Everything You Need to Know about Visiting the 9/11 Memorial in New York City

New York City is a lot of things to a lot of people. It’s iconic for some very iconic reasons. But everyone in the world knows New York City for one specific reason: It is the site of the first attacks, the most deaths and the most devastation on September 11, 2001. The memorial and museum here are on many visitors’ must-do list on a trip to New York City, and I had the chance to visit the memorial for the first time on my recent trip. Here are the things you need to know for your own visit.

The Memorial

The memorial is always open, and it’s at the site of the World Trade Center Twin Towers. The entire memorial covers 16 acres, and the twin reflecting pools on the sites of the Twin Towers are the largest manmade waterfalls in North America. It opened on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The memorial honors the site where the most 9/11 victims died, but as you walk around the memorial and read the names, you’ll notice sections that also memorialize those who died at the Pentagon in Virginia, and Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. I love that they have made this a memorial for all the people who died on 9/11, not just the New Yorkers. The most devastation happened in New York City, in terms of people who died and people who lived with the after effects of clean up and reconstruction, but the 9/11 experience happened to all of us.

9/11 Memorial Waterfall
Related: The Guide to Visiting The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

The 9/11 Memorial Glade

The path between two rows of stones near the waterfalls is called the Memorial Glade. It’s specifically dedicated to the memory of those who died or have become sick due to exposure from toxins as a result of the 9/11 attacks. These people include World Trade Center survivors, Lower Manhattan residents, first responders, relief workers, volunteers, students, and clean-up workers who were all exposed. The six stone monoliths have steel from the World Trade Center embedded in them.

The Memorial Glade
More here: 20 Years of Never Forgetting

The Survivor Tree

This “Survivor Tree” is a callery pear tree that survived the attacks, even after being partially burned. I really can’t say it better than how the story is written on the website, so here is an excerpt:

“In October 2001, a severely damaged tree was discovered at Ground Zero, with snapped roots and burned and broken branches. The tree was removed from the rubble and placed in the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

“After its recovery and rehabilitation, the tree was returned to the Memorial in 2010. New, smooth limbs extended from the gnarled stumps, creating a visible demarcation between the tree’s past and present. Today, the tree stands as a living reminder of resilience, survival, and rebirth.” Source.

The Survivor Tree
More here: A Traveler’s Reflections on 9/11

The Museum

The museum is open Wednesday-Monday (closed Tuesdays). Advance tickets are required and can be reserved here. Tickets are $29, but there are discounts for select groups, such as children, seniors, students, veterans, FDNY, NYPD, PAPD, etc. Artifacts include over 74,000 items, and the museum may be emotional for some visitors. We visited on a Tuesday, so I will need to go back another time to visit on a day when the museum is open.

One World Trade Center
Also helpful: How to Travel from EWR Airport to Downtown NYC

Feel free to leave your own thoughts, memories, and feelings below in the comments section.

Want more? Get everything you need to an NYC getaway on my dedicated United States Page.

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