Observatory Visitor Tips
Updated December 16, 2013
To get the most out of your visit to our iconic attraction, we suggest you consider the following:
- We're open! The Observatory is open from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. daily.
- Buy your tickets inside the Empire State Building or on our website. The Empire State Building is not affiliated with any street sales agents who approach visitors outside the building.
- Our average wait time currently ranges from 15-30 minutes to the 86th Floor Observation Deck. If you want the shortest wait time, we recommend you avoid the following hours: 11:00 a.m. to Noon, and the sunset hour.
- Holiday Season Notice - Beginning Wednesday, December 25, through Sunday, January 5, we expect larger crowds. Should your travel schedule permit it, we recommend visiting the Observatory outside of these dates. Otherwise, we suggest an early morning (8:00 a.m.) or late night (after 11:00 p.m.) visit.
- Timesaving tip - Outside of the holiday season, visit us either first thing in the morning (8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.) or after 9:00 p.m. We're open until 2:00 a.m. with our last elevator going up at 1:15 a.m. The night views are spectacular!
- Pressed for time? Purchase an Express Pass. Consider purchasing our Express Pass, which allows you to bypass all lines up and down. Visit the Buy Tickets page for ticket options.
- Buy your tickets online and print them at home or at your hotel. Purchase your tickets online, print them, and bring them with you. You will save time by skipping the ticket line. Visit the Buy Tickets page.
- Travel light. Consider not bringing luggage, large bags and strollers to the Observatory. This will save you time in security, and you will be happy you are not carrying items.
We look forward to welcoming you to New York and to the unparalleled 360° viewing experience at the Empire State Building. Enjoy the views!