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.

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

Check out the ESB AM/PM Combo Pass, which allows you to visit twice in the same day. More information is available on our ticketing page.

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.

Cardholders who are not visiting with their party should purchase a gift certificate. Please visit our buy tickets page for more information.

The Main Deck is a large outdoor observatory on the 86th floor. The Top Deck is more intimate, and inside a climate-controlled gallery on the 102nd floor. Both offer panoramic views of the city and great opportunities for taking photographs or just gazing at the sights. You can buy a ticket to just the Main Deck, or you can get a combination ticket that covers both decks. The 102nd floor Top Deck can only be visited in conjunction with the Main Deck.

Express tickets allow you to skip any lines or queues that have formed for the elevators up to the 86th and 102nd floors. Visitors with express tickets have direct access to the elevators and will not have to wait. You can buy an express ticket to the 86th floor Main Deck, or to both the 86th floor and 102nd floor.

You can choose to pick up your tickets at the kiosk on the second floor of the Empire State Building when you visit, or, if you prefer, tickets can be emailed to you so you can print them before you arrive. You can choose either option during checkout. Mobile tickets are not available at this time.

Getting to the Empire State Building

Observatory visitors should enter through our visitors' center at 20 W. 34th St. Other 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 the last elevators going up at 1:15 AM. Live music is available Thursdays through Saturdays (from 10PM to 1AM from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and from 9PM to 12AM from Labor Day through Memorial Day).

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 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, or connect once on-site via our free Wi-Fi.

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 Observatory features floor-to-ceiling glass windows with unobstructed views.

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 for a chance to be featured on our social media pages.

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 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 NYCGo.com Tools for the Travel Trade.

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