Fodor's Expert Review New York State Capitol
It took more than 30 years to complete this grand building (1867–99), which incorporates elaborate carvings, interesting architectural elements, and eclectic styles. The 45-minute guided tour highlights the ornate Great Western Staircase (aka the Million Dollar Staircase)—which took 13 years and 600 stone carvers to complete—and, right over it, a 3,000-square-foot skylight that had been covered from World War II until 2002. Amid the carved faces adorning the staircase pillars are several famous visages. You can visit the legislative chambers and, when open, the governor's ceremonial offices. Tours begin at the visitor center on the concourse level of Empire State Plaza.