The Corning Tower observation deck

a photo of the Corning Tower observation deck

Ever wish you could just rise above it all? Try looking down on your friends and neighbors from the observation deck of The Corning Tower. (It's the reallllly tall building at the end of the capital mall.) You can see the Adirondacks, The Catskills, The Berkshires, The Empire Plaza, even The Governor's Mansion (Is that a tiny steamroller?).

corning_tower_looking_up.jpgIf you live downtown you can walk. Otherwise, park under the plaza. Just bring your photo id. Getting into the tower isn't hard, but you have to jump through a few post 9-11 security hoops. If you enter from the plaza level, you'll have to take the escalator down, present your id and get your picture taken. The guard will print an unflattering photo of you on a name badge.Stick it on and head back up to the plaza level to wait for the express elevator to the 42nd floor.

It's really not as much trouble as it sounds, and on a clear day, it's well worth the view. There are signs below the windows with tips on what there is to see, and a representative from the NYS tourism department is on hand to answer questions. Fun, informative and oh yeah, free.

Find It

Corning Tower
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12242

The Corning Tower observation deck is open daily 10a - 4p (last check-in is 3:45). Closed holidays.


The view from the Corning Tower Observation Deck is a depressing spectacle. From high above you can see that downtown Albany is really just a few buildings and A LOT of parking lots. Nearly all of the walkable urban fabric in downtown was destroyed to make it easier for suburbanites to commute by car from their living pod to their work pod. I'm normally a cheerleader for the Capital Region. But Albany is truly pathetic when viewed from this vantage.

The Alfred E. Smith buiding use to have an open air observation deck and the views were much better.
You were able to see in all directions, not so with the Corning Tower. Was hoping that it would re-open after the lasest rehab
but so far not.


You're absolutely right! The view from the Smith building is much better than the Corning Tower. And I too was wishing they would reopen that observation deck.

If All Over Albany requested it, I'm confident that the security staff would allow them to take some photographs from the Smith building observation deck. That would make an awesome post, especially the photos.

I know a photographer who has been allowed up there a couple times (that was before the renovations).

Too bad it's not open on the weekends. :(

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