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HomeThe GrandkidsEmpire State Building Observatory Experience reopens

Empire State Building Observatory Experience reopens

The Empire State Building (ESB), the World’s Most Famous Building, announced today that it has lifted COVID-19 protocols for guests of its Observatory Experience, in alignment with new state and city guidelines. Masks are optional for visitors, and the many interactive exhibits and elements – including the iconic 86th Floor Observatory viewfinders – have fully reopened

“The Empire State Building is ready to welcome guests to explore our newly reimagined Observatory Experience in its entirety,” said Jean-Yves Ghazi, president of the Empire State Building Observatory. “Our touch installations, just completed in November 2019, are now in full operation for the first time since our shutdown in March 2020. To appreciate fully the International Icon of New York City, you must come inside and visit the Observatory, and we can’t wait to welcome you.” 

In November 2019, ESB completed its $165 million overhaul that added a dedicated entrance and lobby for Observatory visitors on 34th Street; one dozen immersive, tactile, and digital museum-quality exhibits that document the building’s history from its construction to its current status as pop culture icon; and industry-leading Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) improvements that include bipolar ionization, MERV 13 filters and increased ventilation that led to ESB’s achievement as the first building in the U.S. to receive the WELL Health-Safety Rating

Popular exhibits throughout the experience include “Kong,” which brings visitors face to face with the famous primate featured in the original 1933 film; “Construction,” in which guests are placed in the middle of life-like bronze sculptures and videos of iron workers and masons as they build the iconic tower; “The Site in the 1920’s,” which allows guests to look through building surveyors to see New York City streets in the late 1920’s; “Scenes of NYC,” where visitors can see nine famed New York locations through the building’s classic viewfinders from the 80th floor; and “World’s Most Famous Building,” which depicts the Empire State Building as a cultural icon in a sweeping 72-screen, 180-degree surround sound theater. Even the world-famous viewfinders on the outdoor observation deck on the 86th floor have been uncovered for use, as recently announced on the building’s TikTok.  

To maximize the experience, the number of visitors to the Observatory at any one time are limited. Reservations are recommended for visitors and can be made in advance online. For more information about the Empire State Building Observatory Experience and its new offerings, please visit

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