The Empire State Building Observatory is a famous viewing deck located on the 86th floor of the landmark New York City office building. Renowned for its panoramic views of New York City, the Observatory has been featured in classic films like An Affair to Remember
and Sleepless in Seattle
Visitors can enjoy sweeping vistas of Manhattan and surrounding areas – including Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey – from both the outdoor, open-air deck and the glass-enclosed, climate-controlled viewing area that comprise the 86th Floor Observatory. Landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park are all visible on clear days from the Empire State Building Observatory, which towers 1,050 feet above the city streets below.
Now included in the price of admission is a handheld multimedia tour that combines audio and visual elements. The videos, image galleries, quizzes and maps enhance the experience whether you are touring the Dare to Dream exhibit to learn more about the construction of the building or taking in the views of Manhattan and beyond from the observatory floors. The guides are currently available in eight languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Japanese and Korean).
Coin-operated viewing machines can be found at various points along the outdoor deck of the Empire State Building Observatory. They are fitted with high-power binoculars that offer magnified views of the sights around you, including the Chrysler Building, Manhattan Bridge and Ellis Island. Tip: Make sure to bring quarters, the only coins that can be used to operate the viewing machines.
For an additional fee, visitors can access an observatory on the 102nd floor. This one is smaller and entirely enclosed, with glass windows that boast bird's-eye views from a height of 1,250 feet. On clear days, visitors may even spy Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts, as visibility can stretch as far as 80 miles.
Both observatories can be accessed from one of the Empire State Building's many elevators, with a couple of stops along the way. The second floor features a multimedia exhibition focused on the Empire State Building's present, highlighting the recent renovations that have transformed this historic landmark into a modern model of environmental sustainability. The 80th floor takes a look at the Empire State Building's past, featuring an exhibit detailing the construction effort and the men who built it, with lots of cool old photos interspersed with fun facts.
V.I.P. Express Experience
With the V.I.P. Express Experience, there is no need to wait in the line for the ticket office. You will go straight to a redemption post on the second floor (pre-security) to see a ticket expediter who will exchange your voucher for a gold V.I.P. band. From this point on, show your V.I.P band to the uniformed attendants along the route to bypass any lines and you will be on the observation deck with little to no wait time.
Good for kids?
The 86th Floor Observatory is great for kids of all ages. The only issue you may have to manage is who gets the next turn to peer through the coin-operated viewing machines.
Did you know?
The Empire State Building was constructed in just one year and forty five day -- an engineering feat that has never been matched.
The Empire State Building has appeared in more than 250 movies to date.
More than 220 couples have wed at the Empire State Building.
During the annual Empire State Building Run-Up event, hundreds of people race from the lobby to the 86th floor Observatory.
Visitors who enjoy live jazz music may wish to visit the Empire State Building Observatory during the roving saxophone performances that take place on the open-air deck every Thursday, Friday and Saturday that weather permits. The saxophonist plays from 10pm to 1am and takes song requests.
Please print voucher before arrival. Children 5 and under are FREE.
Empire State Building Hours and Location Information