Getting 9/11 Museum tickets is easier than you can imagine. This post will highlight the various options available.
9/11 Museum and Memorial (whose official name actually is National September 11 Memorial Museum) is one of my favorite attractions in New York, and for very personal reasons. If you have been following my blog for a while, you may already know that I, indeed, was in New York on 9/11.
Back then I was an intern at the United Nations, working at the headquarters building in 1 UN Plaza. That day, my roommate had left to go to work before I did. I had been talking to my parents on the phone, and then hopped in the shower just as the radio mentioned something about the Twin Towers. Between the sound of water and my usual optimism, I thought they may be talking about a party at Windows of the World, the bar at one of the top floors of the North Tower.
Once ready, I got to work following my usual trail: walk to Penn Station, get on the subway all the way to Grand Central, walk to the UN building. It was the typical rush hour. Then my cell rang. My dad was asking me if I was ok. We had talked literally 30 minuted before, so I couldn’t understand the urgency in his voice. Meantime, I could see the UN building being evacuated.
Two weird days followed. My family over in Italy was worried sick. My friends back in Denver called to beg me to “go home.”
As expected, New York got back on its feet soon afterwards, the World Trade Center has been rebuilt and where the Twin Towers once stood, there now is the 9/11 Museum and Memorial – a place you really can’t skip if visiting the city, for there you can learn more about the history of those horrible days, honor the many victims, and be warned about the terrible things humans can at times do.
My recommendation for those of you that want to visit the Memorial Museum is to get 9/11 Museum tickets in advance, so that you can avoid the lines at the counter. In this post, I will highlight the various options available to get them, so that you can decide which one suits you better. Before doing so, however, let me tell you a bit more about what you can expect from your visit. At the end of the post, I will also share some information that will help you plan your visit and make the most of it.
Are you in a rush? Here’s a shortcut to the best 9/11 Museum tickets:
- Ground Zero 9/11 Memorial Tour & Optional 9/11 Museum Entry – the guided tour of Ground Zero together with the 9/11 Museum tickets costs $69 USD. Having a guide certainly is an added bonus!
- New York City Pass – this is an excellent option if you intend to visit 6 of the major attractions in town. It costs $136 USD so it is good value for money.
The Highlights Of 9/11 Museum And Memorial
The 9/11 Museum and Memorial certainly is one of the most interesting places to visit in New York.
The Memorial is made up of twin reflecting pools (called Reflecting Absence) representing the footprints of the Twin Towers. There you will see the largest man made waterfall of North America, as well as the inscriptions of the names of those who died in the 1993 and 2001 terrorist attacks.
While visiting the Memorial, make sure not to miss the FDNY Memorial Wall, a tribute to the firefighters who died in the aftermath of the attacks. You should also take a moment to admire the Sphere, a sculpture by German artist Fritz Koenig that is meant to represent “world pace through trade” and that was actually recovered after the terrorist attacks.
America’s Response Monument, known to tourists as the “Horse Soldier Statue” is a tribute to the first soldiers sent to Afghanistan in the aftermath of the attacks.
Finally, make sure to go to the Survivor Tree, a series of white oak trees that line up the Memorial (the one that is worth mentioning is a Callery pear tree that was saved from the site where the Twin Towers collapsed and replanted at Ground Zero); and to the World Trade Center’s Cross.
A proper visit of the Museum shouldn’t last less than two hours, as the exhibition is quite comprehensive and detailed, and there is lots to see and read. When I visited last time I was in town, I spent more than three hours there. In fact – should you visit when there are talks, lectures and special exhibit – you may even end up staying longer.
Once you walk in, you have the option to pick an audio-guide which will walk you through the exhibit, sharing important information.
The highlights of the National September 11 Museum are the Historical Exhibition, which with the help of artifacts, images, audio and video material will take you through the 9/11 facts – it is divided into 3 parts: the Events of the Day, Before 9/11, and After 9/11; the Memorial with the photos of the more than 3000 victims – by touching them, you can learn more about them; photos by French photographer Stephane Sednaoui, who witnessed the incidents from his place in Lower Manhattan; Rebirth at Ground Zero, a 270-degree panoramic media installation; Sports After 9/11, an exhibit on how sport and sport personalities worked to cheer the nation after the tragic events.
