New York City Travel Guide

New York City Sights

Empire State Building

  • 350 5th Ave. Map It
  • Murray Hill
  • Building/Architectural Site
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 04/20/2023

Fodor's Review

With an iconic silhouette recognizable virtually worldwide, the Empire State Building is an Art Deco monument to progress, a symbol for New York City, and a star in some great romantic scenes, on- and off-screen. Built in 1931 at the peak of the skyscraper craze, this 103-story limestone giant opened after 13 months of construction. The framework rose at a rate of 4½ stories per week, making the Empire State Building the fastest-rising skyscraper ever built.

There are three lines to get to the top: a line for tickets, a line for security, and a line for the elevators. Save time by purchasing tickets online in advance. You can skip to the front of the ticket line and the line for elevators by purchasing an Express ticket to the 86th floor ($65). If you don't want to pony up for express service, skip that last elevator line at the 80th floor by taking the stairs.

The 86th-floor observatory (1,050 feet high) has both a climate-controlled glass-enclosed area and

an outdoor deck spanning the building's circumference. Don't be shy about going outside into the wind or you'll miss half the experience. The free high-powered binoculars help you see up to 80 miles on clear days. The views from the 102nd-floor observatory are even more awesome—yet fewer visitors make it this far. Even if you skip the journey to the top, step into the building lobby and take in the extraordinary Art Deco decor and especially the ceiling.

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  • landmark-sights


  • Sunset, Empire State Building, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA

    Stuart Monk / Shutterstock

Sight Information


350 5th Ave., at 34th St., New York, New York, 10118, USA

Map It


212-736–3100; 877-692–8439


Sight Details:

  • $38; $58 for 86th-fl. and 102nd-fl. decks; $65 for express to 86th fl.

Published 04/20/2023


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