One of the best times to see NYC from the Empire State Building is just before sunset. The magnificent views are made more memorable by the change in the city's mood - from boring daytime scenes to that rush hour when everyone seems to be in a bit of a rush to get out of the island. But the most spectacular change occurs when the lights within the buildings become more visible, as the city's skyline transforms into a forest of structures with mesmerizing twinkling lights.
Of course, this is only possible if the weather cooperates, so it's advisable to check the weather bulletin. Good weather, however, does not guarantee that you're going to be warm and comfortable up there in the observatory, 86 storeys high. I learned this the hard way: it could really get cold up there with the wind factor, but I was determined to capture the city's changing mood with my lens. I hope the pictures were well worth the effort - and the numbed fingers.
The Empire State Building is not just famous for its observatory - it is a destination by itself. While you're in it, take a few moments to admire the buildings art deco style like the bronze art deco medallions at the lobby, as well as the relief image of the building. Architecturally, the building had earned a place in numerous lists of the world's greatest skyscrapers.
Given its well-earned status as symbol of the city (among many other symbols), the colors of the building's floodlights are changed either in celebration of a festival, or sometimes to honor other countries - sometimes controversially, like when it splashed red and yellow lights to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Chinese revolution in September 2009. A bit interesting for one of the symbols of free enterprise to honor one of communism's most historic events.
Whether one is in agreement with the choice of colors for the tower lights or not, the sight of the tallest building in the city lit up in some interesting colors - in effect making a statement - is one of those memorable (and free) NY experience for the visitors.
One of the best vantage points to start your NYC visit - in truly iconic fashion, sans King Kong, but 20 dollars poorer - is the from the observatory of the Empire State Building. Its location between Midtown and Lower Manhattan affords visitors a magnificent views of the Manhattan itself as well as the surrounding landscapes (and seascapes), including the Liberty and Ellis Islands.
If you're not in a rush (and if you wish to maximize the 20-dollar ticket), allot a few hours at the observatory, preferably around sunset when the city's mood changes. I did just that and it's well worth seeing the city at daytime and at dusk when the buildings start to reveal their lights. Quite a sight.
The Empire State Building is a 102-storey landmark skyscraper and American cultural icon in Manhattan,New York City.It is located at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th st.It has a roof height of 1,250 ft and with its Antenna spire included stands a total of 1,454 ft high.Its name is derived from the nickname for New York,the Empire State.It stood as the worlds tallest building for 40 years,from its completion in 1931 until construction of the World Trade Centre's North Tower was completed in 1972.Following the destruction of the World Trade centre in 2001,The Empire State Building was once again the tallest building in New York City.Designed in the destinctive Art Deco style it is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.It was designed by 'William F.Lamb'.Over the years there have been several incidents such as a plane crash in 1945,A terrorist shooting in 1979 and more than thirty suicides.Open all year 8am till 2am(holidays vary),Prices for obsevation deck-Adult:$20.21,Children:$14.70,Senior:$18.37,for more details see website below.
I loved the Empire State Building. Before I arrived in New York, it was probbaly the main attraction that I was looking forward to seeing. So when I arrived in New York, I was set up for a fall BUT the Empire State Building delivers. I loved every minute of my trip to the Empire State Building. It lived up to my billing of it. Soemofthe best views of New York and you genuinely feel on top of the world.
Going up to the observatory of Empire State Building is a must-do item for tourists. From there, you can enjoy really splendid view of NYC. I went there at night, as I prefered night view of the city.
The entrance to the building is on 5th Ave. The ticket office is on the 2nd floor. Tell at the office whether you want to go up to the 102nd floor or you just want to go to the 86th floor. The ticket to the 86th floor is 20 dollars. If you want to go to the 102nd, you must pay extra 15 dollars.
The elevator takes you up to the 86th floor. To go up to the 102nd, you should get into another elevator at the 86th. You are supposed to go up to the 102nd first.
At the observatory on the 86th, you can go out of the door and enjoy the view from the terrace. The breeze was so nice on a summer night. (In winter? No way!)
I don’t have much to add to general knowledge and available information about the Empire State Building and my one suggestion has doubtless been made by others. However, we planned to go late afternoon but the lines were so long we decided to postpone until the next morning. We arrived just after 8:00 which is their opening time and had no wait to get to the observation deck. I think the view at night would be spectacular but I don’t know how long the lines would be. Of course if you went late enough, you would probably avoid them. It is open daily 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Adults $20, Children 6-12 $14, Seniors $18.
The Weather Lady said it was going to be a beautiful day, so we went to the Empire State Building.
The one thing you need to be prepared to do when you go: wait. You will need to wait in line to go through security, then wait to get tickets, then wait to get on not one but two elevators, to get to the 86th Floor Observatory. You also have the opportunity to go up to the 102nd Floor, but that involves an additional cost and another wait to get on yet another elevator.
Cost of a ticket to the 86th Floor (including taxes and "surcharge") is $22 for adults, $20 for Seniors and children 12-17 years old, $16 for children under 12. You can save a bit of time by purchasing tickets online and printing them out yourself. This allows you to skip the ticket line after you pass security. If you have more money than time, you can purchase an "Express Pass," which also allows you to cut in front of the elevator lines. Cost for this option is $49 for all ages, including taxes and "surcharge."
