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Empire State Building

350 Fifth Avenue | New York City, NY 10118 | Official website
Empire State Building Photo info
joiseyshowaa/Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Sightseeing
  • Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day
Overall Rating: 4.5 (4.3)
Value: 4.0 (4.0)
Facilities: 0.0 (N/A)
Atmosphere: 4.0 (4.0)
About these ratings

New York City Tourist 101 dictates that you must swing by this landmark structure in midtown Manhattan. And despite the hefty admission 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 the city's major highlights some 1,050 feet beneath you. Pick up the multimedia tour, available in eight languages, which guides visitors through the icon's exhibits and views with additional background on the building's history. The tour is included in the admission price and given to guests to enhance their visit.

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 Empire State Building's tower lights have maintained a tradition of changing color to recognize various occasions and organizations throughout the year since 1976. In 2012, its iconic tower lighting system was modernized by replacing its flood lights with a dynamic lighting system unique to the Empire State Building, with more than 16 million colors in limitless combinations and effects. The Empire State Building stages dazzling light shows celebrating holidays and events, often synchronized to music broadcast simultaneously on iHeartMedia's radio stations.   

You really can't miss seeing the Empire State (it's the second tallest building in New York City only to the recently topped-out One World Trade Center), but in case you do, look toward midtown Manhattan at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street (take the B, D, F, M, N, Q, or R train to 34th Street). The 86th- and 102nd-floor observatories are open every day from 8 a.m. until 2 a.m. Tickets to the 86th floor cost $29 or $50 for the Express Pass (where you can bypass the line). Visiting the 86th and 102nd floor costs $46 or $67 for the Top Deck Express Pass. Consult the Empire State Building's official website for further details on pricing and to find the lighting schedule.

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