The Empire State Building requires very little introduction. It was built in 1931, and while it’s no longer the tallest in New York – a title which it held for over 40 years – it is still one of the most iconic buildings, recognized around the world as being a big part of the city. The views from the top are incredible, with the sea of buildings below, you can see in all directions. It’s the only way to truly grasp how big New York really is.
It was the tallest building in the world before the World Trade Towers were built in Lower Manhattan in 1972 and it is still the 4th tallest building in New York, even after nearly 80 years of existence. We visited the viewing platform at the top during our most recent trip to New York, and it ended up being one of the most exciting things we did. While not cheap, it costs $36 to go up, it’s worth it; first take the express elevator up to the 79th floor, and a second to the 86th where the first viewing platform is located. It’s a truly unforgettable experience and it is still one of the most recognizable buildings in the city.
Unfortunately, the viewing platform on the 104th floor was closed for renovations until July, so the 86th floor ended up being as high as we could get. We still had some amazing views, with a 360 degree view of New York stretching off in all directions; east towards Brooklyn and Queens, south towards Lower Manhattan and the World Trade, west towards New Jersey and the Hudson River and north towards Midtown and Central Park.
There are very few cities in the world with a skyline like New York City. The best way to experience the city is from above, visiting either the Empire State, Rockefeller Center or One World Trade. It is an essential for a first visit to New York; just being above the city puts everything into perspective, and you can see the whole city from one place.