Image: Phi Tran

12 things to know before visiting Empire State Building


Empire State Building is in Manhattan. Take 1, 2, or 3 trains and get down at Penn Station/34th Street or take B, D, F, M, N, Q, or R trains and get down at 34th Street/ Herald Square.

Image: Craig Boudreaux


Empire State Building has two observatories – on the 86th and 102nd floors that offer a 360-degree view of the city.

Image: Rafael Leao


Exploring Empire State Building’s 86th floor  observatory takes at least an hour. If you prefer, you can upgrade to the 102nd-floor at the venue.

Image: Bjorn Simon


Some prefer to visit Empire State Building early in the morning and see the sun rise over New York.

Image: Roland Denes


At Empire State Building, visitors must stand in three lines - the queue at the ticketing counter, the one at the security check, and the last queue in front of the elevators.

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More than 90% of the visitors opt for the cheapest option - the Standard ticket.  It costs 45 USD for an adult and helps you skip the line at the ticket counter.

Image: John Arano


Express Entry tickets are also known as VIP tickets.   They help visitors skip all the three queues and cost 85 USD per person.

Image: Christian Chen


After seeing the 86th-floor observatory, if you prefer, you can upgrade your Standard or Express Entry tickets by paying USD 20 more to go up to 102nd floor.

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Some tourists prefer to visit twice - once during the day and once at night after 9.30 pm. The AM/PM Combo pass is the ideal ticket for such visitors.

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Most tourists don’t know that the Empire State Building is open until 2 am every night. The last elevator goes up to the observatory at 1:15 am.

Image: Tania Alieksanenko


Empire State Building tickets are not timed. They are valid anytime from 8 am to 1.15 am the next day, offering visitors a lot of flexibility.

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Visitors on budget holiday can get a taste of the Empire State Building without buying entry tickets. The building’s lobby is considered a historic landmark, and you can explore it for free. 

Image: Dezalb