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Empire State Building

No trip to New York is complete without zooming up the top of this iconic building, where the views of Manhattan are unmatchable.

The Empire State Building is a world-famous landmark, synonymous with New York. It’s renowned as a backdrop in films such as “An Affair to Remember,” “King Kong,” and “Sleepless in Seattle.” In fact, it’s one of the city’s most significant and romantic skyscrapers. 

Officially opened in 1931, the Empire State Building took over the Chrysler Building’s title as tallest in the world, a record it had held for 40 years. New York owes its “Empire State” nickname to the building, which is to New York what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, or the Space Needle is to Seattle.  The building, an impressive 1,453 feet tall including the broadcast tower, offers views of Manhattan’s twinkling lights from two observatories. One platform is on the 86th floor and there’s another at the very top level on the 102nd floor, right under the broadcast tower with its 1454-foot antenna. On the way to the observatories, be sure to spend time in the Dare to Dream 80th Floor Exhibit. This permanent display includes photographs, construction notes, and information on the building’s engineering.

At the 86th floor, take a walk along the open-air promenade for spectacular views of Midtown, Lower Manhattan and Central Park. On a clear day, it’s possible to see as far as New Jersey and Connecticut. Pop a quarter or two in the old-fashioned binoculars for a close-up peek of nearby attractions, including Bryant Park and Times Square

The 102nd floor observatory is the highest public point in New York. The enclosed viewing area is ideal if you’re visiting in winter. 

The Empire State Building is located in Midtown, Manhattan, in the heart of the city, easily accessible by bus, subway or rail. The two observatories are open to the public 365 days a year. Lines for the ticket office and elevators can be long, so it’s wise to buy tickets on the Empire State Building’s official website. Wedding proposals aren’t uncommon, and a saxophone player sometimes serenades lovebirds visiting the 86th floor.

Popular Activities at Empire State Building

Don't know how to get the most out of your time at Empire State Building? We've put together a list of popular activities that will help you:

Have a look at our New York things to do page to learn about many more activities while you're here.

Guide to Exploring around Empire State Building

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Lodging Near Empire State Building

See all 2,436 Properties near Empire State Building
YOTEL New York $79
YOTEL New York

YOTEL New York

570 Tenth Avenue, New York
    of 5, from 12,597 reviews
    4.0 out of 5.0

    This Manhattan hotel is in the Midtown West neighborhood, 0.8 mile from Times Square and within one-half mile of the New Amsterdam Theater and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.

    Salisbury Hotel $79
    Salisbury Hotel

    Salisbury Hotel

    123 W 57th St, New York
      of 5, from 18,358 reviews
      3.0 out of 5.0

      The budget-friendly Salisbury Hotel hotel offers a prime Midtown location just 2 blocks from Central Park and within walking distance of Times Square and Broadway theaters. Opened in 1931, this Neo-Gothic-style hotel is next door to the famed Russian Tea Room, a half-block from Carnegie Hall, and 7 blocks from Radio City Music Hall.

      The New Yorker A Wyndham Hotel $84
      The New Yorker A Wyndham Hotel

      The New Yorker A Wyndham Hotel

      481 Eighth Ave., New York
        of 5, from 18,351 reviews
        4.0 out of 5.0

        Rising 40 stories across from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station, this hotel is 1 block from Macy's, 3 blocks from the Javits Convention Center, and 4 blocks from the Empire State Building.

        The Roosevelt Hotel, New York City $89
        The Roosevelt Hotel, New York City

        The Roosevelt Hotel, New York City

        45 E 45th Street, New York
          of 5, from 25,390 reviews
          4.0 out of 5.0

          Located at the corner of East 45th Street and Madison Avenue, the Roosevelt Hotel, New York City, provides ready access to shopping, as well as Broadway theaters, 3 blocks away.

          The Belvedere Hotel $99
          The Belvedere Hotel

          The Belvedere Hotel

          319 W 48th St, New York
            of 5, from 20,606 reviews
            3.5 out of 5.0

            This New York hotel is in the center of all the action, located in the cluster of Broadway theaters. The center of Times Square is 2 blocks away, and Rockefeller Center is a 3-block walk.

            Freehand New York $119
            Freehand New York

            Freehand New York

            23 Lexington Ave, New York
              of 5, from 409 reviews
              4.0 out of 5.0

              Located in Midtown, this hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Union Square, Madison Square Garden, and Empire State Building. New York University and Macy's are also within 6 mi (10 km).

              Stewart Hotel $89
              Stewart Hotel

              Stewart Hotel

              371 7th Ave, New York
                of 5, from 9,226 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                Stewart Hotel is located in the city's bustling Midtown. Madison Square Garden and Penn Station are across the street, and Times Square - the hub of the Broadway Theater District - is a 15-minute walk. Top-of-the-world views from the Empire State Building are even closer - 10 minutes on foot.

                Paramount Times Square $76
                Paramount Times Square

                Paramount Times Square

                235 West 46th Street, New York
                  of 5, from 12,942 reviews
                  4.0 out of 5.0

                  Set amid Broadway theaters, this stylish New York hotel is a half-block from Times Square and half a block from Restaurant Row. Bryant Park, Minskoff Theater, Gershwin Theater, and Radio City Music Hall are also nearby. Head to nearby Central Park, 5th Avenue, Rockfeller Center, and the Museum of Modern Art.