Empire State Building Tickets – 13 Things You Should Know

If you’re going to the magical New York City, it goes without saying that you have to visit the iconic Empire State Building: the 6th tallest in the US, and one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World!

There are many different Empire State Building tickets, depending on your interests, time and budget. Whether you want to have access to 1 or 2 observation decks, have a guided tour of the building, or join an exclusive experience, we are going to go through all the options in this post so you could choose the right one for you!

Apart from all the possible tickets and tours, I also included some useful information you should know before booking your visit to the Empire State Building, like opening hours, directions, facilities available, ways to save money and much more.

After reading this guide, you will know exactly what is best for you… are you ready to explore all the options?

Let’s start!

If you are in a hurry

If you are here just to get your tickets, here are the best links to do so:

  • Main Deck Access (86th floor) – $44 (Official website) or $48 (GetYourGuide – refundable)
  • Top Deck (86th&102nd floors) – $77 (Official website) or $83 (GetYourGuide – refundable)
  • Express pass (skip all lines) – $80 or $87 (refundable) to the 80th floor, and $113 or $123 (refundable) to both 80th and 102nd floors
  • Discounted ticket – from $38 for students (6-12), and $42 for seniors (62+), free for children under 6
Adult entrance Kids entrance  Guided tour Cancelation policy
Official website $44 $38 $175 Non-refundable Book tickets
GetYourGuide $48 $41 >24 hours in advance Book tickets
Klook $48 $41 >48 hours in advance Book tickets
Tiquets $48 $41 $543 (6 pax group) until 23:59 on the day before your visit Book tickets

Get your tickets to Empire State Building

Why buy in advance?

Buying your tickets for the Empire State Building in advance is definitely necessary if you want to avoid spending hours queuing at the entrance and save some of your precious vacation time. 🙂

Here is my very average waiting time estimates (of course it also varies on the season and the time of the day):

  • Buying tickets at the place – at least 1-1,5 hours (remember that they might not always have your time slot available)
  • Pre purchased online ticket – 30-45 min (to pass the security line + elevator line)
  • Express pass – no wait time at all

Book Your Ticket Online

1. Different types of tickets on the official website

Even if the majority of tourists buy only the general entrance ticket to visit the famous outdoor observation deck (offering breathtaking views of the city), the Empire State Building has many experiences to offer, all accessible with different types of tickets.

There are tickets giving you access to 2 observation decks, guided tours, exhibitions, and more… let’s check them all out:

1.1 Ticket to Main Deck: 86th Floor

1 1 Ticket to Main Deck 86th Floor

This is the general ticket to the Empire Building’s main observation deck: the 86th floor, giving you 360-degree views of New York City and here you can buy the ticket if you are looking for a good cancellation policy.

To get there, you’ll need to queue to pass security and then to take the elevator, but it is definitely worth it!

This open-air observation deck goes all around the building’s spire: you’ll be able to get 360-degree views of New York and its iconic landmarks, from the Statue of Liberty to Central Park and much more.

The Empire State Building is the 4th tallest building in NY, the 6th tallest in the US, and the 43rd tallest in the whole world… so get ready to have some of the best breathtaking views ever!

This ticket, as any other ticket for the empire state building, will also give you access to all the exhibits on the 2nd floor: check out the section about it under “important things” to know what they are about!

PRO TIP: Arrive at the Empire Building’s main entrance (on 34th Street) at the exact time you have scheduled: they will still let you enter if you arrive 10/15 minutes late (but not more than that!) They also won’t let you enter before that, so there is no need to arrive early!

Audio guide

The Empire State Building Guide, available on both Apple Store for iOS and on Google Play for Android devices and will give you the behind-the-scenes of the Observatory (free).

Languages supported: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Japanese and Korean.

Ticket conditions:

  • Tickets purchased through the official website are non-refundable (these ones are 4$ extra, but you can cancel them for a full refund)
  • Kids < 6 years old enter for free when accompanied by an adult ticket holder
  • Tickets are valid ONLY for your chosen visit date & time

PRICE: $44

Book Your Ticket Now!

1.2 86th & 102nd-Floor Observatories: Normal Ticket & Express Pass

1 2 86th 102nd Floor Observatories Normal Ticket Express Pass

If the view from the Empire State Building’s 86th floor will make your jaws drop, imagine how it can be from the 102nd floor!

