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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. 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.
You won't believe how many activities there are at Empire State Building. Here are some ideas to get you started:
If you're looking for more activities, have a look at our New York things to do page.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Located in Midtown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of 5th Avenue and Flatiron Building. Madison Square Garden and Union Square are also within 15 minutes. 23 St. Station (Park Av.) is only a 2-minute walk and 23 St. Station (5th Av.) is 7 minutes.
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.
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.
Located in Midtown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of New York Times Building, Madison Square Garden, and Times Square. Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and New Amsterdam Theater are also within 10 minutes. 42 St. - Port Authority Bus Terminal Station and Port Authority Bus Terminal are within a 5-minute walk.