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The Empire State Building is a world-famous landmark, synonymous with New York. It’s renowned as a backdrop in films such as “An Affair to Remember,” “King Kong,” and “Sleepless in Seattle.” In fact, it’s one of the city’s most significant and romantic skyscrapers.
Officially opened in 1931, the Empire State Building took over the Chrysler Building’s title as tallest in the world, a record it had held for 40 years. New York owes its “Empire State” nickname to the building, which is to New York what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, or the Space Needle is to Seattle.
The building, an impressive 1,453 feet tall including the broadcast tower, offers views of Manhattan’s twinkling lights from two observatories. One platform is on the 86th floor and there’s another at the very top level on the 102nd floor, right under the broadcast tower. On the way to the observatories, be sure to spend time in the Dare to Dream 80th Floor Exhibit. This permanent display includes photographs, construction notes, and information on the building’s engineering.
At the 86th floor, take a walk along the open-air promenade for spectacular views of Midtown, Lower Manhattan and Central Park. On a clear day, it’s possible to see as far as New Jersey and Connecticut. Pop a quarter or two in the old-fashioned binoculars for a close-up peek of nearby attractions, including Bryant Park and Times Square.
The 102nd floor observatory is the highest public point in New York. The enclosed viewing area is ideal if you’re visiting in winter.
The Empire State Building is located in Midtown, Manhattan, in the heart of the city, easily accessible by bus, subway or rail. The two observatories are open to the public 365 days a year. Lines for the ticket office and elevators can be long, so it’s wise to buy tickets on the Empire State Building’s official website. Wedding proposals aren’t uncommon, and a saxophone player sometimes serenades lovebirds visiting the 86th floor.
There are plenty of fun ways to get the most out of Empire State Building. Here's a list of our favorites:
Check out our New York things to do page to learn about even more activities while you're in the area.
Located in Midtown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Madison Square Garden, Macy's and Empire State Building. Times Square and Broadway are also within 15 minutes. 34 St. - Penn Station (Fashion Av.) is only a 2-minute walk and 28 St. Station (7th Av.) is 4 minutes.
Located in Midtown, this boutique hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Times Square and Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Broadway and Central Park are also within 1 mi (2 km). Times Sq. - 42 St. Station is 12 minutes by foot and 34 St. - Penn Station is 14 minutes.
Located in Midtown, this romantic hotel is steps away from Richard Rodgers Theatre, Times Square and Music Box Theatre. Broadway and Minskoff Theater are also within 5 minutes. 49th St. Station is only a 3-minute walk and Times Sq. - 42 St. Station is 8 minutes.
Located in Midtown, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of 5th Avenue and Grand Central Terminal. St. Patrick's Cathedral and Rockefeller Center are also within 10 minutes. Grand Central - 42 St. Station is 5 minutes by foot and 5 Av Station (W. 42nd St.) is 5 minutes.
Located in Midtown, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Carnegie Hall, Central Park and Broadway Theatre. Columbus Circle and 5th Avenue are also within 10 minutes. 7 Av. Station (E 53rd St.) and 50 St. Station (Broadway) are within a 5-minute walk.
Located in Midtown, this hotel is steps away from Central Park and 5th Avenue. Madison Avenue and Tiffany & Co. are also within 5 minutes. 57 St. Station is only a 3-minute walk and 5 Av.-53 St. Station is 6 minutes.
Located in Midtown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Times Square and Empire State Building. Broadway and Grand Central Terminal are also within 1 mi (2 km). 34 St. - Penn Station is only a 2-minute walk and 34 St. - Penn Station (Fashion Av.) is 3 minutes.
Located in Midtown, this eco-friendly hotel is steps away from Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Times Square and New Amsterdam Theater. The Majestic Theater and St. James Theatre are also within 5 minutes. Times Sq. - 42 St. Station is only a 3-minute walk and 42 St. - Bryant Pk. Station is 6 minutes.