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How to get tickets to the Empire State Building

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A tall building with a large spire at nighttime with its lights on. It is surrounded by other tall buildings that also have lights on. The sky is blue and purple.

The Empire State Building. | Max Touhey

Everything you need to know about visiting the iconic skyscraper

If you had to pick only one building to represent New York City—its entrepreneurial spirit, its glamor, and its desire to be the biggest and best at everything—the Empire State Building would be it.

Constructed in 13 months right after the start of the Great Depression, the Empire State Building became—for a short period, anyway—the tallest building in the world when it opened in 1931. In the 88 years since, it’s become one of the New York’s most recognizable icons (as well as both a city and national landmark), thanks to its place of prominence in the skyline and its exemplary Art Deco architecture.

The observation deck near the building’s pinnacle (there’s also a less regularly accessible one on the 102nd floor) has become one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions, welcoming more than three million visitors every year. Of course, the big problem with visiting the skyscraper’s observation deck is that you can’t, you know, see the building itself. (For that view, book a ticket to Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center.)

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