The view from the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock and the Freedom Tower is absolutely overwhelming. Don't ask me which one you should go visit. Or which one is best. The Empire State Building has the name, Top of the Rock maybe has the best view and the Freedom Tower ... well, it is the youngest but it already has so much history.
The view from the Empire State's 86th floor (the observationdeck) is breathtaking, It will surely keep you entertained for a while. Downside is that you cannot see Central Park from there and that is why most people prefer the Top of the Rock observationdeck. However, ESB's 102nd floor offers a glimpse of Central Park. You can decide on the spot to upgrade your ticket.
The Empire State Building is usually lit in its signature white. Since 1976 ESB's tower lights have maintained a tradition of changing color to recognize various occasions and organizations throughout the year. Its computer driven LED light system is capable of displaying 16 million (!) colors, which can change instantaneously. You can check the "Empire State Building tower lights"-calendar here.
When you buy your tickets online in advance, you'll need to fill in a date of your visit. But it really does not matter when you show up. You're free to visit the Empire State Building observationdeck whenever you want within a year after purchase. Keep in mind that touristy highlights can be very busy in July and August. I remember us standing in line for about 2.5 hours in the middle of the day. Every time time we thought we were there we ended up in a new row. The best time to visit the Empire State Building is early in the morning or after 9 PM. Or consider buying tickets for the fast lane. The observationdeck opens at 8 am, the last elevator goes up at 01.15 AM. During Christmas and Newyearseve the opening hours will be different.
Good to know....with a New York CityPASS you get to go up to the Observation Deck twice on the same day.
The Empire State Building is located at 350 5th avenue. Book in advance and get your online tickets here.