Empire State Building: Tips to Go to the Top & All The Info

The Empire State building is one of the most famous observatories in the world with amazing views of the NYC skyline. You’ll get 360-degree views of Manhattan featuring Central Park, Hudson & East River, Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, World Trade Center, Statue of Liberty and more! As seen in many movies and TV Shows!

COVID-19 UPDATE: Please note that the Empire State Building remains closed and it will reopen in July 20, 2020!


Empire State Building Hours

Daily from 8am – 2am.


Observation Decks

There are 2 floors.

86th Floor.

The main deck. From here you’ll get the 360-degree views with partial views of Central Park.

It’s the most crowded floor. With indoor & outdoor space.

102nd Floor.

360-degree views with a full view of Central Park.

You’ll get an even clearer view of Manhattan’s grid of streets.


Tickets for the Empire State Building

Empire State Building NYC

You can buy them there (lines can be long!) or online.

You can also purchase tickets through their app: AppleGoogle Play.

Tickets are only sold through their website or at the box office inside the Empire State Building (NOT on the streets nearby!).


Prices of Empire State Building – Observation Deck

It’s pricey. But you really get an incredible view of the New York skyline.

Free for Kids under 6.

Military discount: $31 per ticket.

CityPass: exchange your CityPass for a ticket to the Empire State Building!

Main Deck – 86th Floor

Adults: $38 | Child: $32 | Senior $36.

Vip express pass (no lines): $73 per person.

Top & Main Deck: 86th & 102nd Floor: $20 more per ticket

Adults: $58 | Child: $52 | Senior $56.

Vip express pass (no lines): $93 per person.

Sunrise – 86th Floor

$114.81 per person. It’s an express ticket, skipping the lines.

Premium Experience – 86th Floor

$161.55 per person. It’s an express ticket, skipping the lines.

AM/PM Experience – 86th Floor

Adults: $55 | Child: $46.


Is it worth paying extra to go to the 102nd Floor?

A big question that many ask! Many people think it’s not worth paying extra for the 102nd floor because it doesn’t add much other than just being 16 floors up. You still get stunning NYC views and you don’t feel you’re missing something out by doing just the 86th floor 😉



338 5th Ave. between 33rd & 34th Sts.


Best Time to go to the Empire State Building

View from Empire State Building at Night NYC
View of Times Square
  • Mornings 8-11am.
  • Nights after 10:45pm are less crowded.
  • Evening’s best but it gets crowded! I love seeing the the city at night when it starts getting darker with all the amazing lights of many different colors. The view of Times Square with all the lights at night is fabulous!
Most crowded times to go up:
  • Weekends.
  • Around noon: 11am-3pm.
  • Sunset hours / After office hours.
Day vs. Night

It’s hard to choose one. During the day you get to see more but the city is very beautiful at night! I particularly LOVE how the city looks at night. Breathtaking!


Tips to go to the Empire State Building

The Empire State Building NYC

  • Buy the tickets online to avoid long lines and save time. Sometimes line to buy tickets can be 1.5 hours!
  • Go on a clear day.
  • Bring a jacket because it can get windy up there!
  • Make sure to have your camera and phone charged for pictures and videos!


How Long Does it Take to go to Top of Empire State Building?

4 hours approx. the whole thing.

Expect about 2-3 hours of lines at peak hours.

You’ll watch a video on the ride up the elevator.

The decor inside is very nice!

Empire State Building or Top of the Rock?

Both are great! I’d pick Top of the Rock if you go during the day and the Empire State Building if you go at night.

I’d say that you get to see the Empire State Building from Top of the Rock! And you get a closer & better view of Central Park from Top of the Rock. But the view from the Empire State’s also amazing!

If you go at night, I’d recommend going to the Empire State Building since you’re closer from Times Square and midtown with all the stunning night lights.


The Lights of The Empire State Building at Night

Empire State Building Lights - NYC

Every night the Empire State Building has different colors of lights that anyone can view from the streets. Each set of colors has different meanings each night. You’ll never see colors that don’t mean anything.

You can find out what the lights mean each night here.


Once You’re Up Make Sure You See…

  • Times Square
  • Central Park

Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building NYC


World Trade Center

World Trade Center NYC


Can’t wait to hear about your experience 🙂


Links of interest:

Top of the Rock

Central Park Guide

Financial District Guide

NYC Top Things to Do

NYC Events





Hi there :) I'm Jess and I came to NYC to pursue my dream and I feel I'm living it every day. New York is magical and you have to be open to everything because you never know who is sitting next to you on the subway or behind you in the line of the supermarket. I decided to create this blog about NYC because I realized how many powerful tips would have helped me if I knew them before coming to the city from someone who was living in NY! So I thought that it would be awesome to share with you some tips about New York from a New Yorker. I'm going to keep updating this blog so stay tuned :)