Best time to visit New York

Empire State Building in New York

While visiting the iconic monolith of Manhattan, plan wisely to avoid lines

Empire State Building
Empire State Building
Empire State Building

The Empire State Building rises above Manhattan 103 floors into the sky, stunning with its magnitude. Featured in every other American movie, this skyscraper is well-known throughout the globe and is a must-do for pretty every visitor to the New York City. It has two main observation platforms—one on the 86th floor, and another one—on the 102nd.

The doors of the Empire State Building are open all year round, 365 days a year, from 8 am to 2 am with the last elevator ascending at 1:15 am. Additional information for those in love—once a year it's also possible to get married, on Valentine's Day.

While visiting the most touristy location of New York, one can't avoid the lines. Moreover, if you buy tickets on the spot, you'll have to wait in three queues—for security, then for tickets, and afterwards for the elevator. Therefore, it's better to buy tickets online in advance. The tickets are valid for a year from the moment of purchase. Or you could opt for a guided tour. Another option is a self-guided multimedia tour app available in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean.

The best time of day is either early in the morning, or late at night when the crowds thin out. Sunset is a good time choice to see both the landscapes and dazzling city lights. The weather matters when it comes to visibility. For the best views go in dry and clear weather. But also, remember that lines will be longer if you come on the first sunny day after a rainy week. Speaking about the weather, remember to wear a hat and sunscreen in the height of summer and dress well for winter.

The last thing concerning security check—glass and bottles are not permitted. Cameras and camcorders are allowed in the building, while tripods are not. And since there is no coat or luggage check, you will have to carry all your belongings with you throughout your visit.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit the Empire State Building to avoid long lines and crowds?

You can avoid long lines and crowds at the Empire State Building by visiting early morning or late at night. The best time to watch the sunset is also a great time to visit because it offers a beautiful view of the city's landscapes during the day and its lights at night. It is however advisable not to visit on the first sunny day after a rainy week since it tends to be crowded. Show more

Where can I buy tickets in advance for the Empire State Building observation platforms?

To skip the ticket purchasing line at the Empire State Building, it's better to purchase tickets online in advance. Tickets are valid for a year from the time they are purchased. Alternatively, visitors can opt for a self-guided multimedia tour contributed through an app available in different languages or guided tours while at the building. Show more

What languages are available on the self-guided multimedia tour app for the Empire State Building?

A self-guided multimedia tour app in available at the Empire State building and adaptable to different languages including English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean. This enables visitors to experience the building at their pace with accurate narration and images in the language of their preference. Show more

What items are not permitted through the security check at the Empire State Building?

When visiting the Empire State Building, strict measures are implemented during security checks; food and glass bottles are not permitted among other items. Cameras and camcorders are allowed in the building, but tripods are prohibited. Visitors need to bear in mind that no coat or luggage check is available hence carrying all belongings throughout the tour is mandatory. To avoid delays, it's important to learn of all prohibited items ahead of time. Show more

Are there any special events or openings exclusive to Valentine's Day at the Empire State Building?

The Empire State Building usually creates special Valentine's Day memories for about 400 couples worldwide. The building plans a romantic evening for weddings at the 86th-floor observatory, allowing couples to wed at the iconic tower. This has become an annual event all over the world, dedicated to couples who would like to experience the romantic touch of historic monuments. Show more

Ask a question

Find hotels and airbnbs near Empire State Building (Map)

Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin