The majestic Empire State Building was completed in 1931, becoming the world's tallest building at the time. While no ... More
Empire State Building
The majestic Empire State Building was completed in 1931, becoming the world's tallest building at the time. While no longer the tallest, it remains as impressive as ever. At night the building is lit up, often with special colors marking important dates and holidays. Entry tickets can be purchased online through the Empire State Building's website or in the building's lobby. The main highlight here are two observatories perched on 86th and 102nd floors, where a bird's eye view of this magificent city is a sight to behold. The observatory is open 365 days a year and tickets for the observatory can again be purchased online in order to avoid the lines. The observation decks are regularly open until 2a, so visitors can experience incredible nighttime views of the city that never sleeps.
I loved the Empire State Building... The forthought that went into the building is absolutely amazing, the observation deck gives a wonderful panorama view of the city an river. Even if you have to wait in line it is worth it...
Lines that seem to never end--very deceptive length of wait (multiple stops). Heavy crowds at the end--the result may be enjoyable, but the cost, wait, and overall time spent make this one of the worst values in New York. Never again!!
It is a much better idea to go to "The Top of the Rock." This is what they call the observation deck at Rockefeller Center. It has 3 floors of viewing, all of which are outside. You'll get a unobstructed view of the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, all of central park and all 5 boughs behind a 7' plexiglass wall. Why wait an hour and pay more to view the city from inside the Empire State Building when you there is practically no wait here. You can reserve a time slot online to get to the front of the line if you want to go at a busy time. Also you get a free .mp3 download that is an hour long and tells a lot of interesting things you would never know about "The Top of the Rock" and all of NYC.
I grew up in NYC and have lived nearby all my life. For my money, the best views of the city are 26 blocks to the north atop what's now called the GE Building. That observation deck is a spacious patio protected by transparent plexiglass as opposed to the tight quarters at the Empire State's 86th floor observatory with its high walls or the narrow portals from the indoor view at the 102nd floor.
It's worth something to say you've been to the top of the Empire State Building but the best view as at the Top of the Rock.
The Empire State Building was such a let-down. The view was spectacular, but getting up to the observation deck was not good. The lines were long. I says lines (plural) because the are many lines one must stand in to see the top. One line (45 minutes) to get to the ticket area. The next line (10-15 minutes) to actually buy the tickets ($20). The next line for the elevator. (10-15 minutes). The elevator only takes you to the 80th floor and the windows are blocked so no one can see anything. The next line to get to the 86th floor observation deck (25 minutes). Then when you reach the deck there are so many people that you have to wait to be able to see the view. Want to go to the 102nd floor observation deck? That will be an additional $15 per person. Want a map or audio of what you are seeing? That will be an additional $8 for each, per person. Then wait in line again to get back down. Top of the Rock was awesome!! NO waiting. COOL elevator ride. GREAT view.
The outside doorman informed us it is an 1 hour wait to the top. We didn't ask him, he offered this info. We had purchased tickets online and thought okay it will probably be less than that being we already have tickets and decided to take this off of our list of things to do. We passed a line of at least 200 people waiting to get tickets and entered another line that wove in and out. We waited for 2 1/2 hours to get to the top. Once there it was extremely crowded and the view was just okay. Nothing great, not worth $40 for 2 adults. Upon leaving we are then having to enter another line that took 1 hour to get down. Jumping crossed my mind at this point! I would not recommend this to anyone! It is overrated and $40 would be better spent doing something else, seeing something else, anything else!
We went at night and got to see "The City" all lite up. The lines weren't bad at all so maybe that is a good trick to go at night.The staff kept us moving along. We had tickets already, which was helpful and included in the price was an audio recorder that you put around your neck and listened to a nice voiced man telling you about the different parts of the City and pointed out different buildings and such. Definetly rent the audio recorder it is well worth the money. The ride to the 84th floor was unbelieveably fast. Once you get up there you turn on the recorder and push the button to match the number on the fence and then listen to all the information about that particular part of the City that you are looking at. If you can't get right up close to the fence some areas have a higher level right behind it so you can actually see better and still follow what he is saying without bobbing and weaving trying to look through peoples heads. What a fabulous place. They take your picture with a blue background, but when you look at the pictures on the way out they have photo shopped the City into the background and it looks great! We bought our picture, you couldn't find a backdrop on your own like the one they add to the picture. When the guy took the first picture I had my eyes closed so I asked if we could redo it and he was very nice to let us do a retake. Don't miss the Empire State Building when you visit the Big Apple.
The ESB is one of the places everyone must visit when in NY and the folks that operate the attraction take full advantage of it. Expect a very long wait, multiple queuing locations, a green screen picture, rude staff, and inefficiencies that are too numerous to mention. The new "express service" that offers you the ability to jump to the front of every line (and there are at least 5 between the street and the observatory) slows down the process for everyone else. Also, the bar code tickets don't seem to work well all of the time. The trick is to go very early or very late to avoide the crowds which can be a major inconvenience. Unless you have your heart set on going there, you might want to avoid it all together and plan for 2 hours of line, and a big crowd at the top so the view may be of someone's head instead of the 5 boroughs and NJ!
Going to the top of the empire state building is definitely a must do while in New York. It is so much fun. The view once your up is really awesome, you don't even realize that you are 86 floors high! You can see anything and everything. It is really an amazing sight. It is not really that expensive, the lines are not long if you go on a weekday before all the crowds. The only thing you really have to wait for is the elevator going up and going down, it not that long of a wait. Overall, it is a great experience and a must do in New York!!
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