Seeing Forever at the One World Observatory in New York City

There’s a number of observation decks in New York City to take in the view of Manhattan and surrounding boroughs.  The newest is One World Observatory located on top of the One World Trade Center building.  The deck opened in May, 2015, and has already wowed over 1,000,000 guests and won awards.  However, the lookout not only provides panoramic views from 1,776 feet, it celebrates the history, dynamics, and resiliency of New York City.  Continue reading for our experience “Seeing Forever” at Manhattan’s One World Observatory.

One World Trade Center, New York City

One World Observatory is built on the site of the former World Trade Center, adjacent to the 911 Memorial and Museum.  One World Observatory needed to find a comfort zone within a setting that will forever be tied to a devastating event in our recent history.

911 Memorial & Museum, New York City911 Memorial & Museum, New York City

The creators of One World Observatory succeeded by contrasting the solemn nature of the memorial (the adjacent 911 Memorial & Museum) with a celebration of the rebirth of the physical space of One World Trade Center.  The result is something arrestingly unique and unexpected and overcomes the challenges presented by its emotionally charged location.

One World Observatory, New York City

The observatory attraction begins at ground level, where a series of pre-show queues focuses first on the people who constructed the new building, seen in the multi-screen “Voices.”  This is followed by a re-creation of the bedrock beneath the structure in an area called “Foundations.”

Visitors then ascend to the top in a 47-second elevator ride (fastest in the world) that includes an ascending panorama of Manhattan, covering more than 500 years of geographic and architectural change during the trip to the 102nd floor, where a row of kaleidoscopic screens and theatrics prepare visitors to “See Forever” – expansive panoramic glass walls offer dramatic views of the city more than a quarter mile below.

One World Observatory, New York City

View of Brooklyn from One World Observatory, New York City

One World Observatory, New York City

View of Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from One World Observatory, New York City

One World Observatory, New York City

View up the Hudson River to Midtown Manhattan from One World Observatory, New York City

In addition to the view, “Sky Portal” simulates the experience of standing 100+ stories above the bustling street below, and the “City Pulse” kiosk educates and entertains families with interactive presentations.

One World Observatory, New York City

The return elevator trip to the ground floor uses the on board screens in a very different manner, virtually transporting riders out of the elevator shaft for a helicopter-like flight around neighboring structures.  One World Observatory is a fantastic (and perhaps necessary) compliment to the challenging 911 Memorial and Museum, and is a must see for families who wish to take in the view of New York City.  In 2015, One World Observatory received a Themed Entertainment Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Admission prices for One World Observatory varies depending on type of access (set time, flex, expedited entry, etc.).  Standard, timed guest admission for adults ages 13-64 is $32, children ages 6-12 $26, and seniors ages 65+ $30. Guests 5 and under are free but must have a ticket to enter.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.