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“Not worth the wait”

Empire State Building
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Empire State Building Tickets - Observatory and...
Ranked #14 of 1,149 things to do in New York City
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The world-famous Empire State Building offers unobstructed panoramic views of New York City and beyond from 8 a.m. until 2 a.m. daily. Our 86th and 102nd floor Observation Decks offer the two highest vantage points in New York City. Soaring 1,454 feet above Midtown Manhattan from base to antenna, the Empire State Building is the World's Most Famous Office Building. Named America's favorite building in a poll conducted by the American Institute of Architects, the Empire State Building is one of New York City's top tourist destinations. On a clear day, you can see up to five states from our Observation Decks - New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Guests can enjoy our outdoor viewing area on our open-air 86th floor Observatory, or our indoor climate-controlled viewing areas on the 86th and 102nd floors. We recently launched our new Multimedia Experience as well, which guides visitors through the extraordinary exhibits and breathtaking views with additional depth on the building's history in eight languages - including English, Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Japanese and Korean. The Empire State Building aims to provide entertainment for guests of all ages. Bringing children? Have their picture taken with King Kong himself on our 80th floor from Thursdays through Mondays (12 p.m. until 9 p.m.). Celebrating a first date or an anniversary? Enjoy romantic tunes from our saxophone player from 9 p.m. until midnight every Thursday through Saturday night. Tickets can be purchased through our website. Our celebrated tower lights are often illuminated to commemorate holidays, events and special causes. In the Fall of 2012, we upgraded our tower lighting system from floodlights to one-of-a-kind LED tower lights. The state-of-the-art system allows customized lighting capabilities from a palette of over 16 million colors! To watch some of our recent light shows, visit our YouTube page. Reigning as the world's tallest building from 1931 to 1970, the Empire State Building is known for its distinct Art Deco style. Construction of the renowned icon only took one year and 45 days, and logged more than 7 million man hours. This is the fastest construction to date for a project of its scale. Additionally, from classics like An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle to recent hits such as Oblivion and Elf, our place in pop culture has been solidified since our early days. In fact, over 200 movies and TV shows have featured the Empire State Building in them!
Reviewed 17 April 2012

I guess if you have never done it, you should. I have done it several times and will not do it again. The line to get up to the observation deck is CRAZY long. We waited for at least 2 hours. Totally not worth it. I was also pretty crowded when you were up there.

Thank jenvail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 April 2012

We made two attempts to get to the top of the Empire State Building - we gave up the first time because of the queues. The second time we arrived as it opened at 8am and the queue moved a lot quicker. The views at the top are stunnning, however the security guards at the top were not pleasant. Our 4 year old son tried to look through the binoculars but because we had not put a coin in, the security guard shouted at us to remove him immediately. He was genuinely not preventing anyone else from using them, it seemed a complete over-reaction. Given how much we had paid to get to the top, it was very annoying to be treated like that.

Thank VickyAR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2012

Dont bother with the ride inside but go straight to top for amazing views.

Thank smirnofface
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2012

After many trips into the city that bypassed the Empire State Building, my wife and I decided it was about time to stop in.

The entrance to the Empire State Building is located on 5th Avenue between 34th and 33rd Streets. Tickets are required to tour the building and can be purchased online or at the building for as low as $23 for adults and $17 for children. I highly recommend purchasing the tickets online before your visit. Don't worry if your plans get changed unexpectedly as tickets purchased online through the Empire State Building's website are valid for one year after purchase.

You have the option to purchase express tickets for around $25 more; if you don't want to wait for hours the express ticket is a must. If you do purchase the express ticket make sure to mention it to everyone you see, we held ours facing out as we walked. With it you can cut right to the front most lines and bypass the winding lines of people. There aren't very many signs telling people who have express passes where to go so when in doubt just show your pass to a staff member and if you can cut a line they will tell you. Almost as important is that fact that you can use your express pass to get back down from the Observatory just as quickly! It works both ways.

We visited both the 86 Floor observatory and the 102nd Floor observatory. The 86th Floor Observatory is both indoor and outdoors. They have mounted, quarter fed binoculars on each side to view the city. A camera is a must, but leave your tripods at home as they are not allowed. Also leave you pocket knives at home as you cannot take them though the security check point. If you do forget you have an item prohibited, they can hold it for you at security and will give you a ticket to reclaim it.

Access to the 102nd Floor Observatory is gained by an old manually operated elevator, a cool site for the uninitiated but it can also be a bite scary for some. This floor is all inside and is the highest you can get in the building. If you are at all claustrophobic, you may want to skip this floor as it is a bit cramped.

The Empire State Building is a must-see attraction in New York City. The whole trip can be done in as little as an hour but might take upwards of three or more as there are no time limits. Express passes, while more expensive, are worth every penny. You might have a difficult time with smaller children as the exterior walls around both floors are about 4 feet tall.

2  Thank Trackrunner1010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 April 2012

Wow not too sure if words do it justice. Just such an amazing building and such an amazing view. Not sure how anybody could give this less then 5 out of 5, they must be hard to please. The perfect place (along with the Rockerfeller Centre) to get a view of the New York skyline. Okay so the queues when I went in Summer (September 2011) were huge but that is to be expected at every single major tourist attraction in the world. This would have to be on the must do list for every visitor to NYC and just perfect for photos!

Thank John_Sydney_Wildlife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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