Empire State Building

Attractions , Monuments and memorials Midtown West
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(9 user reviews)
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Photograph: Shutterstock
Empire State Building

While no longer the tallest building in America–or New York for that matter–the 1,454 foot tall Art Deco skyscraper looms as large as ever in the city’s iconic skyline. Built in 1931 over the course of just 11 months, the Empire State Building was a feat of American engineering, that remains one of the most visited attractions in New York for its spectacular 360-degree views. With so many clamouring for the chance to take the 25-minute elevator ride to the open air observation deck on the 86th floor ($32, seniors $29, children $26), it’s best to arrive early, between opening at 8am and noon. If that’s not a high enough altitude for you then opt for a trip on the manually operated elevator–be sure to quiz your conductor on facts about the building–to the 102nd floor indoor observation deck ($52, seniors $49, children $46) for views of the entire Central Park and sites up to 80 miles away. If you’re looking to have your own romantic Sleepless in Seattle moment, or just want to stand below the spectacular lights at night, and not worry about the long lines then splurge for the VIP express option ($65).

Venue name: Empire State Building
Contact:
Address: 350 Fifth Ave
New York
10118
Cross street: between 33rd and 34th Sts
Opening hours: Daily 8am–2am
Transport: Subway: B, D, F, M, N, Q, R to 34th St–Herald Sq; 6 to 33rd St
Price: $32, seniors and military personnel with ID $29, children 6–12 $26, children under 6 and military personnel in uniform free.
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LiveReviews|9
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Adam V
tastemaker

Empire State Building is part of NYC history. Representing the marvel that is the modern sky scraper, the architecture, business and culture of the times are on display for all to see. Busy part of a notoriously busy city, there are tour guides, bus tours, and general tourist traps everywhere around here. This is one of them. Wait on line, buy a ticket to board an elevator. Wait on another line for another elevator. Gift shop. Gift shop. Observation deck! Selfie. Selfie. Wait on line to get back on elevator. Overall it's one of those things that you do once, then you're like "Sorry, I already checked it off my list..." The art deco style is really interesting. The staff is polite. Most everything is pretty well cleaned. I've come here for some business meetings and getting checked in and through security you also get to wait on line. It's okay though, it builds character and helps build suspense. In a kind of good way.

Brian M.

A tourist favorite located on 33rd street, I still enjoy bringing visitors to see this iconic building.  From the art deco interior to the excitement of flying up the elevators.  The views are naturally amazing on clear weather days.  I have been there on overcast days and its quite unique as clouds will hover below you and you look down.  Tons of history of the building and the city can be found throughout.  The lights that surround the top of the building have been more complex over the last few years and there have been images projected on the building on some evenings as well.  Tours are given and there are headsets for multiple languages as well, with the exception of German, for whatever reason.

Stephen L

One of the most iconic buildings in the world, the Empire State Building is the emblem of New York City. Built in an amazing 18 months during the depths of the Great Depression, it is the epitome of the skyscraper. The views from the top are spectacular, although as many have noted, ESB isn't part of the view! No matter; you can also climb to the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. Both are time-consuming and pricey, but well worth it. The Art Deco lobbies of ESB are less impressive than Rock Center, but are still awesome. Interesting trivia: ESB was originally designed with a flat roof, like Rock Center; the glorious stainless-steel apex we see was added to provide a landing platform for a dirigible, which proved to be an impossible idea, and the finial spire was added for television transmission before most people had TVs.

nirezeitler
tastemaker

As mentioned by others, the view from the top of the ESB almost doesn't feel as iconic as you might expect, because you're viewing the skyline without the ESB in it. And the lines, omg. First the line just to get up to the 2nd floor, then the line to go thru security, then another line winding around the 2nd floor to get to the elevators, then once you get in the elevator there's a line on the 80th floor to go up to the 86th floor. Lines just to get into more lines. Luckily I was with someone who works in the building, so we got to skip thru the 2nd floor. But I would advise tourists that it is ultimately NOT worth the wait (and definitely not worth paying for an express pass to skip) - get your view from somewhere else!

GC
moderator

This is probably blasphemous, but I find the Empire State Building a little overrated. It is expensive and overcrowded, and at the top, you miss seeing the Empire State Building as part of the skyline because you’re standing on it! The trick is to go to Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center to see the view – then you get the iconic Empire State Building in view.

Claire H

The Empire State Building is a must visit when coming to New York but to be honest, the view from Top of the Rock is better because you can see ESB. Like any tourist attraction, the lines are longer during peak tourist season and there isn't much to keep you entertained as you go up (like One World). If you are having to choose between the two, I would recommend Top of the Rock but if you are wanting that "iconic movie" moment in New York, choose ESB. 

Tom
moderatorStaff Writer

Surely on the to do list of anyone venturing to New York for the first time - it's worth revisting too for the regular visitor, although The Rockerfellar building runs it close in terms of view of the NY skyline. Particularly impressive at night.

Jaime B

Go to the top! You won't regret it! this may be cliche, but viewing New York City from this height is just something you must do. It's a perspective of NYC that you just have to see. Also, I recommend going just before sunset so that you can see the city go from day to night. It's gorgeous. Also, I paid extra for a ticket that allowed me to skip all the lines during rush hour, which I thought was worth it. But I bet there's a time you can go when it's not as crowded and you needn't spend so much.