Empire State Building Observation Decks

The views from the Empire State Building observation decks are among the best in the world.

No wonder, more than 4 million people get into high-speed elevators to visit these observation decks yearly.

The iconic decks of the building span the entire New York City and several other states in a 360-degree view.

The Empire State Building has both an outdoor and an indoor deck, so you can choose the weather-appropriate one when you visit.

The two observatories – on the 86th and 102nd floors – are located 284 steps apart. 

Main Deck Observatory

Image: NiT.pt

Your experience will actually begin after your minute-long ride on the Otis elevators to the Main Deck.

The Main Deck Observatory is located on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building at the height of 320 meters (1050 feet).

You must have seen this observation deck in multiple famous movies and television shows.

Views of Queens and Brooklyn are guaranteed, and on a very clear day, the view spans five states: New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

This open-air experience is winter-friendly, with heaters ready to keep you warm.

You need tickets to visit the observatory on the 86th floor.

If you only want to explore the 86th floor observatory, you must purchase the Standard Empire State Building ticket.

Since this is the cheapest way to enter the ESB’s Observation Deck, it is also the most popular ticket.

Top Deck Observatory

Empire Building Observation Deck
Image: ESBNYC.com

After the 86th floor observation deck leaves you mesmerized, there is no chance you can miss what lies 16 floors above.

You will reach the gorgeous observatory through a unique glass elevator.

Soaring to the height of 381 meters (1250 feet) in the sky, the floor-to-ceiling glass windows transport you to the best view in America.

The 102nd-floor observatory is the highest visitors can go in the Empire State Building. 

The Observation Deck provides an extraordinary view of various American states and New York’s famous landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Central Park.

The 80 miles (129 kms) of brilliant views before you will be nothing short of captivating.

The glass is covered to protect you from sun damage and makes the deck weather-friendly. You can visit all year anytime.

Since you’re going all the way to the 86th floor, a few more floors won’t hurt at a small price!

Main Deck vs Top Deck: Which One to Visit?

Empire State Building Main Deck vs Top Deck
Image: TheBetterVacation.com

The Empire State Building observation decks have some of the most spectacular views in all of New York. 

The main deck, situated on the 86th floor, offers a 360-degree view in an open-air observatory.

If you are a movie buff, the 86th floor is for you. There are a lot of movies with impactful scenes that have been shot at this observation deck.

However, the top deck observatory is a step up, quite literally. 

The floor-to-wall windows of the top deck are what separate it from the view of the main deck. 

The height difference of 200 feet (61 meters) makes the experience from the 102nd floor unique. 

Its glass windows make it weather-friendly and the observation deck is heated or air-conditioned appropriately. 

Most tickets only provide a pass to the main deck observatory, but with a small upgrade or the combination 86 and 102 floor ticket, you can get the best of both worlds.

The other Empire State Building ticket options are Express Pass, Day & Night ticket, Sunrise Experience and the Guided Tour of Empire State Building.

Featured Image: ESBNYC.com

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