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A Visitors Guide to New York City's 9/11 Memorials & Exhibits

September 11 Memorials, Exhibits, Tours & Map of Locations

Ground Zero Museum Workshop Tour Photo
Group Zero Museum Workshop Tour

The World Trade Center (WTC), a commercial complex located in lower Manhattan, originally consisted of 7 buildings, including the landmark Twin Towers.  The Twin Towers, also known as the North and South Towers, were built in the early 1970's and, at the time, were the tallest buildings in the world.  On February 26, 1993, a bomb was detonated in the North Tower, causing structural damage and six deaths. The city was shattered by this event. It was unimaginable that something far more significant would take place in the future. 

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 made the unimaginable a reality and the city, country and world hasn't been the same since.  In the months and years following the destruction of the World Trade Center, we have witnessed the heroic and compassionate efforts of the citizens of the world, and the resolve of the human spirit. That heroism has been memorialized in a number of ways. Below you will find info on the tributes, a map with all their locations and a selection of tours that incorporate one or more 9/11 locations in their itinerary.


The most significant tribute is located directly on the site where the Twin Towers once stood, known simply as the 9/11 Memorial.  Additionally, there are a number of other tributes throughout the city, such as the popular Ground Zero Museum Workshop Tour, and we will identify several of those below.  Many of New York's guided tours include the World Trade Center area and these tributes; we have summarized some of them in the 9/11 Tours Chart below.  When you visit New York, don't miss the opportunity to appreciate these memorials and exhibits. See our Map of the 9/11 Memorials & Exhibits mentioned in this article.

Overview of the World Trade Center Area

When you visit the World Trade Center complex, bounded by West, Liberty, Church and Vesey Streets, you'll see that there are several attractions at the WTC site as well as others in the immediate area around it, including:
  • One World Trade Center (building)
  • 9/11 Visitor Center
  • 9/11 Preview Site
  • Two Memorial Pools
  • 9/11 Memorial Plaza
  • Tribute WTC Visitor Center
  • St. Paul's Chapel
  • Eleven Tears Memorial
  • Winter Garden
  • 9/11 Memorial Museum (future)

See our map at right for a quick reference to their locations.

Memorial Experiences at the WTC Site

Visitor Centers
Before visiting the 9/11 Memorial, you can stop at the 9/11 Memorial Visitor Center on West Street at Albany or the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site at 20 Vesey Street.  At each of these facilities you can learn more about the Memorial and browse the rotating exhibits, models, artifacts and films.  Admission is free at both sites.

At yet another location is the Tribute WTC Visitor Center located at 120 Liberty Street near Greenwich Street.  Since 2006, millions of people have visited this center to learn, share and reflect on the tragedy of the September 11 attacks and 1993 bombing.  The facility has several galleries of permanent exhibits as well as changing exhibits.  Walking tours of the World Trade Center site and 9/11 Memorial are offered several times each day and cover the history and future of the World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial.  Each tour guide is a volunteer who has a close connection to the September 11 attacks.  Tickets for the 75-minute tour can be purchased at the entrance to the Tribute WTC Visitor Center.  (Note that advance tickets for this tour are not available.)  You also have the choice to take a self-guided audio tour.

9/11 Memorial (Pools & Plaza)
In the precise location where the Twin Towers once stood, the 9/11 Memorial Pools have been created.  The Memorial Pools design is named Reflecting Absence and consists of two 1-acre pools in which massive waterfalls cascade.  The nearly 3,000 names of those who lost their lives in the September 11 attacks, as well as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, are inscribed on bronze plates attached to the walls of the Memorial pools.  Memorial Plaza surrounds the pools with acres of trees, making it a peaceful park-like setting.  Included in the plaza is the "Survivor Tree", which is a callery pear tree that was recovered from the World Trade Center rubble, nursed back to health, and finally returned to the plaza.  To visit the 9/11 Memorial, you must first obtain a dated/timed visitor pass through the online reservation system.  Passes are free, but you may wish to make a donation to the Memorial along with your reservation.  It is possible to get a same day pass at the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site, but you run the risk of the day being sold out or not getting your preferred time.  As you can imagine, security is strict, but handled efficiently.

National 9/11 Memorial Museum
Construction of the National 9/11 Memorial Museum is underway.  This below ground facility will be located at the World Trade Center complex and will house a collection of artifacts, photos, personal effects and memorabilia from both the 1993 bombing and 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.  The National 9/11 Memorial Museum, which halted construction in September 2011, will not open until 2013-14 as there are ongoing legal battles.

