Having just moved to New York City about a year ago, I still consider myself a tourist. I mean, how could I not?! There are endless things to see and experience in NYC. This city continues to surprise me and keep me in awe and so I partnered with TripAdvisor (my g0-to place to get the scoop on the best things to do and best places to stay!) to experience the heart and soul of New York City, the Empire State Building.
I’ve been traveling so much lately that I thought it would be great to opt for the VIP Express Experience + dinner at the tower’s restaurant, STATE Grill and Bar with my husband Johnny. The whole experience was absolutely bliss. I didn’t even realize I could book attractions on TripAdvisor as I always thought it was strictly for hotels but I was wrong! Now it’s my one stop shop for all things travel.
Empire State Building Observatory Experience
I’ve witnessed many views in New York City but this one has officially made the top of my list. The 360 degree views are simply remarkable. You’ll see Central Park, the Chrysler Building, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and much more.
Once you walk into the tower, there are many lines and loops you need to get through before you can get to the three separate levels of views. All visitors are required to pass through security and wait in the long lines but if you buy the express pass, you will have access to the Express Lanes and there are friendly uniformed attendants all over the place that direct you to the front of the lines. Well worth it to be able to snag a great spot for the sunset!
There are three floors to take in the views: the 80th indoor floor, the Main Deck (open air) 86th Floor and the Top Deck 102nd Floor.
Although there are 3 floors, I highly recommend skipping the 80th and going straight to the 86th open air floor. This is where you’ll get the best photos since it’s open air and there are no finger print filled windows to get in your way!
We visited the observatory during the month of May when the days are just getting longer. Since the sun sets around 8pm during this season, we decided to arrive around 7 pm which gave us enough time to capture the daylight as well as the perfectly pastel colored skies just before the sun went down.
Pro tip: just as you start to see the pinks in the sky about 15 minutes before the sun sinks, snag a spot in front of this view below because I personally think it’s the most beautiful when the sun is going down. You’ll find that everyone is crowding where the actual sun is but the view isn’t as epic as this. The colors gently spill over the skyline, avoiding the harsh light and making it easier to photograph.