Travel Guide

The Oculus NYC

World Trade Center Transportation Hub (The Oculus)

Crafted by the renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, The Oculus is not just a transportation hub; it’s a vibrant symbol of New York City's resilience and renewal. Opened in 2016, this spectacular structure serves as a nexus for commuters and visitors alike, featuring a dynamic array of shops, dining options, and public spaces that host an array of cultural events.

The Oculus in a nutshell…

The Oculus at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub is a modern marvel of architecture and functionality in Lower Manhattan.

Location: 50 Church Street, New York, NY

Transportation: Accessible by multiple subway lines, PATH trains, buses, and hop-on hop-off tours.

Tickets: Entry to the main areas of The Oculus is free.

Visiting Hours: Open daily, with limited overnight street-level access from 1:00 am to 5:00 am.

In the bustling heart of Manhattan’s Financial District stands the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, known colloquially as The Oculus. This striking structure, designed by Santiago Calatrava, is much more than a transit station. It represents a phoenix rising from the ashes of the 9/11 attacks, offering both a practical space for daily commuters and a place of poignant beauty for visitors. Opened to the public in 2016, The Oculus combines awe-inspiring architecture with functionality, housing 12 subway lines and the World Trade Center PATH station, alongside an array of retail outlets catering to more than a million people each week.

The Oculus is a marvel not only for its design but also for its vast, marble-lined hall under the 9/11 Memorial. Above ground, its white, wing-like ribs stretch towards the sky, a design envisioned to symbolize a dove being released from a child’s hand. Every year, on September 11th, at precisely 10:28 am, a sliver of sunlight pierces through the Oculus’ skylight, marking the exact moment the second Twin Tower fell. This feature is a somber reminder of the site’s historical significance and a tribute to resilience and hope.

Despite its architectural beauty and symbolic significance, The Oculus has faced criticism for its $4 billion price tag and prolonged construction timeline. Nonetheless, it stands today as one of the world’s most expensive and visually striking train stations, drawing both admiration and scrutiny from architectural enthusiasts and the general public alike.

Practical information

When planning your visit to The Oculus at the World Trade Center, here are some practical details to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re coming to shop, dine, or soak in the architectural splendor, The Oculus is accessible and centrally located in New York City’s bustling landscape.


Nestled at 50 Church Street, New York, NY, The Oculus serves as a central point in lower Manhattan. Conveniently positioned, it offers easy access to several key NYC landmarks, making it a perfect start or end point for your city explorations.

How to get there

Navigating to The Oculus is straightforward thanks to its central location and connectivity. Here’s how you can reach this iconic destination:


The subway is easily the most efficient way to get to The Oculus. Options include:

  • 1 at WTC Cortlandt
  • 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, Z at Fulton Street
  • E at World Trade Center
  • R, W at Cortlandt Street


For those who prefer bus travel, nearby stops include:

  • M55 at Vesey Street and Church Street
  • M55 at Liberty Street and Church Street
  • M9 at Liberty Street and South End Avenue

PATH Trains

The PATH trains provide a vital link for New Jersey commuters coming into Manhattan:

  • Newark to World Trade Center Station
  • Hoboken to World Trade Center Station

Hop-on Hop-off Buses

Opting for hop-on hop-off buses is an excellent way to see the city at your leisure, allowing you to explore various attractions conveniently.

View more sightseeing bus options


While driving in NYC isn’t generally recommended due to traffic and parking challenges, there are several nearby garages for those who choose to drive:

  • 75 West Street
  • 90 West Street
  • 73 Church Street


Entrance to The Oculus and its main areas is free, allowing everyone to appreciate its architectural beauty and public spaces without a fee.

Visiting Hours

The Oculus is open to the public, but street-level access is restricted overnight from 1:00 am to 5:00 am to ensure safety and maintenance.

