I've been wanting to visit the 9/11 memorial and museum since it opened, but as you may know, it's not an easy thing to do. I knew it was going to be very emotional but I also knew that it was something I wanted to honor and see.
So on Saturday Andrew and I went downtown to visit the memorial, the museum and then made our way to the top of One World Trade. The whole day was emotional but amazing and I wanted to share our time with you all.
What initially started this adventure was the opening of One World Trade Center Observatory. I first heard about it on the TV in a taxi and knew I wanted to go right away (I love skyline views). I found a day that worked for the both of us and thought while we were down there, it would be the best time to also visit the museum and memorial.
I bought tickets for both places (the 9/11 memorial is free, the museum is what we needed tickets for) and the times were set. Getting down there was really easy with the subway station nearby. Our museum tickets were at 4p (we got in at 3:50p) and the line to buy tickets was really long. I would highly suggest picking a time and buying tickets in advance (you can do that here).
I left two hours between our museum ticket time and our observatory time but I probably could have used about another hour to really see everything. Just be sure to keep that in mind when booking!
I didn't take any photos inside the museum as I really didn't feel right and my phone was in my purse the entire time.
While I don't want to talk about my time at the museum, as I feel it was a personal experience that every person should 1. go through, and 2. feel on their own. I will however give a few overall takeaways.
This was by far the best put-together museum I've ever been to. I cannot say enough great things about how it was laid out and presented and my experience was unreal. The layout of the museum starts with artifacts and memorials and then the main part where the day is told by time -- each hour in the sky and on the ground -- with newspapers, videos, photos, phone calls ... everything. And as you go through it has sections dedicated to each event that day. All were exceptionally covered.
It was very in-depth (which was extremely hard at times) but also so very educational. I know my generation might be one of the last who fully remember 9/11 (I was in 5th grade and for the most part too young to understand the complexities of what was happening) but I know that for all those younger generations, the events from that day will always be truly remembered because of this museum.
In all honesty, I am unsure what else to say because I don't want this to come off in a weird way or anyone take offense to it. It's a very sensitive subject and while I would love to speak more about my time and the memorial, I will leave it here.
Just trust me when I say everyone in their life should go once to the museum and memorial, take in all of the emotions and learn what is has to offer. Your experience will not be one you forget.
After the museum we walked over to The One World Trade Center. Oh man, is it a beautiful building.
If you're looking to do both of these in the same day, I would suggest starting at the memorial first. It symbolizes so much more and gives you a deeper understanding and meaning to the building doing it this way. It was really heartwarming to be at the top after the memorial.
If you remember we went to the Top of the Rock a little bit ago and I never thought something would be better than that view. My whole theory behind it being that from the rock you can see the two best buildings in the city: the Empire State Building and One World Trade.
Well, I was wrong.
This view was enchanting.
We got really lucky with the weather and were able to see everything. The whole place was a 360-degree view of what felt like the whole world. Being able to view the city from a new vantage point was encouraging and inspiring.
I knew the building was tall, but being up there that high was unexpected. Everything really gets put into perspective at the observatory and you have these amazing moments of clarity knowing that you're on top of the world.
You don't really know New York until you've been to the top of One World Trade.
What I thought was so great was their attention to detail. I don't want to give anything away because the whole experience needs to be had firsthand but it was seriously jaw dropping. From the elevator ride up (yes, the elevator), to the first time you see (unexpectedly) the view -- it was all consuming.
And obviously this has jumped up to my No. 1 favorite thing to do in the city.
You must go.
I also love this view from the bottom. It was like the building never ended and went as high as space.
I honestly can't wait for more visitors and friends to come to the city so I can go up again and share this life changing experience with them.
After the observatory we went to dinner nearby (more on that later this week) and spent the rest of our night downtown. We walked back to the memorial and it was even more beautiful at night.
Then we walked around to the water and back and were able to catch the sunset on what was an unforgettable day.