If you want to have this unique experience, with this ticket you’ll take a one-of-a-kind glass elevator to the newly-renovated 102nd-Floor Observation Deck, where you’ll get 360-degree views of New York City and beyond!

In fact, when you’re this high up, on the clearest days you can see 80 miles into the distance… This means you’ll get to see up to 6 US states: Brooklyn, Queens, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Delaware!

The Empire State Building is 1,250 feet (380 meters) tall, while if you also count the spire and antenna, the building reaches 1,454 feet (443 meters)!

With this ticket, you will still have to pass through security and elevator queues: if that bothers you, check out the Express pass right after.

PRICE: $77

Buy the Normal Ticket to 86th & 102nd-FloorS

Express Pass

3 Express Pass access to skip the lines entrance

If you want to get a more exclusive experience, the Express Pass will give you access to skip the line’s entrance and expedited entry to the 2 observation decks of the Empire State Building: the Main and Top Decks (respectively 86th and 102nd-floor observatory).

P.S.: This ticket also includes special access to the Stranger Things photo corner on the 86th-floor observatory… If you’re a fan of the series, you cannot miss it!

With this pass, you will need to wait only 10-15 minutes on average to reach the observation decks (nothing compared to the average 45 minutes of the general admission ticket), so it becomes particularly useful if you cannot avoid peak times or popular seasons.

PRO TIP: If this ticket is too expensive for you if you visit the attraction during the week between 8 am – 11 am or after sunset hours for a night visit: it will permit you to avoid long lines while also saving money!

PRICE: $113

Book now Your Express Pass!

Ticket to 86th-Floor Main Deck or to both the 102nd & 86th Floor Observatories: which one to choose?

It depends on your budget. Honestly, I have been only to the Empire State Building 86th-Floor Main Deck and the views were just stunning (I still remember them after 10 years), so if you are on a budget I think the normal ticket will be good enough for you.

But if you don’t mind spending a little more and you are really into panoramic views, people say that the 102nd Floor Observatory really gives you a once-in-a-lifetime view (I can just imagine that) so I would definitely go for this option!

1.3 Sunrise Experience with Starbucks

1 3 Sunrise Experience with Starbucks

No better way to start your day than with the view of New York City waking up!

With the Sunrise Experience, you will have access to the open-air, 86th-floor observation deck from 5.30 to 8 am and watch a magical sunrise while sipping coffee or other refreshments from Starbucks.

This exclusive entrance has limited tickets to up to 100 guests for each session, so you’ll also get a more relaxed visit, far from the crowds of the peak hours (from 10.30 am to sunset time).

PRICE: $125

1.3 AM/PM Experience

If you are undecided if to visit the Empire State Building either by day or night, this ticket allows you to have both experiences on the same day!

In fact, with the AM/PM Experience you can have 360-degree breathtaking views from the 86th Floor observatory during the daytime and come back on the same night (after 9 pm) to see New York under the stars: perfect if you want to visit another NY attraction in between.

NOTE: There’s no ticket on the official website to the empire state building only for sunset, so if you’re interested in visiting the attractions at this particular hour, you have 2 options:

PRICE: $64

Buy Your AM/PM Experience

2. Take a guided tour

If you want to deep dive a little more into the history of the Empire state building, you can always join one of the guided tours offered on the official websites, through which you will also get the advantage of skipping all the lines. Check out the 2 main tours to visit the famous building:

2.1 Premium Experience: Guided Tour

2 1 Premium Experience Guided Tour

If you want to know literally everything about one of the most popular attractions in New York, you can join this guided 90-minute tour, including:

  • A guided visit to the building’s Art Deco lobby on 5th Avenue
  • The Celebrity Walk
  • Access to 86th-floor observatory
  • Access to the exhibits celebrating the Empire State Building’s history and heritage

The cool thing about this tour is that you’ll be guided by an Empire State Building Ambassador, who’ll give you fun and interesting facts about the attraction and customize the tour to your preferences!

Other pluses? You’ll enjoy priority access throughout the whole building, and skip-the-line privileges to the 86th-floor observatory… so forget about the lines!

PRICE: $175 per person, for groups of up to 7 people.

Go on a Premium Experience

2.2 All-Access Tour

2 2 All Access Tour Empire State Building.

