Empire State Building
- Type: Sightseeing
- Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day
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New York City Tourist 101 dictates that you must swing by this landmark structure in Midtown Manhattan. And despite the hefty tour fees, the crowds and the long lines, recent visitors insist that you won't be sorry. In fact, taking a trip to the top of the Empire State Building is either the perfect way to begin or end your Big Apple excursion -- on a clear day you'll be able to the see city's major highlights some 1,050 feet beneath you.
Looking up at the Art-Deco skyscraper from the ground is also pretty spectacular, especially in the evenings when there's a little mood lighting. The top of the building's floodlights have burned green for St. Patrick's Day, blue after the death of Frank Sinatra and pink for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
You really can't miss seeing the Empire State (it's the tallest building in New York City), but in case you do, look toward Midtown Manhattan at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and W. 34th Street (take the B, D, F, N, Q, R, V or W train to 34th Street). The 86th- and 102nd floor observatories are open every day from 8 a.m. until the last elevator goes up at 1:15 a.m. Tickets to the 86th floor costs $20 or $45 for the Express Pass. Visiting the 86th and 102nd floor costs $37 or $60 for the Top Deck Express Pass. Consult the Empire State Building's official tourist website for further details on pricing and to find the lighting schedule.