How long do you have to queue for going up the Empire State Building in general? As I've seen, they offer a special ticket where you are allowed to skip the elevator queue, but you have to queue for the security check nevertheless. How much time could you save with this express ticket?
The wait time actually fluctuates throughout the year. We do see a large increase in the number of guests during the summer months and most major holidays, causing a wait time of about 45 minutes to an hour on average. During those times we recommend visitors purchase our Express Pass which allows you to skip the ticket and elevator lines. Everyone does need to go through security as we do our best to provide the safest experience for everyone. We recommend you purchase your tickets in advance at www.esbnyc.com to avoid having to queue at the building’s ticket office. Should you visit other times of the year we suggest coming either between 8-10 a.m. or after 10 p.m. as those are both times we tend to see shorter lines, as Geeo mentioned. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you!
Queue are huge in peak hours (especially weekends) but not if you go early in the morning (try to be there before it opens, 8 am, or a little later) or late at night (1.30 am) when you should be able to enter within minutes.
I was told by a friend to go at 5pm on a Sunday (well, an hour before sunset) - as they had no queues.
I dutifully went along at the time - perfectly clear day, and for some reason, there was no queue. I walked straight past all the empty lines, straight up and had a short wait at the intermediate elevator.
I've been told however, that during peak tourist times it's possible to take two hours to get to the top. I can only imagine the frustration. So I guess that's the theoretical time you could save.
I'm just back from NYC and I will say on a weekday it should not take more than 45 minutes to get inside except evening. Everyone tries to go evening around 7pm to watch NYC in daylight and sunset time. We were there by 6.30pm and reached top by 7pm.