Empire State Building observation deck – height, tickets, views
The Empire State Building observation decks offer some of the world’s most breathtaking views.
The building provides indoor and outdoor decks, so visitors can choose based on the weather.
The two observatories on the 86th and 102nd floors are located 284 steps apart, giving visitors different perspectives of the city’s beauty.
Over 4 million people visit these decks each year, taking high-speed elevators to reach the top.
From the iconic decks, you can enjoy a 360-degree view across New York City and even neighboring states.
Where are the observation decks?
The Empire State Building has two observatories – one on the 86th and another on the 102 floor.
Those who wish to explore the 86th-floor and 102nd-floor observatories can upgrade their Standard or Express Entry tickets.
A private balcony on the 103rd floor is also exclusively reserved for celebrities.
Empire State Building 86th floor
The Otis elevator swiftly ascends visitors to the 86th-floor observatory in under a minute.
Perched at 320 meters (1,050 feet), this open-air Main Deck offers unobstructed 360-degree views of New York City, Brooklyn, Queens, and beyond.
Radiant heaters keep the deck warm during winter, allowing guests to enjoy the stunning vistas year-round.
On clear days, the view extends to five states, providing glimpses of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Delaware.
Ticket to the 86th Floor
The Empire State Building General Admission ticket provides access to the 86th-floor observation deck.
The ticket includes admission to the Empire State Building and access to immersive exhibits on the second floor.
It has a downloadable interactive audio guide app in English and 8 other languages.
It’s a fantastic opportunity to experience the iconic landmark and take in the stunning panorama of New York City.
|Adult ticket (13 to 61 years):
|Child ticket (6 to 12 years):
|Senior Citizen ticket (62+ years):
Infants enjoy free entry to the 86th floor.
Empire State Building 102nd floor
At 381 meters (1,250 feet) high, the 102nd-floor observatory offers the highest public access in the Empire State Building.
Accessed through a unique glass elevator, this enclosed platform sits sixteen stories above the 86th-floor deck.
Renovated in 2020, the observatory boasts large floor-to-ceiling windows.
It provides visitors with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city.
On a clear day, you can see up to 130 km (80 miles) into the distance from this elevated vantage point.
Ticket to the 102nd Floor
The Empire State Building All-Access Tour Ticket offers an exceptional experience for visitors.
With skip-the-line admission, you can avoid queues and have more time to explore.
The ticket includes access to the 86th-floor observation deck and the second-floor immersive exhibits.
You can visit the 102nd-floor Observation Deck, providing a panoramic view of New York City.
Don’t miss this chance to see the city from a new perspective.
The Empire State Building 86th-floor and 102nd-floor ticket costs $130 for all visitors.
Empire State Building – 86th floor or 102nd floor
Visitors often question if they should visit the 86th or 102nd floors and wonder if the observation deck on the 102nd floor is worth the money.
If budget and time aren’t an issue, then yes, Empire State Building’s 102nd floor is worth a visit.
The main deck is a better option if you want an indoor observatory deck and do not wish to spend time outdoors.
Even though there are radiant heaters on the 86th floor, it can get freezing outdoors during winter.
You might wonder if 16 floors can bring a difference in the views.
Not exactly. The 102nd floor offers the same view but from a different perspective.
Empire State Building 103rd floor
The 103rd floor, just above the official “top floor,” offers a small balcony with stunning open-air views.
Accessible by a series of elevators and a narrow steel stairway, this floor was originally intended as a mooring mast for airships.
The 103rd floor is an open-air area with minimal protection, located in the metal mast atop the tower.
However, it is now closed to the public and exclusively reserved for celebrities and notable personalities.
Contacting officials with a marketing idea, PR pitch, or news story angle can also help you get access to this area.
The experience offers a genuinely vertigo-inducing perspective of New York City’s skyline.
Empire State Building 104th floor
Believe it or not, the Empire State Building has a 104th floor, but it’s not accessible to the public or even celebrities.
This space is more like a platform than a traditional floor.
