The lines at the Empire State Building Observatory are as legendary as the building itself. The line actually consists of 3 different lines. The first one is the security line that everyone must go through. Next comes the ticket line. Visitors with pre-purchased tickets can skip this line which can save a considerable amount of time during our busiest times. The 3rd and last line is for the elevators that take you to the Observatory. By purchasing an Express Pass you will automatically be moved to the front of each and every line.
Express Pass is especially valuable from Memorial Day through Labor Day, from Thanksgiving until New Year's any time of day and all holiday weekends. Other times of year the Express Pass is recommended for planned visits between 11am and 2pm, and one hour before and after sunset. Limited numbers of Express Passes are sold, so maximum wait times are around 7 minutes. Typical wait time is under 1 minute. Specific wait times cannot be guaranteed, only front of line privileges.