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Anyone done Empire State Building recently?

Last time I tried to do ESP it was in 2004 and the line was so long we didn't bother. Going to NYC soon with the kids and they want to do it. From what I'm reading it sounds like if we get there right when it opens that is the best chance of having a short line. Can anyone weigh in on that?

Posted by
4941 posts

No, but I'll give you two alternatives. The new One World Center Building (tallest in the US) in the area of the 9/11 memorial, in case you're going to be around there anyway. Second is the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center which we actually liked better than the OWC views and it was in a convenient location for other sights. We were there midweek, midday, and no big lines at either place.

Posted by
30 posts

Hi.
We did NYC with our 3 teenagers in March during spring break and enjoyed it so much!
We did Empire State building and the One World observatory. There was a line at Empire State building but it moved fast. I think you can pay extra and get skip the line pass? We didn't do that but thought line was ok. We went at night time.
Once you get off the first elevator, you can stand in another elevator line or you can walk up I think like 7-9 flights of stairs to reach the observatory deck. We walked up bc we thought it'd be a cool experience! The walk line is alot shorter so that's an option for you!
Have fun! We had a blast!

Posted by
859 posts

Thanks @Grace!

I did see the advance purchase tickets online but they make an already dramatically expensive purchase become monstrously expensive.

I had suggested the other two observatories to the kids but they gave me puppy eyes about the Empire. Ha!

Posted by
30 posts

Kelly,
Do the Empire State Building! Esp if your kids gave you the puppy eyes!
I don't know the age of your kids but if I can highly recommend one thing, it would be to visit the 9/11 memorial/museum. It was such an impactful and emotional experience for our family and I regret not having enough time there. I would go back again at my next visit.

Posted by
3133 posts

If you and your kids actually want to SEE the Empire State Building, go to the Top of the Rock at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Get your tickets in advance and pick the earliest time slot of the day for the shortest lines.

Posted by
859 posts

So just returning here to say that we got to the Empire State Building at 8:30am on a Wednesday. The lines were nonexistent and we had a great time! We really enjoyed our experience - it looked totally different than the lobby area we tried to wait in back in 2004. They've added a little museum with King Kong exhibit, etc. which helps to disperse the crowds. By the time we left at 9:30, though, the line was definitely backing up so to avoid lines, go early! But anyway, I expected to feel ripped off with the $140 price tag for 4 people, but it was actually a great experience and I didn't feel like it was a waste of money. (For comparison's sake, we spent $40 for 4 people to go to the top of the Memphis, TN Pyramid and felt totally, utterly ripped off.)

Posted by
4120 posts

We were in NYC in 2017 and while at the 911 memorial we did the Freedom Tower. Didn't want to pay the ridiculous charge for also doing the Empire State Building.