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Empire State Building and 30 Rock Tower
Going to the top of either of these buildings is a memorable experience for the family taking a New York City vacation. You will get great views of the city and have a fun time. Of course, these skyscrapers are very high and will be scary for those afraid of heights, so take this into consideration when deciding on who, if not everyone, goes to the top. There are outdoor and indoor areas at both locations. Some children (and parents) may find that staying indoor is less scary. Vacations are supposed to be fun!
It's good to visit on a clear day so you can fully enjoy the views. Night time can be exciting as well to see the city lit up from above.
Empire State Building
Taking your family to the top of the Empire State Building can be an exciting vacation experience. This is one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world. There are two observation decks:
86th Floor Observatory - At the 86th floor of the building you are 1050 feet above ground. There is an indoor viewing area and a 360 degree outdoor deck. You can purchase tickets ahead of time for this level.
102nd Floor Observatory - This is actually the highest point that tourists can go to in New York City. It's 1250 feet above ground! This observation deck is only indoors, but offers beautiful 360 degree views (assuming you're not above the clouds). Tickets are not available ahead of time for the 102nd floor.
If you don't want your family waiting in a long line, you can purchase an express pass that will get you to the front of the line.
There also is an audio tour available.
The building is located on 5th Avenue between 33rd and 34th streets.
30 Rock Tower (Top of the Rock)
Located at Rockefeller Center (50th street between 4th and 5th Avenues), the observation deck at the top of the 30 Rock Tower is called Top of the Rock. While not as high as the Empire State Building, the top deck is at the 70th floor, 850 feel above ground. This is still plenty high to get wonderful views of New York. You'll also get a great view of the Empire State Building.
The Top of the Rock occupies several floors and including the very top (or roof) of the 30 Rock Tower. You can stand near the center of the top deck and get a 360 degree outdoor view. It's very beautiful.
For the family, it's good to know there are indoor and outdoor observation areas and chairs to sit down on and take a break. There are restrooms at the decks as well.
If you are walking or want to visit Rockefeller Center anyway, Top of the Rock may be more convenient for your family and the lines may be shorter.
Other Places for families to visit in New York City:
Statue of Liberty
New York City Museums
Fun family sites in New York City
Other vacation ideas:
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