If you haven’t been before, I would recommend the 9/11 Memorial for any visit to New York City. It is such a powerful, moving experience and a nice way to reflect on American history and a way to never forget the victims.
When Derek and I visited in April 2013, it was a little odd on how to get tickets. I read online that we had to buy the tickets ahead of time online, so we did. Since we didn’t know exactly when we were going to be there, we ordered them (and paid an online fee) while eating a late lunch nearby and therefore didn’t have a printer to print the tickets. Since we couldn’t print them, we had to go to the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site to get the tickets. It turns out we could have gotten tickets there without purchasing online. Our entrance time would have been 30 minutes later, however. Right next to the Preview Site is St. Paul’s Church. We went inside where there were displays from September 11, 2001 and walked the grounds outside. After that, we headed over to the 9/11 Memorial. It turns out we could have gotten our tickets there as well, but there was quite a long line. We were able to go in the short(er) line. There is airport type security and then a short walk to get to the site.
Once you are in the site, you are able to walk around and see the two waterfalls which are in the footprints where the twin towers stood and the edges are engraved with the names of the victims.
You can also see the Survivor Tree which is a pear tree that survived the attacks and was rescued and replanted. I was glad that I was able to visit without my children and have some quiet time to reflect. When my children are a bit older, though, I will take them there and try to explain what that day was like. The museum was not open when we were there either, so I would like to be able to visit there as well.
After viewing the grounds, we went to the 9/11 Memorial Museum Store and were able to see Paul Jr.’s 9/11 Memorial Bike. There are also gifts and souvenirs that you can purchase that help fund the building of the site.