Despite all of the waiting, the view from the 86th floor is definitely worth it if the weather is good. You can also shorten your wait times a bit by arriving early in the morning. If you want to go higher, you can purchase tickets to the 102nd Floor outside the elevator on the 86th Floor (credit cards only, cost $15 per person). It's fun, but the observatory is enclosed in plexiglass marred by "scratchiti." As such, it's probably not worth the extra cost and time.
The Empire State Building is open 365 days a year, from 8AM to 2AM. Last elevator up is at 1:15 AM.
While you can't truly call the Empire State Building a free NYC attraction, you can enjoy the iconic building for free on a number of levels. It's true that to go to the top it will cost you $20 a pop, you can go into its lobby for free and obviously view if from afar from many vantage points around the city. One of the best is from the Brooklyn Bridge at dusk. Noted for being the world's tallest building for over 40 years, the famed Art Deco skyscraper gained perhaps its greatest notoriety when Hollywood's mythic King Kong climbed to its top forever cementing its being not only NYC's icon but perhaps the symbol of the entire United States.
Chances are if you're visiting the Big Apple then you're going to want to visit the Empire State building.
Personally (I'm sure some would disagree) I didn't find the Empire State Building very impressive from the outside - I saw it and thought "is that it?" it was alot smaller than I imagined. Going inside is different though, the entrance is quite grand but the views are even better.
We went quite late at night in the hope of beating some of the mad day time queues. Its really windy up there but the photos you will get will be great. I just wish I had my slr camera at the time!
This is such an iconic landmark of new york it would be a sin to visit the city but not visit ESB. The views are fantastic from up here and the building itself is beautiful - including the amazing lobby when you first come in - excellent photo opps here!
It seemed to take an age to get up to the viewing platform - not at all like the experience Meg Ryan had in sleepless in Seatle! but was worth it.
I would advise anybody wanting to go up to firstly buy your tickets before you go. I bought mine on the website and printed off my own tickets - so at least avoided the first queue! (and the tickets are valid for 2 years i believe - so you are not time or date tied)
Secondly if you want to see the views in the day go as soon as it opens, or if you want to see it all lit up go later on...the last lift up is 11.15pm.
If you have childen it may be better to do this as it gets VERY crowded!
It is worth just walking past at night to see the upper floors all lit up. On special dates it is lit up in certain colourways...if you look on the website it will tell you the dates and colourways. When we were there it was all lit for thanksgiving. - Amazing!
Completed in 1931 and named after New York State's nickname, the Empire State Building is one of the symbols of New York City. It was the world's highest building for forty years and until the construction of New York's World Trade Centre. Since 2001, the Empire State Building has returned to being New York's highest structure. The 381-metre building occupies a prominent position in central Manhattan and is a magnificent example of Art Déco architecture. The observation deck at the top offers the best views over New York - definitely a must when visiting the city.
The Empire State is one of the signal sights of NYC. It is once again the tallest building in the Eastern USA after the 9/11 disaster. Its design, with its impressive art deco lobby, made with marble from Georgia, some expensive wood from somewhere, is at once stunning and a sign of the times in which it was built.
The views from the observation galleries is as you would expect. I heard it said that the view from the Rockefeller center is better, as the Empire State is a beautiful sight from it.
There are queues so be patient. It is $20 well spent, as you cannot really say you went to NYC unless you went up it.
The Empire State Building was awesome. You have to go EARLY and yes, you do have to wait in a line. If the line is out the door--dont bother, come back later. If you can get your tickets online, definetly do it. IF YOU'VE BEEN TO EPCOT & DID "SOARING"--DONT BOTHER WITH THE SKY RIDE. ITS SO BAD!!!!! It jerks you around, its not smooth and enjoyable--too many quick flashing, odd angle and distorted pics of the city sights. And especially for the extra money...its not worth it.
One more thing....dont buy the $30 overpriced picture they take of you. They give you a picture card and the prices are a bit more reasonable when you order online.
I wasn't going to do this one as I hate standing in lines and, well, it's one of those really cliche tourist things. Still, as my Other Half pointed out, it IS the ESB and something I'd probably only do once in my life so off we went. About 45 minutes into a long, hot wait I was giving him the evil eye but once we (finally) stepped on onto the observation deck...
... the pictures say it all.
The website has everything you want to know about the history and visiting info of this historic, Art Deco spire so I'll stick to the generals:
Entrance to the building is on 5th Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Streets. There is a separate handicapped entrance (see website).
You will wait through a succession of 3 lines before you reach the 86th floor observatory: security, ticketing and elevators. The longest part of the wait will be inside the building and it was oppressively warm when we were there so you'll probably be shedding your coats (no coat check). Bring something to keep the kids occupied! Cameras and camcorders are, of course, fine but no tripods. Also no suitcases or bottles allowed.
There are several ways to cut the waiting time:
Order tickets in advance from the website - which eliminates the ticket line.
Order Express passes, which eliminates the ticket line and places you at the front of the other two. This comes with a price (around $45) but if you have $$ and don't have time, this is the way to go.
During your wait, they do their level best to sell you add-ons like tickets to a simulated helicopter show (Skyride) or 102nd floor observatory, audio guides and souvenirs.
General admission is, at the time of this writing, about $20 for adults and less for children and seniors (see website). US military, in uniform, and little ones under age 6 are free.
The ESB is open 365 days a year, 8:00AM to 2:00AM. Last elevators go up at 1:15AM.
A note about the illumination: it's normally white but changes per seasonal holidays (like Christmas) and other national/world events. They also occasionally turn it off on foggy/cloudy nights during peak migration season (spring/fall) as the birds are drawn to the lights and can smash into the side of the building.