Are you lucky enough to be hopping the rails at the classical and majestic Grand Central Station in New York City? Not only is there plenty to admire just within the station itself – maybe you have some leisure time before catching your train. There is plenty to discover nearby just by taking a little stroll!
Here are some of the exciting ways to kill time inside and outside of Grand Central, the grandest of all railway stations!
Things to Do Near Grand Central Terminal
Or rather, outside. Grand Central is a monument to the old New York. Popular opinion is it needs remodeling, but rather it needs preserving.
If you have just a few minutes, take a walk around the building and admire the architecture. The sculptures surrounding the clock at the main entrance depict Hercules, Mercury and Minerva, representing strength, speed and wisdom. The lifelike eagle statues perched on the corners help keep the pigeons away.
Inside, you can wait out your train in the Biltmore Kissing Room. It is so named for being the room where exhausted passengers were often reunited with their loved ones after long journeys. If you’re lucky enough, maybe you’ll get a kiss too!
And if it all looks very familiar, that’s because the main concourse has been featured in films from classic Hitchcock all the way to the Marvel movies of today!
Eating On The Go
You might only have time for just a quick bite. Luckily at Grand Central, you’ve got some of the classiest options ever found in a train station.
- Grand Central Market – You can find a healthy variety to choose from – you don’t really have to go anywhere else! The selection even includes delectables from New York legend Eli Zabar.
- Frankies Dogs On The Go – If you want to go somewhere else and you really need it to go, have a quick hot dog treat at Frankies!
- Shake Shack – Or have a burger at one of New York’s most famous chains!
- Lower Level Concourse – But if you have time for choices and the market is too fancy, try a doughnut or fried chicken on the lower level concourse, amongst others.
Parks and Recreation
If you have the luxury to escape the terminal, try getting some fresh air in a nearby park or exploring history with local landmarks. Here are a choice few:
- Bryant Park – Offers a comfy setting brimming with atmosphere and attractions. Depending on the time of year, attractions range from a christmas market to outdoor cinema nights.
- Pershing Square Plaza – This is a park with a history of its own. Did you know it’s not actually a square? It’s a public space located under the Park Avenue viaduct that intersects 42nd street and Park Avenue. A relaxing oasis in the concrete jungle.
- United Nations Building – Not far from the station is the place where all the world’s great leaders make the plans that decide our destiny. Worth a look, no?
- The News Building – More of a stimulant for the imagination, the historic building showcases the huge globe sculpture associated with all the news we need to hear! That famous facade was used in the original 1977 “Superman” movie with Christopher Reeve.
Fascinating Film Locations
Speaking again of famous filming locations, is your idea of a landmark the real place some of your favorite scenes were filmed? Then Grand Central Concourse is just the beginning!
After flying your way to the news building, head up to the corner of 52nd and Lexington to the “7 Year Itch Grate” where the legendary photo of Marilyn Monroe’s windy day was taken and recreate your own magic. Now that’s an instagrammable moment!
A little farther away near the East River you can walk along the river by the Queensboro bridge, where Woody Allen and Diane Keaton took their romantic stroll in “Annie Hall”.
Museums and Art Galleries Near Grand Central
If you want to spend your time taking in some cultures, try these interesting museums to waste an hour or two.
Morgan Library is named for oil magnate J.P. Morgan and includes collections you might not find in a regular library or museum, including the millionaires own archives.
Like I said, you don’t have to leave Grand Central to have a full new york tourist experience. The terminal even has its own museum. Fittingly, it’s the New York Transit Museum, which explores the history of transportation in one of the most overpopulated cities in the world!
And for a goofy excursion, try the Museum of the Dog, presented by American Kennel Club. That’s right, a museum for our furry four-legged best friends, where you can spend a little time appreciating canines without all the messy pickup.
Finally, there’s always time for shopping, right? You should make it a store or two that you may not find in Any Mall, USA. Try Fifth Avenue. Iconic and expensive, Fifth Avenue might seem intimidating. But you don’t have to be a millionaire to go window shopping at some of the most famous stores in the world!
If you had the time to wander about, you’ve probably built up an appetite. But you look at your watch and you only have time for a quick drink! It better be perfect. Find the Perfect Pint at the appropriately named The Perfect Pint East. It’s just a stone’s throw from Grand Central. But don’t throw any stones in crowded New York, you’re likely to hit somebody.
If you like live music with your meal, catch a bite and a tune at Fine and Rare, which describes the food, the music and the atmosphere at this lovely establishment.
Native New Yorker. Travel addict. Hardcore thinker. Analyst. Pop culture fanatic. I live in Queens with my wife Linda and our dog Clemenza.