Empire State Building, New York City

4 out of 5 stars 4 Stars - 369 Reviews

350 5th Avenue (212) 947-1360

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  • Empire State Building
    by katalin
  • View from the Empire State Building, New York
    View from the Empire State Building, New...
    by antistar
  • View from the Empire State Building, New York
    View from the Empire State Building, New...
    by antistar
  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Top of the Empire State Building

    by Donna_in_India Updated Jan 4, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    View from the Empire State Building at Dusk

    Until a few months ago, the Empire State Building was once again the tallest buildng in New York City. Although now #2, it is still an icon and world-wide symbol of NYC. Building started shortly after the Crash of '29. With 3,000 men working, the building rose 4 1/2 stories a week. On May 1, 1931 the building was officially opened. Although the building is 1,250 feet tall, a 217 foot antenna was added in 1950 for TV/FM radio/Emergency Broadcasting that brought the height of 1,467 feet.

    In 1981 the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission declared the building a landmark, in 1982 it was listed on the State & National Register of Historic Places and in 1986 it was recognized as a National Historic Landmark by the National Parks Services, I.S. Department of the Interior.

    The ESB has been featured in over 250 movies and is the location for countless weddings. The ESB has lightings - tower lights - that celebrate cultures and causes, religious holidays such as Christmas (with green and red), and even local sports events/championships such as the NY Yankees and NY Mets Subway Series (the last in 2013).

    We are frequently asked whether it's best to go to the top of the ESB or Top of the Rock and I have long recommended the ESB. I finally understand the other point of view - mine may have been more sentimental. I do love the views from the ESB - especially of the bridges leading out of Manhattan but the point that keeps coming back is that you can't SEE the ESB FROM the ESB! So if you have time/money for only 1, I'd recommend the Top of the Rock.

    If you do decide to go to the ESB, note that the lines can be excruciatingly long - as they are during the Christmas holidays and on many summer days. You'll have to wait on three lines - one for security, one to buy your tickets, and one for the elevator. At least avoid the ticket line and buy your tickets to the 86th floor observatory online. (To continue to the 102nd floor - which I really liked - even though it's enclosed - you have to buy the tickets from the 86th floor to the 102nd floor at the ticket office on the 2nd floor or the kiosk on the 8th floor.) You can also skip the elevator line by buying an express pass but it costs twice as much as the price of a regular ticket. I don't think it's worth it.

    Be warned that the guys outside of the building will try and sell you combo tickets (that includes the Skyride, which I would definitely skip), express tickets, etc. Do your homework and know what you want to buy (or buy online), otherwise it can get very expensive!

    ESB is also included in New York's City Pass - http://www.citypass.com/city/ny/now.html.

    You can check - http://whatcoloristheempirestatebuilding.com/ - to see what colors will be lit on a particular day.

    Open daily 365 days a year. 8:00am to 2:00am 7 days a week.

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  • acebruin's Profile Photo

    Very Nice View

    by acebruin Updated Dec 20, 2013
    The Entrance
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    This is another must visit place in the city for a first timer. Make sure you visit the tower if you've never been before.

    There are multiple lines to multiple elevators going up. The line keeps moving at a steady pace, so no worry there. If you have the city pass, you can come back up for the second time at night time. I suggest you go this route. It's very cool to see the view at night.

    Take lots of pictures when you get to the top. The view is amazing. Don't forget your audio tour and learn about the different Burroughs of New York City.

    We enjoyed visiting the tower.

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  • Orchid's Profile Photo

    ...Old Mr Empire Never Says a Word...

    by Orchid Written Nov 10, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Manhattan to the south
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    An elevator to the top of the Empire State was the very first thing we did in New York on our first visit, long ago in January 1991. Walked from Penn Station in chilly sunshine, and rode the elevator right to the 102nd floor.

    The viewing deck is quite small, but give expansive views over the low rise buildings to the south, which of course was at that time punctuated by the twin obelisks of the old World Trade Centre towers. More impressive though are the close up views of the surrounding skyscrapers, providing a differing perspective to the neck craning street level one.

