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Empire State Building

One of the most famous skyscrapers in the world, the Empire State Building is a massive tribute to the 20th century.

The Empire State Building has two observatories located on the 86th and 102nd floors called the main deck and the top deck respectively.

More than four million tourists go up a high-speed elevator every year to see 360-degree views of New York City’s landmarks, surrounding waterways, and the famous skyline. 

Where to buy Empire State Building tickets

Guests can purchase the entry tickets online, or at the attraction’s entrance on the day of their visit.

When you get your tickets for Empire State Building online, you save money, time, and energy.

Standing in long queues in warm, humid summers or snowy winters is a bummer. 

Why put yourself through the trouble of waiting in line for tickets when you can do it from the comfort of your home? You will end up saving a lot of time and energy.

Online tickets also tend to be cheaper than the tickets available at the venue.  

When you buy your Empire State Building admission at the last minute, there is a chance of your preferred time slot not being available at the ticket counter. 

The Empire State Building Observatory gets crowded during peak seasons, so buying in advance helps avoid last-minute disappointment.

How online tickets work

Tourist enjoys the view from Empire State Building Observatory
Tourist enjoys the view from Empire State Building Observatory. Image: ESBNYC.com

When you book your Empire State Building’s entry tickets online, they get emailed to you immediately.

On the day of your visit, show the email you received at the entrance and walk in – no need to take printouts.

These online tickets help you skip the line at the ticket counters, which is why they are also known as Skip The Line tickets. 

If you purchase the Express Pass, you can skip all the lines at the attraction. 

Make sure you arrive 15 minutes before the allotted time on your ticket.

Types of Empire State Building tickets

Empire State Building offers six types of experiences, depending on the ticket you purchase. 

The general admission ticket is the cheapest and most popular ticket to get into the Empire State Building and enjoy the 360-degree views of New York and surrounding states. 

Image: Roamthegnome.com

The 86 and 102 floor ticket is an excellent buy if you don’t want to spend time getting an upgrade at the Empire State Building from the 86th to the 102nd floor ticket.

You won’t need to choose between the Empire State Building 86th floor vs 102 floor, because, with this ticket, you get the best of both worlds. 

Next comes the Express Entry ticket that saves you the fuss of standing in multiple endless queues.

While the city sleeps, you can use your Empire State Building Sunrise Experience ticket to stand over New York City from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building before it opens to the rest of the public.

The Morning and Night Entry ticket will give you twice the experience with a morning visit for the daytime view and a night visit to gaze at the incomparable city lights.

You can also go for the private guided tour, which along with skip-the-line benefits, gives you an insider’s knowledge of the Empire State Building. 

This is the costliest and the most premium tour of Empire State.

With a city discount pass, you can visit multiple New York attractions at an affordable price. 

Both New York Go City Explorer Pass or the New York CityPASS help you around 40% on ticket prices.

Ticket Prices

Guests take selfies at Empire State Building
Guests take selfies at Empire State Building. Image: ESBNYC.com

Empire State Building’s Standard tickets and Express Entry tickets are the two most popular ways to explore the observatory.

Cost of Standard Empire State Building ticket

The Empire State Building tickets price depends on the age of visitors.

Visitor TypeCost of ticket
Adult ticket (13 to 61 years)$47
Youth ticket (6 to 12 years)$41
Seniors ticket (62+ years)$45
Child ticket (up to 5 years)Free

Cost of Empire State Building’s Express Tickets

Empire State Building tickets discount don’t exist for the Express version. All visitors above the age of five, pay the full price.

Visitor TypeCost of ticket
Adult ticket (6+ years)$87
Child ticket (up to 5 years)Free

Ticket Discounts

When you buy Empire State Building admission online, you get discounted rates. The New York attraction also offers price reductions based on the visitor’s age.

Children below the age of 6 can get free entry into the Empire State Building.

On the regular Empire State Building 86th floor tickets, children (ages 6 to 12) get a discount of $7, while senior citizens (ages 62+) can get the ticket $2 cheaper.

The ticket combination with access to both 86th and 102nd floor also provides discounted tickets for children and seniors at $5 and $2 less, respectively.

The Morning or Night Empire State Building tickets also has reduced prices for kids aged 6 to 12 years – they pay $10 less.

City passes help you save a lot and see a lot more! The Explorer Pass and the New York City PASS help you save 40% on admission.

What to expect at Empire State Building

How long does Empire State Building take

Most visitors spend an average of two hours visiting the Empire State Building. 

If you only visit the 86th floor observatory, you will need an hour. 

But, if you plan to visit the 102nd floor, you will need at least half an hour more. 

Exhibit at Empire State Building observation deck
The historic structure isn’t just about the stunning views from its observatories – there are many interesting exhibits to see. Image: ESBNYC.com

If you choose to see the exhibits on the 2nd and 80th floors, keep aside a few hours to thoroughly experience the works on display. 

Waiting in queues at the observatory adds to the total time you need to explore the attraction.

You may encounter four lines:

  • The ticket line: you can easily skip this line by buying Empire Building tickets online!
  • The security line: around 10-15 minutes without a line
  • The elevator line to go up: traveling in the elevator doesn’t take more than a minute but lines to get into the elevator can be painfully long
  • The elevator line to come down

Going through the Empire State Building lines usually add 45 minutes to 1 hour to your visit.

Empire State Building admission tickets which get you Express Entry help you move through these lines in the shortest possible time.

You can also beat the lines or at least decrease your waiting time by knowing the best time to visit.

Want to see the world from the highest floor you can get in the Empire State Building?
You can’t get to the 103rd floor, but you can make it to the 102nd!

Buy Empire State Building tickets for 86 & 102 floor, and view the stunning New York City from atop 1,050 and 1,250 feet, the highest point in the building!

Do you need to book Empire State Building tickets in advance?

It is better to purchase tickets for Empire State Building in advance because you get to avoid the long queues at the ticket counter lines.

How much do Empire State Building tickets cost in 2022?

To visit the 86th-floor observatory, you must buy the Standard ticket, which costs $47 for adults aged 13 years and above.

If you want to skip all the lines, you must purchase an Express Entry ticket, which costs $87 for all visitors.

Is it worth spending extra to visit the 102 floor of the Empire State Building?

If you are not on a budget holiday and got time on your hands, we recommend visiting the observation deck on the 102 floor of the Empire State Building.

Since the 102-floor observatory is an indoor attraction, guests visiting during colder months prefer the upper deck if they can’t manage the cold.

Considering the prevailing covid conditions, is it safe to visit ESB?

Yes, Empire State Building follows all the safety regulations necessary to keep the tourists safe.