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!
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!
- Library Hotel – At 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 for getting a bit of quiet away from the city’s hustle and bustle.
- Fitzpatrick Manhattan – Enjoy comfortable, modern amenities and finely appointed rooms that are only minutes away from all of Manhattan’s best spots, including Rockefeller Center, Central Park, and the MoMA.
- 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
- 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.
- Pod 39 Hotel – 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!
- Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant – 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.
- Urbanspace – 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.
- Benjamin Steakhouse Prime – 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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?
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- The Grand Central Terminal Official Guided Tour – There’s something to be said about a tour sponsored by the folks behind Grand Central Terminal. Started in 2013 as a celebration of the terminal’s 100th birthday, thisThe 75-minute tour highlights its history, architecture and operations.
- Grand Central Terminal Tours – 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.
- 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.
- Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour – 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.
- Grand Central: The 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.
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.