It’s reserved for engineers and maintenance workers securely harnessed to the building.
To reach this highest point of the Empire State Building, one must climb a few steps from the 103rd floor and then open a hatch to step out.
It truly is the building’s literal top floor.
Tickets need to explore the observation deck
You will need tickets to visit the Empire State Building observation deck.
Based on which floor you plan to visit, you can purchase tickets.
86th floor ticket
If you are low on time or wish to visit only the 86th floor, you can get general admission tickets.
There are two types of tickets to the 86th floor: general ticket and express ticket.
While general tickets help you skip the ticket counter lines, you can jump security check queues and line in front of the elevator with the express ticket.
While skip-the-line tickets cost more than the general ticket, they help you save time and provide VIP access.
The general ticket costs $49 for adults and the express ticket costs $92.
102nd floor ticket
Are you in the Empire state building with a general ticket and wish to visit the 102nd floor too? Then purchase an upgrade ticket at the counter.
For visitors who are yet to visit and wish to tour both the floor, get the 86th-floor and 102nd-floor tickets together online in advance.
You can express your entry ticket to both floors of the Empire State Building with this ticket.
The Empire state building 86th floor and 102nd-floor ticket costs $130 for all visitors.
Alternatively, if you plan on exploring multiple attractions during your New York City trip, you can buy discount passes like CityPASS or Go City Explorer Pass.
New York CityPASS offers a 3-attraction or 6-attraction pass, allowing access to over 12 city attractions, including the Empire State Building.
Using these passes instead of buying individual tickets can lead to substantial savings of up to 45%.
Another excellent option is the New York Go City explorer pass.
It offers a range of choices from a 1-Day Pass to a 10-Day Pass, granting entry to over 100 attractions, including the Empire State Building.
Once you have the New York Pass, you can use the Go City app to access popular NYC attractions.
Visitors can save hundreds of dollars and save up to 50% on popular attractions using the New York Pass.
You also get free admission to the Empire State Building with the Go City Explorer Pass!
Time need to explore the decks
Empire State Building’s tickets offer the advantage of no time limits, allowing visitors to stay as long as they wish.
A typical visit to the 86th-floor observation deck takes about an hour, while the 102nd-floor deck requires an additional half hour.
During peak tourist season (May to September), there are often long waiting lines to purchase tickets and enter the elevators.
To avoid these lines, buying Regular Tickets helps skip the ticket counter queues.
Express Tickets bought online allow skipping both the ticket counter and elevator queues for a smoother experience.
The best way to explore Empire State Building observatory decks
Indeed, a clear and sunny day is the ideal time to visit the Empire State Building’s observation decks for the best views.
Foggy or rainy weather may hinder visibility and dampen the experience.
Checking the weather beforehand can help plan your trip accordingly.
Due to its iconic status, the Empire State Building attracts many visitors, leading to potential crowding issues.
To avoid the overwhelming crowds, visit the observation decks early in the morning.
This way, you can enjoy the sights of New York City with more space and freedom.
Exploring all the exhibits and attractions at the Empire State Building usually takes around 90 minutes.
But some visitors stay closer to 2 hours.
Planning for the full time allows you to enjoy the immersive galleries, observation decks, and gift shops.
During busy periods, visitors may need to go through all the exhibits before reaching the elevators to the observatories.
Sunset is a popular time to visit the observation decks, but it can be crowded.
For fewer crowds, consider visiting during the spring or winter months.
Views from Empire State Building observatory decks
The Empire State Building is a captivating and iconic attraction that lures visitors from around the globe.
Once the tallest building in the world, it boasts two stunning observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors, providing breathtaking views of the city.
You can witness the city’s diversity from these vantage points, from neighborhoods with smaller houses to skyscrapers.
It’s a must-visit destination to experience the grandeur and beauty of New York City’s architecture and skyline.
From the 86th-floor observation deck of the Empire State Building, visitors can enjoy a 360-degree open-air view of New York City.
It includes landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, and Times Square.
On clear days, you can even catch glimpses of neighboring states.
