The Essential Guide To Grand Central Station NYC

A Must See: The Grand Central in New York

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From its stunning architecture to its central location in Midtown Manhattan, no visit to New York City is complete without a stop at Grand Central Terminal!

Like Penn Station, Grand Central Station is famous for being one of the main train stations and ways to get into New York City.

However, it’s so much more! As one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, Grand Central Station is a thrill to behold.

Whether it’s bringing up memories from when it was featured in some of your favorite movies – including Men in Black, Superman, and North by Northwest – or you’re taking in its stunning ceiling for the very first time, Grand Central Station is one of the most special New York monuments.

To help you make the most of your time at Grand Central Station, we’re sharing some of the best Grand Central Station bars, restaurants, and hotels, along with the tours you have to take to learn its hidden secrets (including where the world’s largest Tiffany clock is!).

A Brief History of Grand Central Station NYC

Grand Central Station, known more formally as Grand Central Terminal, is one of the most historic train stations in New York City. In fact, thanks to its stunning Beaux-Arts design, it has also been designated a National Historical Landmark.

That history began back with the construction of the Grand Central Depot in 1871. As New York City grew in popularity, so did the use of its public transportation system, so this central terminal had to be expanded, too.

In 1900, Grand Central Station was born, a dramatic feat of engineering that rivaled the Eiffel Tower and the Crystal Palace. Unfortunately, a crash of two southbound trains in 1902 led to rewritten legislature and some big changes for Grand Central.

The building was torn down, and construction on what would become the Grand Central Terminal began in 1903. It opened in February, 1913, and the rest, as they say, is history!

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Make The Most Of Your Stop At Grand Central Terminal NYC

Given the many awards that Grand Central Terminal has won just for its architecture, even a stop inside the main terminal could be enough as you gaze up in wonder.

However, there’s so much more! From the gourmet foods at Grand Central Market to 50 unique specialty shops – and five must-try restaurants and cocktail lounges – there’s plenty to do at and around Grand Central Terminal.

Top 5 Hotels Near Grand Central Station NYC

If you’re arriving late and looking for the best hotels near Grand Central Station NYC, we have a few selections that should help you find a comfortable stay.

Take a look below and make sure to reserve your nights soon!

  1. Hotel_New_York_Library_Hotel_by_Library_Hotel_Collection

    01 Library Hotel by Library Hotel Collection

    Just a three-minute walk from Grand Central Terminal and one of the best hotels in New York City, the Library Hotel is an excellent choice for quality and comfort. With access to fitness rooms, lounges, and over 6,000 books, this is a great hotel to get some rest from the hustle and bustle of the city.

  2. FitzpatrickHotelGrandCentral

    02 Fitzpatrick Hotel Grand Central

    Enjoy comfortable, modern amenities and elegantly appointed rooms just minutes from Manhattan’s best sites, including Rockefeller Center, Central Park and MoMA.

  3. GothamHotelGrandCentral

    03 The Gotham Hotel

    Indulge in a boutique hotel experience right in the middle of Manhattan at the independently owned and operated 67-room Gotham Hotel. Just a few blocks away from Grand Central and its trains, this is a refined accommodation

  4. TheRenwick

    04 The Renwick

    Enjoy a blend of old New York style with modern luxury at this warm hotel just a few minutes from Grand Central Terminal. Occupying a beautiful building from the 20s, each room has wonderful touches, including artist-style work areas, handmade-furniture, and plush bedding.

  5. Pod39Hotel

    05 POD 39

    While New York City can be a more expensive city, there are always great deals when you know where to look. The Pod 39 Hotel is exactly that: a friendly hotel at an even friendlier price. Featuring comfortable rooms, great communal spaces, and a cool bar area, this is a great choice for a hotel near Grand Central Station.

Top 5 Restaurants Near Grand Central Station NYC

Only got time for a quick bite before your train? Want to indulge in some fine-dining while you’re at Grand Central?

Any of the following restaurants near Grand Central Station NYC is sure to satisfy!

  1. 171020120021006_Grand_Central_Oyster_Bar-1

    01 Grand Central Oyster Bar

    This restaurant has been open nearly as long as Grand Central Terminal itself (it opened just three weeks after). Where there once stood oyster bars, now there is one of the city’s most well-known oyster restaurants. Take in fresh seafood in a beautiful setting at a truly New York restaurant.