If you want to feel like a celebrity for one day, join the All-Access Tour, nothing less than the most exclusive package offered by the Empire State Building.

During this red-carpet experience, you’ll go through the building’s VIP entry and get immediately into the celebrity green room, where they welcome the most famous guests (maybe you’ll meet your favorite star!).

Here you will have some snacks and a drink of your choice and check out photos and memorabilia from past famous visitors… you can even get a bottle of champagne!

After that, you’ll enjoy a private, guided tour through the magical Empire State building, and skip the lines to access the 86th-floor observatory and get the most famous views of New York!

If you love to splurge… this is definitely the package for you!

PRICE: $500 for a person. Limited to a small group of up to 6 people.

P.S.: if you want to have a better cancellation policy (until 23:59 on the day before your visit) you can book the same experience on Tickets for $543.

Book Your All-Access Tour!

2.3 Happily Ever Empire

Do you want to propose to your special one but you don’t know how? Well… what is more romantic than doing that on the iconic 86th Floor Observatory, on the top of New York City?

With the Happily Ever Empire package, you’ll have a VIP, exclusive experience, including a private tour of the building, priority access to the iconic 86th Floor Observatory, your own private corner to ask the question, a complimentary bottle of champagne to celebrate the yes (hopefully!) and access to the 102nd floor.

And if you want to have your own photographer to immortalize the moment, this is not included in the package, so contact the Empire State Building in advance for this additional service.

NOTE: If you’re interested in the Happily Ever Empire package, you need to book it at least 24 hours in advance, and only 3 proposal packages can be scheduled per day!

PRICE: $1,000

Book a Happily Ever Empire Package

3. City Passes

There are many tourist passes in New York City that give you flexible access to its best attractions at cheaper prices. If you are going to spend some time in NY and you want to make the best out of your visit, check out the following passes:

3.1 New York City Pass

3 1 New York City Pass

If you’re in New York for at least 3 days and you’re planning on visiting as many sites as you can, you should definitely get the New York City Pass, which gives you access to 4 of NYC’s top 5 attractions at a 40% discount.

DID YOU KNOW? Even if the ESB is one of the most popular attractions in the city, it is still primarily used as office space by many companies!

The New York City Pass for $129 will give you access to the following attractions (in brackets I put the normal prices):

Total price without NY City Pass (including all the 1st options in the list): $188
Money saved with NY City Pass: $188 – $129 = $59

Total price without NY City Pass (including all the 2nd options in the list): $177
Money saved with NY City Pass: $177 – $129 = $48

Is it worth it? Definitely YES! Of course, the total money saved will depend on the attractions you will choose to visit (you don’t have to do it in the order I did), but it will always end up being cheaper than what you would pay without the Pass.

You can use this New York pass for a 9-day period, but to have time to visit all the attractions, you should spend at least 3 days in New York, combining 2 attractions each day, and leave a big attraction like the American Museum of Natural History for a whole day!

PRICE: $129

Buy Your New York City Pass

3.2 NYC Sightseeing Day Pass

If it’s your first time in New York and you want to check out most of what this city has to offer, the New York Sightseeing Pass gives you access to the Empire State Building and more than 150 attractions at very special prices – check out the full list here!

3 2 NYC Sightseeing Day Pass

It also includes unlimited hop-on and hop-off bus tours, 4 observation decks, skip-the-line entrances, and much more.

All you need to do is choose the duration of your Pass (from 1 day to 10 days), download it directly to your phone, and scan it at the gate of any attraction to enter.

NOTE: You’ll be able to use it right after purchase, and it only gets activated the moment that you first use it at an attraction or service!

The cost, of course, depends on the number of days selected, starting at $144 for 1 day, but you’ll always save up to 50% on admission prices!

The NY Sightseeing Day Pass is ideal if you want to plan your trip in advance and make the most out of your time in New York. Let’s see a 2 days itinerary example and how much you would save:

1st Day:

  • Empire State Building: $44
  • Big Bus NY Classic Tour (1 day): $59
  • Edge Observation Desk: $48

2nd Day:

  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Round Trip Ferry Tour: $26
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum: $28
  • One World Observatory: $47

Total cost without the NYC Sightseeing Day Pass: $252

Total cost with a 2 days NYC Sightseeing Day Pass: $189

Total money saved with the Sightseeing Pass: $63

Is it worth it? Definitely YES!