From the 102nd floor, an enclosed viewing platform with large floor-to-ceiling windows provides an even more immersive experience.
From this point, visitors can see the city’s skyline, stunning views of the Manhattan and Hudson rivers.
Visitor’s facilities at the ESB observation deck
The Empire State Building’s observation decks don’t offer guided tours, but visitors can enjoy a free multimedia tour app with admission.
The app is downloadable for Android and iPhone, accessible via on-site free wifi.
Powerful binoculars on both decks provide unobstructed views.
The restrooms are on the 86th floor.
While no eateries are in the observatories, dining options are available on the main concourse.
1. How many Floors does the Empire State Building have?
The Empire State Building boasts an impressive 102 floors, making it a towering landmark in the New York City skyline.
Apart from the 86th and 102nd floors accessible to the public, the Empire State Building has two other floors.
The 103rd floor features a private balcony exclusively for celebrities, while the 104th floor is like the building’s own terrace.
These floors are not open to the general public and are accessible only to engineers and maintenance workers with proper safety measures.
2. When is the Empire State Building observation deck open?
The observation deck on the 86th floor welcomes visitors daily from 8 AM to 2 AM, offering ample opportunities to experience both daytime and nighttime views.
3. Is the Empire State Building observation deck free?
While the Empire State Building observation deck offers breathtaking views, it is not free, and visitors need to purchase tickets to access it.
4. Is the Empire State Building observation deck worth it?
The Empire State Building observation deck is worth the visit.
It provides unparalleled panoramic views of New York City, making it a memorable and iconic experience.
5. How late can you go up the Empire State Building decks?
Night owls will be delighted to know that the observation deck on the 86th floor stays open until 2 am.
It allows visitors to enjoy the city lights well into the evening.
6. What is on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building?
The 86th floor of the Empire State Building is home to the main observation deck.
Visitors can see the cityscape and landmarks like Central Park, Times Square, and the Statue of Liberty.
7. What is on the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building?
If you want a different perspective, head up to the 102nd floor.
It features a smaller enclosed observatory with additional views to complement those on the 86th floor.
8. How long is the wait for the observation deck at the Empire State Building?
The wait time for the observation deck can vary depending on the season and time of day. Book your tickets online and consider visiting during less crowded hours.
9. Is it worth going to the 102nd floor?
The 102nd floor provides a higher vantage point, allowing you to see even more of the city’s stunning skyline and surrounding areas.
10. Is it better to go to the Empire State Building at night or day?
Both daytime and nighttime visits to the Empire State Building have their charm, with the night offering a magical display of city lights.
11. What is the difference between the 86 and 102 floors?
The 86th floor provides visitors with a stunning open-air observation deck, showcasing breathtaking 360-degree views of New York City and its surroundings.
This floor serves as the primary observation deck accessible to all ticket holders.
On the other hand, the 102nd floor is enclosed and features floor-to-ceiling glass windows, offering a more captivating cityscape experience.
12. How early should I get to the Empire State Building?
To avoid long lines and crowds, arrive early, around the opening hours, at the Empire State Building, especially during peak tourist seasons.
13. Can I bring a backpack to the Empire State Building?
While you can bring a backpack to the Empire State Building, it will be subject to security screening, so comply with the regulations.
14. Which floor is best in the Empire State Building?
The two observatory decks – 86th and 102nd floors are the best for cityscape views in the Empire State Building.
15. Do you have to pay to go to the top of the Empire State Building?
Access to the Empire State Building observation deck is not free, but once you’ve purchased a ticket, you can stay and enjoy the views for as long as you wish.
16. Is it cold at the top of the Empire State Building?
The temperature at the top of the Empire State Building can be colder than ground level, so dress in layers and bring a jacket, especially during colder months.
17. How long can you stay on top of the Empire State Building?
There is no time limit on how long you can spend at the Empire State Building Observatories or exhibits.
18. How long is the elevator ride in the Empire State Building?
The ride in the elevator up to the 86th Floor Observatory takes less than a minute.
Featured Image: USAtoday.com