Frequently Asked Questions

Buying Tickets

1. Can I buy tickets when I arrive at the Empire State Building?

Yes. Tickets are available at the kiosks on the second floor, upstairs from the 34th Street entrance. More and more visitors choose the convenience of online ticket purchases, but we still sell them the old-fashioned way on-site as well!

2. What payment methods do you accept?

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

3. When can I use my tickets?

Tickets are valid for your chosen visit date & time. For the safety of our guests we will be operating on an updated schedule following reopening.

  • October 1-18 11AM - 11PM | Last Elevator Up at 10:15PM
  • October 19-31 11AM - 10PM | Last Elevator Up at 9:15PM
  • November 1-25 11AM - 10PM | Last Elevator Up at 9:15PM
  • November 26 - 29 11AM - 11PM | Last Elevator Up at 10:15PM
  • November 30 - December 18 - 11AM - 10PM | Last Elevator Up at 9:15PM
  • December 19 - January 3 - 11AM - 11PM | Last Elevator Up at 10:15PM

4. Can I use my ticket twice in one day?

No, unless you’ve purchased tickets via CityPASS, or upgraded your ticket with a Night Pass. View our Ticket Info & Offers page for more information.

5. Can I arrange a visit for a large group or a VIP?

For groups larger than 20, please contact the group sales office at (212) 736-3100.  If you would like to arrange a visit for a dignitary or celebrity, please contact Stacey-Ann Hosing at (212) 736-3100.

6. What is the cancellation policy?

All tickets are non-refundable. For more information, read our ticket policy.

7. How can I purchase tickets for friends and family when I don’t plan on accompanying them?

Cardholders who are not visiting with their party can purchase a gift certificate. Please visit our Buy Tickets page for more information.

Getting to the Empire State Building

1. Where is the entrance?

Observatory visitors should enter through our visitors' center at 20 W. 34th St. Other entrances on Fifth Avenue, 34th and 33rd Streets are reserved for tenants and their visitors.

2. How do I get there?

For detailed directions on how to get here, visit our Maps & Directions page.

3. Is there parking available?

We recommend you leave your car at home. If you can’t, the closest garage is located on 33rd Street between Fifth Avenue and Broadway, just across the street from the building.

Your Visit

1. What is the best time to visit the Empire State Building?

The least crowded visiting hours are right when we open at 11 a.m. or around 3 p.m., but peak visiting times vary by season. We are open 365 days a year; for the safety of our guests we will be operating on an updated schedule following reopening.

  • October 1-18 11AM - 11PM | Last Elevator Up at 10:15PM
  • October 19-31 11AM - 10PM | Last Elevator Up at 9:15PM
  • November 1-25 11AM - 10PM | Last Elevator Up at 9:15PM
  • November 26 - 29 11AM - 11PM | Last Elevator Up at 10:15PM
  • November 30 - December 18 - 11AM - 10PM | Last Elevator Up at 9:15PM
  • December 19 - January 3 - 11AM - 11PM | Last Elevator Up at 10:15PM


2. Can I visit the Empire State Building at night?

Yes. For the safety of our guests we will be operating on an updated schedule following reopening, please check the website for details

3. Can I run or climb the stairs at the Empire State Building?

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

4. How long does a typical visit take? Is there a time limit?

There are no time limits or specified visiting windows. Allow at least one hour for your visit, 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 can speed up your visit by buying an express ticket online, which allows you to skip the ticket office and jump to the front of all other lines.

5. Do you provide an audio guide?

Yes. A free multimedia tour app is included with every admission to the Empire State Building. Download the app for free from either the Apple Store or Google Play before you visit or download it on-site via our free Wi-Fi.

6. What amenities are available at the top? Is there a restroom?

Restrooms, including handicap-accessible restrooms, are available on the 86th Floor only.

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

Please note that there is no restaurant or concession on the observation decks, but there are a lot of food options to choose from on the main concourse at the lobby level. There is also a Walgreens at the end of the observatory tour. Visit our Shops & Restaurants page for more information.

7. Can I bring a baby stroller?

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

8. Can I bring a tripod for my camera?

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

9. I have a licensed firearm. Can I bring it?

No. 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

10. Are there items I can’t bring into the building?

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 tripods
  • 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 for non-PPE purposes

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

11. What security precautions do you take?

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.

12. Where can I buy souvenirs?

We sell a fantastic range of Empire State Building memorabilia on the 80th Floor Gift Shop, most of which is exclusive to our shop. If you’re not at the building, please visit our online shop.

13. What accommodations are made for visitors with disabilities?

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. Visit our Accessibility page for more information.

After Your Visit

1. I think I left something at the Empire State Building. Is there a lost and found?

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.

2. Showtime Pictures took my photo on the Observation Deck. How do I get it?

You can see and buy your photos at

3. I took some really great pictures on the Observation Deck. Can I share them with you?

Yes! Tag your pictures #EmpireStateBuilding on Twitter or Instagram for a chance to be featured on our social media pages.

The Tower Lights

1. Who chooses the color of the 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 visit the Tower Lights page.

2. What time do the Empire State Building lights turn off each night?

The tower lights are turned off at 2 a.m. daily.

3. Can I request a special lighting?

You can submit a lighting request through our Tower Lights page. However, be aware that the Empire State Building does not grant lightings for personal events (such as birthdays, anniversaries, or weddings), commercial events, political campaigns, or religious figures or events.

Partnerships, Jobs, & Events

1. I am interested in getting a job at the Empire State Building. Who do I contact?

Please contact Human Resources at (212) 736-3100.

2. Can I get married at the Empire State Building?

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.

3. I'd like to propose at the Empire State Building. Is that ok?

Absolutely! We recommend proposing when our saxophonist is on the 86th Floor Observatory (Thursdays through Saturdays, 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.). 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

1. Does the Empire State Building offer discounts to travel agents?

The Empire State Building does not offer discounts to travel agents but does grant entry as part of the CityPASS Trade Pass agreement. For more information, visit

2. Who makes the binoculars on the 86th Floor?

Our wonderful binoculars are made by Tower Optical Company. More details can be found on their site.

Have Another Question?

Our team is ready to help. Get in touch and get the answers you need.