  2. Food Market

    02 Urbanspace at 570 Lex

    Traveling with a group? Stop by Urbanspace, one of the most celebrated eating experiences in the city. This food hall brings together a range of cuisines as dynamic as New York, from noodles and poké bowls to pasta, lobster, vegan, burgers, and more. It’s all housed in a lively, open building that’ll encourage you to get to know your fellow New Yorkers.

  3. 210505154613002_Benjamins_Steakhouse_New_York

    03 Benjamin Steakhouse

    Given that New York has a cut of steak named after it (the NY Strip), it’s only fitting that you add a stop at one of the most tempting steakhouses in the neighborhood.

  4. Restaurant-170423115755029

    04 Cipriani Dolci

    Grand Central Terminal is too magnificent to simply wander through. Sit, stay a while, and enjoy a great Italian meal at this GCT staple. Located right above the hustle and bustle of the main hall, this is one exceptional New York restaurant.

  5. 05 Sinigual

    Eating in New York should be as much a celebration of New York’s past as an indulgence in its present. Seeing as NYC is one of the most diverse cities in the country, you’ve got to try what’s being cooked up at Sinigual, a Midtown Mexican restaurant just steps away from Grand Central Terminal. We’re partial to the Carnitas Yucatán with a refreshing margarita on the side, but you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.

5 Best Bars Near Grand Central Terminal NYC

For the best bars near Grand Central Terminal NYC, you don’t have to go far. With this selection, you can enjoy a classically crafted cocktail just minutes away.

  1. Bar

    01 Valerie New York

    Stop by Valerie to enjoy a great cocktail in a truly unique space. This Midtown Manhattan bar is inspired by Manhattan’s Golden Age. With a beautiful golden glow and timeless details, you’ll be sure to want to stay a while.

  2. The_Campbell_Apartment_NYC_Bar_190524154906001

    02 The Campbell Bar

    This is one of our favorite bars, and it’s actually located right inside Grand Central Terminal. Beautifully restored, elegant, and contemporary, the soaring ceilings make for an impressive place to have their take on a classic cocktail. Why not give their GG Manhattan a try?

  3. 190111215815001_Refinery_rooftop_bar

    03 Refinery Rooftop

    Head from one New York institution to a bar with one of the best views of New York at the Refinery Rooftop. If it’s your first time in New York, you’ve got to try their The Big Apple!

  4. Bar

    04 Stout NYC

    This New York staple is a great spot to enjoy a drink after visiting Grand Central Terminal. With an ample beer menu that celebrates the seasons and a crafty, creative cocktail menu, stop by and stay for a while.

  5. Bar

    05 The Raines Law Room

    No, you don’t need to be a lawyer to head to The Raines Law Room. A play on the prohibition of the sale of alcohol, this just so happens to be one of the best cocktail bars in Manhattan. Not satisfied to just enjoy their drinks? They also offer cocktail-crafting classes, too!

5 Best Grand Central Terminal Tours NYC

While we did the research for this article, we understand if you want to dive deeper into the awesome history of Grand Central Terminal. Here are our five picks for best Grand Central Terminal tours NYC.

  1. Walking Tour

    01 Grand Central Terminal Walking Tour

    Too many people rush around Grand Central Terminal trying to get from one train to the next. With this slower-paced walking tour, you’ll get to know Grand Central Terminal’s attractions, such as the Whispering Gallery, Zodiac ceiling, and more.

  2. Best_Walking_Tour_NYC_The_Secrets_of_Grand_Central_Terminal

    02 The Secrets of Grand Central Terminal

    The Secrets of Grand Central Terminal Walking Tour not only shows you the most important parts of New York’s famous train station, but focuses on the secrets and special features that only a New York guide would know. You will learn a lot on this exciting walking tour in NYC!

  3. Walking Tour

    03 Grand Central Terminal Tour

    From hidden tennis courts to the world’s largest Tiffany clock, Grand Central Terminal has a few tricks up its sleeve. For a guided tour of Grand Central Terminal that reveals the little-known facts that even native New Yorkers don’t know, check out these Grand Central Terminal tours.

  4. new_york_city_all_around_town_hop_on_hop_off_tour_in_new_york_city_292892

    04 Hop-on Hop-Off Bus (1 Day)

    If you are arriving at Grand Central Terminal and you want a way to keep seeing the city, this bus tour will connect with you many of NYC’s major highlights – including Times Square, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Central Park.

  5. Walking Tour

    05 Grand Central: Open Sesame Bagel Tour

    Want to know more about the art and architecture that make the Grand Central Terminal so special? This 1.5 hour tour is dedicated to revealing Grand Central Terminal’s secrets with a helpful, knowledgeable guide.

