When people come and visit the Big Apple, they are often overwhelmed by the number of attractions that there are to visit. It can be a challenge to decide what to see.
One of the can’t-miss stops is the Empire State Building. As one of New York City’s most recognizable landmarks, people come from all over the world to visit this towering skyscraper. Standing at over 100 stories tall and built in an Art Deco style, the Midtown Manhattan skyscraper has made its way onto postcards, T-shirts, souvenirs, and is one of the signature architectural feats in the United States. It was originally built in 1931 and stands at over 1,454 feet tall. Deriving its nickname from the “Empire State” of New York, countless attractions have also sprung up around the skyscraper.
When people come to visit the Empire State Building, what are a few of the other things to do near the Empire State Building?
1. Empire State Building
Of course, the first attraction to check out around the Empire State Building is this behemoth skyscraper itself. For those who might not know, the building is located on the west side of Fifth Avenue in between W 33rd and W 34th Streets. In the 1800s, the land was owned by the Astor Family and the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel went up on the site in the 1890s.
The hotel was eventually sold in the 1920s and eventually ended up in the hands of John Raskob and Al Smith, a former governor of New York. Originally, the Empire State Building was supposed to be a 50-story office building.
Eventually, the building ended up in the form it is seen today. At the time it was built, it was the world’s tallest building, towering over the Chrysler Building. Clearly, the skyscraper is the marquee attraction in this area of Manhattan and there are numerous popular restaurants nearby, including STATE Bar and Grill and Tacombi. What are some of the other popular sites and attractions that are nearby?
Getting in: Empire State Building tickets are an included attraction option on the New York City Explorer Pass.
2. Madison Square Garden All-Access Tour
Another of the main attractions in the immediate vicinity of the Empire State Building is Madison Square Garden. Without a doubt, the top way to see the Garden is an All-Access Tour. This famous arena is home to professional sports teams such as the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers. The arena also hosts numerous other high-profile sporting events and concerts throughout the year.
The Garden first opened in 1968 and welcomes millions of people through its doors every year. One of the biggest advantages of taking the All-Access tour is learning about the iconic moments in sports and entertainment that took place inside of the building. Visitors can view Elton John’s autographed set list, learn about the famous moments in Knicks’ history, and see the liturgy book from Pope Francis’s Papal Mass!
Getting in: Madison Square Garden All Access Tour tickets are an included attraction option on the New York City Explorer Pass.
3. Museum of Sex
The Museum of Sex is one of the other main attractions situated near the Empire State Building. Known for its unique exhibitions, popular events, and edgy content, this is a popular stop for everyone (who is age-appropriate). Visitors will be treated to one of the foremost attractions on human sexuality and will learn about how it has evolved over the past few decades. The museum also specializes in holiday events, birthday parties, and even bachelorette parties! Swing by and check out the current exhibits!
Getting in: Museum of Sex tickets are an included attraction option on the New York City Explorer Pass.
4. Food on Foot Tours
In order to truly complete a visit to New York City, visitors need to take in the cuisine that makes this place special. New York is one of the world’s melting pots and visitors are able to sample authentic food from all over the world. The Food on Foot Tours welcomes visitors behind the popular tourist attractions and into the largest buffet that the world has to offer. Along the tour, visitors will see where the residents live and eat. The tour travels both by subway and by food. They also offer special packages including sports packages, Feasts and Finds, and even a self-guided tour!
Getting in: Food on Foot Tour tickets are an included attraction option on the New York City Explorer Pass.
5. The Fashion Windows Walking Tour
For those who would like to plunge into the famed New York City Fashion Industry, this is the way to do it. Take a look at the most famous stores in the world and grab this opportunity to shop the latest and most famous fashions in the world. The Fashion Windows Walking Tour lasts around two hours and takes visitors on a journey throughout the fashion district of New York City. Take the opportunity to view a wide variety of unique store displays from the world’s most well-respected designers. The tours are led by an experienced tour guide who will teach everyone about the world’s most famous fashion icons.
Getting in: Fashion Windows Walking Tour tickets are an included attraction option on the New York City Explorer Pass.
6. Bank of America Winter Village Bryant Park Ice Rink
This ice rink is open seasonally and is the only free ice rink in New York City. This ice rink is made possible by the generosity of Bank of America. During the winter seasons, visitors able to take to the ice for free. Soak in one of the most popular and affordable entertainment options in New York City. A great place to hang out with friends, get some exercise, and enjoy the winter night, don’t pass up an opportunity to enjoy the Bank of America Winter Village Bryant Park Ice Rink!
Getting in: Bryant Park Ice Rink tickets are an included attraction option on the New York City Explorer Pass.
7. Herald Square
Herald Square is one of the most famous intersections in New York City and is not far from the Empire State Building. Herald Square is bordered by Broadway, Sixth Avenue, and 34th Street. The square was named after a newspaper called The Herald, which is no longer in operation. The flagship store in this area is Macy’s, one of the largest department stores in the world. Over the years, Herald Square has been renovated several times and is maintained by the 34th Street Partnership. Take some time to wander down to Herald Square and check out what the locale has to offer!
Getting in: Herald Square is free and open to the public.
Koreatown is just a block away from Madison Square Garden and is modeled after Seoul, South Korea. The businesses are stacked on top of each other, so people actually pass through the area quickly and might not even know it! This section of Manhattan welcomes all visitors and is known for its shopping and restaurants. One of the restaurants is even named “Miss Korea” for those who truly miss South Korea! When walking through Koreatown, be sure to swing by the restaurants and take a look at the fake food displayed. It gives a good idea of what awaits the diners inside.
Getting in: Koreatown is free and open to the public.
9. The Flatiron Building
The Flatiron Building is one of the most unique structures in New York City. The building is 22 stories tall and has a distinctive shape. An architectural marvel of the world, the building was finished in 1902 and is synonymous with New York City. The building is bordered by three streets (5th Avenue, Broadway, and East 22nd Street) which gives the building its shape. A short walk from the Empire State Building, everyone should check it out!
Getting in: Viewing the Flatiron Building is free and open to the public.
Conclusion: Tips for Visiting
Without a doubt, there is plenty to do in New York City and the Empire State Building is only one of the many skyscrapers vying for the attention of visitors and residents alike. Some of the tips for visiting this area include:
- Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes
- Plan the trip around the subway schedule
- Keep those eyes open for cyclists
- Make sure to stay to the right side of the sidewalk to allow people to pass
- Always allow extra time when moving between attractions
Don’t forget to check out the other attractions that reside new the Empire State Building. This is part of the New York City experience and you will be glad that you did!
Save on admission to things to do near the Empire State Building
If you’re exploring the Empire State Building area, you’re bound to visit a few attractions and do a little NYC sightseeing – make the most of your time and save on admission to popular attractions, tours, museums, cruises, and more with The New York City Explorer Pass.
Many of the great activities and attractions mentioned in this post are available on our New York attractions passes, where you can save up to 50% on combined admission vs. paying at the gate.