Empire State Building Lights and Colors Show

Since 1976, the Empire State Building has been lighting up a corner of Manhattan that leaves its viewers awestruck.

The building lights up in different colors for tributes and special occasions. 

This symbolization of important events has put the site on top of the popularity charts.

The very first lights seen on the Empire State Building were to commemorate the United States Bicentennial in red, white and blue.

Ever since, the lights on the Empire State Building have made their statement in vibrant colors.

What are the Empire State Building Lights?

The vibrant LED lights are a huge source of attraction for the Empire State Building.

The light disks used to be manually put up for each change in color through a costly process carried out by electricians. But a modernized touch was made to this procedure recently.

Color Kinetics, the LED lighting contractor, installed a dynamic and energy-efficient lighting system.

The newly installed lighting system allows people working behind the scenes to display elaborate and interactive lighting.

The lighting system isn’t harsh on the environment and saves 73% more energy than the lights installed previously.

These low-maintenance lights have equipped the building to exhibit more than 16 million colors since 2012.

What do the colors mean?

Image: NyPosts.com

The lights you see in pictures are nothing compared to their reality.

The top 30 floors of the building light up in different colors, which stand for different things. 

The usual color in which the building light up when no special date is celebrated is a standard white.

If you wish to change the color of the building, your request needs to be approved by them.

Even though the color changes started simple with the Bicentennial colors, they have diversified significantly over the years.

For example, the diversification started when the Empire State Building lights showed Christmas in red and green.

After the 1980s, the Empire State Building lights colors changed on a regular basis and have contributed to New York City’s world-famous skyline.

Some memorable color changes honor the Grateful Dead exhibit at the New York Historical Society in a rainbow, breast cancer awareness in pink and white and the fourth of July in red, white and blue.

It is a notable moment when the Empire State Building tower lights go on. But did you know that when the lights go out its a tribute as well?

On Earth day, the building turns off its lights for an hour to spread awareness about the planet’s climate change and other issues.

During the season of migration of birds, the lights are not turned off but dimmed to not act as a distraction for the birds.

You can find the Empire State Building lights schedule here.

ESB Day and Night Tickets FAQs

Is it worth going to Empire State Building at night?


The Empire State Building at night is a completely different experience that you won’t forget.

With the Empire State Building night tickets, you get to explore the building in a more intimate way, with the skyline shimmering at its best.

Visiting the Empire State Building at night is also perfect for a romantic evening or even for a proposal venue!

Is it better to see Empire State Building at night or day?

The night and day Empire State Building experiences have their own charm, but depending on your liking, you can choose either.

Empire State Building is very crowded during the day but provides excellent views during this time.

On the other hand, the Empire State Building is not overcrowded at night, gives a more intimate experience and is perfect for a romantic visit.

Insider tip: The day and night Empire State Building tickets allow you to visit both so you don’t have to choose!

How much does it cost to view the Empire State Building?

Viewing the Empire State Building from the outside is completely free since it is a world-famous part of the New York City skyline!

However, we highly recommend entering the Empire State Building to catch the incredible view from the 86th or 102nd observation decks or both.

A regular Empire State Building admission ticket costs $48 which includes the 86th floor, 80th-floor exhibits, Grand Staircase and the Art deco lobby.

Is it worth buying Empire State Building tickets in advance?

Yes, you must buy Empire State Building tickets in advance, preferably online.

This is because the Empire State Building is a world-famous attraction with millions of visitors each year, causing it to be crowded at times.

Buying Empire State Building tickets in advance ensures entry and saves you from last-minute disappointment of tickets running out once you reach the venue.

Which is better at night Empire State Building or Top of the Rock?

Both the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock offer spectacular views of New York City at night.

The Empire State Building offers a classic New York City experience and has been an iconic landmark for nearly a century. 

From the observation deck on the 86th floor, you can see the city skyline in all directions, including views from the Chrysler Building to the Statue of Liberty.

Top of the Rock, located at Rockefeller Center, is a newer attraction that offers sweeping views of Central Park and the Empire State Building. 

The Top of the Rock observation deck is located on the 70th floor and offers both indoor and outdoor viewing areas.

Featured Image: ESBNYC.com

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