Family Vacations: Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is one of the world's leading attractions.

Completed in 1931 and soaring approximately a quarter of a mile into the sky, the Empire State Building, with its famous Art Deco spire, is one of the most recognized of all American landmarks. Erected as an office building, it remained the tallest building in the world for almost 40 years.

More than 3.5 million visitors from all 50 states and almost every country in the world visit each year. Millions of people including heads of state, film stars, and a steady stream of tourists have enjoyed its breathtaking views, where on a clear day visitors can see up to 80 miles. The Empire State Building has been immortalized in nearly 100 movies, including King Kong, Sleepless in Seattle, and Superman.


The building has two observation decks: an 86th floor observatory that offers an open-air view of the city; and an enclosed deck at the 102nd floor. Both offer high-powered binoculars on their promenades. The New York Skyride, a virtual-tour ride, is located on the second floor. Be sure to look up at it at night, when its spire is bathed in colorful lights that change according to the season.

Empire State Building Information

Address: 350 Fifth Ave., New York, NY

Telephone: 212/736-3100

Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 a.m., daily

Admission: $18 adults; $12 kids

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • New York City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit the Capital of the World.
  • New York State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in New York, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.


Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.