Why You Should Visit the 9/11 Memorial

September 11, 2001 is etched in history as one of the United States’ most tragic days, especially for the City of New York where the events of the day have reshaped the city’s landscape in profound ways. In unprecedented terrorist attacks on the nation, almost 3,000 people lost their lives — the majority of those in New York — 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. Here are 15 things to know before visiting the Memorial

An essential part of many visitors’ trips to New York City, the memorial’s magnetic appeal also serves as a place of reflection and education for New Yorkers new and old. As we enter an age when young adults only see the images of that day in history lessons, while the reactions and emotions seem indelible to anyone who saw the events unfold in real time, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum has found an even more important place in the city. 

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum stays one of the most visited museums in New York city. Whether it be to educate, reflect, or inspire a better future, 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.

Table of Contents

You learn the victims’ personal stories

People reading the victims' names, The 9/11 Memorial NYC
People reading the victims' names, The 9/11 Memorial NYC

In an epic oral history project, the memorial gathers personal stories of September 11 victims told by their loved ones. A curated selection of these moving stories is told throughout the museum and on its included audio guide. At the reflecting pools of the 9/11 Memorial outside the museum, covering the footprint of the Twin Towers, the names of all 2,977 victims of both the September 11 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing are inscribed in the bronze that surrounds them as an everlasting tribute. 

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 Twin Towers, NYC
The Twin Towers, NYC

To fully understand what happened on September 11, it’s important 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 events, 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

A part of the Twin Towers, The 9/11 Memorial Museum
A part of the Twin Towers, The 9/11 Memorial Museum

Although the Twin Towers are no longer part of New York’s famous skyline, the museum is a chance to see part of them, a poignant reminder of the icons that dominated the Lower Manhattan landscape for 30 years. In the museum’s Foundation Hall, as the name suggests, you’ll stand beside the remains of the North Tower’s foundations: An intact slurry wall, built to keep back the Hudson River’s waters; and the Last Column, the final piece of steel to be removed from Ground Zero, all 36 feet covered in the signatures and dedications of New York’s heroic emergency, rescue, and recovery workers.

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

There’s space for personal reflection

The 9/11 waterfalls, New York City
The 9/11 waterfalls, New York City

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 reflecting pools — twin pools that sit in the footprints of the Twin Towers — offer space for calm reflection. The largest man-made waterfalls in the United States surround them.

“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

A child visiting the 9/11 Memorial Museum, NYC
A child visiting the 9/11 Memorial Museum, NYC

Walking through the 9/11 Memorial is a somber experience, but the space is not inappropriate for younger visitors who cannot remember the events first hand. The experience for them is important, educational, and sensitively approached. Special age-appropriate tours and activity stations cater to younger visitors, but 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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