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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 2,099 Properties near Empire State Building
The Roosevelt Hotel, New York City $112
The Roosevelt Hotel, New York City

The Roosevelt Hotel, New York City

45 E 45th Street, New York
    of 5, from 24,722 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.

    YOTEL New York $89
    YOTEL New York

    YOTEL New York

    570 Tenth Avenue, New York
      of 5, from 12,080 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.

      The New Yorker A Wyndham Hotel $93
      The New Yorker A Wyndham Hotel

      The New Yorker A Wyndham Hotel

      481 Eighth Ave., New York
        of 5, from 18,014 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.

        Hotel Pennsylvania $70
        Hotel Pennsylvania

        Hotel Pennsylvania

        401 7th Ave, New York
          of 5, from 25,863 reviews
          2.5 out of 5.0

          This New York City hotel located on Seventh Avenue at 33rd Street is across from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station.

          Pod Times Square $89
          Pod Times Square

          Pod Times Square

          400 W 42nd Street, New York
            of 5, from 1,502 reviews
            3.0 out of 5.0

            This hotel is located in New York (Midtown), close to American Lyric Theater, Times Square, and Broadway. Also nearby are Macy's and New York Public Library.

            Pod 51 $79
            Pod 51

            Pod 51

            230 E 51st St, New York
              of 5, from 14,855 reviews
              3.0 out of 5.0

              The innovative Pod Hotel offers compact, cleverly designed rooms and a prime location 4 blocks from Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, less than 6 blocks from the Theater District, and 2 blocks from subways.

              Park Central Hotel New York $99
              Park Central Hotel New York

              Park Central Hotel New York

              870 7th Ave, New York
                of 5, from 7,312 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                This Midtown New York hotel, renovated October, 2013, offers a desirable location diagonally across from Carnegie Hall, 1 block from Broadway, 2 blocks from Fifth Avenue shopping, and 2 blocks from Central Park. The Theater District and Times Square are within 1 mile.

                Stewart Hotel $94
                Stewart Hotel

                Stewart Hotel

                371 7th Ave, New York
                  of 5, from 8,972 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.