A Virtual Tour of the Empire State Building in NYC

Explore the rich history of one of the world's most iconic buildings

Empire State Building
Getty Images/Zsolt Hlinka/Moment

Let's take a virtual tour of the world famous Empire State Building in the heart of Manhattan!

This is a great e-learning activity for the whole family. Most young children have heard of the Empire State Building, and older family members will appreciate its history and architecture.

We know that heavy traffic, subways and taxi cabs are part of the New York experience, but we think we’ll skip all of that and go directly to the sightseeing!

Gather the gang, adjust the computer monitor and grab a few bagels—we’re off to NYC for a virtual field trip.

Empire State Building Quick Facts

  • Construction of the Empire State Building was completed in 1931.
  • The Empire State Building is 102 stories and stands 1,454 feet tall with its spire. It was the tallest skyscraper in the world for over 40 years.
  • It is now the 13th tallest in the world when measured by pinnacle height (which includes the spire), and the third tallest skyscraper in New York after the recently constructed One World Trade Center and 432 Park Avenue buildings.
  • The Empire State Building is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and attracts 3.5 million visitors each year.

The Empire State Building Online

A good place to begin our trip is the Official Site of the Empire State Building, which provides information about the skyscraper’s observatory as well as its shops and restaurants.

The website also offers interesting articles and video clips about events.  Visit its Historical Timeline for a historic overview of the property from 1799 to 2013. There is also a fun section that lists TV and movies that feature the iconic skyscraper.  

Empire State Building Photo Galleries

The sleek symmetry of the Empire State Building’s art deco design has attracted photographers since it was first constructed.

Visit the New York Architecture website to find images of the Empire State Building, including shots of its interior, close-ups of the exterior, paintings, and old postcards. 

Another excellent site is called Empire State Building Photos, which features pictures and links to photos from the building’s 86th floor, photos from the Empire State Building’s 102nd-floor observatory and spectacular night views. 

Virtual Tour of the Empire State Building

A Virtual Tour of the Empire State Building is available at nylocations.com, which features a panoramic view of Manhattan as seen from the top of this remarkable skyscraper. For the best view, click the full-screen button. The sun, low in the sky, makes the scene all the more dramatic.

More Information Online

Did you know that the Empire State Building lights up its tower to celebrate events, charities, countries and holidays around the world? Tower Lights is an online calendar of upcoming colors that will light the tower and what they mean.

Another fun site is Empire State Building Trivia, which offers cool facts about the stately skyscraper.

History of the Empire State Building provides more information about the structure’s fascinating past.

Finally, for anyone planning an actual visit, the Empire State Building’s Visitor’s Guide supplies travelers with links to important information regarding directions, purchasing tickets, and visitor tips.

Extras for Educators

The Empire State Building and Bank Street College teamed up to produce downloadable lesson plans about the Empire State Building. This material was created specifically for educators who are planning an actual field trip to the Empire State Building. There are lessons available for grades 3 to 5, grades 6 to 8, and grades 9 to 12. The curriculum was developed for three different subjects: 

  • Social Studies
  • Science and Technology
  • American History and Geography