No iconic landmark like the Empire State Building can personify New York City. This 102-story skyscraper has defined the city’s landscape for decades now and is one of the most popular stops to check out! As a world-class destination, large crowds tend to flock to the Empire State Building year-round so planning a trip will cut down on needless wasted time. Make the most of your trip to this renowned structure by reading up on everything you need to know before you go!
How To Get There
The Empire State Building is located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan at 350 Fifth Avenue. Train routes will vary based on what line you’re taking:
- ACE/123 trains: Get off at 34th Street Penn Station and walk five minutes to the building entrance.
- NQRW or BDFM lines: exit the train at 34th Street – Herald Square Station and walk another five minutes.
- 456 or 7 lines, get off the train at Grand Central station then walk 10 minutes to the building’s entrance.
There are also numerous bus routes in the area to choose from depending on where you’re located:
- W 34 St & 5 Avenue: multiple buses including QM10, QM12, QM15, QM16, QM17 (etc.)
- 5 Av / W 34 Street: BxM7 and BxM18
- 5 Av/W 35 Street: X27, X28, X37, and X38
While driving isn’t recommended, if you’re arriving by car the closest garage is located on 33rd Street between Fifth Avenue and Broadway, just across the street from the building.
Hours and Tickets
Visiting hours will differ depending on the month you decide to visit.
- From January 4th - February 16th: hours of operation will run from 10 am - 9 pm, with entry doors closing at 8:15 pm.
- From February 17th- March 8th: hours of operation will be from 10 am - 10 pm and entry doors will close at 9:15 pm.
Check the Empire State Building’s official website for more information on the future hours of operation. Reservations are required to be permitted inside so book them online ASAP. Pricing will depend on how many visitors are in your party and what experience you’re seeking during a visit.
For one person looking to explore the main deck of the 86th-floor observatory (which includes access to all the exhibits on the 2nd and 80th floors as well), tickets typically start at $44 for adults, $42 for seniors, and $38 for children. Top deck access tickets include the aforementioned perks plus access to the 102nd floor which comes out to $79 for adults, $77 for seniors, and $73 for children. Other packages offered are listed on the official site.
Points of Interest
2nd Floor Observatory
There are eight exhibits featured on this floor:
- The Site in the 1920s: Take a trip back in time and explore the city streets when the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel occupied the Empire State Building’s current location during the early 20th century.
- Construction: Guests will be immersed in the efforts that went into creating the modern Empire State Building, greatly inspired by the historical photography of Lewis Hine.
- Opening Day: An attraction capturing the excitement of the Empire State Building’s initial opening to the general public in the 1930s.
- Modern Marvel: An interactive exhibit highlighting the energy efficiency and environmental sustainability efforts that went into building the Empire State Building.
- Urban Campus: Catch of glimpse into the workspaces and views frequented by employees that visitors normally don’t get to see.
- World’s Most Famous Building: A 72-screen,180-degree multimedia exhibit displaying a 600-clip montage of the Empire State Building’s appearances in various commercials, films, TV shows, comics, and games.
- Kong: Come and see the infamous hands of King Kong from the Eponymous 1933 movie and get a feel for what it might’ve been like to be inside the building as Kong scaled it!
- Celebrity: Some of the most famous visitors (athletes, musicians, actors) with their images and signed memorabilia adorning the walls are featured here.
80th Floor Observatory
The latest installation in the collection opened in 2019 as an entirely indoor attraction. Exhibits on this floor include:
- NYC: Above and Beyond: Create a personalized itinerary of attractions around the city based on your interests and the duration of your trip with this interactive exhibit.
- Artistry in Light: A short film detailing the creation of music and art shows at the Empire State Building.
- Stephen Wiltshire’s Drawing: A vastly detailed landscape drawing done by British Artist Stephen Wilshire entirely from his memory.
- Scenes of NYC: Breathtaking scenery can be seen from the glass windows and through the classic viewfinders, visitors can check out panoramic views of nine famed New York locations.
86th Floor Observatory
There are no major exhibits on this floor but it is perfect for taking the perfect pictures of NYC from above. Indoor and outdoor viewing experiences are provided. You’ll be able to view the Manhattan skyline from here and it has been a popular setting for many movies and television shows over the years.
102nd Floor Observatory
Another floor with no dedicated exhibits but stunning views through floor-to-ceiling windows. You’ll ride up to the Top Deck in the manually operated Otis elevator, watching the altitude gradually rise along the way. There’s no better way to get an aerial view of Central Park or the skyscrapers up to eighty miles away on a good day.
Other Nearby Attractions
This popular 843-acre Manhattan Park offers a reprieve from the concrete streets of New York! Lush greenery and noteworthy sights are plentiful.
Statue of Liberty
Another must-see iconic landmark in NYC is open every day of the week. Tickets start at $23.50 including a tour of Ellis Island.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
One of the largest and most influential institutions in the world boasting over 150,000 works of art. Popular artists include Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, and Pablo Picasso.
Where to Stay Near the Empire State Building
The Langham, Hyatt Place, and RIFF Chelsea are all strongly recommended hotels for those looking to book a room while they’re in town. Check out booking.com for a comprehensive list of the best hotels to stay at in the area depending on your preferences and price range.
Other Important Information
Restrooms are available at the Empire State Building on the 86th floor, including wheelchair-accessible toilets. Expect to go through a security check similar to the airport when first entering the building. There is no coat check and only carry-on luggage is permitted. Glass, cans, bottles, flasks, professional camera equipment, sports equipment, musical instruments, alcoholic beverages, costumes and theatrical masks, and firearms are not allowed under any circumstances. An expansive list of prohibited items is available under the FAQ section of the official Empire State Building website.
Foldable strollers and prams are permitted at the Empire State Building and the lifts can accommodate them although there is no storage so you will have to carry them for the duration of your visit. There is a handicap-accessible entrance at 20 West 34th Street, where ramps and elevators can accommodate both motorized and non-motorized wheelchairs. Service dogs are also allowed on site, and the 86th floor features lowered viewing walls and binoculars.