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Empire State Building

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A world-famous landmark in Midtown Manhattan, the Empire State Building has starred in dozens of movies and TV shows, and now it can star in your vacation plans! Visit the observation decks on the 86th or 102nd floor to get an awesome panoramic view over the Big Apple, and visit the Dare to Dream exhibit to learn more about the building’s history and construction.
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Lines for tickets and elevators can be long, especially on holidays and just before sunset, so book a skip-the-line ticket for a smoother experience.
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NYC: Empire State Building General & Skip-the-Line Tickets

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Empire State Building: Express Entry

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Empire State Building: Day and Night Entry

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Empire State Building: Sunrise Experience

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Guided Tours

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The New York Pass: 100+ Attractions including Empire State Building

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NYC 3-Day Hop-on Hop-off with Empire State and Statue of Liberty

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Empire State Building VIP Premium tour

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New York City Hop-on Hop-Off Tour including Empire State Building

 
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Viator VIP: Exclusive Empire State Building Access and More

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NYC Half-Day Tour with Statue of Liberty and Optional Empire State

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NY Icons: Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty Cruise

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Viator Exclusive: Skip the Line Empire State Building w/STATE Grill & Bar Dinner

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6 Tips for Visiting the Empire State Building

Observation Deck | Photo: Flickr, Štěpán Roh - CC BY 2.0
1
The best views can be found on the outside observation deck on the 86th floor. It’s cooler out there, even on sunny days, so make sure you wrap up warm or bring a sweater, and in summer make sure you have sunglasses with you.
Lights from Top of the Rock | Photo: Flickr, Phil Dolby - CC BY 2.0
2
Whether you’re inside or outside the building after dark, make sure to check out the lighting calendar. If the building’s lit up in colors that aren’t its signature white you can be sure there’s an event being celebrated: from the Lunar New Year to Presidents’ Day, and even the annual Westminster Dog Show.
3
If you want to avoid the crowds it’s best to go early in the morning or late at night. The shortest lines are between 8 am and 10 am, or after 10.30 pm. Plus you’ll get crisp early morning or stunning late night views!
4
Make sure not to skip the exhibits on the 2nd and 80th floors! The Dare to Dream exhibit on the 80th floor tells the story of the planning and construction of the building, including original documents and mementos from some of the 3,400 people who built the Empire State Building.
5
The Empire State Building provides free WiFi and it has its own app with extra materials. Download it before heading into the exhibits or up the elevator to get a multimedia tour in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean.
6
If you’re looking for romance, the Empire State Building can help you set the mood! From Thursday to Saturday a saxophonist plays on the outdoor deck of the 86th floor so you’ll feel like you’re in the final scene of a romantic movie - you can even request your favorite song. The music starts after dark, from 9 pm to midnight September to end of May, and from 10 pm to 1 am during summer. On Valentine’s Day, a few lucky couples can even get married in the Empire State Building, but you’ll have to win the annual contest to be one of them!

Frequently Asked Questions

How tall is the Empire State Building?

The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world from 1931 to 1972, and the first skyscraper to have more than 100 floors. If you’re measuring to the very tip of the Empire State Building, it’s 1453 feet (443m) tall. On the 86th-floor observation deck you’ll be 1050 feet (320m) above street level, and on the 102nd floor, you’ll be 1250 feet (381m) up. Today it’s the 42nd tallest building in the world and there are 3 taller buildings in New York: The One World Trade Center (1776 feet or 541m tall), 432 Park Avenue (1396 feet or 426m tall), and 30 Hudson Yards (1628 feet or 387m tall).

How long should I plan for my visit?

It’s recommended that guests plan at least 2 hours for their visit, which includes lines for security and elevators. During the afternoons, ahead of sunset, and during major holidays you may want to plan 3 hours for your trip due to crowds.

Is it a good site to visit with kids?

Long lines means you might want to pick an express ticket. Or bring some games to play in the line. Strollers are allowed but need to be folded on the observation decks, so bear that in mind when visiting with very young children. Use the restrooms on the 2nd floor before going up in the elevator.

Is it worth visiting the 102nd floor?

Some local New Yorkers think that the 102nd floor is overrated - it’s quite a small room with thick glass windows and it doesn’t have an outdoor terrace, so you can take better pictures from the 86th floor. You’ll also have to queue for another elevator, and by many accounts view isn’t much more spectacular from the higher floor. If you do decide to visit you will get a better view of the bridges and Central Park, plus you’ll get to ride in a hand-operated elevator, which is a unique experience for most guests! It’s up to you to decide, and you don’t have to make that decision before you visit because you can upgrade your ticket once you’re on the 86th floor.

I hate elevators, can I use the stairs?

Unfortunately, the stairs are closed to visitors. The only time members of the public are able to use the stairs is when competing in the annual Empire State Building Run-Up, an event where pro-athletes, celebrities, and lucky competitors drawn from a lottery race up the 1,576 stairs to the 86th floor. The men’s course record is 9 minutes and 33 seconds, set in 2003 by Australian Paul Crake, and the ladies’ record is 11 minutes and 23 seconds, set in 2006 by Andrea Mayr of Austria. The event raises money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF).

New York's Highest Observation Decks

Photo
Building
Total Height
Height of Observation Deck
Open Since
New York
Empire State BuildingNew York | USA
443m#2 in New York#3 in USA#17 worldwide
373m#2 in New York#3 in USA#14 worldwide
1931
One World Trade CenterNew York | USA
546m#1 in New York#1 in USA#8 worldwide
387m#2 in USA#13 worldwide
2014
30 Hudson YardsNew York | USA
387m#3 in New York#5 in USA#26 worldwide
342m#4 in USA#17 worldwide
2019
worldwide
Burj KhalifaDubai | UAE
828m#1 in UAE#1 worldwide
585m#1 in UAE#1 worldwide
2010
Eiffel TowerParis | France
324m#1 in France#42 worldwide
276m#1 in France#36 worldwide
1889
The ShardLondon | UK
310m#1 in UK#46 worldwide
244m#1 in UK#52 worldwide
2013
Empire State Building is number 2 in New York and number 14 on the worldwide list of the tallest buildings with an observation deck.

General Information

Opening Hours:

The Empire State Building is open every day of the year (including all holidays) from 8 am to 2 am. The last elevator up is at 1.15 am.

Address:

9 W 34th St
New York, NY 10001
USA

Tickets:

Tickets for the 86th floor cost $38 for adults, $36 for visitors aged 62 and over, and $32 for children aged between 6 and 12. Children under the age of 6 can enter free of charge. Express passes for the 86th floor only cost $65. An upgrade to the 102nd floor bought on the 86th floor costs an extra $20. Prices may vary depending on the season.

How to get there:

The entrance is on Fifth Avenue, and it’s easy to find your way there on foot from other destinations in Midtown Manhattan. You can also take the subway to Penn Station/34th Street (trains 1, 2, and 3) or to 34th Street/ Herald Square (trains B, D, F, M, N, Q, and R). If you’re intending to book a Hop-On Hop-Off tour while in New York, the building is usually a popular stop.
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