Opened just in time for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the somber Memorial was designed by Michael Arad and Peter Walker and occupies a large swath of the 16-acre World Trade Center complex, forming what’s known as the Memorial Plaza. It’s comprised of two recessed, 30-foot-tall waterfalls that occupy the giant, square footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. Every minute, some 60,000 gallons of water cascade down the sides and then down into smaller square openings in the center of the pools. At nearly an acre in size each, they are said to be the largest man-made waterfalls in North America. Edging the Memorial pools are bronze panels inscribed with the names of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the attacks at the WTC site, in Flight 93’s crash in Pennsylvania, at the Pentagon, and the six people who died in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. Because the names are arranged by affiliation rather than alphabetically, it can be difficult to locate names—visit
the Memorial’s website or use on-site kiosks to find the location of a particular name. Visitors are allowed to place tribute items in front of the Memorial pools as well as on the name panels. Across the plaza are benches, grassy strips, and more than 400 swamp white-oak trees harvested from within a 500-mile radius of the site, as well as from Pennsylvania and near Washington, D.C. There’s also a single Callery pear tree known as the “survivor tree,” which, after being nearly destroyed on September 11, 2001, was nursed, revived, and replanted here in 2010. Visits to the 9/11 Memorial are free as an open-access public plaza. Enter the National 9/11 Museum via the pavilion on the plaza.