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Grand Central Terminal

This majestic, lively hub for commuters is a must-see for architecture buffs.

Stand aside from the 750,000 daily visitors rushing to and from their trains and admire the architectural beauty of the majestic Grand Central Terminal. It’s also home to shops and dining options, making it an entertaining one-stop destination.

Even if you’ve nowhere to go, a visit to this Beaux Arts building is a heady sensory pleasure. Enter from 42nd Street in Midtown and stroll towards the Main Concourse, the station’s central area. You’ll recognize this cavernous space from many Hollywood films. Look up for a celestial treat: the 125-foot (38-meter) high ceilings, decorated by French artist Paul Cesar Helleu in 1912 with gold leaf on cerulean blue oil. The mural depicts the zodiac constellations backwards, an error some believe was simply an accident. Just below the ceiling, light streams in from six 75-foot (nearly 23-meter) arched windows, illuminating the stone walls and marble floors. 

In Hollywood movie style, make your way down one of the two opulent marble staircases modeled after the grand staircase in the Paris Opera House. Or rendezvous under the multi-million dollar, four-faced opal clock atop the information booth. 

Other highlights of Grand Central, designed by architectural firms Reed and Stem and Warren and Wetmore, include French artist Jules Coutan’s sculptural group of Mercury flanked by Hercules and Minerva on the building’s facade. The sculpture surrounds a 13-foot diameter clock containing the world’s largest example of Tiffany glass. 

Still one of the largest transport hubs in the United States, Grand Central Terminal has 44 platforms and 67 tracks. There are two underground levels servicing surrounding parts of New York, as well as parts of Connecticut. If you visit with an empty stomach, the Dining Concourse, below the Main Concourse, has a range of options, including the iconic Oyster Bar and Restaurant. Opened in 1913, it’s the oldest establishment in the terminal. There’s a brilliant example of the tiled vaulting system designed by Spanish immigrant architect Rafael Guastavino, whose work can be seen in more than 200 buildings in New York City. Other examples include the Cathedral of St John the Divine and the Registry Hall at Ellis Island.

Grand Central Terminal is located at E. 42nd Street and Park Avenue. It’s a major subway, rail, and bus terminal.

Popular Activities at Grand Central Terminal

It's worth giving yourself heaps of time at Grand Central Terminal. Here are some of the best activities:

Would you like to make your visit a little more unique? A Best of New York Tour with Times Sq & Empire State Building and a New York at Night: Times Square and Beyond are both worth considering.

Have a look at our New York things to do page to find many more activities while you're here.

Guide to Exploring around Grand Central Terminal

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Lodging Near Grand Central Terminal

See all 2,439 Properties near Grand Central Terminal
YOTEL New York $79
YOTEL New York

YOTEL New York

570 Tenth Avenue, New York
    of 5, from 12,597 reviews
    4.0 out of 5.0

    This Manhattan hotel is in the Midtown West neighborhood, 0.8 mile from Times Square and within one-half mile of the New Amsterdam Theater and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.

    The Roosevelt Hotel, New York City $89
    The Roosevelt Hotel, New York City

    The Roosevelt Hotel, New York City

    45 E 45th Street, New York
      of 5, from 25,390 reviews
      4.0 out of 5.0

      Located at the corner of East 45th Street and Madison Avenue, the Roosevelt Hotel, New York City, provides ready access to shopping, as well as Broadway theaters, 3 blocks away.

      Salisbury Hotel $79
      Salisbury Hotel

      Salisbury Hotel

      123 W 57th St, New York
        of 5, from 18,358 reviews
        3.0 out of 5.0

        The budget-friendly Salisbury Hotel hotel offers a prime Midtown location just 2 blocks from Central Park and within walking distance of Times Square and Broadway theaters. Opened in 1931, this Neo-Gothic-style hotel is next door to the famed Russian Tea Room, a half-block from Carnegie Hall, and 7 blocks from Radio City Music Hall.

        The Belvedere Hotel $112
        The Belvedere Hotel

        The Belvedere Hotel

        319 W 48th St, New York
          of 5, from 20,606 reviews
          3.5 out of 5.0

          This New York hotel is in the center of all the action, located in the cluster of Broadway theaters. The center of Times Square is 2 blocks away, and Rockefeller Center is a 3-block walk.

          Grand Hyatt New York $149
          Grand Hyatt New York

          Grand Hyatt New York

          109 East 42nd Street, New York
            of 5, from 10,404 reviews
            4.0 out of 5.0

            This New York hotel boasts a prime location on the city's East Side adjacent to Grand Central Station. Times Square, Broadway theaters, Central Park, Bryant Park, and Fifth Avenue's world-class shopping are within walking distance.

            Paramount Times Square $90
            Paramount Times Square

            Paramount Times Square

            235 West 46th Street, New York
              of 5, from 12,942 reviews
              4.0 out of 5.0

              Set amid Broadway theaters, this stylish New York hotel is a half-block from Times Square and half a block from Restaurant Row. Bryant Park, Minskoff Theater, Gershwin Theater, and Radio City Music Hall are also nearby. Head to nearby Central Park, 5th Avenue, Rockfeller Center, and the Museum of Modern Art.

              Pod 51 $62
              Pod 51

              Pod 51

              230 E 51st St, New York
                of 5, from 15,126 reviews
                3.0 out of 5.0

                The innovative Pod Hotel offers compact, cleverly designed rooms and a prime location 4 blocks from Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, less than 6 blocks from the Theater District, and 2 blocks from subways.

                The New Yorker A Wyndham Hotel $84
                The New Yorker A Wyndham Hotel

                The New Yorker A Wyndham Hotel

                481 Eighth Ave., New York
                  of 5, from 18,351 reviews
                  4.0 out of 5.0

                  Rising 40 stories across from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station, this hotel is 1 block from Macy's, 3 blocks from the Javits Convention Center, and 4 blocks from the Empire State Building.