About Empire State Building Observatories
There is no better place to admire New York City than from the terrace of the Empire State Building. On a clear day, there are close to 80-mile views on all sides. Choose to marvel at the city by day or experience the romance of the bright lights at night.
There are two observatories at the Empire State Building. The main deck, on the 86th floor, has a 360-degree wraparound outside terrace, binoculars and a protected indoor space for inclement weather. The top deck is a smaller, entirely indoor observatory on the 102nd floor. As of 2012, it is the highest public spot in New York City. The promenade on the 86th floor is accessible by wheelchair.
The observatories are open from 8am to 2am, with the last elevator going up at 1:15am. Both the observatories and the Sky Ride are open 365 days a year, rain or shine.
About Sky Ride
On the second floor of the Empire State Building is the Sky Ride, a half-hour motion-simulated virtual tour of New York.
Experience the city from magnificent angles and see 36 famous sights and landmarks. Sit and watch the 18-foot high definition screen and enjoy the narration by Kevin Bacon. But make sure to hold on to your seat! The floor beneath your chair will move with the camera and give you the sensation of flying and swooping like a New York pigeon.
The Sky Ride is a half-hour long and plays daily from 8am-10pm. There is no time limit for enjoying the observatories.
The wait for entry into the observatories can range from fifteen minutes to three hours; early morning is the best bet for a shorter wait. Express tickets for bypassing the line are available for an extra fee.
Did you know?
In addition to the incredible views, the Empire State Building itself is a work of art. Completed in 1932, the building is designated as a National Historic Landmark. A recent renovation transformed the lobby and its fixtures to the height of their Art Deco glory.
The roof height of the Empire State Building is 1,250 feet (1,454 including the spire)
Live music is performed on the 86th-floor terrace from 10pm to 1am on Thursday through Saturday.
The observatories and the Sky Ride are perfect for anyone who wants to appreciate the magnitude and beauty of New York City.
Good for kids?
The observatories at the Empire State Building will thrill kids of all ages. The outside terrace on the 86th floor is child-safe. It may intimidate smaller children or anyone afraid of heights, so parents should exercise good judgment when bringing their kids along.
The Sky Ride is great for kids who are old enough to sit in their own seats. Sitting on laps is prohibited, and pregnant women are discouraged from attending.
Empire State Building Location Information:
350 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10001
Note: Visit the observatories at the main entrance on Fifth Avenue. For the Sky Ride, enter on 33rd Street.
1, 2, 3 to 34th St. (Seventh Ave.); B, D, F, M, N, Q, R to 34th St. (Sixth Ave.);
A, C, E to 34th St./Penn Station (Seventh Ave.)