9/11 Memorial & Museum – Best Time

For anyone visiting New York City, you’ll want to pay a visit to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, which both pay tribute to those who lost their lives on this tragic day.

Memorial vs. Museum

9/11 Museum and Memorial

The memorial is outside and free to visit, and then 70 feet underground, you’ll find the museum. While tickets are required for the museum, it’s well worth the admission cost with its touching tribute and fantastic exhibits on offer to visitors.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about visiting what has become one of the most visited attractions in New York. Don’t forget to read our 3 Must-Know Tips at the end of this article!

When Is the Best Time to Visit

9/11 Museum
9/11 Memorial Museum – inside fountain by Edward Stojakovic, CC BY

The best time of day to visit the 9/11 Museum is during the first two hours of the morning. Beat the crowds by booking the first tickets of the day online. Later on in the day, you’ll find that crowds pick up much more, especially around lunchtime and early afternoon

As of the time of writing, the museum is open from Thursday to Monday each week, therefore closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Following the return to regular tourism levels in New York, expect these hours to open up further to include seven days a week, and the standard 9 am opening time that was used previously.

Monday afternoons offer free entry tickets from 3 pm, so this time is worth avoiding unless you want to take advantage of this great offer. Thursday and Friday evening is a good time to visit, as the museum is open until 7 pm, instead of the regular 5 pm closure time. It’s also a beautiful time to enjoy walking around the monument with lower crowds, and the lighting creates a unique atmosphere around the site.

While it’s great visiting in these last two hours of the day, ensure you get to the museum early enough to enjoy everything it has to offer, so you don’t have to rush around the exhibits.

9/11 Museum and Memorial
New York City, USA, 9/11 Memorial Museum by Pom’, CC BY-SA

Weekend Visits: As far as days to visit, naturally, you’ll want to avoid the weekends, which will attract more crowds as with any tourist attraction in the city. If you do need to visit during the weekend, once again ensure you are there for the opening time. The rest of the morning and afternoon is unlikely to see a drop in the crowd levels.

Book in Advance: To offer yourself the best experience, book your tickets in advance, which will minimize the waiting time upon your arrival. If you purchase your tickets in advance, you’ll just need to show up fifteen minutes before your allotted time, and you will be guaranteed entry. This is not the case if you just show up and wait in line. Buy your 9/11 Memorial & Museum Skip-the-Line Timed Entry ticket (via GetYourGuide) before you visit!

How Long Is the Wait Time

9/11 Museum

The wait time for the 9/11 Museum is generally between fifteen minutes and one hour. Holidays and weekends attract the most crowds and expect wait times to stretch over an hour during these periods. By purchasing tickets in advance, you can minimize your wait time and guarantee your entry to the museum.

If you don’t have tickets, the best time to arrive at the attraction is first thing in the morning, where you can expect to wait about fifteen minutes before entering. If you arrive after lunch, anticipate waiting up to an hour to purchase your tickets and gain entry into the site.

9/11 Museum
New York City, USA, 9/11 Memorial Museum by Pom’, CC BY-SA

Most of the visitors to the site line up between noon and 3 pm each day. During this time you’ll find the longest crowds to buy your tickets. When you arrive at the ticket counter, you’ll see a sign which details the times available for entry on the day.

If you have to buy tickets for a few hours later, you’ll have to wait around in the local area or a nearby coffee shop before you can enter the museum. However, in that case, you can visit the memorial first before heading down to the museum.

If you purchase tickets online in advance, you will reduce your waiting time and security check to about fifteen minutes. Tickets are available online for every thirty minutes of the day, and you’ll just need to arrive fifteen minutes before your allocated time to clear security and enter the museum.

How Much Time to Spend at the Museum

9/11 Museum

To fully explore the 9/11 museum and memorial, you’ll want to spend 2-3 hours at the site. This is enough time to enjoy all of the exhibits on offer and walk around the large memorial site. If you allocate less than two hours to your visit, you’ll find it to be a very rushed experience.

A visit to the 9/11 museum can be a very emotional experience, so you’ll want to allocate a good length of time to your visit to pay tribute to those whose lives were lost in this tragic event. There’s plenty to see between the memorial and the museum, so allocate a full morning or afternoon of your trip to the site.

The memorial needs about thirty minutes to enjoy the site fully. However, some people choose to spend much longer here reflecting on the events of the day. The time spent in the museum varies depending on your museum touring style, with the shortest visit being about an hour and those who enjoy reading every exhibit taking closer to the three-hour mark.

Is the Museum Worth Visiting?

9/11 Museum
The destruction from 9/11 by Kristina D.C. Hoeppner, CC BY-SA

Without a doubt, the 9/11 Museum is well worth visiting while being in New York City. It’s a stunning tribute to this horrific incident, and the museum and memorial offer great insight into the lives lost on this day. No trip to New York is complete without a visit to the site, so ensure you add this into your next trip itinerary.

While some visitors opt to just see the memorial, I highly recommend adding the museum to your visit, as it offers you a much deeper insight into the events and the people affected by this day.

The memorial is one of the most stunning tributes you will ever witness, with the sunken twin pools located on the Twin Towers’ foundation. The name of every single person killed in the attacks is inscribed in bronze, and it’s a fitting tribute to those whose lives were lost in this senseless attack. It’s a peaceful and moving site, and you’ll want to allocate a reasonable amount of time to the memorial.

Heading underground to the museum, you’ll learn more about the building’s function before the attack, the day of 9/11, and the aftermath of this event on the city. There are so many memorabilia pieces of the day hidden within the museum’s walls, and it helps to put a face to the names listed above in the memorial.

You’ll get the opportunity to learn more about the people closely affected by this day, and it reminds you of the adversity that can be overcome when we work together as humans and offer compassion to those around us. You’ll also enjoy learning more about Ground Zero’s rebirth and the projects undertaken in the area following the attacks.

Online Tickets | Highly Recommended


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3 Must-Know Tips before Visiting

9/11 Museum
The destruction from 9/11 by Kristina D.C. Hoeppner, CC BY-SA

Before your visit, here are a few top tips to help make the most of your time:

  1. Buy your tickets in advance: 9/11 Museum Tickets. This will save you plenty of time waiting in line when you arrive, and you’ll simply have to turn up fifteen minutes before your allocated time.
  2. The 9/11 Museum is not recommended for children under 10. While they are welcome to visit, it can be an incredibly confusing and difficult experience for them. There is a guide for kids on offer, but you will be the best one to decide if it’s appropriate for your young children to visit at their current age.
  3. Download the 9/11 audio guide app before your visit for either your Android device or iPhone. An audio guide is not included in your museum entry, but this will provide you with a more detailed guide and an immersive experience to use during your visit


Additional Tip: You can’t enter the site with a bag larger than 19 x 17 x 8 inches. Try to keep your bag size to the minimum for the day, which will make your touring experience more pleasant once inside.

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is one of the top attractions to visit during any New York trip. With prior planning and by purchasing your tickets in advance, you’ll enjoy a quick and easy admission process upon arrival. Make sure you factor in two to three hours into your plans to visit the site, which offers a touching tribute and insight into the events of this tragic day.