Everything You Need to Know About the Empire State Building in New York City

about empire state building new york

The Empire State Building is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City and is the most recognized skyscraper in the whole of the United States. For decades together, tourists have been visiting the Empire State Building not just for its historical significance but also for the sweeping bird’s eye views that it offers of the rest of the skyline and the city.

Here’s a detailed guide on everything you need to know about the Empire State Building and make your experience worthwhile.

What is the Empire State Building?

About Empire State Building New York City

If you are visiting New York City, then one iconic landmark you won’t want to miss is the Empire State Building. It is a huge Art Deco skyscraper in the center of Manhattan and is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. The structure has 102 floors and when it opened, it was known for being the tallest skyscraper in the world.

The Empire State Building is largely used as office space by a wide range of companies, however, it also serves as a popular tourist attraction. It consists of eateries and shops on the ground level, as well as observation decks on the 80th, 86th, and 102nd floors. It is true that the Empire State Building can be admired from the outside, but to make the most of your experience, you need to go inside to soak in the spectacular views you get to witness from the upper levels. 

Empire State Building | Quick Facts

  • Official name: Empire State
  • Address: 20 W 34th St., New York, NY 10001 
  • Date of opening: 11 April 1931
  • Timings: Mon-Sun: 10 AM to 9 PM
  • Architect: Yasuo Matsui, William F. Lamb, Gregory Johnson, Arthur Loomis Harmon
  • Architectural style: Art Deco
  • Height: 1,250′, 1,454′ to tip
  • Building Type: Skyscraper
  • Function: Office, High-rise building
  • Number of visitors per year: Over 4 million visitors

Where is the Empire State Building Located?

The Empire State Building is nested in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on Fifth Avenue at 34th Street.

Address: Empire State Building, 20 W 34th St., New York, NY 10001 | Find on maps

Empire State Building Opening Hours

About Empire State Building New York City - opening hours

The Empire State Building in New York City is open daily from 10 AM to 9 PM.

Best time to visit: The peak visiting hours can vary as per the season. The Empire State Building is very busy during the first two hours of the operating day and the hour right after sunset.

Note: The attraction is usually open 365 days a year, including all holidays. It is recommended to see the updated hours for any information regarding the last elevators up to the observatories every night.

Why Visit the Empire State Building in New York?

About Empire State Building New York City - why visit
  • Visit the Empire State Building and understand why it is celebrated as a historical and cultural icon in the world.
  • Learn all about the building’s history and check out the exhibits to know how much the city has changed since its existence.
  • Explore the different shops and eateries on the ground floor and visit the observation decks on the 80th, 86th, and 102nd floors to enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the city.
  • The Art Deco design of the building has inspired a lot of visitors around the world. Visit and check out how the 200-foot crowning spire manages to capture the city’s gaze and is illuminated by tower lights dazzling with a combination of colors.
  • Ascend to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building and enjoy panoramic views across 6 states from the highest 360-degree viewpoint in New York City. If you wish to go higher to the 102nd floor, opt for a combo ticket because, why not?

Why is the Empire State Building So Famous?

About Empire State Building New York City - Why is the Empire State Building So Famous?
  • The Empire State Building is the world’s first 100+ story building, with construction that took place in a year and 45 days.
  • The building is famous for being an architectural marvel, both inside and out.
  • The Empire State Building offers access to the legendary New York City landmark, allowing you to soar high and enjoy magnificent 360-degree open-air views of New York City and beyond.
  • The Grand Staircase with a two-story architectural model and newly renovated interactive galleries add to the journey from the building’s construction to its current place in pop culture.
  • It is the most Instagrammed landmark in the USA and the 86th-floor Observation Deck offers great views of the city that is glorious.
  • The site beholds the entire history within its walls, construction, opening day, Otis elevators, World’s most famous building, and celebrity exhibits. The 80th floor features a range of exciting art exhibits.

History of the Empire State Building

With the aim to be the world’s very first 100+ story building, the construction of the iconic Empire State Building began on March 17, 1930. The construction of the building was completed in 1 year and 45 days. On May 1, 1931, President Herbert Hoover inaugurated the Empire State Building by pressing a button from the White House that turned on the building’s lights.

The idea of the Empire State Building came into being as a competition between Walter Chrysler of the Chrysler Corporation and John Jakob Raskob of General Motors, who competed to see who would build the taller building. Chrysler has begun work on the famous Chrysler Building. Meanwhile, Raskob had assembled a group of investors, who had chosen the architecture firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon Associates to design the building.

The frame of the building grew four-and-a-half stories per week. During its completion, the Empire State Building began the world’s tallest skyscraper with 102 stories and 1,250 feet high.

In 1946, 15 years after its opening, the Empire State Building became the headquarters of a major organization with more than 15,000 employees. This made it the world’s most profitable building and the most recognizable and beloved piece of architecture.

Architecture of the Empire State Building

With a soaring height and great design, the Empire State Building defines the New York City skyline. It has the world’s most beautiful Art Deco design that has inspired a lot of its visitors around the world and is a living piece of New York’s history and a symbol of the city’s culture.

During sunset, the 200-foot crowning spire illuminates with tower lights that dazzle with numerous combos of colors. A lot of the building’s key design elements, right from its lighting to glasswork to the marble interiors had weathered. Many of these defining pieces were in danger of being missing.