And one of our favorite things to do after getting to know Grand Central Terminal? Heading up to SUMMIT One Vanderbilt! To learn more about getting tickets to one of the best views of New York City (it has the second-highest outdoor deck in NYC!), head over to our guide here.

Fun Facts About Grand Central Station

  • Grand Central Terminal has its own “Whispering Gallery” located in the main concourse next to the Grand Central Oyster Bar. The acoustics are such that a person standing in one corner can hear a whisper from someone standing in the opposite corner, despite the noise of the terminal.
  • The terminal is home to the world’s largest Tiffany clock, which is located on the outside at 42nd Street and Park Avenue on top of the building. But despite its size, it is probably only the second most famous clock in Grand Central Terminal. The clock above the information desk in the main concourse is not only known from movies & TV, but also meant when New Yorkers say “Meet me at the clock”.
  • Grand Central Terminal was nearly demolished in the 1960s to make way for a skyscraper, but a campaign led by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis helped to save it and preserve it as a national landmark.
  • The terminal has a hidden tennis court on the rooftop, which was used by railroad executives in the 1920s and 1930s. The Vanderbilt Tennis Club is open to the public and offers a unique sports environment.
  • The celestial images on the ceiling in the cathedral-like Main Concourse are painted in gold leaf. If you look up at the giant zodiac paintings you may notice that it’s painted backwards. According to Grand Central’s founder Cornelius Vanderbilt this was on purpose because it was supposed to be seen from a divine perspective.
  • The terminal has a secret underground passage that leads to the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Track 61, that shares a platform with track 63, was originally used for other purposes but some famous people like President Franklin D. Roosevelt and President George W. Bush used it to secretly escape the public.
  • Grand Central Terminal’s birthday is February 2. The GCT was opened in 1913, so this year we are already celebrating its 110th birthday!

Frequently Asked Questions About Grand Central Station

Where is Grand Central Station in NYC?

Grand Central Station, formally called Grand Central Terminal, is located at 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017, USA.

To arrive at Grand Central, you can take the 4, 5, 6, 7, and S subway lines, the M101, M102, M103, M1, M2, M3, M4, Q32 and M42 buses, as well as the Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven lines on Metro North.

Does Amtrak go to Grand Central Station in NYC?

With the exception of occasional infrastructure work at Penn Station which requires rerouting, Amtrak does not normally use Grand Central Station.

What trains go to Grand Central Station NYC?

Grand Central is serviced by three of Metro-North’s five main lines, including the Harlem Line to Wassaic, New York, the Hudson Line to Poughkeepsie, New York, and the New Haven Line to New Haven, Connecticut.

When was Grand Central Station NYC built?

The current Grand Central Station was opened to the public in 1913 after construction began in 1902. Previously, Grand Central Depot was completed in 1871.

Where is Grand Central Station located in NYC?

Grand Central Terminal is located in Midtown Manhattan at 89 E. 42nd Street at Park Avenue. It is one of New York City’s two main rail stations, along with Penn Station. Grand Central Station can be found on NYC’s East Side, while Penn Station is on the West Side.

Who built Grand Central Station in NYC?

The current Grand Central Terminal was a collaboration between two design firms: Reed and term, and Warren and Wetmore. The original Grand Central Depot was made by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1871.

Where to eat near Grand Central Station NYC?

If you’re looking for a meal in Grand Central, there are restaurants like the Campbell Bar, Cipriani Dolci, City Winery Grand Central, Cornelius, the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant, and Prova Pizzabar. Just steps outside, you’ll find One Vanderbilt right next door for delicious eats and impressive views of the city.

Who built NYC Grand Central Station?

The original Grand Central Depot was created in 1871 by Cornelius Vanderbilt for the New York Central & Hudson River, New York and Harlem Railroad, and New Haven railroads. The current structure was designed by the firms Reed and Stem and Warren and Wetmore. Construction was completed in 1913, with Warren & Wetmor being credited with Grand Central’s famous interior design.

Are Grand Central Station and Grand Central Terminal the same thing?

Though many people use Grand Central Station and Grand Central Terminal interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Grand Central Terminal refers to the beautiful, historic building at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan that is the southern terminus of the Metro-North Railroad’s Harlem, Hudson and New Haven Lines.

Grand Central Station refers to the nearby US Post Office down the street or the subway station below.

Profilbild Steffen Kneist
About the author

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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