What To Expect When Visiting 9/11 Museum And Memorial
Let me be clear about something: this is not a place you visit for a joyous kind of entertainment. Much like the Human Rights Museum of Santiago de Chile, or the American War Museum of Saigon, the 9/11 Museum and Memorial will leave a strong impression on you. This is a museum most people visit in silence, in awe at a part of history most of us remember, yet we still know little about.
You will become overwhelmed with sadness and anger at some point – my sister and I walked through the exhibit in silence; we had to pause at some point, and sit down to cry. Good thing that there are tissue stands throughout the exhibit.
If you are planning on visiting New York with your kids, take care to notice that the 9/11 Museum is not recommended for children below the age of 10. First of all, the exhibit may not be best suited for such a young audience. Secondly, younger kids may end up getting bored in a place that is so quiet. If you are set on visiting, you may want to find a babysitter to take care of your children while you’re at the museum.
Finally, continue reading to discover how to get 9/11 Museum tickets.
6 Smart Ways Of Getting 9/11 Museum Tickets
There are five main ways to get 9/11 Museum tickets in advance and thus skip the lines at the ticket counter. Below, I will highlight the various options available. Pick whichever one is most suitable to your needs. Should you care about my opinion, my favorite way of getting 9/11 Museum tickets is via third party reseller sites – I find them easier to use than the official attraction sites, and they have very clear cancellation policies.
Finally, here are the best ways of getting 9/11 Museum tickets.
Way N. 1: Buy your 9/11 Museum tickets on the official website
First thing first: you can get 9/11 Museum tickets on the day of your visit at the ticket counter. Having said so, I don’t recommend doing that as the lines may long – you can expect to wait up to 45 minutes and, once you manage to get hold of your tickets, discover that they are not for the next time slot.
Just get your tickets in advance, as they have the advantage of being skip-the-line and you can select your preferred time slot.
9/11 Museum tickets bought via the official website cost $28 USD for adults ($26 for the tickets and $2 for the online booking fee). Reduced tickets for senior, college students and visitors up to 17 years old pay $22 ($20 for the ticket and $2 for the booking fee). Children up to the age of 12 pay $15 and US veterans pay $18.
Once you get to the site, make sure to select how many tickets you need – and whether they are for adults or reduced fares – and pick a time slot for your visit of the museum. As soon as the payment goes through, you will get an email with the voucher. You need to print the voucher or make sure that you have the barcode on your smartphone so that the staff can scan you in.
GOOD TO KNOW: All 9/11 Museum tickets have a timed entry, save for those purchased for the same day, in which case you may be prompted to visit later in the day when there are less visitors.
The official website also sells guided tours. You can pick among various options (check their webpage for tours) such as the 60-minutes museum tour; the 60-minutes early access tour (it starts at 8:15, so before the museum is officially opened to the public); the 45-minutes memorial tour and the 90-minutes museum and memorial tour.
GOOD TO KNOW: At about 500 meters from the 9/11 Memorial, the 9/11 Tribute Museum is a good place to visit to get a better understanding of the events during the terrorist attacks and the response to them. The museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Tickets cost $15 for adults and can be purchased here. The visit usually lasts around 45 minutes.
Way N. 2: Buy your 9/11 Museum tickets on third party reseller sites
This is the way of getting 9/11 Museum tickets I recommend the most. There are many third party reseller sites online. My favorite is GetYourGuide.
I know that many will tell you that getting tickets on third party sites is more expensive but that isn’t always the case. Besides, the extra money you pay is for an extra service – easy cancellation up to 24 hours in advance, responsive customer service, easy-to-use websites etc.
Have you noticed how official website of attractions are often complicated to navigate? You only want to buy a ticket, and you can hardly find the exact page to do so; then a million windows pop up; then you are sent to a different page; then you can’t for the life of you find the cancellation policy.
Third party reseller sites are SO. MUCH. EASIER. On the same page, you will find all the relevant information – cancellation policy, opening hours, prices and whatever else you need to make an informed purchase. Most will also offer you to download their app so that you can keep tickets all in one place; make modifications and cancellation in a few easy steps; and you even get a notification a day before the activity.
