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Plan Your Afternoon Trip to the Empire State Building

New York City’s Empire State Building is as beautiful as it is large. The 1,454-foot, 103-floor structure is rich in history and known as one of the most romantic buildings in the world. People from dozens of countries flock to the attraction each year to see unobstructed views of the city.

The Best Time to Visit

The Empire State Building is open from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. with the last elevator going to the top at 1:15 a.m. Tours are available 365 days per year, rain or shine. Those who plan to visit in the afternoon will find the observatories the least busy around 3:00 p.m. while many people are still having lunch or sightseeing in other parts of the city. This is a good time for large groups or families with children to tour the building and view the observation decks. If you are a couple, you may prefer to wait until the evening. Views of the city lights are quite romantic. If you visit Thursday through Saturday, a lone saxophonist adds a musical element to the romance. He even takes requests.

What to See

While the observation decks are exquisite in and of themselves, there is much more to the Empire State Building, so be sure to carve out time for the entire experience. After you purchase or pick up your tickets in the visitor’s center, you will proceed to several exhibits.

Sustainability Exhibit: This exhibit shows visitors how the building uses technology to save 38 percent more energy and about $4.4 million annually.
Dare to Dream Exhibit: History buffs often enjoy Dare to Dream. Learn about the 3,400 workers who created the structure by viewing photographs, mementos and other documents.
Shops and Restaurants: The lower floor is home to many cafes, breweries and shops, including STATE Grill and Bar, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as stocks a full bar.
Observation Decks: Each deck includes powerful binoculars for the best views of the city. Begin at the 86th Floor Observatory before making your way to the 102nd floor.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Empire State Building is fully ADA-compliant. Manual and motorized wheelchairs and service dogs are always welcome. The 86th floor provides lower observation walls to make it easier for those in wheelchairs to take in the entire experience. No glass, cans, professional camera setups, skateboards or large bags are allowed, and no storage lockers are available, so plan accordingly.

You simply cannot visit New York without seeing the breathtaking views provided by the Empire State Building. Be sure to avoid the long wait by purchasing express tickets.

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Categories: Articles, New York City

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