Best time to visit

To avoid the commuter rush and enjoy a more relaxed visit, consider coming between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm on weekdays or after 7:00 pm when the structure is beautifully illuminated. Weekends typically see lighter traffic, making it a great time for a leisurely visit.

Tours and Experiences

For those looking to deepen their understanding of The Oculus and its historical context, consider booking a guided tour. These tours not only explore The Oculus but also encompass the Ground Zero area, providing a comprehensive narrative of the site’s evolution and significance.

Ground Zero Tour with One World Observatory Access

Immerse yourself in the history of 9/11 with this walking tour, which includes poignant stories of survival and heroism. Visit key landmarks like the Oculus, the World Trade Center Complex and the 9/11 Memorial before skipping the line at One World Observatory for breathtaking city views.

All-Access 9/11

This tour offers an in-depth look at Ground Zero and includes skip-the-line access to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, as well as One World Observatory and the Oculus. It’s a profound way to understand the impact of that day while honoring those who were lost.

View more experiences in the area

What to Expect at World Trade Center Transportation Hub

Discover the multifaceted World Trade Center Transportation Hub, famously known as The Oculus, which blends spectacular architecture with multifunctional utility. Whether you’re passing through or here to stay, this hub is a nexus of activity and connectivity in Manhattan.

PATH station

Operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, The Oculus is a crucial node in the PATH train network. It connects major lines like Newark – World Trade Center and Hoboken – World Trade Center, seamlessly integrating with various New York metro lines and the nearby Battery Park City Ferry Terminal. This station stands as a pivotal link alongside Manhattan’s other major stations, Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal, offering extensive reach across the region.

Westfield World Trade Center Mall

Dive into a shopping experience like no other at the Westfield World Trade Center Mall, located beneath the Oculus’ grand hall and within the neighboring towers. This sprawling mall, the largest in Manhattan, covers approximately 365,000 square feet, filled with a variety of stores and eateries that cater to every taste and need.

Oculus Lights

The Oculus is not only a hub of human activity but also a beacon of sustainability. Approximately 13,000 lighting fixtures have been upgraded throughout the facility to reduce energy consumption and enhance bulb life expectancy. A notable feature is the customizable rib-uplighting, which can be adjusted to display an array of colors, adding a dynamic visual element to the structure.

Tips to Visit World Trade Center Transportation Hub

Planning your visit to The Oculus can be exciting, given its array of offerings beyond transportation. From high-end shopping to dining and spectacular photo opportunities, here’s what you can expect:

  • Shopping and Dining: With over 350,000 square feet of retail space, The Oculus is a premier shopping destination featuring stores like Apple, Kate Spade, and Kiehl’s, alongside delicious treats from places like NuNu Chocolates.
  • Photography: The architectural design of The Oculus, especially the steel ribs of the roof visible from the second level, makes it a photographer’s delight. It’s perfect for capturing that stunning Instagram shot or group photos.
  • Experience and Navigation: Walking through The Oculus is an experience in itself, thanks to Santiago Calatrava’s unique design that feels almost otherworldly. The layout is intentionally straightforward, making it easy for anyone to navigate without confusion.
  • Proximity to 9/11 Memorial: Its location directly across from the 9/11 Memorial makes it a convenient spot to grab a bite or shop either before or after your visit to the memorial.


The Oculus is fully accessible, ensuring that everyone can enjoy its facilities. All levels are reachable via elevators, though moving between different levels might require transferring elevators.

In compliance with ADA standards, all elevators are equipped with braille signage.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Oculus is known for its white, wing-like structure designed to represent a dove being released. It’s an iconic part of New York’s skyline.

The design includes a skylight that aligns with the sun’s solar angles on September 11, casting a beam of light across the floor at the exact times the Twin Towers were struck and fell.

The Oculus serves as a major hub for the PATH trains with connections to Newark and Hoboken. It also connects with 12 subway lines and is near the Battery Park City Ferry Terminal.

The Oculus houses the Westfield World Trade Center Mall, the largest shopping mall in Manhattan, featuring a wide range of shops including luxury brands and popular retail chains.

