

The One World Observatory does not accept cash. There are onsite reverse ATMs to convert your cash if needed. You can pay via contactless payment or all major debit and credit cards. Note: you can save $5 off each ticket if you book early. For more ticket details and packages, visit the website here.

  • General admission (requires a specific entry time):  $44

  • Combination ticket (includes priority entry, a digital guide, and $5 voucher for the restaurant, cafe, or gift shop. Requires a specific entry time): $54

  • All-inclusive ticket (includes priority entry, flexible arrival time, a digital guide, and $15 voucher for the restaurant, cafe, or gift shop): $64

  • VIP tour (includes priority escorted entry, a 60-minute  guided tour, and $15 voucher for the restaurant, cafe, or gift shop): $74

What’s nearby:

About the Author

Julia Mitchem is a freelance writer, photographer, and communications professional based in Brooklyn. She mainly covers e-commerce and design trends, but, above all, she loves telling stories about her community. She has written for Architectural Digest, BuzzFeed, and Refinery29, among others.

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