Frequently Asked Questions

Buying Tickets

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

Reservations are required for admission. We highly recommend that you purchase your tickets in advance via our website but you are also able to purchase onsite at our 2nd floor kiosks.

2. What payment methods do you accept?

Tickets may be purchased online. All major credit cards are accepted. You can also pay with cash onsite at our ticket booth.

3. When can I use my tickets?

Tickets are valid for your chosen visit date & time. View our hours of operation here.

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) 400-3311.  If you would like to arrange a visit for a dignitary or celebrity, please contact Brock Talbot at

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.

8. I have my ticket for a specific time, when should arrive?

You should arrive to our 34th Street entrance at 20 West 34th Street at the exact time you have scheduled. There is no need to arrive early and may be asked to come back until your scheduled time if you show up early.

9. What if I am running late?

Please show up as close as you can to your scheduled time, and we will do our best to accommodate you when you arrive. You may need to change your reservation time, at our 2nd floor kiosks, to the next available time slot after you arrive.

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?

Peak visiting times vary by season. We tend to be busiest during the first two hours of the operating day and the hour directly after sunset.

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

Yes, please have a look at our operating schedules as they vary by season.

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?

Our audio tour has been replaced by secondary engagement QR codes throughout the experience so you can see behind the scenes of the Observatory. Please use your camera to scan the QR codes as you see them during your journey.

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

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

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, other than on Halloween
  • No outside food or eating allowed in Observatory or on outside Deck

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.

Ambassador Membership Program

1. Does ESB have a loyalty/membership program?

Yes! As of Feb. 2024, visitors can now earn points on every purchase that they make at the Observatory. By completing different thresholds, members can turn their points into tickets to our iconic Observatory. Ambassadors will also be able to collect unique Empire State Building NFTs! 

Become an Ambassador here!

2. How do I become an ESB Ambassador?

Joining is as simple as clicking a button! Visit our Ambassador page and click "Join Program". Once registered, you can immediately accumulate points on your purchases. 

3. What can I redeem my points for?

Visitor's redeemable rewards will depend on their ambassador status (Ambassador, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum). To reach different levels, members will have to accumulate a certain number of points. Rewards range from our 86th + 102nd Floor Observatory tickets to entries for our coveted events. 

Learn more about our ambassador membership program here!

4. What are the different status tiers?

Members can accumulate points to increase their status tiers. These status tiers include Ambassador (0 points), Bronze (440 points), Silver (880), Gold (1,320 points), and Platinum (1,760 points). Each status tier presents the member with new rewards to redeem. Additionally, as the member progresses through the tiers, they will collect one-of-a-kind Empire State Building NFTs for free! 

5. What is the ESB Collectable Artwork?

Ambassadors that move through the status tiers in our Empire State Building Ambassador Program can collect unique collectables inspired by their status tiers as a free gift from ESB. These digital collectables will live on the blockchain as NFTs. 

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! Begin your forever story at the World’s Most Romantic Building with a VIP proposal package that features spectacular views from the heart of New York City. Check out our Happily Ever Empire package for an over-the-top, exclusive experience that provides priority access to the iconic 86th Floor Observatory, where you will take in the best views of Manhattan before popping the question.

COVID-19 Regulations

What is required before my visit to the Empire State Building?

The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority as we create lifelong memories at the Empire State Building. For visitor confidence, all hosts throughout the Observatory Experience are vaccinated. A full list of entry requirements can be found on our Safety page.

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.