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“Go Early or expect long wait”

Empire State Building
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Empire State Building Tickets - Observatory and...
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Ranked #10 of 1,131 things to do in New York City
Certificate of Excellence
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Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The world-famous Empire State Building offers unobstructed panoramic views of New York City and beyond from 8 a.m. until 2 a.m. daily. Our 86th and 102nd floor Observation Decks offer the two highest vantage points in New York City. Soaring 1,454 feet above Midtown Manhattan from base to antenna, the Empire State Building is the World's Most Famous Office Building. Named America's favorite building in a poll conducted by the American Institute of Architects, the Empire State Building is one of New York City's top tourist destinations. On a clear day, you can see up to five states from our Observation Decks - New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Guests can enjoy our outdoor viewing area on our open-air 86th floor Observatory, or our indoor climate-controlled viewing areas on the 86th and 102nd floors. We recently launched our new Multimedia Experience as well, which guides visitors through the extraordinary exhibits and breathtaking views with additional depth on the building's history in eight languages - including English, Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Japanese and Korean. The Empire State Building aims to provide entertainment for guests of all ages. Bringing children? Have their picture taken with King Kong himself on our 80th floor from Thursdays through Mondays (12 p.m. until 9 p.m.). Celebrating a first date or an anniversary? Enjoy romantic tunes from our saxophone player from 9 p.m. until midnight every Thursday through Saturday night. Tickets can be purchased through our website. Our celebrated tower lights are often illuminated to commemorate holidays, events and special causes. In the Fall of 2012, we upgraded our tower lighting system from floodlights to one-of-a-kind LED tower lights. The state-of-the-art system allows customized lighting capabilities from a palette of over 16 million colors! To watch some of our recent light shows, visit our YouTube page. Reigning as the world's tallest building from 1931 to 1970, the Empire State Building is known for its distinct Art Deco style. Construction of the renowned icon only took one year and 45 days, and logged more than 7 million man hours. This is the fastest construction to date for a project of its scale. Additionally, from classics like An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle to recent hits such as Oblivion and Elf, our place in pop culture has been solidified since our early days. In fact, over 200 movies and TV shows have featured the Empire State Building in them!
Reviewed April 7, 2005

Now the only place to see the NYC skyline so it is a must see. But if you do not get there early you will wait a long time to get to the top.

Avoid the skyline, dont be fooled into thinking this will reduce your wait, it is a total waste of money. It only lasts for 10 minutes and is just a quick hellicopter video with voice over, you have seen it all before on the current tropicana advert on TV!!!!

If possible book your tickets online and then this will save you some time.

You have to go up there but just go early and go for a weekday if possible.

4  Thank andycarmichael888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 7, 2005

I want to echo the comments made about the staff. There seems to be no regard at all for what essentially are paying customers. Beacuse of the weather we had delayed our visit to our last day and by 10 am the line to get in was already several blocks long. There was no way of telling if the line was for tickets, security or hot dogs, and other than a guy on the door and a small sign in front of the door, no way of getting any information. We found the only way to get the doorman's attention was to follow the stream of people attempting to walk straight in, to see if there was a seperate line for people already with tickets. Sure enough, he was then happy to shout at us to get back outside and queue for security but was rendered either deaf or mute again when we asked for some idea of how long it would take to clear security but then get to the viewing gallery given we already had paid for tickets.

In the end we decided we had better ways of spending our last day than standing in line, but it left me very dissapointed given we ended up paying for something we didn't get to see.

4  Thank HappyHammer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2005

I don't mind the 2 hour wait in the queue - this was expected. But what wasn't expected was the curtness and rudeness of the staff. From the joker outside screaming at us to "get against the wall and queue properly" through to the security staff that were downright rude to a majority of the visitors, their whole performance was unacceptable.
It was my second visit and once at the top the wait was all worth it for the wonderful views. But never again! - to be fair they were the only rude people I met in New York - everyone else was so helpful!.

12  Thank DukeofMilan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 24, 2005

Visited Empire State Building for second visit to NYC. Once again an excellent experience; so much so that we went twice.

Would fully recommend visiting first thing in the morning. We went at 0910 and walked stright through with tickets we'd bought online.

Was windy and cold, but we knew that before we set off! Views breathtaking and easy to get respite from weather indoors in gift shop.

Would also recommend taking the audio tour - free for City Pass holders, as it can be useful to get an orientation.

Having tried the Skyride on my last visit I would advise to give it a miss. Found it overlong and irritating.

Overall: a must see experience for any NYC visitor!

11  Thank sidney1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2005

We went up the esb twice once during the day and once at night and i have to say i preferred the day viewing, although the night is magical, i would recommend pre booking your tickets to avoid the q's, the gift shop is excellent also, even if it is a little dear. we were amazed at the height of the buildings as the tallest building in our home town in Ireland is six stories. the next time we visit which is in October 2005 we will go there just before twilight and get best of both worlds. cant wait.

8  Thank Meath2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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