The Empire State Building (ESB) was finished in 1931 on April the 11th. It took 410 days (1 year and 45 days) to complete and was officially opened 20 days later (2 weeks 6 days) on May the 1st of 1931.
The ESB hours are from 8:00am to 2:00am seven (7) days per week and the last elevators (times differs in the year) goes up at 1:15am. To avoid the crowds, being at the ESB early in the morning (between 8:00am and 10:30am) would do the trick for you as most visitors to New York City have flights leaving from New York very early in the morning and would be heading to the airport during that time.
Crowds tend to gather at the ESB after 11:00am (to avoid fog for great views and use the New York Skyride) so it is best to try and reach there earlier. If visiting during the busy hours, feel free to call 1.877.NYC.VIEW (1-877-692-8439) or 212.736.3100 to check on current wait times and hours. The Empire State Building reserves the right to close the Observatory early on very busy days so please keep that in mind on your visit in New York.
You may encounter a line at the front door during very busy times (shortly after 11:00am) at the Empire State Building due to the fact that they limit the number of guests allowed in the lobby. This is normal and is done for everybody’s safety visiting the Empire State Building.
The Empire State Building is also on the list of Romantic Places in New York and with its 2:00am closing, is perfect of couples to watch the “city that never sleeps” come alive at night and the changing of the tower’s lights.
Join us in our New York Forum if you have any comments or questions.