Empire State Building Observatory
- Most popularOpen lateIndoors
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Booking requiredThis attraction requires advanced booking.
What you'll do
Please note: reservations are required for this attraction - book your spot through the Go City reservation portal.
Enjoy entry to the Empire State Building with The New York Pass®
- Head to the top and enjoy views of up to 80 miles on a clear day.
- Enjoy cutting-edge exhibits that detail the history of this iconic building.
Synonymous with New York City, the Empire State Building is an American icon and one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Located in midtown Manhattan, the views from its 86th-floor observation decks are unmissable.
The Empire State Building's history
The New York economy was booming in the late-1920s. And construction around the world was engaged in a race to reach the sky. The Eiffel Tower’s construction in 1889 inspired Americans to create something taller. The result was the Metropolitan Life Tower in 1909. The Woolworth Building then soared skyward in 1913. And both these buildings were later dwarfed by the Bank of Manhattan Building in 1929. The American Dream was now vertical in nature.
John Jakob Raskob, the former vice president of General Motors and New York governor, was determined to construct the most prominent skyscraper in the city. All the while, Walter Chrysler, founder of the Chrysler Corporation, was in the process of creating a monumental structure he called, “a monument to me”, the height of which he was keeping a secret. Both towers tried to best each other by adding more floors to their design.
In August 1929, Raskob and former New York Governor Al Smith announced plans for the Empire State Building. This was the first time that Chrysler learned that Raskob’s building would be 1,000ft tall. Chrysler’s plan was to fix a stainless-steel spire to the top of his skyscraper, making it a record-breaking 1,048ft. Unfortunately for Chrysler, this record wouldn’t be held for long. Raskob and Smith went back to the drawing board and returned with an even taller design for the Empire State Building, which, when completed in 1931, loomed 1,250ft over the streets of midtown Manhattan.
For nearly 40 years after its completion, the Empire State Building would remain the tallest building in the city.
Empire State Building highlights
- Enjoy immersive experiences featured across the Empire State Building’s 12 galleries.
- Discover the compelling history of this iconic structure.
Empire State Building facts
- How tall is the Empire State Building? 1454ft.
- Four million people visit the Empire State Building every year.
- The building has its own zip code: 10118.
- Valentine’s Day is the only day that couples can get married on top of the Empire State Building.
- The Empire State Building was started and finished in just 20 months.
- As many as 3,400 men worked on the building every day to assemble its skeleton in record time.
- The Empire State Building recently received a refit that reduces energy costs by $4.4 million a year, while creating 252 jobs.
- The 200ft tower of the Empire State Building was originally designed as a docking point for airships – a terrifying prospect by today’s standards. The building owners, convinced that transatlantic airship travel was the transport of the future, wanted to use the mast as a docking port where it would “swing in the breeze” in wind speeds as high as 40 miles an hour. Passengers would exit and walk an open-air gangplank, check in at a customs office and make their way to street level. Needless to say, this scheme never took off. The original docking level is now located one floor above the 102nd-floor observatory, up some steep steps behind an unmarked door.
- Check out the immersive experiences featured across the Empire State Building’s 12 galleries. Your New York Pass ensures access to these second-floor exhibits, as well as entry to the iconic 360-degree view open-air observatory.
- 2nd-floor galleries allow guests to experience 10,000 square feet of educational and engaging interactive installations – a $165 million re-imagination project.
- The Empire State Building has new heat lamps for visitors who wish to take in the views from the one-of-a-kind 360-degree outdoor observatory throughout winter in New York City.
Know before you go
This attraction requires advanced booking.
Getting in: on arrival, please present your reservation confirmation, then proceed inside for entry. Scan your pass at the turnstile after security. That's it, you're in! Enjoy the view.
Please note: passes cannot be used to book sunset time slots. We suggest booking an evening time slot to enjoy sweeping views of Manhattan’s city lights at night!
Tips for visiting the Empire State Building
- Per CDC guidelines, the Empire State Building Observatory requires all guests ages 2 and up to wear facial coverings.
- The Empire State Building has free WiFi throughout, so you can share your experience as you explore.
- When it comes to dining, drinks and snacks, there are several options. Take your pick from the STATE Grill and Bar, Tacombi, Starbucks and Sushi-Teria.
- Signage is available in nine languages – English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Mandarin.
- You can watch the Empire State on a live earthcam view.
- The Empire State Building is fully ADA compliant. There are handicapped restrooms on the 86th-floor observatory along with ramps, lowered viewing walls and binoculars. Motorized and non-motorized wheelchairs are permitted.
For more information visit the Empire State Building's website.
Where you'll be
20 West 34th Street (between 5th & 6th Avenue), New York, US
Hours of operation vary by day. The last entrance is always 45 minutes prior to closing.
Please visit this page of the Empire State Building's website to view the current operating schedule.
Empire State Building Observatory
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