New York is always an awesome experience, and the Empire State Building is one building you definitely don’t want to miss out on. To help make the most of your experience, we’ll give you plenty of reasons to visit this impressive skyscraper. For those unaware of its location, the Empire State Building is near Times Square, Central Park, Madison Square Garden or 5th Avenue. Train travelers can get off at 33 Street or even 42 Grand Central.
With navigation out of the way, here’s why you should put the Empire State Building on your bucket list.
1. It’s got a breathtaking observation platform
On the 86th floor, there’s an observation platform that’s the ‘tallest open-air’ observatory in New York City. It’s also been featured in several TV shows and movies. Go there to enjoy panoramic views of the city and beyond. Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, The Hudson River, Central Park, … everything is visible from the observation platform. Make your way 16 floors above and you’ll get even more splendid views. The 102nd floor allows you to see the whole city and when the skies are clear your eyesight can spot buildings and objects from 100 kilometers far.
2. It’s an Art Deco masterpiece
There’s a lot more to the Empire State Building than the magnificent view. What many tourists and admirers don’t know that it’s an Art Deco masterwork. There’s a 3-story art deco lobby inside the building (newly renovated) that aims to take visitors back to the 1930s. Plus, there are exhibits hosted by the building’s management that are a must-see. For example, the 80th floor Dear to Dream exhibit showcases the skyscraper’s construction while paying tribute to the laborers, builders, and architects who brought the building to life. Before making your way to the lift, make sure to view the exhibit on the retrofit and the sustainability that the skyscraper went after 2009 restating that the Empire State Building is an example to everyone when it comes to our impact on the environment as well as overall efficiency.
3. It hosts an annual contest on Valentine’s Day
You’re probably unaware that the Empire State Building’s management hosts a contest on the 14th of Feb where specific couples are selected to be married on Valentine’s Day. Up to 13th lucky couples are selected, and the event takes place on the 86th floor. From the 13th couples, one married duo gets a bumper prize of a free honeymoon. We’ve even seen the management provide a complementary gown for the brides you may get one too if you’re lucky. Married couples may also be granted free admission to celebrate their anniversary every year.
4. It plays the role of an urban campus
There’s also a museum on the second floor that takes tourists on a “behind-the-scenes” trip of the skyscraper from its humble beginnings as the initial site for the “Waldorf Astoria” when the 20th century was turning to the cutting-edge methods that have made it the masterpiece it is today. If you’re visiting with your children, you may also want to learn about its corporate role, as the building is home to companies like Shutterstock, LinkedIn and more. You can also go inside an elevator shaft (it’s a bit terrifying) to experience how Otis Elevators functioned when the building was first opened, and how they function in today’s day and age.
5. It has lighting shows
Since the 1970s, the Empire State Building’s lights have been an inspiration in New York City’s skyline, but the trademark lighting show was only advanced in the last decade. For example, the stakeholders debuted a new computer-based LED lighting system in 2020, which made it possible to showcase 16 million colors. Since then, lighting shows have become one of the main attractions in the buildings. Even popular celebrities come by, take an elevator from the lobby, and experience the spectacle. The Cheering For Me Now video featuring Manuel Miranda was also shot here and Marc Brickman, the light show choreographer, adjusted the lighting to the track. To get more information on the iconic Tower Lights, make sure to go on the 86h floor and see the exhibit dedicated to them.
6. It gives you the opportunity to pose with King Kong
This building has been a location for many pop-culture scenes and movies in its early days. Just two years after the Empire State Building opened to the public, King Kong came in theaters, with the ape holding the movie’s actress in his hands and climbing the skyscraper this took the building’s popularity to new heights. What’s intriguing is that there’s a statue of Kong inside the building, so you get an opportunity to get up-close with the larger-than-life beast. Made to re-imagine the feel of the 1930s office, go inside the creature’s grip, sit down on his hands, and star down on him as his lifelike, changing gaze peers in. For greater fun, you can also make your way to the “Celebrity” exhibit. This exhibit features more than 70 screens playing a “rotating loop” or short clips where the skyscraper has been featured.
7. It gives you a lot of flexibility
The Empire State Building opens from 8 AM to 2 AM every day, even on the days when it’s a holiday. The last elevator goes up by 1:15 AM. These opening times give you a lot of flexibility to visit it, and if you want to avoid the crowds, make sure to visit as late or as early as possible on a weekday. Whether you visit the building in the winter or summer, you’re definitely going to enjoy. Winters, however, attract cold and you might need to wear heavy clothing. Summers are pleasant but attract a lot of crowd. The choice is yours.
That’s it from our side. We’ve given you plenty of reasons to visit the Empire State Building in New York City. Whether you’re visiting New York as a solo backpacker, a married couple, with your grandparents, on the graduation ceremony of your loved one, or a student, don’t miss out on this building!