Skip to Content

Empire State Building Wait Time (Tourist Guide)

Empire State Building Wait Time (Tourist Guide)

When going to the Empire State Building in NYC, it’s common to wonder about the number of people heading to the attraction.

Depending on the time of year, you will be in for a long wait!

We have talked about the hours at Central Park, visiting different attractions in NYC, and even spending time in Washington Heights, but now it’s time to look at this main attraction.

Since we have done this, we are going to showcase what the experience is like when it comes to the wait time at the Empire State Building.

We know you are not going to want to wait for too long, but a bit of waiting might be in your future if you are heading here.

Let’s take a look.

Wait Time At The Empire State Building

For a basic answer.

The average wait time at the Empire State Building is going to be approximately one hour. This can become much longer if you are going on the weekend and/or on a holiday.

For example, the wait time can take 2-3 hours on Christmas Day.

This is simply due to the number of people heading to the attraction along with tourists that are in town. You are going to have to be prepared for longer wait times in such situations.

For regular days, one hour is what you are going to get unless you are going earlier in the morning or later at night.

Since it is open from 8 AM – 2 AM, we would recommend preparing for this by timing your visit better if you can.

Tips To Reduce Wait Time At The Empire State Building

Purchase The Tickets Online

The first thing we would do is purchase the tickets online.

This is going to simplify matters because you are not going to have to get in line to grab the tickets. This is going to make it easier to get past this step and move forward.

Otherwise, you are going to have to wait in multiple lines just to get to where you want to go. This includes the line for the tickets.

If you skip past this step, you are just going to be waiting for the security check and the elevator. This reduces your waiting period significantly.

Don’t Bring Too Many Things

The security check is a serious one.

This means they are going to be looking for multiple items and it’s best to reduce what you are taking with you. If possible, take nothing but your phone.

This is going to make the security check a breeze. We know this is not always possible but we are simply talking about cutting down the wait time and this is the best way to do so.

Get An Express Pass

You can take the time to get the VIP Express Pass.

This pass is specifically designed for those who are going to want priority to enter the building. This is going to push you to the front and get you through the door as soon as you want to.

We would recommend this on busier days including the weekend. It will save you a lot of time and likely make this a non-issue!

Go Earlier Or Later In The Day

Timing your visit is one of the best things a person can do.

For example, we would recommend going as soon as it opens. This would be around 8 AM. Even an hour after this is good. It will reduce the rush, which tends to become significant in the middle of the day.

Another option is to go an hour or two before it closes.

This is going to be when the rush disappears. Of course, this is also going to alter the view you end up seeing from the observation deck!

Go On A Weekday

We noticed a lot of children show up to this attraction with their families.

This is natural because it’s a nice place with historic value. Parents want to take their children to these places and you are not going to want to get caught in this rush if possible.

The best option would be to go on a weekday.

This includes during school time, so you are not going to see too many kids other than tourists who are in the area.

Final Thoughts

This is what you need to know about the wait time at the Empire State Building.

We know it’s going to seem daunting but smart planning is going to go a long way. Whether you get the VIP Express Pass or just time your visit better, you can still make the most of this beautiful attraction.

We also recommend reading about the sunflowers of New York and the drinking age in NYC.