The Best Ground Zero & 911 Memorial Tours

For Americans, and indeed all visitors to New York, a solemn pilgrimage to the heartbreaking site of Ground Zero is an important way to pay tribute to those who tragically lost their lives on September 11, 2001.The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is a deeply moving and fitting tribute to the pain and suffering caused by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The memorial is located on the exact spot where the Twin Towers once stood, the foundations now replaced by square reflecting pools, centered around clusters of swamp white oaks and a Caleri pear tree known as the Survivor Tree, the only tree to emerge alive from the rubble. The memorial was opened in 2011 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attack.

Visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero is a great way to gain more insight and perspective. Alternatively, you can simply buy a plug-in ticket to the museum so that you can spend more time visiting the exhibits. Some of the many zero-point tours include websites as part of a larger itinerary, so it can be tricky to know which one is right for you. We’ve sifted through the options based on itinerary, tour content, value for money and reviews from previous customers to bring you the best and most moving tour.

Zero hour hike.
From: $18 per person
One of the best ways to pay tribute to the victims of New York is to walk around the Ground Zero site and absorb the atmosphere. However, to really feel the emotional impact, you can take this hour-long walking tour to hear first-hand accounts of that fateful day, as well as visit some of the buildings that were significant to the events at Ground Zero, such as St. Paul’s Church, which became an important refuge for rescue workers here. Other sites visited include details that are sometimes overlooked, or whose relevance is often left unexplained, such as the Eleven Tears Memorial, dedicated to the Amex employees who lost their lives in the attacks. As with all tours in this list, departure times and availability are calculated on a daily basis.

9/11 Memorial and Museum Jumper Entrance
From $28 per person
In addition to the 9/11 Ground Zero site, which is free for all to visit, there is an invaluable museum that tells the story of the day in greater detail. During this three-hour tour, you’ll hear personal stories about the day, which is really a complement to the fact that jumper tickets are included so that you don’t waste time waiting to get into the thousands of 9/11 artifacts in three of the exhibits. You can learn all about the events that took place on September 10-12, 2001, not only in New York, but at the Pentagon and Flight 93. The memorial exhibit is a testament to the lives lost that day, as well as those who perished in another attack on the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993. Included in the price is admission to the museum and a downloadable audio guide.

9/11 memorial and memorial hike.
From $35 per person.
If you want to combine a visit to the museum with a visit to Ground Zero, then this 75-minute walking tour and then into the 9/11 Memorial Museum is a great option. The walking tour is led by members of the 9/11 community whose first-hand accounts really help to understand how the events unfolded.The 9/11 Memorial Museum is separate from the official 9/11 Memorial Museum, which is run by the 9/11 Families Association and offers a different perspective. Using personal items and other interactive exhibits, it tells a more personal story that really complements the official museum a few blocks away.

Tour of Lower Manhattan: Wall Street and the 9/11 Memorial.
From $35 per person.
For those who want to incorporate Ground Zero into a broader tour exploring the south end of Lower Manhattan, here’s a popular two-hour walking tour. Combining the 9/11 site with Wall Street, you’ll learn how this small part of the city played (and still plays) an important role in global history. From politics and economics to the immigrant history that shaped New York into what it is today, you’ll learn all about Manhattan’s history through landmarks such as the Charging Bull, the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall. Visit the resting place of great Americans like Alexander Hamilton at Trinity Church, then head to the 9/11 Memorial, where you’ll delve into the symbolism behind its design, as well as newer buildings nearby, like One World Trade Center.

If you’d like to be more thorough in your exploration of the 9/11 Memorial site, there’s an option that combines the best of both types of tours, offering skip-the-line tickets to the 9/11 Memorial Museum and a guided tour. The two-hour duration allows time to paint a more detailed picture of the many stories that unfurled subsequent to the attacks, such as that of the firefighters, or Operation Aegis, in which half a million people were evacuated from Lower Manhattan by boat. Following that, skip the line for access to the official 9/11 Memorial Museum. Don’t miss the huge Foundation Hall within, where you’ll see the vast remaining column and slurry wall from one of the Twin Towers.

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