If you're planning to visit Ground Zero and the World Trade Center site when you're in New York City, or have questions about visiting the 9/11 Memorial, here is everything you need to visit the area, including directions, information about museums, exhibits, and walking tours of Ground Zero and the World Trade Center site.
The World Trade Center was a popular tourist attraction before the tragedy of September 11th but has become an increasingly important destination for visitors to New York City who wants to pay tribute to those lost in the events of 9/11 and better understand the events of that fateful day.
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Traveling to Ground Zero and the World Trade Center Site
The World Trade Center Site is located in lower Manhattan, bound by Vesey Street on the north, Liberty Street on the south, Church Street on the east and West Street. Parking and driving around the World Trade Center site are very difficult because of all the construction, so I highly recommend using public transportation.
Trains to World Trade Center area:
- PATH train to World Trade Center
- E to the World Trade Center
- A/C to Chambers Street
- 1/2/3 to Chambers Street
- 4/5 to Wall Street
- 2/3 to Park Place
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The 9/11 Memorial opened on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on September 11, 2011, in a ceremony for victims' families. It opened to the general public on September 12, 2011.
The 9/11 Memorial features the names of the 2,982 victims of September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993, terrorist attacks on bronze panels lining two pools with waterfalls cascading down the sides. The plaza surrounding the pools is be filled with oak trees and a pear tree, known as the Survivor Tree because it survived the 9/11 attacks.
The atrium entrance to the 9/11 Memorial Museum houses two tridents from the steel facade of WTC 1 (the North Tower) which are visible to visitors at the Memorial even if you don't visit the Museum.
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9/11 Memorial Museum
The 9/11 Memorial Museum opened to the public on May 21, 2014. The museum is primarily located below ground in the bedrock that the World Trade Center was built upon and has been preserved as a historical landmark. The museum contains artifacts both structural and personal to help visitors remember and understand the events of that fateful day.
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If you're looking for a compelling retelling of the events of 9/11, the Tribute WTC Visitor Center offers tasteful, yet compelling galleries. The displays feature first-hand accounts from both survivors and families of victims, as well as artifacts from the site, many on loan from the families of those lost on 9/11.
Tribute WTC Visitor Center Details:
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- $15 adult admission
- Address: 120 Liberty Street (between Church & Greenwich)
- Phone: 866-737-1184
- Hours: Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Website: http://tributewtc.org/
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Tours of the WTC Site and Ground Zero
If you'd like some guidance as you explore the WTC site and Ground Zero, a tour is a good option. You can choose from both guided and self-guided options, depending on what you're looking for. These make it easier to feel oriented and have a better sense of where the buildings were and what's going up where.
- Tribute WTC 9/11 Walking Tours - Organized by the non-profit September 11th Families' Association, these 75-minute tours are lead by people who have been directly affected by the events of September 11th and cost $25 per adult/$10 for children 8-12, though the tour is not recommended for visitors under 10 years old.
- Heroes of the World Trade Center Tour - Uncle Sam's New York Tours offers a 2-hour walking tour of the area, including a visit to St. Paul's Chapel