You can get your 9/11 Museum tickets here. They are even more convenient than average, as you don’t need to book a time slot! a
Make sure to read my post A Completely Honest GetYourGuide Review to find out more about third party booking sites.
Way N. 3: Take a guided tour of 9/11 Memorial and Museum
I love guided tours – they usually are very enriching experiences. They are the best way to enjoy a place of historical and cultural significance such as the National September 11 Museum. A tour guide will be able to share with you important information about what you are seeing, and in the case of 9/11 Museum, most guides have a specific personal connection to the events.
Guided tours are obviously more expensive than just the plain tickets, but it is an investment worth making for a completely hassle free time.
The guided tours below all include 9/11 Museum tickets and a guided visit to the Memorial. Here are the best options:
- Ground Zero 9/11 Memorial Tour & Optional 9/11 Museum Entry – if you select the option inclusive of the museum tickets, this tour costs $69. It lasts between 2 and 5 hours. Your guide will walk you through the most important landmarks of the memorial, and at the end you are handed a ticket to visit the museum.
- New York: 9/11 Memorial, Ground Zero & Optional Museum Entry – a similar option to the one above, it costs $89.99 but the group is much smaller, allowing only up to 10 participants.
- 9/11 Memorial Tour and Museum Ticket – the tour lasts of the Memorial starts in St. Paul’s Chapel. It lasts 2 hours and costs $69; it includes tickets for the 9/11 Museum (but that is a self-guided visit).
Way N. 4: Take a guided tour of the Memorial, Museum and World Trade Center Observatory
Another great way of getting 9/11 Museum tickets that is inclusive of all the most significant places linked to the 9/11 terrorist attacks is joining a guided tour that goes to the World Trade Center Observatory and the Memorial.
The tour lasts 5 full hours. At the time of writing, the only time slot available is at 2:00 pm, but more may open up in the future.
During the tour, you go all the way up the World Trade Center Observatory, which is located on the 100th, 101st and 102nd floors of the Freedom Tower – the tallest building in the USA with its 417 meters.
The tour costs $109 and can be bought here.
Way N. 5: Take a guided tour of the Statue of Liberty and 9/11 Memorial and Museum
Another cool tour is the one that takes you all the way to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, where you visit the Immigration Museum. You then go all the way to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. This guided tour costs $125 and lasts 5.5 hours; it includes the ferry from Battery Park to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and back – from there you will walk around 800 meters to the Memorial; 9/11 Museum tickets; and Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island National Park fees. You can opt for an upgrade if you want to access the Pedestal at the Statue of Liberty.
You can buy the tour here.
Way N. 6: Buy the New York City Pass
Another way of getting 9/11 Museum tickets is via a New York City Pass. If you plan on visiting a number of attractions, this may be a good way of saving *some* money. Personally, I don’t think that the savings are that much – unless you plan on visiting 5 attractions on the same day (which I don’t recommend!), you really don’t end up saving that much. Another thing I don’t like about city passes is that once you get them you have to book entrance to all attractions separately. Also keep in mind that you get the plain tickets but not guided tour – so it is just the very basic option.
Anyways, if this is an option you want to consider, these are the best New York City Passes:
- New York Pass: Access to Over 100 Attractions & Tours – it starts at $129 for the one day pass.
- New York CityPASS®: Save 40% at 6 Top Attractions – another valid option. It gives you access to 6 attractions for a total of $136.
- New York City: The Sightseeing FLEX Pass – the cheapest option is the 2 attractions pass, for which you pay $64.
Other Useful Information For Visiting 9/11 Museum and Memorial
9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero is open daily from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm.
9/11 Museum is open Sunday to Thursday from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, whereas on Fridays and Saturdays it closes at 9:00 pm. The last entry is 2 hours before closing time.
On December 26 and 27 and December 30, the museum is open until 9:00 pm.
9/11 Museum and Memorial tickets price and free visits
9/11 Museum ticket prices are as follows:
- Adult: $26.00
- Senior (65+): $20.00
- Students: $20.00
- US Veterans: $18.00
- Youth between the age of 13 and 17: $20.00
- Children between the age of 6 and 12: $15.00
There is an additional $2 USD fee for tickets bought online.
Children up to 6 years and US Military can visit for free.
