Tips to Getting to the Top of the Empire State Building…Hastle-Free.

Heather Zachariah


For years, I’ve avoided the Empire State Building and other touristy places dreading the long lines. Don’t ask me why I didn’t know this before, but there is a “skip the lines” ticket that you can buy to go to the top. We bought it when friends came to visit and it was awesome; we had 5 kids between 2 adults–not a very patient group. We skipped the initial line up to the 86th floor and then it also brings you to a higher point on the 102nd floor. It was worth every penny!

Another way to do it without paying extra is going up at night. The Empire State Building is open every day until 2am. My kids and their friends always go up from 8:30-10pm and the place is empty. They mill around up there for about an hour taking pictures and looking at the views with no crowds. Last time they even took the elevator up with the Mets pitcher Syndergaard and his date. Even the famous people know it is the time to go.

Where to get your ticket: Skip the line ticket
How much it costs: $85

1. Don’t buy this ticket on the street. Purchase online before you go.

2. Kids under 6 are free.

3. If you’re bringing a stroller, you’ll need to fold it before entering the elevator.

4. Bathrooms: There’s one on the 2nd floor before getting in line for the elevators.

5. Visit between 8am and 11am for a less crowded experience.

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."