September 11, 2001 was a particularly tragic day for the United States. But for the citizens of New York, the events of the day have reshaped the city’s landscape in profound ways. In an unprecedented terrorist attack, 2,977 New Yorkers lost their lives. Roughly another 6,000 were injured. And one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, the twin towers of the World Trade Center, crumbled to the ground. 

Now, in place of the two towers, stands an inspiring symbol of perseverance. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is one of the most educational and moving sights in the city. Unlike any other memorial you know, a visit here might teach even native New Yorkers something new about the events of that day. Here are five compelling reasons why all New Yorkers should visit and reviews from GetYourGuide users that prove it’s much more than a memorial.

You learn the victims’ personal stories

National 9/11 (September 11) Museum and Memorial in Manhattan, New York City.

In an epic oral history project, the memorial gathers personal stories of September 11 victims told by their loved ones. A curated selection from among these moving stories is available to listen to as you move through the memorial. Each of the 2,977 victims names’ are inscribed on a bronze statue. Thanks to the audio remembrances, you’ll get to know some of the people behind these names, too.

Impeccably done with the families of those who were lost in this tragedy in mind…Really put the names to the faces.” — Mary, USA.

The story doesn’t start or stop on September 11, 2001

The NYC skyline with the World Trade Center seen from NJ

To fully understand what happened on September 11, you need to understand a story that begins long before that day and is still going long after it. That’s why the museum’s historical exhibition is divided into three parts: the Day of 9/11, Before 9/11, and after 9/11. You’ll learn about the geopolitical factors that led up to the event, get the straight facts on the events of the day, and get an insight into the ongoing after-effects of the attack.

Very enlightening and enjoyable as a look at real history that I actually lived through.” — William, Costa Rica.

You can still see part of the Twin Towers

Steel Skeleton of World Trade Center Tower South (one) in Ground Zero days after September 11, 2001 terrorist attack which collapsed the 110 story twin towers in New York City, NY, USA.

The Twin Towers are no longer part of the New York skyline, but they haven’t vanished completely. In fact, when you visit the memorial’s Foundation Hall, you’ll be able to see what remains of the two buildings’ foundations: the Last Column and a slurry wall. The Column is covered with markings and tributes left by the fire departments who heroically rushed to the scene that day.

I felt privileged to be able to see the remnants of the aftermath first-hand.” — Melanie, UK.

There’s space for personal reflection

NYC's 9 11 Memorial at World Trade Center Ground Zero. The memorial was dedicated on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

There’s no doubt that a visit to the 9/11 Memorial can be incredibly moving. That’s why the space is sensitively designed to allow visitors to move through at their own pace. In addition, the Memorial Pools, twin pools that sit in the footprints of the Twin Towers, offer space for calm reflection. They also happen to be the largest man-made waterfalls in the United States.

“I highly recommend it if you want to really understand what people went through that day in our history.” — Scott, USA.

The museum frames the events for both kids and adults

Boy walking with american flag

Walking through the 9/11 Memorial is a somber experience, but that doesn’t mean children are unwelcome. In fact, they’re encouraged to visit. Special age-appropriate tours and activity stations normally cater to younger visitors. While these are currently restricted due to COVID-19, many activities are now available online. Meanwhile, children are welcome to join general tours as well. The highly-trained docents, many of whom have been personally affected by the events of 9/11, will ensure your children have an experience that is informative without being overwhelming.

It was amazing how it was some of the younger visitors who were asking questions.” — Denis, USA.

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