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Ways to Experience Empire State Building
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New York CityPASS
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Reviews (92,013)
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Reviewed 30 September 2019

How could our first trip to NYC not include a stop at the world’s most famous tall building? It helped that our hotel was only about three blocks away and this was part of the CityPass that we purchased. On your way towards the top, you’ll pass at least three small versions of the ESB. There’s also some areas where you pass large video screens that make it look like you’re walking through the ESB when it was under construction. A favorite photo op is where you can pose with a giant gorilla hand that has apparently punched through the wall and they project King Kong looking in through the “windows.” You also pass through a large gallery of famous people who have visited this landmark. On the way up, they project a short film on the ceiling of the elevator. Guess it goes without saying that the views from the 86th floor observation deck are fantastic, but they’re also a little different than the views from the two other most popular tall buildings in NYC. We also visited The Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center (another part of the CityPass), which is further uptown (north), and gives a better (but not fully unobstructed) view of Central Park, whereas ESB has a more Midtown location. By the way, if you’re looking for The Top of the Rock from the ESB, it’s the building marked “Comcast.” The other popular observation point is One World Observatory, which we didn’t visit, but which is located downtown (south), much closer to the tip of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. I also liked the very retro uniforms worn by ESB employees and the very art deco signage overhead when you reach the observation level. On the way out, which also takes you through ESB’s huge gift shop, don’t miss the art deco relief mural in the lobby, which features a dramatic image of the ESB in steel, aluminum, and gold leaf.

Date of experience: August 2019
Thank Dmarkwind
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 30 September 2019

We paid for express pass - well worth it as we were able to access to viewing platform without stopping from the time we entered the building.

Date of experience: September 2019
Review collected in partnership with this attraction
Thank kevinwallis
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 30 September 2019

Very good experience, I won the fear of heights,
the weather was excellent and you could see the whole city

Date of experience: July 2019
1  Thank Nadia P
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 30 September 2019 via mobile

The views are great, but not worth the ticket price. I was not impressed with the displays. There is really nothing worth seeing but the outside views.

Date of experience: September 2019
Thank Corina G
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Empire_State_Bldg, Reviews Manager at Empire State Building, responded to this reviewResponded 2 October 2019

Hi Corina G,
We’re pleased to hear you enjoyed our great views! Please note, general admission tickets are priced similarly to other NYC observatories. We work hard to provide a unique experience for all of our guests, and we hope that you were able to enjoy the other activities that we offer, including our new, interactive 2nd floor exhibits. Thank you for visiting.
- Empire State Building

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Reviewed 30 September 2019

I was really excited about this visit and it's not cheap to do either. We paid for the jump the queue tickets and when we got there there was only a handful of people in front of us anyway. I guess that's the luck of the draw though. We got to the top and it was so windy, it literally took your breath away! We spent about 30 minutes on the viewing platform and, like the Shard in London, once you've seen it that's it - you've seen it. There are only so many times you can view Central Park and the buildings. I heard that Top of the Rock was a better view, so perhaps look into both before deciding which one you want to spend your money on.

Date of experience: May 2019
2  Thank MagJen
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Empire_State_Bldg, Reviews Manager at Empire State Building, responded to this reviewResponded 2 October 2019

Hi MagJen,
We’re pleased to hear you enjoyed our views. We work hard to provide a unique experience for all of our guests, and we hope that you were able to enjoy the other activities that we offer, including our new, interactive 2nd floor exhibits. Thank you for visiting.
- Empire State Building

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