PRICE: $144 x 1-day

Book Your NYC Sightseeing Day Pass

3.3 New York Flex Pass

3 3 New York Flex Pass Big Bus NY Classic Tour

If you have already been to New York and you are interested in only some specific attractions, you might prefer the FLEX PASS option, which will give you access from 2 to 12 attractions of your choice from this list at special prices for a period of 60 days.

As for the Sightseeing Day Pass, you’ll need to download the express pass on your mobile and scan it to enter your chosen attractions: it will get activated from the moment you use it at the first attraction or service.

Prices start from $74 for a 2 attractions pass, but any option you’ll choose will always be cheaper than the original price. Let’s see together how much money you would save with the most simple option (for 2 attractions):

  • Big Bus NY Classic Tour (1 day): $59
  • Empire State Building: $44

Total cost without the Flex Pass: $103

Total cost with FLEX Pass for 2 Attractions: $74

Total money saved with the Flex Pass: $29

Is it worth it? Definitely YES!

PRICE: $74 x 2 attractions

Book Your Flex Pass

4. Combo tours

4 Combo tours Statue of Liberty

If you don’t have much time to visit New York, why not make the best out of your time and visit 2 or more attractions on the same day?

If you agree with me, I researched for you some cool tours combining a visit to the Empire State Building with other important sites in New York City.

And if you don’t want to visit them on the same day, the first 3 options are still worth it because you can schedule them on different days, and they will also make you save 5% on the starting prices. Check them out:

  • Statue of Liberty + Empire State Building – With this combo, you will get a roundtrip trip to visit the grounds and museums of both Liberty Island (with the Statue of Liberty) and Ellis Island and admission to the Empire State Building’s 86th-floor observation deck. The combo costs $74 in total, so you’ll save about $10 on the original prices!
  • Empire State Building + Top of The Rock – Check out this combo, offering tickets to the 2 incredible viewpoints: the Empire State Building’s 86th-floor observation deck and top of the Rock building with its indoor and outdoor observation decks. You will also get a complimentary Downtown Manhattan city guide and self-guided walking tour for $87 (you’ll save $11).

By the way, if you want to know the main differences between Top of the Rock and Empire State Building, clear your doubts on this post about it!

  • Empire State Building + The Museum of Modern Art – Combine a visit to the Empire State Building’s 86th-floor observation deck with access to the Museum of Modern Art, where you’ll get access to special exhibitions and audio programs. All this for $73.
  • 1-Day Hop-on Hop-off with Empire State Building Admission – Join this 1 day hop-on-hop-off tour to admire the most famous sights in NY, like Times Square, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty, and have access to the Empire State Building for the best views. All this for only $82!
  • NY Walking Tour + Empire State Building – Check out this private NYC walking tour, during which you’ll explore New York’s neighborhoods and sites: Downtown Manhattan, Wall Street, the 9/11 Memorial, Brooklyn Bridge, Chrysler building, Times Square etc. plus you’ll get free entrance to the Empire State Building. The tour costs $277 per person and lasts 6 hours.

Visit the Statue of Liberty + Empire State Building

5. Buying tickets at the entrance: NOT recommended

5 Buying tickets at the entrance Empire State Building

As I said in the intro, you have the option to buy your tickets on-site at the 2nd-floor kiosks, located right after the security line, but this will mean spending hours waiting in a line and wasting some precious time in New York!

In fact, if you buy the general entrance ticket directly at the Empire State Building, you’ll have to go through 3 waiting lines: 1 to pass security, 1 to buy your tickets and the elevator lines to reach the observation decks… and all this will take you at least 2h in total, especially during high season.

The other issue you could have is that tickets get sold out for the time you want to visit the Empire State Building, so you’ll need to wait even more for your new entry time or change your travel plans for that day!

You can avoid the ticket line by buying the ticket to the 86th floor online or buying directly the skip the line ticket with the Express Pass: it is more expensive but you will need to wait only 10-15 minutes in total (to reach the observation decks) so it is definitely worth it!

6. How to visit the Empire State Building for free

6 How to visit the Empire State Building for free

I know you are interested, but there’s not really a way to visit the Empire State Building for free unless you are eager to do that online with a live camera. Of course, you’d only get the views you would have from the observation desks (and not any of the exhibits inside the building).

