My parents recently visited NYC and wanted to see the view from the top of the Freedom Tower, aka One World Observatory. As someone who lives in New York CIty, I didn’t want to wait in a long line with tourists, so I searched for “skip the line” tickets so that we could be efficient with our time.
I found some through tiqets.com that were reasonably priced.
You can order your tickets here, and get $10 off your purchase!
Below is my review for One World Observatory:
When you enter, the entrance will lead you to an underground security check-point where your bags will be scanned. Once you pass through that, there’s a short and somewhat interesting video and light installation leading you to the elevators that will take you to the observation deck. Along the way, you’ll learn about the foundation of the building and what makes it the most stable structure to date, that is as of 2017 when I visited.
The elevator ride up and down is, in my mind, the most exciting part of the whole experience. The elevator is a full 360 panorama virtual reality experience. On the way up, your ride will show you underground in a sort of time machine portal. As you ascend up the building, you’ll experience the landscape surrounding you change through the centuries, beginning with the early settlers of New York City with their horses and carriages, transforming before your eyes in a time-lapse video, showing you the landscape change over the decades until you reach the top – where the cityscape is just as it is today. This is worth the ticket price alone, however if you’re visiting during a busy hour and your elevator is crammed with visitors, you won’t get to experience how cool the ride is.
When you get to the top, there’s another short video installation that teases you with iconic New York city images before revealing a panoramic view of the city. After that, you’re released onto the observation deck where you can view the cityscape at your own pace.
The view was pretty spectacular. And given the history of the World Trade Center, it was somewhat emotional to enter and tour this new site.
On my visit, they were offering companion tablets that give users a virtual map of the city. For $15, you could rent one. As you walk around the observation deck, you’d hold it up and the camera would sense the cityscape and label well known/famous landmarks so that you’d know exactly what you’re looking at/where to find something. You could also tab the label, and watch a short clip giving you a brief history/explanation of the landmark you selected. If you don’t know much about New York, it’s an interesting option, but I didn’t find it to be worth the added cost.
On the way down, the elevator ride is just as exciting as the way up. This time, you fly out of the Freedom tower and spiral down around the building as you descend to the ground, giving you a nice view of the tower in all its majesty.
After All is said and done, I don’t think the observation desk is worth visiting during peak hours, and if you have to wait in a long line to enter, forget about it. I’d budget 1-1.5 hours for visiting the Freedom Tower.
TIP: Go in the early morning before it gets too crowded so that you can enjoy the elevator portion with less people crammed in.