    I cannot remember what we paid in 1991, but I'd guess about $5.

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  • Toughluck's Profile Photo

    My first tall building

    by Toughluck Written Oct 8, 2013
    From the ground
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    No, not that this is the first time I've been up in a tall building. In 1964, this was the first tall building, I went to the top. Well, it's only the 86th? floor. Far up enough. The air is 10 degrees cooler and the wind is brisk. Plenty thick stone railings and wire fences to keep you safe. It was a great time to visit. Early, short line, uncrowded deck.

    The line, moved as a walking rate. It was just the length of the halls that took time. No standing. But, then we were there about 8:30 a.m.

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  • jgacis's Profile Photo

    Empty Building no more!

    by jgacis Updated Sep 2, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Beautiful Art-Deco design awaits you in Lobby
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    If you have never been here before, do not pass up the opportunity to see a historical and iconic building that has identified New York City as one of the most popular and global city in the world!

    Built between 1930 and 1931 during the era of the Great Depression, this building was criticized as "The Empty Building" due to its high vacancy and unprofitablity. Today we see a far different story. According to David Robertson from "The Times" in a April 23, 2012 article, the Empire State Building makes more money off observation-deck ticket sales than the rental of office space! This was clearly seen as we waited in line to obtain tickets with our New York Pass cards (Please note that New York Pass Card holders do not have the extra privilege of obtaining tickets through a faster or shorter waiting line - they must stand in line with everyone else).

    The ticket lines start on the 2nd floor and you must pass through a regular security screening checkpoint prior to obtaining tickets. Elevators whisk you away from the 2nd to the 80th floor where another line awaits you to take another elevator to the 86th floor. Both the 80th and 86th floor have restrooms. While on the 80th floor, there were various displays describing the construction and history of the building. An attendant also allowed us to climb a set of stairs six floors up to the observation deck to the 86th floor. She said it would be a 5-7 minute climb as opposed to a 15-minute wait for the next set of elevators coming back down for pick-up. We chose the stairs and the climb was not too bad, with older folks taking their time as there was no rush.

    The observation deck was full of people, but was still manageable enough to get around on all four sides of the deck to see the beautiful panoramic views of Manhattan Island, Hudson River, East River, Queens, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. People packed the viewing areas but one does not need to wait too long (I would say less than 5 minutes) to have someone scoot aside and have you squeeze through to the viewing edge of the deck and take in your scenes with your eyes and camera. The views on top provided excellent aerial scenes of the growing metropolis around you. We clearly saw the World Trade Center 1 building and the hundreds of other buildings surrounding us. Keep in mind this building does not allow the closer views of Central Park that the observation deck of the Rockefeller Building provides. However, I felt the panoramic views of this building was much better situated in the center of all the development down below and gave a better panoramic sense of growth that New York City offers. It was educational and fun looking for the other buildings from the deck (Chrysler Building, Flatiron, Citi-Corp Building, Bank of America Building, WTC 1, Rockefeller Building with observation deck, our hotel building where we stayed, etc.)

    The Empire State Building deck hours are open from 8:00 am to 2:00 am and even during inclemental weather, so be sure to check the forecast for the day. Suggested times to avoid long lines is early morning (before 10:00 am) or after 11:00 pm. There is also an Express Pass for $50 that allows you to bypass the long lines and fast-track you to the observation deck.The last elevator goes up at 1:15 am. You can go to the official Empire Building website before your travel to get the latest updates for prices, deck hours, and visitor tips.