Currently, more than 12,000 feet of historic glassware is recreated with great attention to detail by historians and artisans. The damaged marble is removed and replaced with new stone. Standing at 102 stories height, the Empire State Building was the tallest for nearly 40 years after its completion. Today, it continues to be the world’s great tower and an architectural wonder.

Efforts are in place for a more sustainable Empire State Building with new energy-efficient technology put in place with zero compromises in its beauty and design ensuring the structure continues to be a global icon for generations.

Who Built the Empire State Building?

The duo who was behind the construction of the Empire State Building was John J. Raskob and Al Smith. The general contractor involved was Starrett Brother & Eken, the recognized leader in the construction of the skyscraper.

Things To Do Inside the Empire State Building in New York

About Empire State Building New York City - Main Deck 86th Floor Observatory

Main Deck 86th Floor Observatory

The 86th floor of the Empire State Building is all about the view, with both indoor and outdoor viewing experiences. This is the highest floor within the actual tower, and all the height above this is the spire. You can make the most of the 360-degree views and see all of New York City, including Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and so much more. From the 86th floor, you can ride up the 102nd-floor observation deck.

About Empire State Building New York City - Top Deck 102nd Floor Observatory

Top Deck 102nd Floor Observatory

Situated on the highest floor of the Empire State Building and completely refurbished in 2019, the 102nd floor features floor-to-ceiling glass windows and offers a spectacular view over the city stretching up to 80 miles on a clear day. Get set to take your New York City experience a notch higher.

About Empire State Building New York City - Exhibits on the 2nd & 80th Floors

Exhibits on the 2nd & 80th Floors

The Empire State Building has a wide range of exhibits where you can explore and learn about all things related to the building and its history. These exhibits give information regarding the iconic skyscrapers’ construction, architecture, history, and appearances in popular culture.

About Empire State Building New York City - Restaurants

Restaurants

There are a lot of options for dining at the Empire State Building, consisting of both table service options and casual self-service dining options. These restaurants are located on the ground floor and can be visited without a ticket. For a sit-down option, there is STATE Grill & Bar, offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner options and there is Tacombi, which offers great Mexican food. If you would prefer casual dining options, there is a Juice Press, Starbucks, and a couple more to explore.

About Empire State Building New York City - gift shop

Gift Shop

The Empire State Building has a souvenir shop on the 80th floor as well as on the 2nd floor just after you exit the elevators and before leaving the building. The shops offer a range of beautiful Empire State Building memorabilia and more.

Empire State Building Entrances

Those who are visiting the observatory can enter through the building’s visitors’ center at 20 W. 34th St.

Tenants and their visitors can enter through the other entrance on Fifth Avenue and 34th and 33rd Streets.

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Frequently Asked Questions About the Empire State Building, New York City

Q. What is the Empire State Building?

A. Designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, the Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

Q. Where is the Empire State Building?

A. The Empire State Building is situated on the west side of 5th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, right in between 33rd Street to the south and 34th Street to the north.

Q. What is the Empire State Building famous for?

A. The Empire State Building is a famous architectural marvel that is beloved across the world and is known for being the world’s first 100+ story skyscraper.

Q. Why should I visit the Empire State Building?

A. More than 4 million people visit the iconic Empire State Building because it is celebrated as an international symbol of determination, hope, and endless possibilities. It is an authentic New York City experience that one must have.

Q. How do I book tickets to visit the Empire State Building in New York City?

A. You can book your Empire State Building tickets online and enjoy great deals and discounts.

Q. How much does it cost to visit the Empire State Building?

A. The cost of visiting the Empire State Building depends on the experience you want, with ticket prices starting from $44.

Q. Who built the Empire State Building in New York City?

A. Architects Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates and builders Starrett Brothers, and Eken were responsible for constructing the Empire State Building.

Q. When did the Empire State Building open?

A. The Empire State Building in New York City officially opened on May 1, 1931.

Q. What’s inside the Empire State Building?

A. A lot of the floors present within the Empire State Building are used as offices. The second and 80th floor comprises exhibits, while the observatories are situated on the 86thh and 102nd floor. The lobby area is designed in Art Deco style and can be accessed by the public.

Q. How many floors does the Empire State Building have?

A. The Empire State Building consists of 102 floors, with 1860 steps from the street level all the way to the top.

Q. What are the Empire State Building’s opening hours?

A. The Empire State Building is open daily from 10 AM to 9 PM. 

Q. Why is the Empire State Building in New York City important?

A. The Empire State Building is an iconic symbol of New York City and is an embodiment of the country’s rise to global financial power in the 20th century.

Q. Is it worth visiting the Empire State Building in New York City?

A. Yes, the Empire State Building is one of the most iconic structures in the world and is a must-see when you visit New York City. It can be admired from the outside, but if you want the best experience, get inside and enjoy spectacular views from the upper levels.

Q. Does the Empire State Building have any restaurants?

A. Yes, the STATE Grill and Bar is one of the top dining restaurants in Midtown Manhattan and is located inside the Empire State Building.

Q. Is there a gift shop at the Empire State Building?

A. Yes, the 80th floor of the Empire State Building has a gift shop that offers a fantastic range of Empire State Building memorabilia.