The museum is free to visit every Tuesday after 5:00 pm, but take care to notice that you are still requited to make a (voluntary) donation of $10 USD. You can get the free tickets for Tuesday evenings a couple of weeks in advance, and at the ticket counter – but keep in mind it is on a first come first served basis.
The 9/11 Memorial is free to visit.
Book in advance
9/11 Museum and Memorial is one of the most visited attractions in New York, and you are requested to book your tickets beforehand. You can get yours here.
What to do if 9/11 Museum tickets are sold out
It’s easier to find last minute 9/11 Museum tickets on third party reseller sites, as they buy them in bulk and as such always have something available (plus you can count on last minute cancellations). Check out this site for last minute tickets.
The best time to visit 9/11 Museum
9/11 Museum tickets are timed, so it’s never too crowded inside. Most tourists will try to visit between 12:00 and 3:00 pm so I recommend avoiding visiting at those times.
How to get to 9/11 Museum and Memorial
The National September 11 Memorial Museum is located in the Financial District in Lower Manhattan, more precisely at 180 Greenwich Street.
There are 4 entrances to the building:
- Between Liberty Street and Greenwich Street
- Between Liberty Street and West Street
- Between West Street and Fulton Street
- Between Fulton Street and Greenwich Street
The easiest way to get there is by public transportation.
BY SUBWAY: Lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and A, C, J, Z will take you all the way to Lower Manhattan. You can also take trains E and R. The best stations to get off are Chambers Street Station or Fulton Street Station, Park Place, World Trade Center, Rector Street or Cortland Street Station.
BY BUS: You can get to the Financial District by bus from other places in Manhattan. You will likely need to take a bus that is southbound. The buses that stop nearby are the M55 (you will need to get off at Broadway and Thames Street); the M20 (get off at South End Avenue between Liberty Street and Albany Street); and the M22 (get off at Vesey Street between North End Avenue and West Street). If you are taking the M55 Northbound get off at Trinity Place and Rector Street.
BY HOP-ON HOP-OFF BUS: Another convenient way of getting there is by hop-on hop-off bus. You can get your pass here.
BY CAR: Considering traffic and the lack of parking spaces nearby, I don’t recommend trying to get to the National September 11 Memorial Museum by car.
FROM NEW JERSEY: If you are traveling from New Jersey, you can get to the World Trade Center Terminal by PATH Train.
Modification to the reservation and refunds
The official website of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum makes no mention about the possibility of changes to the reservations, cancellations and refunds. You may want to book your tickets via a third party reseller site just in case. You can get your ticket here.
All visitors to the 9/11 Museum have to go through security checks. To speed up the security checks, make sure to avoid carrying any of the following objects: radios, markers, tripods, cameras, glass bottles, powders and sprays; large umbrellas; large backpacks and bags; food.
Smartphones and strollers are allowed.
You can take personal photos (ie photos that are not for commercial use) inside the museum. Keep in mind that flash photography is not allowed.
Toilets and other facilities at 9/11 Museum and Memorial
The National September 11 Memorial Museum is equipped with toilets, a Museum café and a museum store.
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is fully accessible to visitors with limited mobility and wheelchair users. Guide dogs are welcome.
The museum is equipped with a coatroom.
Other nearby attractions
There are many cool attractions close to 9/11 Museum and Memorial. Among those you shouldn’t miss there are the Oculus, which acts as the local transportation terminal and is free to visit; the One World Observatory, which is located in the Freedom Tower and for which you will need to purchase tickets in advance (you can get them here); and the 9/11 Tribute Museum (get your tickets here). You should also visit St. Paul’s Chapel, which is right across where the Twin Towers used to be and was miraculously spared from any damage.
Further readings about New York
Planning a trip to New York? Make sure to read my other posts!
- 40 Incredible Things To Do In New York City
- Where To Get The Best Views In New York
- A Complete Guide To Visiting The Statue Of Liberty
- A Wonderful Itinerary For A Day In New York
- The Perfect Itinerary To See New York In 2 Days
- A Fabulous Itinerary For 3 Days In New York
- An Easy To Follow Itinerary For 4 Days In New York
- 5 Days In New York: An Easy To Follow New York Itinerary
- A Great Itinerary For A Week In New York
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