All photos in slideshow and header image courtesy Empire State Building

The newly redesigned 80th floor of the Empire State Building officially opens today. It’s the last phase of a four-year, $165 million renovation, which has included the completely rebuilt 102nd floor observatory, a new lobby and a 10,000 square foot museum. The 80th floor is the new “landing spot” for visitors going up to the observatories on the 86th and 102nd floors, and now has six new exhibitions totaling 13,000 square feet.

One of the most unique exhibitions is an augmented reality experience that can be seen by peering inside the classic binocular viewfinders inside the 80th floor. Looking in, you can see and move around the sights while hearing the sounds of New York City’s most notable locations, including the atrium of Grand Central Terminal, Statue of Liberty, United Nations, the High Line, Coney Island, and more. The binoculars also face in the directions of the landmarks!

Empire State Building's redesigned 80th floor with NYC & Company itinerary exhibition

Other exhibitions include “Artistry in Light” which gives an inside look at the tower lights of the Empire State Building, videos on how the light shows are produced, and a video about Steven Wiltshire’s famous skyline drawing of New York City he created at the Empire State Building completely by memory.

Binoculars on Empire State Building

View from 86th floor observatory Empire State BuidlingViews from the 86th floor observatory

The exhibition “NYC: Above & Beyond” allows visitors to create customized itineraries to all five boroughs, a feature created in partnership with New York City tourism board NYC & Company, that has a huge inventory of destinations (not just the touristic ones!). With Empire State Building one of the first destinations for many tourists, these itineraries can be downloaded to the phone by QR code or sent by email for easy discovery.


And a visit to the redesigned 102nd floor observatory is a real must now, with its floor to ceiling windows and the rare opportunity to photograph above the skyline of New York City.

Next, check out the Top 10 Secrets of the Empire State Building.