Why the Empire State Building is SO overrated!

I love to travel, and New York City is always perfect for a mini-break. The Big Apple truly has it all. Between the museums, history, food, and shopping, you'll never get bored there.

I recently brought my boys to Manhattan - they'd never been before. Each boy had a list of "must see" places for their first trip. I did my best to make sure we hit them all, in order to ensure a memorable vacation. 

Want to know one place you can skip when you travel NYC? The Empire State Building. It was on one of my boys' lists, so of course I took them. They requested an evening trip, to be able to look over the city all lit up for the night. I hadn't been up to the top since I was a kid, and it sounded like a great idea. 

Check out Queens instead!

It seemed we had hit on the perfect time (approximately 8 pm) to visit the historical building. The crowds weren't nearly as bad as they are in the daytime. As we approached the ticket counter, I was presented with two options: tickets to the 86th floor (where you can check out the city from both inside and on the outside deck), or to the 102nd floor observatory, which is completely enclosed, but also allows you to visit the 86th floor as well. My initial thought was to just go for it and get the latter set of tickets - until I heard the prices!

View from the top, part 1

102nd floor, tickets for 3 - $180.0086th floor, tickets for 3 - $106.00

Even my children seemed stunned by the prices, and were agreeable to less expensive option.

Despite the smaller crowd of people, we still had to wait a good bit of time to get on the elevator to the 80th floor - about 30 minutes or so. Once there, we were presented with two options to get to the 86th floor observatory. Wait for another 45 minutes in line for an elevator, or take 6 flights of stairs. Off to the stairs we went.

View from the top, part 2

Once up on the 86th floor, the kids trooped outside and we waited (again) to try to get close to the wall where we could see out over the city. Was it beautiful? Yes. Can you really see a 360 degree view of NYC? Pretty much. But, after waiting all that time, once you get your turn, if you have any sort of manners, you should be prepared to look, snap a few pics, and move out of the way to give the throngs of others a chance to see the sights.

Still think I'm wrong? Dayvee ate killer food and danced the night away in Harlem with Neil Patrick Harris for free!

Had the tickets been a total of $50 or less, I'd say it might be worth it. Maybe. (So long as you're not afraid of heights) As you make your way back to the elevators to descend, you must first navigate a gift shop that does have some very lovely (albeit very overpriced) souvenirs.

We had a great (free!) view of the Empire State Building from our hotel rooftop restaurant. 

The bottom line? $106 and about 2 and a half hours later, we had a handful of pictures...and that was pretty much it. Save your money, check out the building from another vantage point, and cross it off your list.

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