Ground Zero Museum Workshop Tour
GROUND ZERO MUSEUM WORKSHOP TOUR
Images & Artifacts Exhibit • Before You Visit the WTC Site
BUY TICKETS HERE

Off-Site Memorials & Exhibits

Ground Zero Museum Workshop (420 W. 14th Street, Meatpacking District)
Daily sold-out tours, a cult-like following and 5-star reviews sum up the "Biggest LITTLE Museum in New York" which showcases the stories behind 100 Images & Artifacts from the "Recovery" at Ground Zero. The New York Times dubbed the image collection "RARE PHOTOS." Kid-Friendly with nothing graphic and tastefully presented, old and young alike flock here. Gary Marlon Suson was the appointed Official Photographer at Ground Zero and, as such, was provided virtually unlimited access to the most secure areas of the World Trade Center recovery site for about 7 months. He has since created the non-profit Ground Zero Museum Workshop to share his unique images with the world. This tiny museum, opened in 2005, is located in the Meatpacking District, about 8 minutes north of the 9/11 Memorial site. In addition to his images, you'll see video footage and artifacts found in the rubble, including recovery workers' digging tools and items donated by firefighters, police officers and victims' family members. Due to the small size of the museum, it may only be seen by purchasing an advance ticket for a tour. 28 guests per 2-hour tour. There is also a gift shop. Tours often sell out in advance, so be sure to get your online tickets early. One day per week, Mr. Suson pops in to meet and chat with visitors. (212) 920-4264.

St. Paul's Chapel's 9/11 Memorial (209 Broadway)
Just across the street from the World Trade Center sits St. Paul's Chapel.  It is quite amazing that this church suffered no structural damage on September 11.  During the month's of recovery and clean-up at Ground Zero, St. Paul's Chapel provided meals and a place to rest for police, firefighters, recovery workers and others.  Many volunteers came to the chapel to offer their services and support, from massage therapists to musicians.  Today you can visit the chapel and browse their memorial, which consists of photographs, flags, banners and a variety of notes and items sent to rescue workers and missing persons.

NYC Fire Museum 9/11 Exhibit (278 Spring Street)
Located about 1.5 miles north of the 9/11 Memorial is the
NYC Fire Museum which features an exhibit paying tribute to the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on September 11.  On display are pictures of the firefighters, as well as objects recovered from Ground Zero recovery.  There is also a wall-sized timeline covering the day's events.  There is also a museum gift shop with all sort of FDNY apparel, books, toys and souvenirs. 

The Skyscraper Museum 9/11 Exhibit (39 Battery Place)
Located in the Ritz Carlton Battery Park Building, about one-half mile south of the 9/11 Memorial, is the Skyscraper Museum which features a permanent exhibition for the history of the World Trade Center and Twin Towers, as well as the events of September 11 and the rebuilding of the complex. 

An Emotional Must See

New York and its visitors, along with the world, have vowed to never forget the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and the innocent lives that were lost.  No trip to New York would be complete without a glimpse into that day and the incredible spirit of humankind thereafter.

Independent Tours including the 9/11 Memorial

In addition to the tours offered directly at the 9/11 Memorial and the WTC Tribute Center, there are a number of independent New York sightseeing companies that include tours of the World Trade Center area and the 9/11 Memorial.  You can browse the chart below, then click on any tours you are interested in to learn more about scheduling, tickets, etc.  The chart identifies the name of tour (click on the name for more information), the transportation mode, a brief description, the length of the tour, whether it includes entrance to the 9/11 Memorial and, if so, whether you're on your own or led by the tour guide.

Name of Tour

Type

Description

Duration

9/11 Memorial
Ticket

World Trade Center 2-Hour Walking Tour
 

Walking

Tour the WTC complex and surrounding points of interest.

2 hours

not included

WTC 3-Hour Walking Tour, with 9/11 Memorial Ticket
 

Walking

Tour the WTC complex and surrounding points of interest, as well as the 9/11 Memorial.

3 hours

guided tour

NYC Freedom Tour-Land & Sea with 9/11 Memorial Ticket
 

Bus, Boat, Walking

Times Square, Battery Park, 9/11 Memorial, South Street Seaport, Brooklyn and various landmarks.

4 hours

guided tour

New York City Lunch Cruise, with 9/11 Memorial Ticket
 

Boat, Walking

Hudson River boat cruise with lunch buffet; various landmarks and entrance to the 9/11 Memorial.

2 hours

self tour

New York Hop-On Hop-Off Cruise, with 9/11 Memorial Ticket

Boat

This on/off boat cruise allows you to sightsee at any or all of the scheduled stops, then rejoin the cruise at a later time.  At the Battery Park stop, you will take a short walk to the 9/11 Memorial with your timed entrance pass.

all day

self tour

New York Helicopter Flight: Grand Island

Helicopter

While this tour does not provide an opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial, it does take you over the World Trade Center complex.

25 minutes

not included

Map of September 11 Memorials & Exhibits

Click on the marker on the map or on the name in the side listing for more info. The map can provide directions along with the address of the point-of-interest. The map can be zoomed in or out, or repositioned by dragging it.



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