Santa’s helpers deliver special surprises to the Empire State Building

For anyone celebrating the holidays in New York City, add a stop at the Empire State Building to your seasonal to-do list because this top-rated tourist attraction is going big with festive celebrations. Activities include decorations, musical performances, and multiple visits from Santa.

empire state building christmas wreath
Photos courtesy of Empire State Building

By Jill Robbins

“We are delighted to set the stage for our guests to create unforgettable memories with festive holiday cheer at every corner of the Empire State Building Observatory,” said Jean-Yves Ghazi, president of the Empire State Building Observatory. “We have truly outdone ourselves this year with over-the-top decorations throughout our reimagined observatory experience and plenty of holiday surprises to land us on the nice list.”

Empire State Building holiday decorations, music, Santa Claus, and more

The iconic building is decked out head to toe in holiday finery. Ornaments, wreaths, and bows with silver and gold accents adorn the entire observatory experience with a large, bright menorah in front of the two-story building model. A snowy corner display of birch branches and gold lights on the 86th floor is the spot for guests to snap holiday photos. Heat lamps will be on hand to keep visitors comfortable while they enjoy the outdoor views throughout the winter season.

empire state building christmas decor

Are you feeling festive yet? There’s more!

The Fifth Avenue lobby is decorated with hanging lights, wreaths, and a Christmas tree. The windows feature the Empire State Building among holiday landscapes with gold, glitter, and candy themes. Now through Dec. 30, holiday music will be performed by professional pianists in the lobby Monday-Friday. Santa Claus will hear Christmas wishes and spread holiday cheer in his own decorated corner on the 80th floor from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Dec. 4. Tickets to see Santa can be purchased online and are $71 for children and $77 for adults.

empire state building christmas view
empire state building observatory at christmas

Check out the newly opened Starbucks Reserve

After visiting Santa, guests can enjoy coffee, cocktails, and a meal at the newly opened Starbucks Reserve at the base of the Empire State Building. This three-floor, 23,000-square-foot space is the only Starbucks Reserve offering full-service dining. Guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the lounges on the second and concourse levels or opt for grab-and-go. If you’re a merchandise fan, you’ll want to check out the exclusive Empire State Building x Starbucks merchandise on the main level.

The Empire State Building Observatory Experience recently underwent a $165 million, top-to-bottom reimagination that included a dedicated guest entrance, an immersive museum with digital and tactile exhibits, and a renovated 102nd-floor observatory. The world-famous tower lights will shine through the holiday season, with dedicated lights for Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.

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