Empire State Building

November 1st, 2015 / / No Comments »

No trip to New York would be complete without a trip up the Empire State Building.  Whether you are walking the Brooklyn Bridge, wandering around Washington Square or taking in Central Park, you’re sure to catch a glimpse of this iconic building.

Follow our guide to the Empire State Building below including tips to beat the queues and alternative vantage points.

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Whilst it’s always a good to have in mind what you’d like to achieve during your stay, your first priority when planning a trip to New York will probably be on keeping the costs down on flights & accommodation. Online travel agencies such as Expedia can offer competitive prices on hotels & flights that now also offer easy to use apps that can help you plan on the move.

Worth keeping an eye out for the Expedia Best Price Guarantee too that ensures best value.


The Empire State Building from Brooklyn Bridge

The Empire State Building from Brooklyn Bridge


Top Tips for the Empire State Building

1. The New York Pass; pick up discounted entry to the Empire State Building with a sightseeing pass that offers access to over 80 visitor attractions within New York.  This can provide substantial savings for those that are savvy money savers by making good use of your pass during your visit.

2. Buy Tickets Online; whilst there are no particular savings with this option, you do jump the ticket queues at the Empire State Building.  As tickets purchased directly from the Empire State Building are valid for 1 year from the date of purchase, this option does allow you to retain flexibility on when to visit.

3. Queues; there are 3 main queues at the Empire State Building that comprise of the queue to purchase tickets, the security queue & the queue for the lift.  Clearly if you purchase tickets in advance, you can avoid the first bottle neck.

4. Express Experience; to bypass all 3 queues at the Empire State Building,  you can purchase an Express Ticket but it comes at a price.  If you are considering this option, then make your purchase online otherwise you’ll end up waiting in the ticket queue!

We’ve more top tips for the Empire State Building below but remember if you are planning a trip to New York, don’t forget to look out for our top tips for cheap tickets to Broadway or ideas for free things to do such as the Staten Island ferry.


View from the Empire State Building

View from the top of the Empire State Building


Empire State Building; More Top Tips

4. Timing; the Empire State Building is open between 8am & 2am every day with the last lift up to the top leaving at 1.15am.  Evidence suggests that the quietest times of the day to visit are 8am & 3pm but this does depend upon the time of year, weather & visibility.

5. Avid queue-busters; may wish to purchasing tickets in advance and arrive an hour before opening time or alternatively, if money is no object, purchase an Express Experience.

6. 102nd Floor; tickets are now available that include both the 86th main deck as well as a further lift up to the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building, (additional charge).  As this second deck is just 60 metres higher, (remember you are already 320m from the ground on the 86th floor), consider whether this extra height is likely to offer value for money.

You can find our favourite vantage point of the Empire State Building below but for alternative views of New York have you considered the latest attraction, the High Line, or why not enjoy a free trip on the Staten Island ferry to take in views of the New York skyline.


Empire State Building

Empire State Building from Washington Square


Best Views of the Empire State Building

Debate continues as to the best vantage points to view the Empire State Building so let me add our favourite into the mix; Top of the Strand. This roof top terrace bar is open all year round, (with retractable glass roof) & offers great views of the Empire State Building particularly as it lights up at night.  As this is a popular spot throughout the year, best get there as it opens, around 5pm, if you want to bag a seat.

Service is good, prices are reasonable & the view says it all.


Empire State Building

Top of the Strand; view of the Empire State Building



By Liz Walsh



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