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Top New York Attractions: Visit the Empire State Building

If you’re planning a visit to New York, see this article, in our NYC Visitors Blog, ‘Top New York Attractions: Visit the Empire State Building’ to learn how to make the most of your visit to one of New York’s most popular attractions.

July 23, 2019

The Empire State Building has been one of the most popular New York Attractions since it opened to the public on May 13, 1931. Its colorful peak is illuminated with lights which typically reflect current holidays, special events and on occasion, days of remembrance.

This article; ‘Top New York Attractions: Visit the Empire State Building’ – in our NYC Visitors Blog will give you insight on how to make the most of your visit to the Empire State Building during your next visit to New York.

Empire State Building
Location: 20 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001
Telephone: 212-736-3100
Distance from Hotel Mela: 1.6 Miles

Empire State Building with Red and Green Lights
The lighting of the exterior tower lights on the Empire State Building corresponds with key milestones, charitable organizations, holiday and countries around the world, New York events, and other traditions.

The Empire State Building is more than a beautiful building that was once the tallest buildings in the United States, the Empire State Building is a movie star…having appeared in movies including 1933’s King Kong. The Empire State Building also played a romantic lead in An Affair to Remember (and its remake) and Sleepless in Seattle, Elf, Annie Hall, North by Northwest, On the Waterfront, and Taxi Driver, among others.

The Empire State Building sits on nearly 2 acres of prime real estate in Midtown Manhattan, soaring ¼ mile above the city. On a clear day, visitors to New York can see as far as New Jersey from the 86th floor Observation Deck, which turns into an after-dark live music venue on selected evenings during the week.

Why You Should Visit Empire State Building:
A visit to the Empire State Building offers a quintessential New York experience. Aside from saying that you’ve visited one of the most popular attractions in New York, a visit to the Empire State Building may just provide you with some insight into New York City traditions and pop culture that you didn’t know. 

For instance, did you know that the Empire State Building’s Tower Lights change colors according to different causes and cultures in the global community that are meaningful and memorable? The lighting of the exterior tower lights corresponds with key milestones, charitable organizations, holiday and countries around the world, New York events, and other traditions. The lights are never lit to represent political or religious events.

NYC Skyline
The Empire State Building has been one of the most popular New York Attractions since it opened to the public on May 13, 1931. Its colorful peak is illuminated with lights which typically reflect current holidays, special events and on occasion, days of remembrance.

The following are recommendations for visiting the Empire State Building:

  • Purchase tickets in advance online or feel free to check with our concierge for help in acquiring tickets.  You can use one of 3 lines to purchase tickets for the Empire State Observatory Deck, one line is for security, one is for ticketing and the third line is for the elevator.  You cannot skip the security line, but you can bypass the ticket purchase line by buying your tickets online.  You can also buy an Express Pass to skip the elevator line although this ticket is more expensive, but it is also a huge time saver. 
  • For years, visitors could only visit as high as the 86th floor Observatory.  But  now visitors can now visit the 102nd Floor Observatory.  This is 16 floors higher than you could visit before – and the view is worth it.  The 102nd Floor Observatory is glassed in so your photos will likely show a bit of a reflection.  The photo quality is better on the 86th Floor Observatory.  You can buy tickets for the 102nd Floor Observatory on the 86th Floor.
  • It is best to enter from 5th Avenue, between 33rd and 4th Streets.
  • The best time to visit the Empire State Building is between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays or even later at night – the last elevator ascends around 1:30 a.m. The Empire State Building is open until 2 a.m. daily.
  • The stairs are closed to Empire State Building visitors.
  • Obviously weather quality will impact the visibility on the Observation Decks. Even though the weather is always changing, it is a good idea to check the weather the day before you plan to visit to ensure clear weather is at least expected.
  • Although you want to make the most of your time in New York to see as much as you can, plan to spend about 2 hours to make your way through the lines, up to the Observation Decks and back down.
  • How romantic are you?  Want to get married at the Empire State Building? You can, but only on Valentine’s Day. You must apply to be chosen to participate.  Applicants have until November 30th to submit their application.
  • Check out NY Skyride – a Virtual Tour of New York.  NY Skyride is located in the Empire State Building.
View finder on observation deck of the Empire State Building, an NYC attraction
On a clear day, visitors to New York can see as far as New Jersey from the 86th floor Observation Deck, which turns into an after-dark live music venue on selected evenings during the week.

Interesting Facts about Empire State Building:

  • It is 1,050 feet to the Observation Deck on the 86th floor
  • It is 1,250 feet to the Observation Deck on the 102nd floor
  • It is 1,453 feet and 8-9/16 inches to the broadcast tower on the uppermost tip
  • The Empire State Building has 103 floors
  • There are 1,872 steps up to the 103rd floor
  • The Empire State Building includes 200,000 cubic feet of Indiana granite and limestone exterior
  • Construction of the Empire State Building consisted of the use of 730 tons of steel
  • The Empire State Building has 6,514 windows

This NYC Visitor Blog article, ‘Top New York Attractions: Visit Empire State Building’ – gives you tips and facts about making the most of your visit to this amazing landmark.  

When you are ready to book your next visit to New York, see our current Special Offers for the ‘Guaranteed Best Rates’ at our Times Square Hotel.

If you are looking for more ‘New York Things to Do’, see our New York Visitors Guide for more inspiration!