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Empire State Building

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Empire State Building, New York City

The Empire State Building between 86th and 103rd floor. Photo © Empire State Building

Portrayed in thousands of films, photos and postcards, the Empire State Building is one of the quintessential symbols of New York and a must to visit. It is difficult to go unnoticed as it stands out in the New York skyline with its 381 metres that reach 443 metres also considering the television antenna on the top.

The best time for your visit to the Empire State Building is early in the morning at 8.00 as soon as it opens or late at night with the last lift at 1.15. Very impressive and spectacular is the view just before sunset when the sky is coloured and the lights of Manhattan come on. The shortest lines are between 8 am and 10 am, or after 10.30 pm. 

Even with a skip-the-line pass, you can skip the queue at the ticket office, but you can’t avoid the queues at security and at the elevators for the ascent. Security checks are very strict and accurate like at the airport. Also, the space in the 86th floor observatory isn’t huge and the fewer people, the better. The average visit time  is at least 2 hours, including security line and the elevators. During the afternoons, ahead of sunset, and during major holidays you may want to plan 3 hours for your trip due to crowds

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Best Empire State Building Tickets

Tickets for Empire State Building


Make like King Kong and ascend an iconic tower – it's the best way to see NYC

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Tickets for Empire State Building: 102nd Floor Top Deck & 86th Floor Observatory


Refine your New York State of Mind at the top of the Empire State Building

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Tickets for Empire State Building: Day and Night Entry


Visit the Empire State Building twice in one day

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Tickets for Empire State Building: Sunrise Experience


See the sunrise atop New York City's most iconic building

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Best Empire State Building Tours

NYC: Empire State Building VIP Guided Tour


See iconic views from the Empire State Building and discover this monument in style, on a VIP guided tour with skip-the-line observatory access.

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on GetYourGuide.com

What is the Empire State Building?

The Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. 

When was the Empire State Building built?

The Empire State Building is located where the Waldorf Astoria was once located, the first prestigious hotel in New York, then moved to where it still is. Construction work began in 1929, shortly before the Wall Street Crash and continued at full speed for the next 21 months. Four floors a week were being raised, so much so that the project was finished early and at a lower cost than expected. The Empire State Building was inaugurated in a big way on May 1, 1931, but despite the record numbers, the beginnings were not so positive. as the city was in full depression and the offices remained almost all vacant and empty. In an attempt to hide this thing, the interior lights on the top floors were made to turn on, but even this stratagem did not prevent it from the nickname of Empty State Building. The real success of the Empire was represented (and still is) by the panoramic terraces. An observatory was opened on the penultimate floor and a larger terrace on the 86th floor, which immediately became one of the major tourist attractions in New York.

How many observatories are there in the Empire Starte Building?

There are two observatories: one on the 86th floor and another on the 102nd floor. The open air observatory on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building is undoubtedly the most well-known in New York, with the most classic and romantic view. The panorama is breathtaking, 360 ° over the city and if the sky is particularly clear, the gaze can range as far as the neighboring states! You can ask at the entrance how is the visibility at the top before deciding to go up. The second observatory was recently renovated to offer a further breathtaking 360-degree view of the city, enclosed by full-height windows (previously there was a masonry part that covered the view). Also fascinating is the manually operated lift that gradually reveals the view of New York as it goes up.

Why is the Empire State Building sometimes colourful?

The 72nd and the 86th floors are equipped with a complrex system of computerized LED projectors that illuminate the top floors of the building with particular plays of colour that mark the main national and world holidays and events. For example, on July 4th (American Independence Day) it lights up with the colours of the American flag, while on Columbus Day the Italian one.

General informations

Useful information for your visit to the Empire State Building.


It is located in the center of Manhattan, in the Midtown neighborhood, between Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. The address is: 9 W 34th St New York, NY 10001, USA.

Opening hours

To visit the Empire State Building the times are as follows:

  • Every day from 8am to 2am. The last lift to the observation decks is at 1:15 am. 

How to get to the Empire State Building

To reach the Empire State Building you can take:

Subway:34th Street/Penn Station (lines 1, 2, 3, A, C and E) or 34th St – Avenue of the Americas (lines B, D, F, N, Q and R).

Buses: lines M2, M3, M4 M5, M16 and M34.

Attractions nearby

  • Madison Square Garden (749 m)
  • Grand Central Terminal (843 m)
  • Chrysler Building (892 m)
  • Madame Tussauds (975 m)
  • Times Square (1.1 km)

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