Yes, there are numerous dining options within The Oculus, catering to a variety of tastes and preferences.

The best times for photography are during the morning and late evening hours when the crowd is thinner and the lighting is ideal for capturing the architectural details.

Yes, The Oculus is fully accessible, with elevators that accommodate all levels and braille signage for the visually impaired.

Yes, free Wi-Fi is available throughout The Oculus, allowing visitors to stay connected and share their experiences in real time.

The Oculus is open daily, with street-level access limited overnight from 1:00 am to 5:00 am.

Access to The Oculus and its main areas is free for all visitors.

Nearby attractions include the One World Observatory, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and Brookfield Place.

The Oculus is accessible by multiple subway lines, PATH trains, and several bus routes, making it extremely well-connected.

It’s best to visit outside of rush hours to avoid crowds, and exploring during off-peak times like late evenings or weekends can enhance your experience.

The Oculus has implemented energy-efficient lighting throughout, with the capability to alter the color of its rib-uplighting, reflecting a commitment to sustainability.

Yes, The Oculus offers a wide range of shopping options, including electronics stores like Apple and fashion outlets such as Kate Spade and Swatch.

Where to Stay Near the World Trade Center Transportation Hub

Staying near The Oculus at the World Trade Center offers convenient access to much of what Lower Manhattan has to offer. The area is rich with historical sites, shopping, dining, and excellent transportation links, making it an ideal base for tourists. Hotels in the vicinity cater to a range of budgets and preferences, ensuring that every visitor finds a comfortable spot to rest after a day of exploration. Furthermore, staying here means you’re just steps away from significant attractions like the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, enhancing your visit with ease of access and minimal travel time.

If you prefer a quieter atmosphere, consider accommodations in nearby neighborhoods such as Tribeca or the Financial District, which also offer great amenities and are still within walking distance of The Oculus. These areas provide a slightly more relaxed pace compared to the immediate vicinity of the World Trade Center, while still keeping you close to the action.

Other Nearby Attractions

The location of The Oculus at the World Trade Center is truly strategic, making it a perfect starting point for exploring New York City’s rich tapestry of attractions. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or simply enjoying stunning views, everything is just a stone’s throw away.

One World Observatory

Enjoy breathtaking views of New York from this iconic skyscraper’s observation deck, located within the World Trade Center complex itself. It’s a must-visit for first-time travelers to New York.

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9/11 Memorial

This solemn site offers a space for reflection and remembrance, dedicated to the lives lost in the September 11 attacks. Visiting here offers a deep and meaningful experience about the history and resilience of the city.

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9/11 Museum

Dive into the narratives and artifacts that tell the story of 9/11, located at the site where the Twin Towers once stood. This museum provides a profound insight into one of the most significant days in recent history.

View details

Brookfield Place

This upscale shopping and dining complex, located directly across from The Oculus, offers a variety of high-end retail and culinary delights, perfect for an afternoon spree or a relaxed evening meal.

Battery Park

A relaxing green space at the southern tip of Manhattan, ideal for strolls and picnics, with beautiful waterfront views and access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ferries.

Wall Street

Explore the bustling heart of the financial district, home to the New York Stock Exchange and the famous Charging Bull sculpture, embodying the dynamic spirit of commerce.

St. Paul’s Chapel

This historic chapel survived the 9/11 attacks despite its proximity to the World Trade Center and serves as a beacon of hope and resilience. Its history and architecture are captivating for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike.

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Explore Our Comprehensive Travel Guide

On this page

  1. Introduction
  2. Practical information
  3. Tours and Experiences
  4. What to Expect at World Trade Center Transportation Hub
  5. Tips to Visit World Trade Center Transportation Hub
  6. Accessibility
  7. Frequently Asked Questions
  8. Where to Stay Near the World Trade Center Transportation Hub
  9. Other Nearby Attractions