This could be a great option if you don’t have the possibility to physically visit the attraction and you want to know how it feels to have these breathtaking views, or if you just want to have a sneak peek before visiting the attraction.

The ESB cam offers front-and-center EarthCam views of the building, while the South View cam offers incredible views of downtown Manhattan… you’ll feel like you are actually there!

If you cannot wait to be in New York, explore some eye-catching moments directly on the website!

Things to know about Empire State Building Tickets

1. How far in advance do you need to buy your tickets

7 1 Empire State Building is the 1st most popular destination

Did you know that the Empire State Building is the 1st most popular destination among Uber’s 75+ million riders and is visited by more than 4 million visitors each year?

Then you can imagine how many people visit the attraction every day!

If you want to find availability at your desired hours, especially if you want to visit the attraction during high season or peak hours, I would book your ticket at least 5 days in advance, otherwise you can find tickets even the day before.

But what you should definitely make sure of is to buy your tickets online and not on-site, or you would spend unnecessary hours waiting in lines!

2. Opening hours / Best time to visit

7 2 Opening hours Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is normally open 365 days a year from 9/10 am (depending on the day) to 10 pm, with the last elevators ascending at 9:15 pm., except if you book the Sunrise Experience, with which you will have access to the building earlier in the morning.

Anyways, hours can constantly change depending on the day and time of the year… so check out the updated operating hours here! 

Best time to visit: If you want to avoid the crowds (or avoid paying for the Express Pass and skip the line), I recommend you visit the Empire State Building either early in the morning, anytime before 10 am, or after sunset when the waiting times for general admission tickets are shorter than average.

How long does it take to visit the Empire State Building?

You’ll be happy to know that once you book your Empire State ticket, there are no time limits or specified windows to visiting the attraction.

If you want to book a general entrance ticket, you should allow yourself at least 1.5h to go through the waiting lines and visit the 86th-floor main deck, and minimum 2 hours if you want to also check out the exhibits (or visit the 102nd-floor with the Express Pass).

But if you want to visit the building at your pace and maybe stop at the on-site restaurants to have a delicious meal with a view (check out the facilities section to know more about this), you definitely can spend more hours there!

3. How to get to Empire State Building

New York city Manhattan Fifth Avenue 5th Av

The Empire State Building is located in the heart of New York, precisely in midtown Manhattan between 5th Avenue and 34th Street.

DID YOU KNOW? The Empire State Building extends on a whole city block and has its own zip code (10118)!

To get to this famous building, you have different options: if you have the luck to stay in an area of New York close to the Empire State Building, you can easily walk there (and avoid the crazy traffic of the city). Otherwise, check out the following options:

  • Hop-on-Hop-off Bus: A good way to reach the Empire State Building is to buy a ticket to this open hop on hop off bus, available for one day from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. The bus will take you on a panoramic visit to NY’s main attractions, and you can stop at any of them, including the ESB, for $54.
  • Subway: The easiest way to reach the Empire State Building by subway is by taking the 123 or ACE lines and exiting the train at 34nd Street – Penn Station and then walking for 5 minutes to the building’s entrance.
    Another option is taking the NQRW or BDFM lines, getting down at 34th Street – Herald Square Station and having a 5-minute walk to the main entrance.
    A one-way ride on a subway in New York costs $2.75.
  • Car: I definitely don’t recommend driving to the Empire State Building: traffic in Manhattan is crazy busy and parking is very expensive. But if you have rented a car and you want to use it, there are many parking lots nearby that you can check out on this link, covering around $30 an hour.
    I also recommend booking a parking spot in advance if you want to secure yourself a spot, and leave the car there for the day (it will be more cost-effective) and then use public transport to visit any other sights in the city!
  • Taxi: Taking a taxi in New York is not that expensive (actually is cheaper than taking an uber), covering around $10 for a journey within the Manhattan area.

