Top 10 Things To Know About The Empire State Building

By Steffen, 7. December 2016
7 ratings

One of the most popular and most impressive highlights of New York City is the Empire State Building. It is world renowned for being the centre piece of many calnders and postcards world wide as it towers above the rest of the concrete jungle around it. The architecturalĀ marvel is most certainly worth more than just one visit. We have compiled a list of the top 10 Empire State Building facts for you below to prepare you for your visit.Ā 

1. Best time to visit theĀ Empire State Building?

The best time to visit the Empire State Building is definitely between 8:00 am –Ā 10:00 am to arriveĀ before the crowds do,Ā or after 10:00 pmĀ if you want to wait until mostĀ people have started to leave.Ā Around these times is when you will find the shortest wait times to get get tickets, and to get to the top. It is therefore the perfect start or end to a day of sightseeing! The observation platform is open daily until 2:00 am so that you can enjoy the spectacular skyline and views at night as well if you wish to. Make sure that if you are visiting late or during the winter months that bring a jacket – it can get quite chilly and windy so far up!

Special events: During the summer months you will find live music being played between 9:30 pm and midnight on Thursdays, Fridays, andĀ Saturdays.

2. Hours of operation for the observation platform and elevators

The observation platform is open daily from 8:00 am to 2:00 am. The last elevator to the top will leave at 1:15 am for those of you who want to see the city at night time.

Hours of operation on holidays slightly:

  • New Year’s Day: 8:00 am to 2:00 am
  • Thanksgiving: 8:00 am to 2:00 am
  • Thanksgiving weekend: 8:00 am to 2:00 am
  • Christmas Eve (December 24): 8:00 am to 10:00 pm
  • Christmas (December 25): 8:00 am to 2:00 am
  • December 26 – 30: 7:00 am to 1:00 am
  • New Year’s: 7:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Empire State Building View at Night

3. Theres more than one observation platform?

The Empire State Building has two observation platforms, one on the 86th floor and one on the 102nd floor. TheĀ observation deck on the 86th floor, at a height of 1050ft, allows you to step outside into the fresh air and see the city from above with only a small fence between you and the skyline of NYC. The platform on the 102nd floor is a small room enclosed in glass 16 floors above the larger, open air, observation deck. We checked it out last time we went – was it worth it?

You can decide whether you want to go to the 102nd or 86th floor when you are downstairs purchasing your tickets for the Empire State Building. Keep in mind however, while the 102nd floor observation deck is slightly higher, the Ā platform on the 86th floor is outside (and not glass enclosed in glass), meaning you can take better photos from there. The observation platform on the 102nd floor however provides more complete views of some of New York’s bridges, central park and other details. You also get to ride in a hand operated elevator to get to the top which is a special experience as you can count each floor as it goes by.

If you are using the tickets to the Empire State Building included in one of the three New York discount passes, keep in mind these are only valid for the 86th floor.

 

4. Don’t feel like queuing up? Buy your tickets online!

If you want to get to the top of the Empire State Building, you have to make it through a total of 3 queues: the security check, the ticket line, and the elevator line. There is no way to avoid security control, but you can avoid the lines for tickets and the elevators with the appropriate online ticket. If you just have a regular ticket the queue can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes long depending on the time of your visit.

Buying an Express Pass is a good idea for holidays and other long weekends. Only a limited number of Express Passes are sold meaning that the waitingĀ time is never longer than 7 minutes.

5. How long will a visit to the Empire State Building take?

Even if you have bought tickets online (and don’t need to stand in line for those), you should allow aroundĀ 2 hours for your visit. This is due to the fact that you will definitely spend a significant amount of time enjoying the view. It is also sometimes the case that you will already encounter long lines at the security check meaning you should allow some extra time for this (included in theĀ 2 hours). If you have an express ticket however, this is the only queue you will have to wait in.Ā The area to queue in is also made interesting by the many facts and figures that have been placed throughout. This way you can learn something about the building as you wait toĀ get up to the observation deck!

Helicopter Tour Empire State Building

6. Don’t forget to bring something to occupy the kids

Kids love the view from the Empire State Building onto the city and find the elevator ride very exciting. Waiting in line, of course, is not as much fun. Therefore remember to bring a colouring book or toy to entertain them while you are queueing to get to the top.Ā Strollers are also not a problem and allowed in the lift making visiting the building with kids far more easy.

7. Where to find cheap tickets

You can find ticket deals for the Empire State Building all year round on our tips and tricks for buying tickets page. Check outĀ this page, where you can take advantage of several online discounts for tickets!

8. Security check – what do I need to look out for?

Every visitor to the Empire State Building must pass through the security check. Glass and bottles, masks, guns, spray cans, skateboards, and tennis balls are prohibited. Cameras are allowed, but no tripods. There is no coat check or luggage storage, make sure you only have with you what you can or want to take up to the observation deck.

Empire State Building

9. Can I bring food and drinks or buy them there?

You can eat and drink at the Empire State Building. There are no restaurants onĀ the observation platforms but the lobby offers small snacks. You can alsoĀ find numerous cafĆ©s and bistros nearby (the Heartland Brewery or Starbucks, for example).

10. How do I get to the Empire State Building?

The Empire State BuildingĀ is located on 5th Avenue between 33rd and 34th Street .You can’t miss itĀ – it stands tall above the maze of buildings in Manhattan and you will always catch a glimpse if you are close.

Our budget tip: The tickets for the Empire State Building are included in the New York passes!

Up to 80 attractions and tours are included in the price of the New York sightseeing passes. Learn more here:

New York Pass Explorer Pass New-York-CityPASS

View New York Pass Comparison

Top 10 Things To Know About The Empire State Building
Address350 5th Ave New York
NY 10118
HoursMo-So. 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 a.m.
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