Take a Look at What's Inside the Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is touted as the world's most famous skyscraper and indeed, the building’s silhouette is one of the most recognizable structures in the world. It has fascinated visitors since the beginning and is a top attraction on most people’s travel lists.

This article will give you a sneak peek into what’s inside the Empire State Building, its most remarkable features, and inform you of what to expect on your visit to New York City’s most spectacular landmark.

About the Empire State Building

empire state building inside

Highlights Inside the Empire State Building

empire state building inside

Art Deco-Styled Lobby

empire state building inside

86th Floor Observatory

empire state building inside

102nd Floor Observation Deck

empire state building inside

103rd Floor - Restricted Access

empire state building inside

Exhibits

empire state building inside

Restaurants

empire state building inside

Gift Shop

What’s Inside the Empire State Building?

The grandeur of the building’s exterior is only matched by the outstanding design aesthetics of its interiors. Check out some of the building’s highlights below.

empire state building inside

Main Deck 86th Floor Observatory

The 86th-floor observatory is what draws people to the Empire State Building the most. It is extremely spacious and offers panoramic views that stretch 80 miles in every direction. During your visit, you will be greeted by New York City’s most distinguished landmarks including the Rockefeller Center, the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, Central Park, the Chrysler Building, and many others. On a clear day, you can even discover states like New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Delaware on the horizon. 

empire state building inside

Top Deck 102nd Floor Observatory

As the highest point of the building, the observation deck on the 102nd floor is an absolute must-see! Prepare to get swept away by stunning views as the observatory hovers 1250 feet above the Manhattan streets. You will be making your way 16 floors higher in a state-of-the-art glass elevator, which is an enticing experience in itself. Although the observatory is completely enclosed, its exclusive appeal is a huge crowd-puller. During the renovations of 2019, the entire space was fitted with floor-to-ceiling windows that enable visitors to better admire the city’s most-coveted views. However, the viewing experience comes at a steep price as you will have to purchase a brand-new ticket to gain access.

empire state building inside

Exhibits on the 2nd & 80th Floors

Visiting the Empire State Building is an out-and-out immersive experience as it brilliantly weaves an element of storytelling throughout the experience. The second floor’s sprawling 10,000-square-foot area pays homage to the building’s captivating history. Visitors will be introduced to the story of its construction which began in 1930, its opening in 1931, and its journey over the ensuing decades, through a series of exciting exhibitions. The building’s most memorable pop culture moments from films like King Kong and Elf are also honored spectacularly! Don’t forget to check out the other exhibitions like Above and Beyond, Stephen Wiltshire’s Drawing, and Artistry in Light, that are held on the 80th floor.

empire state building inside

Restaurants

The Empire State Building houses an assortment of restaurants that are fully prepared to satisfy all types of food cravings. The State Grill & Bar has a beautiful setting where you can enjoy New York staples like mac and cheese, caesar salad, the truffle chicken burger, and steak fries over lunch, dinner, and breakfast. If you crave an explosion of flavors, make your way to Tacombi, which is reputed for serving the city’s most mouth-watering tacos and other authentic Mexican delicacies. Moreover, fast-food joints such as Chipotle, Chop’t, and Sushi-teria are always ready on the ground floor to serve you a quick bite before you head upstairs. If you are looking to quench your thirst with the most delicious smoothies, then head over to Juice Press. What’s more? You can even place your Starbucks order inside the building!

empire state building inside

Gift Shop

Located on the 2nd floor, the gift shop at the Empire State Building is a swanky place that houses a wide collection of impressive memorabilia. Among the items found here are t-shirts, holiday ornaments, and decorative souvenirs that celebrate the distinct design of the Empire State Building. Also included in the collection are some appealing King Kong merchandise, which are a huge hit among young fans. You can even purchase amazing gifts for your loved ones back home at the gift shop. 

Can I Go Inside the Empire State Building?

empire state building inside

Plan your visit to one of the most tourist-heavy attractions in New York City! You can explore the various exhibits, observation decks, restaurants, and gift shops inside the Empire State Building. Book your tickets online and well in advance to secure a spot at one of the most iconic landmarks and proud symbols of America. 

Visitor Tips

  • Although tickets to the Empire State Building have no fixed time limit, people usually spend about 1 to 2 hours at the location. 
  • Do not arrive with heavy luggage as the building does not have any lockers for storage purposes. 
  • If possible, plan your visit during the weekdays as the Empire State Building becomes a tourist magnet over the weekends. If you want to beat the crowds, the best time is in the morning at 10 AM or in the afternoon at around 3 PM. 
  • You can enter the building and admire the Art Deco-styled lobby free of cost without purchasing a ticket to the observation deck.  
  • Carry a city map along with you to help you identify all the landmarks from the observation deck.
  • No matter the outside weather, make sure to bring along a jacket or a long coat as it can get surprisingly cold and windy at the top.  
  • There are no restrooms beyond the 2nd floor, so use the services before heading to the top. 

Book Your Empire State Building Tickets

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Frequently Asked Questions About What’s Inside the Empire State Building

Q. What is inside the Empire State Building?

A. Inside the Empire State Building are observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors. Additionally, it also houses many exhibits on the 2nd and 80th floors of the building.

Q. Can I take a tour inside the Empire State Building?

A. You can spend as much time as you like exploring all the amazing features inside the Empire State Building at your leisure. 

Q. How big is the Empire State Building?

A. The topmost floor of the Empire State Building measures a height of 1,250 feet or 380 meters. The spire and antenna take the overall height of the building to a whopping 1,454 feet or 443 meters.

Q. What are some must-see highlights inside the Empire State Building?

A. The observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors are must-see highlights inside the Empire State Building.

Q. Can I go inside the Empire State Building?

A. Yes, you are allowed to go inside the Empire State Building, however, you have to book tickets to visit the exhibits and observation decks. 

Q. Do I need a ticket to go inside the Empire State Building?

A. Yes, you must purchase a ticket to visit the observation decks located on the 86th and 102nd floors of the Empire State Building.

Q. Can I take pictures inside the Empire State Building?

A. You are free to take pictures for personal use inside the Empire State Building. However, the use of professional photography equipment is prohibited inside the building premises.   

Q. Is it free to go inside the Empire State Building?

A. You can enter the building’s lobby and admire its Art Deco aesthetics completely for free. However, you will need a ticket to visit the building’s observation decks and exhibits.

Q. Is going inside the Empire State Building worth it?

A. Yes, the experience is worth it because you will be rewarded with mind-blowing panoramic views of the New York City skyline that are hard to find elsewhere in the city. 

Q. What are the opening hours to go inside the Empire State Building?

A. Visitors are allowed inside the Empire State Building from 10 AM to 9 PM.

Q. What can I see inside the Empire State Building?

A. You will find numerous exhibits, as well as New York City’s most popular observation decks inside the Empire State Building.

Q. Do people live inside the Empire State Building?

A. The Empire State Building is not a residential building. It is a commercial building and contains thousands of square feet of office space.

Q. Is the Empire State Building wheelchair accessible?

A. The Empire State Building is fully equipped for wheelchair-bound visitors. 

Q. How long are the waiting lines at the Empire State Building?

A. The queues to go inside the Empire State Building can take up to 1 hour during peak visiting hours. Visit the Empire State Building on a weekday to avoid crowds.

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