4. Security and ticket lines at the Empire State Building

7 4 Security and ticket lines at the Empire State Building

Once you will get to the Empire State Building, you will need to pass through several lines depending on the ticket type you have bought. There are 3 ticket lines in the building:

  1. Security lines (check out the section below to see what you can/cannot bring inside): security is right at the ESB entrance and is similar to the airport security procedure
  2. Ticket lines: if you don’t have your tickets, you will need to go buy them at the 2nd floor machines
  3. Elevator lines: if you already have your ticket, on the 2nd floor you’ll have to queue to get the elevator ride to the 86th/102nd floors

FUN FACT: To make it to the 102nd-floor observatory, you’d have to climb 1,576 steps… if you think like this you won’t mind having to wait to take the elevator! But if you’re up for the challenge, every year during the Empire Building Run-up you can climb the steps until the 86th floor!

If you haven’t booked a ticket online in advance, you will need to do the 3 of them, and this means spending hours waiting, so I definitely don’t recommend such a waste of time!

If you buy a general entrance ticket, you will have to go through the security lines and the elevator lines, that during high season or peak time can take you around 2 hours, so you should avoid these times of the day/year if you can (or check out the following option)

If you don’t want to do any line, you should check out the Express Pass, which permits you to skip the security and elevator lines by using the express lanes! If there are many people with these tickets during your chosen visiting hour, you could still have to wait a little bit, but it will be the fastest option possible to enter the building!

5. Exhibits

Located on the 2nd and 80th floors of the Empire State Building, you will find some cool exhibits open to any ticket holder, so you can fully deep dive into the history of this iconic structure and have fun with interactive structures.

Here’s a list of all the exhibits you will find in the empire state building:

7 5 Worlds Most Famous Building
  • The Site In The 1920s: This exhibit gives an overview of the site before the Empire State Building was constructed, when the Waldorf Astoria Hotel stood on this location, and shows you the New York City streets of the late 1920s.
  • Construction: In this interactive exhibit, you’ll be placed in the middle of the action, surrounded by ironworkers and masons, and you can take selfies with life-like bronze sculptures of four workers or pictures of three different copper building models.
  • Opening Day: With this exhibition, you’ll feel the excitement of the Empire State Building opening day, with a newsboy announcing the opening of the Empire State Building as he was selling his papers on the streets of New York City in 1930s
  • Modern Marvel: This exhibit explains the specific measures taken to make the Empire State Building a world leader in sustainability and energy efficiency.
  • Otis Elevators: In this other interactive exhibit, you’ll see a replica of the Building’s original mast car and hardware, and a simulation of an elevator shaft, recreating the scary height of the building and the distances between the elevators.
  • Urban Campus: This cool exhibition offers an internal glimpse of some of the major tenant spaces and hidden views of the Empire State Building experienced by those who work there!
  • World’s Most Famous Building: This is a 72-screen, 180-degree surround-sound theater showing the Empire State Building’s place in pop culture through many clips from films, TV shows, commercials, comics, and games.
7 5 Kong ​​​​​exhibit Empire State
  • Kong: ​​​​​​In this exhibit, you’ll be able to touch King Kong’s hands and feel them vibrate as he growls, huffs and puffs… you’ll feel like you are transported in the original 1933 movie!
  • Celebrity: This exhibit shows pictures and signed memorabilia of some of the most famous celebrities (athletes, musicians, actors) who visited the building.
  • NYC, Above And Beyond: Created in partnership with NYC & Company, this exhibit encourages you to create your personalized trip itinerary from the top of the Empire State Building to many attractions and sites in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.
  • Artistry In Light: This exhibit shows a short film narrated by world-renowned lighting designer Marc Brickman, explaining how the Empire State Building’s music-to-light shows are created
  • Stephen Wiltshire’s Drawing: This is an incredibly detailed draw of New York City landscape designed by the famed British artist Stephen Wiltshire. He drew it completely from memory after he took a 45-minute helicopter ride above Manhattan… isn’t that crazy?
  • Scenes Of NYC: Check out the stunning views of nine different famed New York locations through Empire State Building’s classic viewfinders from the 80th floor!

Check Out the Exhibitions

6. What to bring to Empire State Building

BRING:

✅ Tickets: Either have them on your phone for scanning or print them out.
✅ ID
✅ Normal camera

7 6 What to bring to Empire State Building

✅ Pair of binoculars: to have an even better view!
✅ Only service dogs: allowed throughout the building

DON’T BRING:

Any dangerous objects: Weapons, glass items, firearms, ammunition, knives, swords, scissors, mace, etc.
Alcoholic Beverages
Cans, bottles, flasks
❌ Food
Professional Cameras/Camera Equipment: tripods, monopods, or bi-pods
Sports equipment
❌ Markers, paint, etc.
❌ Musical instruments
❌ Costumes and masks
❌ Large packages, suitcases & luggage: there is no luggage storage or coat check at the Empire State Building!

