For those of you determined to see the glorious Art Deco building, we’ll give you some practical visitor information with tips on how to avoid the lines, so you can make the most of your visit to the Empire State Building!
History of the Empire State Building
When the Empire State Building was completed in 1931 it won the title for the tallest building. Stretching 1,250 feet (381 meters) it was the tallest building in the world for 40 years.
The building became even taller in 1950 when it received a new TV and radio antenna, adding 217 feet (66 meters) to the building’s height. Besides broadcast stations, the building also houses many offices, and shops on the ground floor. In fact, the Empire State Building is so grand, it even has its own zip code!
Throughout the years the building has become one of New York City’s most recognizable landmarks. It has been featured in over 250 movies, including King Kong, An Affair To Remember, Sleepless in Seatlle and more recently Percy Jackson.
The Empire State Building also appears regularly in episodes of TV series such as Friends, Sex and the City and How I Met Your Mother.
Empire State Building Practical Visitor Information
The Empire State Building is open 365 days of the year from 8 am to 2 am, and basically gets crowded every day. Less crowded times are early in the morning or very late at night. If you’re not a big fan of lines consider buying your tickets online at the Empire State Building’s official website. You don’t have to select a time of visit and the tickets remain valid for a year, so you can plan your visit whenever you want. Do keep in mind that there’s still the security line and elevator line though. If you also want to skip these lines (and feel like a VIP), you can buy an express ticket for an additional fee.
Inside the Empire State Building
On the top deck you’ll find a viewing area surrounded by glass windows. You’ll be able to see a lot further, but if you want to take pictures it’s better to do this from the 86th floor as you’ll have no reflection from windows. Do note that you’re not allowed to take tripods up to the deck.
For the kids there’s a fun extra attraction located on the 2nd floor of the Empire State Building called the New York Skyride. This motion simulator attraction takes you on an aerial tour over the city. For the adults there’s also an interesting permanent exhibition on the 80th floor. This installation shows the engineering and construction process of the Empire State Building, and is free if you’ve purchased an Observatory ticket. The official gift shop is also located on the 80th floor. Lastly, in the lobby of the Empire State Building you’ll find restaurants, shops and cafes such as Starbucks for some refreshments.
Explore Midtown Manhattan
The Empire State Building is located right in the middle of bustling Midtown, Manhattan. Shopping possibilities around the tower are endless: if you walk north from the tower along Fifth Avenue you’ll come across stores of every size and budget.
There are also many options for lunch or dining near the Empire State Building, as Korea Town with its many authentic restaurants is located just a block away. If you want to take the time to fully explore the neighborhood surrounding the Empire State Building, we have many vacation rentals available in Midtown, Manhattan where you can enjoy staying in the heart of New York City!
Have you ever been atop the Empire State Building?