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National September 11 Memorial & Museum

A quieting tribute to the earth-shattering events of September 11, 2001.

TravelCurious Tip

Prepare yourself before viewing the historical In Memoriam exhibition, particularly if you are with young children; the display is deeply moving, and can cause distress for some.

Life after death

A forest of trees surround two square, sunken pools. These are the footprints of the two World Trade Centre towers that were destroyed in the devastating terrorist attack of 9/11: designed by Michael Arad of Handel Architects, who won a competition to create the memorial, they are a powerful commemoration of the nearly 3,000 who lost their lives in the greatest tragedy to hit the United States in modern memory.

The memorial was opened in 2011, one day after the tenth anniversary of the attacks. The trees are swamp white oaks, which will live and grow here for around 350 years; one, the Survivor Tree, is a callery pear which was found at Ground Zero having survived the devastation and was preserved for replanting. The huge twin pools are edged with bronze panels, inscribed with the name of every victim of the attacks in 2001 and of the earlier World Trade Center bombing in 1995.


More than a monument

Adjoining this tranquil plaza is a museum, dedicated to images, artifacts and oral histories of the people who were killed, and the impact on their families, friends and colleagues; both the immediate aftermath and longer term effects of 9/11 are thoughtfully examined. The deconstructivist design of the museum's pavilion references the collapse of the towers; also contained within are objects from Ground Zero including damaged emergency vehicles, and pieces of metal from the destroyed buildings.

Photographs of every victim are included alongside photographs of the wreckage and accounts of those who responded at the scene; the exhibits are carefully designed to provoke reflection and memory without distressing the families of victims and first responders. The museum opened in 2014, since when it has already seen over 4 million visitors; more than 22 million people have visited the memorial since 2011. This powerful site will not allow those who died to be forgotten, even as America's wounds slowly heal.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in New York
Trinity Church
A venerable church in the Wall Street area, with a turbulent history and reported land holdings of over $2 billion.
Federal Reserve Bank of New York
A major financial decision-maker, this bank played a key role in the authorities' reaction to the recent economic crisis.
Freedom Tower
Opened in November 2014, the One World Trade Center is the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere.
City Hall Park
Common area outside City Hall that has seen been the site of many historic events
St Paul's Chapel
Episcopal Church that still has pew where George Washington prayed after his inauguration
New York City Hall
Fine 19th century building that hosts the Mayor’s office

Related Tours

Private Walking Tour of Historic Wall Street District
The past of New York is always close to the southern tip of Manhattan. From the legacy of Dutch settlers to the Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks in 2001, it remains a place at the forefront of the human story. Go with your own guide on a journey around the city’s historic heart.   

  • Learn about New Amsterdam in the Historic District of New York
  • See the best financial sights of Lower Manhattan, including Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange
  • Visit the National 9/11 Memorial and see how the tragic events of 2001 are remembered (please note: the tour does not visit inside the museum.)
America: Humble Beginnings and Financial Power

Your  tour  starts with the unpretentious tale of the early settlers to the city, from a sleepy Dutch trading post to the dazzling rise of the world's busiest financial capital. You will have the pleasure of visiting Stone Street in the Historic District before moving north, just as the settlers did.

As you make your way through Wall Street you will discover how an 18th century street bazaar would eventually become a center for global commerce. Your expert local guide will give you valuable behind the scenes insight into some of the world’s most powerful financial institutions, as you walk by New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall. Here you will see the spot where George Washington was inaugurated and enjoy the handsome Federal Reserve. There will also be a chance to pop into Trinity Church, which has roots dating back to 1697.
 
 A Moving Memorial
 

 At the National 9/11 Memorial your guide will share with you the history of the World Trade Center, discuss the tragic events of 9/11, and walk you through the Memorial’s design. The area formerly known as 'Ground Zero' is now the site of a moving memorial and has indeed become an important historic landmark. Next to it is the rebuilt One World Trade Center. Often referred to as Freedom Tower, it stretches 1776 feet above the ground. 

Here your knowledgeable guide will tell you of the events leading up to the untimely destruction of the towers, as well as sharing some of the heart-wrenching stories of the families, survivors and 9/11 heroes. You will also visit St. Paul's Chapel, that miraculously survived the 9/11 attack. 
Private Full Day Highlights with Top of the Rock tickets
Explore the Big Apple - from the bustling streets of Downtown Manhattan to the serenity of Central Park.  On this private tour you will:

  • See the best sights of Lower Manhattan, from the National 9/11 Memorial to St Paul’s Chapel
  • Walk around quirky, local Greenwich Village 
  • Experience the bustle of Times Square
  • Enjoy the grandeur of St Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Stroll in both Grand Central Terminal and Central Park
  • Finish your tour gazing out on the city from the views from the Rockefeller Center

Your tour begins  at the National 9/11 Memorial and visit Ground Zero— the original site of the The World Financial Center. Here your guide will share with you the history of the World Trade Center and discuss the tragic events of 9/11. You will also visit Saint Paul's Chapel,  which was the base for rescue workers who heroically searched for survivors on that fateful day.

Next you will head towards  trendy Greenwich Village, home to over a century's worth of bohemians, artists, musicians, novelists, poets and intellectuals of New York City. From here you will take the subway to Wall Street in lower Manhattan, arguably the most important financial center of the world. You will learn about some of the most important moments in US history, from the swearing in of George Washington as the first American President, to the signing of the Buttonwood Agreement—the foundation of the New York Stock Exchange. 

Bright Lights

You will also have the opportunity to explore the gothic architecture of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, where writer F. Scott Fitzgerald was married. Then, you will walk to Grand Central Terminal, the most iconic transportation hub in the United States, with the beautiful celestial ceiling murals. 

Your guide will take you to Times Square in the midtown area to view the news ticker on the One Times Square Building, the NASDAQ board, and all the fluorescent neon advertisements. You will then venture to another icon of NYC—the Rockefeller Center. Here, your guide will give you your tickets for the Rockefeller Observation deck and part with you. Cap off your tour with  a breathtaking bird’s eye view of Manhattan and the rest of the Big Apple. 
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