There’s no better place to start exploring NYC than the Empire State Building, and take in the legendary views of the Big Apple. Just like the City it lives in, the building also doesn’t sleep and is open from 8am to 2am, 365 days of the year regardless of the weather. A true New Yorker! Visitors can expect to learn about the history of the ambitious project, see pictures and digitally re-mastered video footage along with the impressive 360 degree view.
The building supports delivery of broadcasting signals directly to television and radio receivers reaching over 7.4 million television households. In 2012, they installed a state of the art LED light system which can display 16 million colours and changes instantaneously. If you choose to visit at night, you may be lucky enough to witness an explosion of colour and vibrancy. We visited in April of 2019 during the Easter Bank Holiday (we loved the parade!) with a then, six month old baby George. We loved it and got there early to ensure we could take our time to soak in the incredible views!
BOOKING YOUR TRIP
BEST TIME TO VISIT
There’s a reason they call NYC the City that never sleeps, because it literally never stops and things are always open. The Empire State Building is no exception. It is open 365 days a year and from 8AM to 2am (last elevator is at 1.45am). Being an iconic building means it is a popular destination for tourists, so unlike other countries, it rarely experiences a drop in numbers. March to May sees a small decline but the weather can be unpredictable which may affect your view. Beat the crowds, for more space and less wait, visit between 8AM and 11AM.
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. There are plenty of activities to do in NYC, click here for our Travel Guide.
Everyone in the world knows how to find the Empire State Building…come to New York City and look up! The actual address to enter into your Google Maps is, 20 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001, USA.
Any Taxi or private car will take you directly there, or the open top bus tour has a stop just around the corner. If travelling there on foot from Times Square, (roughly 15 minute walk) head through Broadway towards W 46th St, then turn left onto W 34th St. From Central Park, (around 30 min walk) walk north-west on Central Park Driveway, turn left towards Broadway then take the zebra crossing. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Broadway then turn left onto W 34th St.
We’re open every day, including all holidays, 365 days a year, rain or shine from 8am to 2am (the last elevator is at 1.15am).
When walking around NYC you will be inundated with workers in red waistcoats selling/offering you tickets. Your choice of ticket depends on your trip, time frame and other tourist attractions you wish to visit. There is plenty to see and do around the City, check out our Travel Guide before making an itinerary.
Main Deck (86th Floor)
- $38 for Adults
- $36 for Seniors (62+)
- $32 for Children (6-12)
Express Pass Tickets cost $65 per person and they allow you to skip not just the ticket lines but also the elevator lines.
Main Deck and Top Deck (86th and 102nd Floors)
- $58 for Adults
- $56 for Seniors (62+)
- $52 for Children (6-12)
- Children under 6 are free
Tourists discount be be found when purchasing a New York Pass and the New York Explorer Pass. Which allows you entry to multiple attractions. For Empire State Building tickets, we recommend booking online beforehand and purchasing Express Passes to skip the queues. Children under 6 go free! To visit during the day and again at night time, you need a ESB am/pm Combo pass (which allows you to visit twice). Military discount applies ($3 off) or free admission if in uniform.
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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.
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. Or take to the street and enjoy food at one of the thousand of eateries that adorn the streets of NYC.
Unfortunately we were unable to find any benches or seats to feed George when he became hungry. So I found a quiet corner and sat on the floor (not ideal!). For more tips on how to bottle feed away from home, watch our video on YouTube.
NAPPY CHANGE FACILITIES
Toilets are located on the second floor, before joining the queue for the lift to the 86th floor. These are the main toilets and therefore the largest. You have to go trough security first and depending on the size of the queue, I would recommend going for a wee before entering the building. Baby change is available. When you are on the 86th floor, there are two female toilets with a disabled toilet, that is where the baby change table is.
You can use your stroller right the way to the 102nd floor. However, it is not suitable to take outside onto the actual observation deck. It is simply to crowded on there and if you want to walk around and enjoy the 360 (and why wouldn’t you) , you will struggle. We left the pram on the deck and held George as we may our way around. There are big mesh nets so you they can’t and you can’t fall or drop them, if you feel nervous.
All handbags, backpacks, nappy bags and strollers have to go through security – which is similar to that of an airport. Your stroller must fold down and go on the conveyor belt, you cannot walk through the metal detector with your baby sat or led in their stroller. Also, you are leaving your stroller at your own risk when going outside onto the observation deck. There are members of staff up there but they are in charge of handling the queues to get down and to prevent anyone from doing anything silly outside.
- For more space and less wait, visit between 8am and 11am.
- Children under 6 go free.
- You will see members of staff dressed in red on the sidewalk in front of the Empire State Building, if you have any questions they are more than happy to help.
- To visit during the day and again at night time, you need a ESB am/pm Combo pass (which allows you to visit twice).
- 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
- They have their own free wifi for visitors!
EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
The building has recently been through an extensive upgrade and that includes a new entrance (since 2018). Upon entrance you step foot into the brand new ‘Visitor’s Centre’. A big, spacious room with colourful images of the building and its view. For families with strollers, you will find two lifts that take you to the 2nd floor, where you purchase tickets or if already purchased, go through security and catch the life to the main deck.
Ticket machines are self-serving and you then require a bar code to get through the two turnstyles. There is a glass gate that a member of staff will open for you if you have a stroller or wheelchair. Next up, the obligatory photograph by their own guys. You can choose to opt out (we did) and push on through to security. Once that is done., be sure to use the bathroom before heading to the lifts. Members of staff direct you to lifts and try to keep groups, families together. You don’t have to flatten your stroller, contrary to what the website says.
Enjoy a HD video projected from the ceiling of the elevator, bringing to life the blood, sweat and tears that went into completed the ambitious project. Less than 1 minute later you will arrive on the 80th floor for the newly completed, ‘Dare to Dream Exhibit.’ Providing visitors with the buildings history, engaging facts and photographs. It also gives you a cheeky glimpse of the view out of the windows. Work your way around the exhibition to the next set of elevators and the highly anticipated 86th floor!
10 seconds later you have arrived. Follow the path to the left (ramps for stroller access) and you will find the door to the observation deck. You can walk around the deck and gain 360 views of the City. Remember, if using a stroller you should leave it inside the building as you will struggle to navigate the narrow pathways and crowds. It does quite very windy and cold up there, despite being warm on the ground so be sure to have a jacket handy for you and the children.
The gift shop, like the building it live sin, is larger than life! You will be pleased to know that on your way down, you only have to take one elevator. You walk through the famous Fifth Avenue Lobby to exit the building via the gift shop. It is one of the few interiors in New York to be designated a historic landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. In 2009, 18 months were spent restoring its aesthetic to the original 1930 design – it only took 13 months to build the entire building!
Highlights of the lobby include the Art Deco inspired ceiling murals, in a homage to the mechanical age, planets and stars are rendered as an assembly line of gears, brought back to life in 24-karat gold and aluminium leaf. On the wall above the front desk in the Fifth Avenue lobby is one of the most famous images in New York City, a depiction of the building itself with beams of lights radiating from the mast. Pictures of Celebrities adorn one wall showing them admiring the view.
The gift shop features a massive selection of gifts, from the tacky to the exclusive. With varied price tags, allow half an hour of browsing and then getting through the check out. 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.