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Empire State Building | Manhattan, NY

  • Attractions
  • Midtown West
  • price 2 of 4
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Empire State Building
Photograph: Shutterstock

Time Out Says

UPDATE: Make sure to check for changes in its reopening plan here.

Although it’s no longer the tallest building in New York City, this world-famous landmark remains a Manhattan icon for good reason. The main deck on the 86th floor is the highest open-air observatory in NYC, offering stunning 360-degree views of the Hudson and East Rivers, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and more ($34, seniors $31, children $27). Famous faces such as Chrissy Teigen, Celine Dion and Neil Patrick Harris have all been spotted enjoying the views from the top, which you’ll recognize from countless movies and TV shows. If you can’t get high enough, head to the 102nd floor's indoor observation deck for a full view of Central Park ($54, seniors $51, children $47). The Dare to Dream exhibit on the 80th floor honors the 3,400 people who built the 1,454-foot skyscraper and features original photographs, architectural sketches and construction notes. Before visiting, download the ESB app on iTunes or Google Play for exclusive content and access to a free audio tour.

RECOMMENDED: 101 best things do in NYC

Why wait?
The best time to visit with shorter lines is between 8 and 11am. If you’ve got no time at all for lines, nab an Express Pass ($60 for main deck, $80 for both decks), which will allow you to skip past everyone. But take note: The Express Pass is strictly sold online, so don’t be fooled by any people peddling them on the street.

Be an early bird and night owl
What better place to catch a sunrise than the Empire State Building? For $100, you can watch the sun come up over the entire city, and yes, it's stunning. This experience is limited to only 100 guests each day, so be sure to book yours well in advance. The views are just as spectacular at night, which you can enjoy if you opt for the AM/PM Experience ($49, $39 for children). The night ticket is redeemable after 9pm.

See all of the lights
Since 1976, the tower’s lights have been changing colors to honor holidays, special occasions and different organizations. But in 2012, an LED light system was installed, giving off dazzling displays of 16 million colors. Check the lighting calendar to find out what the colors signify every day. Also, light shows are now staged to simultaneous music on iHeartMedia stations. Want to watch? Search “Empire State Building Light Shows” on YouTube and prepare to be amazed.

Our New York editorial team is constantly updating and reviewing the best attractions, activities and venues across the city, so that you're always in the know, with the best of NYC. at your fingertips. Empire State Building was most recently updated with new tips on June 21, 2017.

Written by
Cristina Gibson


350 Fifth Ave
New York
Cross street:
between 33rd and 34th Sts
Subway: B, D, F, M, N, Q, R to 34th St–Herald Sq; 6 to 33rd St
$32, seniors and military personnel with ID $29, children 6–12 $26, children under 6 and military personnel in uniform free.
Opening hours:
Daily 8am–2am
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What's On

Oktoberfest and Happy Hour on the Empire State Building Observatory

Imagine having a cold brew on top of one of the tallest buildings in NYC! For the first time in its 90 years, the Empire State Building is serving up beer within its 86th Floor Observatory Experience for Oktoberfest. Every Thursday through Saturday, October 14-30 from 5-9pm, the Bronx Brewery will pop-up with four beers—its American Pale Ale ($9), World Gone Hazy IPA ($12), Smile My Guy IPA ($12), and Das Bronx Oktoberfest ($14)—from a special 90th Anniversary cart on the building’s 86th floor. Photograph: Courtesy Empire State Building The Empire State Building’s own STATE Grill and Bar will offer $10 mini NY-style cheesecakes alongside the brewer’s selections. Bronx Brewery is the second vendor in the building’s Observatory pop-up program after a successful August run with My Cookie Dealer. "We continue the 90th Anniversary celebration of the World’s Most Famous Building this fall in partnership with local favorite Bronx Brewery," said Jean-Yves Ghazi, president of the Empire State Building Observatory. "Our guests can enjoy our new reimagined, immersive digital and tactile exhibits with confidence before they relax with an evening drink and the most spectacular 360-degree, open-air views that New York City can offer." Guests are encouraged to sip their beverages on the iconic 86th Floor Observatory and tag photos with #PopUpTop for the chance to be featured on ESB social channels.

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