Located at the top of the One World Trade Center skyscraper, the One World Observatory is the highest observation deck in New York at 386 metres and is definitely one of the must-see attractions in New York.
Its design will allow you to enjoy breathtaking 360º panoramic views and see up to 80 kilometres of the city in all directions: Manhattan, Brooklyn, DUMBO, New Jersey... but what tourist attractions will you see from the One World Observatory?
1. Empire State Building
From the top of One World Trade Center you can see the silhouette of the Empire State Building in the distance, one of New York's most iconic skyscrapers in Midtown Manhattan, in the heart of the city.
Look out the windows of the One World Observatory to catch a glimpse of the Empire State spire to the north, a jewel of the Art Deco movement that had a great impact on New York architecture at the beginning of the 20th century.
If you get the chance, head to the One World Observatory at sunset to enjoy the different colours of the sky as it fades and to see the lights of the city, including the Empire State Building at night, come on.
2. Chrysler Building
Another of the most iconic skyscrapers you can see from the One World Observatory is the Chrysler Building, one of the most beautiful and majestic in New York, also located in Midtown Manhattan, very close to Grand Central Terminal and Bryant Park.
Looking towards the north of the city, from One World Observatory you can also see the spire of the Chrysler Building, another building in the Art Deco movement that was so successful in the Big Apple in the 1930s.
At the top of One World Trade Center you can see the Chrysler Building from above, but I recommend you go up to the building to enter its lobby, the only part open to the public as the rest is occupied by offices.
It's beautiful! Inside, it follows the Art Deco aesthetic of the exterior and is full of details such as the reddish marble that covers the walls, the mural that adorns the ceiling by Edward Trumbull or the decoration of the lifts.
3. Statue of Liberty
From the windows of the One World Observatory you will have a magnificent view of Lady Liberty towering over the Hudson River to light up the world with her torch.
There are many places to see the Statue of Liberty in New York, but this observatory is special because it's located in Lower Manhattan, the closest to the iconic monument and therefore offers one of the most intimate and beautiful views in the Big Apple.
However, if you've always dreamed of seeing it up close, a trip to the Statue of Liberty is a must. Embark at Battery Park on the ferry to Liberty Island and you'll even get to see it from the inside! It will be an experience you won't forget.
4. Governor's Island
Another of the coolest spots in the city that you will see from the top of One World Trade Center is Governor's Island, one of the islands near the Statue of Liberty with which it shares space in New York Bay.
Governor's Island is full of gardens and meadows, where New Yorkers often go to unwind and spend some quality time outdoors doing different activities such as cycling, walking, kayaking, taking pictures of "Lady Liberty" from The Hills or simply having a picnic on the lawn or in one of the hammocks in Hammocks Grove.
To explore the island you can hop on one of the daily ferries from Manhattan (here's a handy New York ferry guide) from the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street.
5. Ellis Island
From the One World Observatory there are fantastic views of New York Bay. Not only the aforementioned Governor's Island and the Statue of Liberty but also another small island called Ellis Island, famous for being the gateway to the United States during the immigration waves of the late 19th century.
Ellis Island and its Immigration Museum is a very interesting place that I recommend you visit to discover a little better the multicultural roots of the country.
In addition, on this island there is also an abandoned hospital where sick immigrants were admitted, which you can visit with a guide on a special helmet tour that you can book with Statue Cruises. It is a different and original tour to understand the other side of the migratory phenomenon with a ghostly and somber air that will catch your attention. Are you up for it?
6. Financial District
From the top of the One World Trade Center skyscraper you can also see New York's Financial District, home to the city's powerful stock exchange.
At the One World Observatory you'll have the opportunity to see it in miniature but when you leave the observatory I recommend a short walk around the neighbourhood to see such popular attractions as Wall Street, Federal Hall, the statue of George Washington, City Hall, the Federal Reserve and the Charging Bull.
7. Ground Zero
If you look out of the windows of the One World Observatory and look down perpendicularly, you can see Ground Zero, the scene of the 9/11 attacks, which has been converted into a memorial for the victims.
This is another place I recommend you visit after going up to the One World Trade Center observatory. In the hollow where the Twin Towers once stood, you will find the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Survivor Tree, the Glade Memorial, Saint Paul's Chapel and The Oculus shopping centre.
8. Battery Park
From the top of One World Trade Center you will also have the chance to see Battery Park, one of New York's green lungs, which is located south of Lower Manhattan and borders the Financial District.
This park is known for its unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty. Most tourists come to the Battery Park Boardwalk to watch the sunset over New York Harbor or to catch a ferry to view the Statue of Liberty but there are also other tourist attractions to discover here such as a host of monuments and memorials, the
Jewish Heritage Museum or Fort Castle Clinton.
However, New Yorkers choose this park to disconnect from the hectic pace of the city by playing sports, having a picnic on the grass or going with the kids to The Battery Fountain or The SeaGlass Carousel. If you want to know which are the best parks in New York, this is one of them.
9. Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges
Another reason why it's worth going up to One World Observatory is because from here there is an atypical view of the cityscape that other New York observatories don't have: the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges over the East River with the borough of Brooklyn in the background.
A sightseeing tour of the Big Apple should never be complete without crossing these bridges. The views and architecture of these structures are astounding and provide an excellent opportunity to add new photos to your travel album.
- Brooklyn Bridge: Connects Civic Center (Manhattan) with DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights (Brooklyn).
- Manhattan Bridge: Connects Chinatown (Manhattan) to DUMBO (Brooklyn).
- Williamsburg Bridge: Connects the Lower East Side (Manhattan) with Williamsburg (Brooklyn).
10. The East River and Hudson River
Finally, from the One World Observatory you will have beautiful views of the East River, the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean.
Watching the sunset from this vantage point is a very special moment as the light reflects off the water creating a really beautiful and relaxing effect. Just like watching the wake of the little boats sailing on the water.