Frequently Asked Questions

Buying Tickets

Yes. More and more visitors choose the convenience of online ticket purchases, but we still sell them the old fashioned way!

The Observatory ticket office accepts U.S. currency, all United States-based travelers checks, and all major credit cards.

Observatory tickets purchased online may be used at any time from one year of purchase. Tickets purchased at the ticket office may be used at any time from 14 days of purchase.

You may visit at any time between 8AM and 2AM, with last elevators going up at 1:15 AM. There are no fixed visiting windows or time limits.

No. Tickets are for one-time use only. Once you exit the Observatory you will need to buy another ticket to re-enter.

For groups larger than 20, visit our group sales page. If you would like to arrange a visit for a dignitary or celebrity, see our Celebrity Visit page.

Tickets are non-refundable.

Getting to the Empire State Building

All Observatory visitors must enter on Fifth Avenue between 33rd & 34th Streets. Entrances on 34th and 33rd Streets are reserved for tenants and their visitors.

Leave the car at home! Just in case, the closest garage is located on 33rd Street between Fifth Avenue and Broadway, across the street from the building. The Empire State Building is minutes by foot from all of midtown Manhattan.

Your Visit

The least crowded visiting hours are at 8AM or around 3PM, but peak visiting times vary by season. We are open 365 days a year from 8AM to 2AM regardless of weather conditions.

Yes. We are open until 2AM daily, with last elevators going up at 1:15 AM. Live music is available Thursdays through Saturdays, from 10PM to 1AM.

Only if you are participating in the annual Empire State Building Run-Up. The stairs are closed to all guests at all other times.

There are no time limits or specified visiting windows. You should allow at least one hour for your visit, and slightly more if you will be visiting both the main deck and the top deck.

During peak visiting hours, especially in the warmer months, there may be extended waits to buy tickets and enter the elevators. You may shorten these waits by buying an express ticket online, which allows you to skip the ticket office and jump to the front of all other lines. 

Yes, a free Multimedia handheld tour is included with every admission to the Empire State Building.

Restrooms are available on the 86th Floor only.

We offer powerful binoculars to take in the unobstructed views in every direction.

There is no restaurant or concession on the observations decks, but there's a lot of food to choose from on the main concourse at the lobby level, and there is a Walgreen's at the end of the Observatory tour. Click here for a complete list of shops and restaurants at the lobby level.

Yes. Elevators are available for visitors with baby strollers. Strollers must be folded on observation decks.

No. Tripods are prohibited at the Observatory, and there are no storage facilities on site.

Your firearm will be seized and you will be arrested unless you are a member of the following law enforcement agencies:

  • New York City Police Department
  • New York State Police
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • United States Secret Service
  • United States Department of State

The items listed are not permitted in the Empire State Building. Do not carry any of these items into the security screening area. Items that are confiscated may not be returned. Please note that this list is not exhaustive, so if you are unsure about an item, please do not bring it. Any questions and uncertainties should be referred to the Security Officers on duty.

  • All weapons, including firearms, ammunition, knives, swords, scissors, mace, any dangerous items and any dual-use items that could be dangerous are strictly prohibited in the Empire State Building.
  • Glass items, including bottles, glasses, marbles, etc.
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Cans, bottles, flasks, etc.
  • Professional cameras, equipment and camera stands: mono-pods, bi-pods and tri-pods
  • Sports equipment such as skateboards, roller skates, golf clubs, baseball bats, hockey sticks, baseballs, footballs, tennis balls, etc.
  • Marking instruments, including spray paint and markers
  • Musical instruments
  • Large packages, suitcases, carry-on luggage and other such parcels.
  • Costumes and masks

There are no locker storage facilities at the Empire State Building for personal belongings.

There is active, 24/7 security at the Empire State Building. All you will notice is the primary security screening, similar to airport security procedure. Please keep in mind you will be monitored by cameras and other means throughout your entire visit.

We sell a fantastic range of Empire State Building memorabilia on the 80th Floor Gift Shop, most of which is exclusive, or online.

The Empire State Building is fully ADA compliant. We have handicapped restrooms on the 86th Floor Observatory and also have lowered viewing walls and binoculars. Service dogs are allowed throughout the building. Motorized and non-motorized wheelchairs are permitted. The 86th Floor has ramps to make getting around easier and lowered viewing walls so that visitors in chairs can still take in the view. The 102nd Floor currently has a higher wall, but we are working to make it more accessible to all our visitors.

After Your Visit

For lost items, call (212) 736-3100. If you find items while visiting, please take them to the Visitor Information Desk in the Main Lobby. Unclaimed items will not be kept after 7 days.

Yes! Tag your pictures #EmpireStateBuilding on Twitter or Instagram and they may appear on our Gallery page. 

The Tower Lights

We change the tower lights to recognize holidays and events throughout the year. For a full schedule of the tower lights and reasons for the lighting, please see the Tower Lights schedule.

The tower lights are turned off at 2AM daily.

Please fill out the form on our Lighting Request page.

History & Facts

New York State's nickname is the Empire State, which led to the Empire State Building. Legend is that when Henry Hudson sailed up the Hudson River, he was so taken by the beauty and majesty of the area that he said, "This is the new empire."

The Empire State Building is the center of the New York City and tri-state region's broadcasting operations. Its technology supports delivery of broadcasting signals to cable and satellite systems and directly to television and radio receivers reaching over 7.4 million television households, representing over 6.5% of all TV households in the U.S. Over 130 antennas provide a variety of point-to-point radio and data communications services to utility companies, telecommunications providers and public safety agencies. Read more info on our Broadcast page.

We recommend Building the Empire State by Carol Willis and Empire: A Tale of Obsession, Betrayal, and the Battle for an American Icon by Mitchell Pacelle. Also, buy our official souvenir book in the gift shop or online, filled with information and exclusive photos.

Partnerships, Jobs, & Events

We do not host private wedding ceremonies. However, the Empire State Building holds its annual Valentine's Day Weddings contest, where couples are selected to get married on February 14, at the world's most romantic building. Please visit our Facebook page for more information and to enter.

Absolutely! We recommend proposing when our saxophonist is on the 86th Floor Observatory (Thursdays-Saturdays, 10PM–1AM). You may request your special song to help set the mood. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate requests to close down the Observatory for proposals.

Other Questions

The New York Skyride is an independently owned and operated attraction on the 2nd floor of the Empire State Building. For more information, please visit their site.

The Empire State Building offers 50% discounts to travel agents with Trade Passes from the NYC & Co. Visitor Center. For more information, visit NYCGo.com Tools for the Travel Trade.

Tower Optical Company. More details can be found on their site.