Dominating New York City’s skyline since the early 1930’s, the Empire State Building is an iconic architectural landmark that has attracted countless visitors for generations. Standing more than 1,450 feet tall, this historic Art Deco property has two observation levels, a museum and gift shop. Open 365 days a year, the ESB offers one of the best ways to experience the City that Never Sleeps with friends and family.
The Great Building
The Empire State Building has been named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. It stands 103 stories high right on 5th Avenue in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. It was the tallest building in the world for almost 40 years, until the completion of New York’s World Trade Center in 1970. Aside from its height, it is also famous for its classic Art Deco architecture, which can be seen everywhere from the spectacular cathedral-like three story lobby, to the sleek railings and design of the observation deck.
The Empire State Building also acts as symbol to mark holidays and world events. Floodlights were added to the top of the building in the 1960’s, and now the building lights up in different colors depending in the occasion. The building is lit up red, white and blue for the 4th of July, green for St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas, and in 1998, it was bathed in a blue light when Frank Sinatra (Old Blue Eyes) passed away.
It is simply one of the most famous buildings in the entire world and it has come to symbolize the bold and majestic grandeur of the Big Apple itself. The ESB has been featured in countless movies, television shows and books set in New York, from King Kong to An Affair to Remember to Doctor Who to Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.
Highlights and Experience
The Visitors’ Center at the Empire State Building should be the first stop for all tourists heading to the upper levels. This facility has multiple automated kiosks that sell tickets for the observation decks. Covering nearly 10,000 sq feet, the 2nd Floor Museum has numerous galleries and other interactive displays for visitors. Some of the exhibits focus on the skyscraper’s influence on American and global pop culture. Of course, you’ll see cool presentations of the iconic King Kong, the giant ape that climbed to the top of the skyscraper in multiple films.
The museum on the second floor also has detailed scale models of the architectural marvel. Featuring indoor and outdoor areas, the Main Deck is located on the 86th floor. Visitors will enjoy 360-degree views of New York City from this observation level. Coin-operated binoculars are installed at the outdoor terraces for even better views of all attractions and other interesting points in sight.
Having an indoor observation area, the Top Deck is located on the 102nd level of the skyscraper. On a day with optimum visibility, you might see communities that are approximately 80 miles away from Manhattan. From Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge to One World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty, hundreds of attractions are visible from the top of this landmark.
After admiring awesome aerial views of the Big Apple, you may stop at the official gift shop on the second floor. From stuffed animals and mugs to shirts and hardcover books, this store is stocked with cool NYC-themed souvenirs.
Tips for the Perfect Visit
Since the Empire State Building is at the top of everyone’s must-see list, expect long lines. Tickets do offer an express option which will let you skip the lines, but you can expect to line up long before you get to the ticket counter. Instead, it’s cheaper and more efficient to plan your visit for a time when lines might be a little less long.
The best times to visit are first thing in the morning, around 3 p.m., or at night, when the lines are shortest. Don’t let bad weather keep you away. A little rain or snow does nothing to dampen the incredible view, and it does a lot to speed up your trip to the top. The most romantic time to visit is at night, when the city that never sleeps is sparkling at your feet.
Location and Getting There
The Empire State Building is visible from virtually all points in Manhattan, so you’ll easily find a quick route to this landmark. Tourists may enter the skyscraper through a designated entrance near the corner of 34th Street and 5th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. Having exits and entrances on multiple blocks, the 33rd Street subway station is within walking distance of this famous building. Offering subway, intercity and commuter rail services, New York Penn Station is also situated just a few blocks west of the historic skyscraper.
Click to visit Empire State Building official website.
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