Empire State Building (New York): tips & best time for visiting

The Empire State Building is one of the most visited places in New York. You can visit the Empire State Building by going on its two observation platforms. They are on the 86th and 102nd floors of this mythical building.

  1. Visiting Empire State Building 🤩
  2. Another great view 🌇
  3. Best time to visit 👍
  4. How long you need to visit 🕘
tips for visiting empire state building

1. How to visit the Empire State Building?

Mythical! The height of the Empire State Building is 381 meters. Built in 1931, it was the tallest freestanding structure in the world until 1967, when the Ostankino Tower in Moscow was built. The movie King Kong, released in 1933, also helped make this building even more famous.

What to see? It is now possible to climb to the 86th and 108th floors of the building. it is possible to climb only on the first platform, or on both. In addition to these two observation platforms, you can visit the Empire State Building Museum, which traces its entire history starting with its construction.

86th floor. It is an outdoor platform (closed by the railings). From here you can already see New York in 360 degrees. Tickets to visit the 86th floor are cheaper: see the prices for going up to the Empire State Building.

86th + 108th floors. It is a glass enclosed platform, but also gives an incredible view of New York from an even higher level! Tickets that include the 108th floor cost more (see prices).

Good to know! If you want to visit the Empire State Building without the crowds, come very early in the morning (before 11 a.m.) or very late at night (after 10 p.m.). Find more tips further down in this article. Prices to visit the Empire State Building vary depending on the time of day. For example, during sunset, entrance tickets are more expensive (compare prices according to the time of day and the observation platforms chosen).

tickets visit empire state building

2. Another view?

Like with the Eiffel Tower. When you are on it, you no longer see it. With the Empire State Building, it’s the same. So, one of the best ways to experience this New York must-see is to climb on another skyscraper!

Top of the Rock. It is from the Top of the Rock skyscraper that you can see one of the most beautiful views of the Empire State Building, but also of New York! And so get off the beaten track. A perfect alternative to visiting the Empire State Building (see photos and prices to compare).

Fly over New York! Among the best things to do in New York, there is of course the flight over the city in a helicopter. It’s another way to discover New York and its major must-sees, including the Empire State Building. You can choose the flight time. Even 10 minutes of flight is incredible, and will make your trip even more memorable (see prices and photos here).

3. Best time to visit the Empire State Building

Day to avoid. Saturday is when the Empire State Building sees the most visitors. If you can visit the Empire State Building on another day, that’s better. Sunday is less busy than Saturday.

At what time? Be aware that the worst time of the day is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (for sunset). Especially on Saturdays, but the other days of the week, it’s the same.

Best moment. The best time to visit the Empire State Building is therefore ideally any day except Saturday, before 11 a.m. or after 10 p.m. This is where there are the fewest people.

Sunset. Sunset is clearly one of the best times to visit the Empire State Building, if you put aside the number of visitors. If you want to take advantage of this magnificent moment, take skip-the-line tickets to avoid waiting (see prices for skip-the-line tickets). This will save you time, and allow you to have a better experience. On the other hand, the ticket to visit the Empire State Building during sunset will cost you more.

4. How long you need to visit the Empire State Building in New York

Plan 2 hours to visit both platforms, if you have skip-the-line tickets and therefore little or no waiting. If you visit only the 86th floor, the visit may take less than 2 hours.

In any case, it is recommended to take tickets in advance (skip the line or not). Especially if you want to visit the Empire State Building for sure.

Travel tip. If the Empire State Building is on your list of must-sees in New York, then the New York CityPass is a good option. This pass includes 5 great New York must-sees with discounts on admission tickets (click here to learn more about the New York CityPass).

time to visit empire state building new york

Visiting the Empire State Building in New York is visiting one of the symbols of the city. It also means visiting one of the most touristic places in New York. So, if you want to get off the beaten path, and you have already visited the Empire State Building in a previous trip, you can discover other places such as The Top of the Rock. This skyscraper is also one of the most visited places in New York, but less than the Empire State Building.

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