Free Empire State Building admission for Fleet Week sailors

Ah, Fleet Week — the annual event when hundreds of uniformed sailors descend on New York City, much to the delight of locals and photo-happy tourists alike.

As New York Harbor welcomes U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships this year from May 26 to June 2, so too will all the local restaurants, stores, and bars. During this week, the Empire State Building is offering free Observatory admission to any uniform-clad military personnel.

For everyone else, free ship tours are available to the general public in Manhattan at Pier 88 and in Staten Island. Based on my experience in past years, the lines are long so plan accordingly. I also don’t recommend wearing a skirt or heels. You’d think that is common sense, but on a summery day, it’s easy to forget that looking cute isn’t very practical when exploring a ship.

In addition to the Empire State Building, many of the city’s finest institutions will be waiving admission fees for active duty service personnel and veterans over Memorial Day weekend. Participating attractions include the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Ellis Island Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Whitney Museum.

Details: Here’s a list of participating attractions for “New York Museums Salute Memorial Day: A Weekend of Appreciation.” Proper military ID is required for free admission.

Even if you don’t qualify for the free admission, these special promotions pretty much guarantee some excellent people-watching. And if you can’t make it to NYC in time, you can always content yourself with this Sex and the City episode.