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  • albaaust's Profile Photo

    Photo opportunity from a grand height

    by albaaust Written Jun 26, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We climbed* the Empire State building using our New York Pass which we had purchased on the Qantas Activities page It did mean that we went to the front of the line* and there were long queues!! You have to be checked by security and of course queue to have your photo taken. The views are fantastic and well worth a visit.
    If you have a New York Pass you are entitled to a “free” sky ride (Sky ride Empire State Building). This is a section cordoned off as you queue to get into the lift. There are three galleries* One on the treasures of New York, a second gallery on the history of the building of the Empire State building and last, a motion ride. This is touted as a virtual simulator tour of the New York city skyline. The tour* is in 3D and the seats simulate movement. Beware if you get motion sickness. I felt quite ill after.
    http://www.skyride.com/shop/page/tickets.html?gclid=CLTj782agbgCFQQipQod_CcA8Q

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  • antistar's Profile Photo

    Empire State Building

    by antistar Written Jun 5, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    View from the Empire State Building, New York
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    If one thing symbolises New York it would have to be the Empire State Building. The world's tallest building from its construction in 1931 until 1972, over forty years. You have to go back to the 1600s to find a building that lasted as long. You have to go back to a time when people didn't even care what was the tallest building in the world.

    It's not just the size of the building that has made it such an icon. The tower was catapulted into world fame just a couple of years after being built when it featured in the movie King Kong. The ape climbed to the top of the Empire State Building to fight biplanes with his bare hands. Such images are burned onto the retinas of movie lovers like me, and make this a magnet for millions of visitors every year.

    Those visitors can make a visit to the observation deck a queuing nightmare. Snakes of people going around the block and tales of three hour waits are not unusual. Somehow we got lucky. We went straight to the tower early one morning only to find what must have been hundreds of people already there before us, and the queue weaved around the corner. We gave up. But later, around lunchtime, we accidentally walked past and there was no queue at all. We got to the observation deck in about ten minutes.

    The views really are outstanding. If you go up only one tall building in the world, make it this one.

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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    The Empire State Building

    by Jim_Eliason Updated May 28, 2013

    Arguably the world's most famous skyscraper is the Empire State building. Built in 1931 it was at 1,250 feet the worlds tallest building until it was surpassed by the World trade center in 1972. Today the 102 floor observatory provides magnificent views over Manhattan.

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  • tvor's Profile Photo

    Iconic New York

    by tvor Written May 17, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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    The Empire State Building is probably one of the two most iconic symbols of New York City, the Statue of Liberty being the other one. It was opened in 1931 and now has its own zip code. The style is Art Deco and it has some lovely detailing through the building and in the lobby, with a "man and machine" type theme. The outside of the building isn't an overly special design, not like the beautiful nearby Chrysler building, but it's silhouette is still famed and the views from the 86th floor observation deck more than make up for it.

    There are two observation decks, an outside one on the 86th floor and one on the 102nd floor which is glassed in. It cost more to go to the higher level. They also have an exhibit on the 80th floor about the building's history. The building is open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. so you can go up late and watch the lights of the city come on or see the city wake up at your feet. It really is better to go early or later due to the crowds. It's open every day and is fully accessible with ramps and elevators.

    The summer is the really busy season for tourists visiting, and you can expect really long waits. We went in early May, mid morning and it still took an hour from walking in the lobby to going out on the observation deck. That's the tedious part, waiting in line ups and there are plenty of them, even if you have a ticket before you go in. You can buy tickets online or you can gain entry if you've bought one of the various city Pass cards. We had the Explorer pass so we still had to go to a ticket booth to have it scanned. If crowds make you fidgity or claustrophobic, either go early or late or avoid this.

    Is it a tourist trap? Yes probably it is. They herd you through the first security line. The ticket line wasn't nearly so long so I assume most people already had tickets or passes. But then they want y ou to stop for a photo in front of a green screen so they can sell you a photo later with "the view" behind you. There's a queue to wait for the elevator which takes you to the 80th floor in case you want to see the history exhibit and then there's another one for the last 6 floors and yet another for the 102nd floor if you are going that far. They charge you a lot more to get an express ticket to bypass most of the lines.

    They do have gift shops and in the lobby there are places to eat. On a nice day the views are spectacularly breathtaking but the observation deck is not that wide so it gets crowded easily. It was pretty busy when we were there, I can't imagine how packed out it must be in summer. There is an indoor section too with glass walls if it's cold or rainy but that's no fun, is it?

    Bus to 33rd street or the subway to 34th/Herald Square. The ESB is on 34th and 5th ave.