Fun fact: The Empire State Building is the world’s most photographed building, and there’s a reason for that, so make sure you don’t forget your camera!

7. Audio guides

Buying the general entrance ticket (or to any other ticket) will give you access to a free interactive app, the Empire State Building Audio Guide, available on both Apple Store for iOS and on Google Play for Android devices.

The app is a very easy way to get some interesting insights and facts about the Empire State Building while you are visiting it: you can pause, rewound, or fast-forwarded the narration whenever you want, so you can check out everything at your own pace!

Languages supported by the app are: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Japanese and Korean.

P.S.: I suggest you download it at home before your visit, and if you can’t, you can do it on-site by connecting to the free Wi-Fi or using the QR codes throughout the building!

Download your Audio Guide!

8. Facilities inside/nearby the attraction

7 8 Facilities inside Empire State Building
  • Free Wi-Fi: through the whole building
  • Handicap-accessible main entrance (located at 20 West 34th Street): motorized and non-motorized wheelchairs are permitted.
  • Handicap-accessible ramps throughout the building (+ lowered viewing walls and binoculars on the 86th floor)
  • Restrooms: including handicap-accessible restrooms, are available on the 86th Floor only!
  • Souvenir shop: there’s a gift store on the 80th floor and 2nd floor (just after you exit the elevators and before you leave the building)
  • Walgreens, AT&T store, and a FedEx Express store
  • Restaurants: State Grill & Bar (for breakfast/lunch/dinner with panoramic views), Tacombi for Mexican food, Refuel shops located on the ground level (for fast snacks and drinks), and Refresh for a refreshing smoothie, juice or açaí bowl

FAQs about Empire State Building Tickets

8 tickets to visit the Empire State Building

💲 How much does it cost to visit the Empire State Building?

If you buy a general admission ticket to the 86th-floor main deck, it will cost you $44, otherwise, you can buy express tickets for $113, which gives you access to skip-the-lines entrance and to the 2 observation decks: the 86th-floor and 102nd upper floor.

🎟️ Do you need tickets to visit the Empire State Building?

Yes, but there are many ticket options you can buy for visiting the Empire State Building: general entry tickets, AM/PM tickets to visit the ESB during the day and have same-night admission, or paying extra money for the express tickets to skip all the lines! 

✅ Do you need to buy Empire State Building tickets in advance?

Yes, you should buy your Empire State Building tickets online in advance if you want to avoid spending hoaurs queuing at the ticket lines or not finding availability at your desired times!

🕖 Which are the best hours for visiting the Empire State Building?

The best hours for visiting the Empire State Building are early in the morning (before 10 am), or after sunset, when most visitors have already left the building.

⚖️ Ticket to 86th-Floor Main Deck or to both the 102nd & 86th Floor Observatories: which one is better?

It depends on your budget: if you are on a budget, the normal ticket to the Empire State Building 86th-Floor Main Deck is enough, still offering unforgettable views. If you don’t mind spending a little more, the 102nd Floor Observatory ticket really gives you a once-in-a-lifetime view.

⏰ How long does it take to visit the Empire State Building?

If you buy a general entrance ticket, it takes 1.5h to go through the waiting lines and visit the 86th-floor main deck, and a minimum of 2 hours if you want to also check out the exhibits.

Conclusion

9 How long does it take to visit the Empire State Building

Here we are at the end of this extensive guide about all the Empire State Building tickets, tours, and useful information on opening hours, directions, facilities available, ways to save money etc… It was long, but now you have all the info you need!

Depending on your interests, time, and budget, you will choose a different type of ticket.

I suggest the general entry ticket if you want to save money and you’re just interested in the main observation deck or paying some extra money and getting the Express Pass to skip all the lines and have access also to the second-floor deck.

Any option you’ll choose, remember to book it online and not on-site, or you’ll have to go through unnecessary queues and lose a lot of time!

If I forgot to mention something you wanted to know or you have a question for me, please share it in the comments below, and I’ll answer you right away.

Have an amazing holiday!

Elena


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