Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, along with a more uplifting milestone: It’s the 5th anniversary of the National September 11 Memorial. The Memorial Park and the Museum (which opened in May 2014) are among the most popular destinations in New York. More than 5 million visitors have paid tribute to the almost 3,000 victims.
As the downtown area has regained its footing, the sightseeing, dining, and shopping options have multiplied. Here are five tips on how to save while touring the World Trade Center, as well as money-saving ideas for visiting the memorial sights.
The Memorial park itself is open to the public
Where the Twin Towers once stood, two reflecting pools feature 30-foot man-made waterfalls disappearing into the center voids. The names of the victims in the 9/11 attacks as well as the 1993 bombing are carved in bronze around the edges of the pools.
The Museum beneath the Memorial charges $24 per adult admission ticket and has discounts for students, youth, seniors, veterans and members. However, if you plan your visit on Tuesday evenings, you might be able to receive free tickets. The Museum gives them out on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 4 p.m. on Tuesdays for visits from 5 p.m. to close (7 p.m.).
Across Liberty Street is also the 9/11 Tribute Center, which features additional memorabilia as well as tours led by survivors, residents, rescue workers, or family members of 9/11 victims. Admission is $15 per adult, but you can find up to half off tickets on Groupon. Or, if someone hands you a flier in front of the museum, keep an eye out for a 20% off coupon on it.
Liberty Park offers a free view, too
For another view of the Memorial and its surrounding, cross Greenwich street from the Tribute Center and climb the gentle flight of stairs to Liberty Park. It provides a peaceful vantage point for looking at the reflecting pools, as well as of the glass paneled Freedom Tower, a.k.a. 1 World Trade Center. There is no admission price.
Learn to cook Italian at Eataly, without paying
The global Italian food marketplace, Eataly, opened a downtown location in August on the third floor of 4 World Trade Center. Everyday, you can learn how to shape gnocchi or pronounce “bruschetta” the authentic way in cooking classes with Eataly’s star chefs at noon, 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. without advance registration. The free food “university,” or Foodiversità, is open to all ages.
Shop for branded clothing, shoes and more at a discount
The Century 21 department store is right across Church Street from Eataly. Century 21 is famous for its bargain-priced luxury items. For instance, a ruby-colored zip-around wallet by Furla is on the shelf for $89.99, compared to its $198 original price.
Take a free ferry to see the Statue of Liberty
Cruising to the Liberty Island on the Liberty Island Ferry costs an adult $18. But if you don’t feel compelled to touch the pedestal or get into the crown, you can hop on the commuter Staten Island Ferry, which passes within prime photo distance of Lady Liberty on its 25-minute trip.