    General admission is $25 for the 86th floor, $42 for the 102nd. There are discounts for seniors and children. The express passes cost about another 20 dollars on top of the GA prices and really, things don't look that much different from 102 than they do from 86. It's an iconic building and it's worth doing if you've got the stamina for the lines and the crowds on a good day with a basic General Admission cost. We did it and it was great!

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  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    EMPIRE STATE BUILDING

    by LoriPori Written May 13, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Empire State Building
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    The 102 story skyscraper EMPIRE STATE BUILDING is located in midtown Manhattan at the intersection of 5th Avenue and West 34th Street. It boasts a height of 443 meters and 102 Floors.. It stood as the world's tallest building for 40 years.
    It is designed in the Art Deco style.
    The Empire State Building has one of the most popular outdoor observatories in the world. The 86th floor observation deck offers 360-degree views of the city. There is a second observation deck on the 102nd floor that is also open to the public.
    Our Bus tour package did not include the Empire State Building Observation Deck. We were instead treated to the "Top of the Rock" which I must say, offered excellent views of the Empire State Building.

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  • Aunt_Bertha's Profile Photo

    Empire State Building - not for the acrophobic!

    by Aunt_Bertha Written Jan 2, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    View of NYC from the Empire State Building

    Even though it took us approximately 2 hours (and most likely it will take you just as long) until we finally made it to the top of the Empire State Building (not because we walked up the stairs - most of our time was spent waiting in line to enter one of the elevators), I'd highly recommend visiting the Empire State Building as a trip to New York City would not complete without admiring the view from above and getting that queasy feeling in your stomach. The Empire State Building is 444 meters tall and it is located at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. When you're on top of the Empire State Building you'll enjoy looking 444 meters down to Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. Unless you're acrophobic. In which case you may prefer standing on Fifth Avenue or West 34th Street looking 444 meters up. Either way, it's a great place to visit, but only from the top can you see the curvature of the earth.

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  • Gili_S's Profile Photo

    The Empire State Building

    by Gili_S Written Nov 10, 2012

    The Empire State Building is probably the most famous building in the world, it is dominate New York skyline for years, seeing in many movies and TV shows. Even Iv'e been here already few times, never went up yet, too lazy to stand in the queue.

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  • solopes's Profile Photo

    Wide views

    by solopes Updated Sep 26, 2012

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    New York - USA
    4 more images

    The best views of town. Our guide planned our time to go up at sunset, and I understood why.

    If, for a good photo, the light won’t help at that hour, the show of lights appearing here and there, and finally everywhere, is gorgeous, and, with luck, the photos will not be that bad.

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  • WBeall's Profile Photo

    LONG walk to the top!

    by WBeall Written Sep 12, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Empire state building is really pretty and TALL. We had the New York Pass (Which I highly recommend to everyone visiting NYC) and the pass got us a free virtual tour of the city. I do not suggest anyone that gets car sick easily to do this tour because it basically is a virtual helicopter flying over the city. Then we were able to take the elevator up to the top, oh but that’s not it… then you have to walk another couple of flights of stairs. Whew.. tiring. But when you get to the top it was so worth the climb! The day we went it was super crowded and very hard to get a decent picture so try your hardest to go on a weekday when the crowds are smaller.

    http://www.newyorkpass.com/

    http://www.esbnyc.com/

    Zip up to the 86th floor observatory on our speedy elevators and take in the view.
    Adult $25
    Senior (62+) $22
    Child (6-12) $19

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  • etfromnc's Profile Photo

    Still Sleepless in Matthews

    by etfromnc Written Aug 24, 2012

    Although I did not find Meg Ryan, nor even a reasonable facsimile, up there, I will nevertheless attest to the fact that from the 102nd floor of this majestic architectural (and cinematic) icon you will have magical views of New York and surrounding states, from the concrete canyons of Midtown to the myriad islands in the harbour. Buy your tickets online to avoid long queues. For a little less you can end your ascent at the 86th floor, but you only go round once in life so, please go for the top.
    I miss the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center but, in my mind, the Empire State Building will always be the skyscraper star of New York City.

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