How To Get 9/11 Museum Tickets And Skip The Lines

Getting 9/11 Museum tickets is easier than you can imagine. This post will highlight the various options available.

9/11 Museum and Memorial (or better, the National September 11 Memorial Museum) is one of the most popular attractions in New York.

As you may already know, I was in New York on 9/11. Back then I worked at the United Nations, in the headquarters building in 1 UN Plaza. That was a very sad day for New York – in fact, for the world. And one that should never be forgotten.

As expected, New York got back on its feet soon after the attacks; the World Trade Center has been rebuilt and where the Twin Towers once stood, there now is the 9/11 Museum and Memorial, where 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. 

This post will tell you what to expect when visiting 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and how to get tickets.

9/11 Museum tickets
The Survivor Tree – Photo by Jin S. Lee.

The Highlights Of 9/11 Museum And Memorial

The main sight at 9/11 Memorial is the twin reflecting pools (called Reflecting Absence) representing the footprints of the Twin Towers. These are the largest man made waterfall of North America. In the same place, you’ll also the plaques with the names of those who died in the 1993 and 2001 terrorist attacks.

Other spots you shouldn’t miss are the FDNY Memorial Wall, which is a tribute to the firefighters who died in the aftermath of the attacks; and the Sphere, which is a sculpture by German artist Fritz Koenig that is meant to represent “world peace 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 most important is the 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.

The National September 11 Museum are the Historical Exhibition 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; 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.

A proper visit of the Memorial and Museum shouldn’t last less than two hours, as the exhibition is quite comprehensive and detailed, and there is lots to see and read.

9/11 Memorial
The 9/11 Memorial Glade – Photo by Jin S. Lee

What To Expect When Visiting 9/11 Museum And Memorial

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 be overwhelmed with sadness and anger at some point.

Please also be aware 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.

9/11 Museum tickets
The 9/11 Museum and Memorial is a touching, yet incredibly interesting place to visit

6 Smart Ways Of Getting 9/11 Museum Tickets

Way N. 1: Buy your tickets on the official website

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.

You can get 9/11 Museum tickets on the day of your visit at the ticket counter. I don’t recommend doing that as the lines may long – expect to wait up to 45 minutes and, once you manage to get hold of your tickets, discover that they are not even 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.

This is the official website of 9/11 Museum and Memorial.

Tickets sold on 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 are $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, select how many tickets you need – and whether they are for adults or reduced fares – and pick a time slot for your visit. As soon as the payment goes through, you will get an email with the voucher. Print the voucher or have the barcode on your smartphone so that the staff can scan you in.

The official website also sells guided tours. You can pick among the 60-minutes museum tour; the 60-minutes early access tour (it starts at 8:15 am, so before the museum is officially opened to the public); the 45-minutes memorial tour and the 90-minutes museum and memorial tour.

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.

9/11 Museum

Way N. 2: Buy your 9/11 Museum tickets on third party reseller sites

This is the easiest way of getting tickets, as there are many third party reseller sites online. My favorite is GetYourGuide.

It is at time (not always) more expensive than the official site option, but 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. 

Third party reseller sites are easy to use. 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 notify 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!

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

Guided tours are the best way to enjoy a place of historical and cultural significance such as the National September 11 Museum. Your tour guide will share 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, but generally worth it.

The guided tours below all include 9/11 Museum tickets and a guided visit to the Memorial. Here are the best options:

9/11 Plaza
9/11 Plaza – Photo by Jin S. Lee

Way N. 4: Take a guided tour of the Memorial, Museum and World Trade Center Observatory

Another great way of getting tickets that is inclusive of all the most significant places linked to the 9/11 terrorist attacks is a guided tour that also goes to the World Trade Center Observatory and the Memorial. 

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.

Tours are available on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 am; they last 5 full hours and cost $109. You can buy yours 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 goes to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, where you visit the Immigration Museum. After that, you go 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

If you plan on visiting a number of attractions, getting the New York City Pass may be a good way of saving *some* money. 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. You also have to book entrance to all attractions separately.

These are the best New York City Passes:

9/11 Museum Tickets
The 9/11 Memorial Glade -Photo by Jin S. Lee

Other Useful Information

Opening times

9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

9/11 Museum is open Thursday to Monday from 10:00 am to 5:00 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 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 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. 

9/11 Plaza
9/11 Plaza – Photo by Jin S. Lee

How to get to 9/11 Museum and Memorial

The National September 11 Memorial Museum is located at 180 Greenwich Street, in the Financial District in Lower Manhattan.

There are 4 entrances to the building:

  1. Between Liberty Street and Greenwich Street
  2. Between Liberty Street and West Street
  3. Between West Street and Fulton Street
  4. 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 (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.

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.

Security checks

All visitors to the 9/11 Museum have to go through security checks. To speed up the security checks, avoid carrying radios, markers, tripods, cameras, glass bottles, powders and sprays; large umbrellas; large backpacks and bags; food.  

Smartphones and strollers are allowed. 

Photography

You can take personal photos (ie photos that are not for commercial use) inside the museum. 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.

Accessibility

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is fully accessible to visitors with limited mobility and wheelchair users. Guide dogs are welcome.

Luggage storage 

The museum is equipped with a coatroom. 

Other nearby attractions

There are many cool attractions close to 9/11 Museum and Memorial. Don’t miss the Oculus, the local transportation terminal and is free to visit; the One World Observatory, located in the Freedom Tower and (you can get tickets 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

Planning a trip to New York? Make sure to read my other posts!

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Discover how to get 9/11 Museum tickets - via @clautavani

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