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Best Time to Visit the Empire State: Night or Day

Climbing to the top of the Empire State Building and contemplating New York at your feet is an irresistible plan. When is the best time to visit?

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

6 min read

Best Time to Visit the Empire State: Night or Day

Aerial view of the Empire State Building | ©ESBNY

The Empire State Building is an icon of New York City and the views of its skyline from its observation deck are breathtaking. Before getting your tickets to the Empire State, I advise you to take a look at this post to find out the best time to go up to the observation deck of the skyscraper and enjoy the views of the Big Apple.

The experience can change depending on the time of day, date or seasonal weather, among other things. So keep the following in mind!

When is the best time to visit the Empire State Building?

Views from the Empire State Building| ©Hellotickets
Views from the Empire State Building| ©Hellotickets

The best time to climb the skyscraper is first thing in the morning, because you can start your day by taking the pulse of the city as you wake up and see its liveliest side. Also, considering the large number of visitors at the Empire State Observation Deck, the early morning will allow you to enjoy the views without the crowds.

Contemplating New York in all its immensity while watching the first rays of morning sunlight illuminate the facades of the skyscrapers and the bustle of the crowd gradually spreads through the streets is a unique and unforgettable experience.

Once you see the city from a bird's eye view you will surely want to repeat. The views from the Empire State Building are fabulous but if you have more free time I suggest you go up to the viewpoints of other skyscrapers in New York for a more complete experience. For example, from the Top of the Rock in Rockefeller Center you will see the silhouette of the Empire State in all its splendor.

Book tickets to the Empire State Building

3. Why is it a good idea to climb the Empire State Building at night?

The Empire State Building at night| ©Hellotickets
The Empire State Building at night| ©Hellotickets

Absolutely! At sunset the cityscape from the Empire State Building observation deck is fascinating and a very romantic occasion to visit the skyscraper as a couple. When you purchase your ticket you will have to choose a day, when you will be able to enter the Empire State at the time of your choice.

It opens its doors until 2 AM! So you have plenty of time to do other activities during the day and save the cherry on top for last. You won't be able to take your eyes off the little lights that adorn every corner of the city and seem to emulate the stars in the sky. It is a truly magical moment and the finishing touch to a perfect day.

If you want to know more about how to visit this emblematic monument at night, I recommend you to read the post The Empire State Building at night.

3. When is the best time to go up and avoid the crowds?

Access to the Empire State Building| ©Hellotickets
Access to the Empire State Building| ©Hellotickets

If you don't like crowds while sightseeing, to avoid the crowds and lines during your visit to the Empire State Building, the best time to go is early in the morning around 8 AM, when there are hardly any people and you will enjoy an almost private experience.

However, another good option to visit the Empire State without crowds is in the early morning, after midnight, after attending an NBA game or aBroadway musical.

The Empire State remains open until 2 AM. After 1 AM on weekdays there are hardly any visitors, so if you are a night owl you will enjoy the experience virtually alone and can recreate taking pictures. On the other hand, on weekends there are likely to be more tourists.

4. What is the best time of year to climb the Empire State Building?

The Empire State Observation Deck| ©Hellotickets
The Empire State Observation Deck| ©Hellotickets

The best time to visit the Empire State Building's outdoor observation deck on the 86th floor is when the weather is good in New York, i.e. in summer and autumn as there is less risk of rain compared to the other seasons of the year. In addition, the days usually dawn sunny and there are more hours of daylight to make a sensational photo reportage.

However, if you travel to New York in winter when temperatures are low and the wind can blow, do not worry, because you can also enjoy the beautiful views of New York from its glass observation deck on the 102nd floor. At this height, on clear days, the views can reach up to 128 kilometers. Mind-blowing, isn't it?

Anyway, to go up to the Empire State observation deck I give you a trick and that is not to get your tickets too far in advance and wait to do it in the 7 or 15 days before your trip to New York. This way, it will be easier for you to check the weather in the city and choose a sunny day to do this activity.

5. The best time of day to go to the Empire State with children

The Empire State Building| ©Hellotickets
The Empire State Building| ©Hellotickets

If you are visiting the Empire State Building as a family, the best time of day to go with the kids is early in the morning because they wake up with their batteries charged and are more active to make plans compared to the afternoon, when they may feel more tired after a full day out doing activities.

Another advantage of getting up early to climb this skyscraper as a family is that you can avoid the crowds and queues that form in the afternoon, which could make children lose their patience. In addition, with fewer people around, it is easier to keep an eye on them so they don't get lost.

Another tip I can give you is to consider the best restaurants to eat near the Empire State Building, especially if you go up at noon with the kids and you want to plan the rest of the day.

6. The best time to take cool pictures from the Empire State Building

Views from the Empire State Building| ©Hellotickets
Views from the Empire State Building| ©Hellotickets

The Empire State Building is one of the most famous protagonists of the New York skyline. Enjoying the fabulous panoramic views of the Big Apple from its observation decks is a sensation from another planet that you will want to capture with your camera at all costs.

If photography is not your forte, the morning light will be your greatest ally to take beautiful pictures of your visit and of the sites that have made the city famous because it will help you not to have problems with out-of-focus images. Also, if you use an APP on your cell phone to optimize the result, you will surely get great pictures.

The best panoramic views from the Empire State

  • Statue of Liberty
  • Times Square
  • One World Trade Center
  • Chrysler Building
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Fifth Avenue
  • Flatiron Building
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Bryant Park

Sunset can also be a fantastic time to immortalize the New York skyline as you can capture the beautiful play of pinkish and orange light that tints the sky blue as the sun goes down.

In case you choose to visit the Empire State Building at night, to get a good result taking night shots, my advice is to increase the ISO to 400, activate the HDR mode of your camera and use the shutter release to avoid blurred images.

These little tricks can help you improve the quality of your photos when shooting landscapes at night and in low light.

7. The best dates to go up the Empire State Building

The interior of the Empire State Building| ©Hellotickets
The interior of the Empire State Building| ©Hellotickets

The Empire State Building is open every day of the year, even on vacations. However, there are certain days when a visit to the observation deck can be even more special. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a guitarist entertains with his tunes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights between 7 PM and 10 PM.

Independence Day (July 4th) is another good time to climb the Empire State Building and watch the fireworks over the 86th floor observatory. It's an amazing experience!

Another unique time to climb the Empire State is during Valentine's Day. The spectacular views of New York City can only get better if you're in the best company, don't you think?