New York is a Haven for sightseeing, and even the train stations re photo-opportunities! But what is there do do around Grand Central Station after you’ve seen the main terminal?
Sometimes the choices can feel a little overwhelming! Here’s a few things to get you started that are all within 10 minutes of Grand Central Station, and will definitely give you enough to do for a day in the city!
So… what is there to do around Grand Central Station?
1. A tour of Grand Central Station
I’d definitely suggest starting with a tour, as it is one of the best ways to see all of the beautiful aspects of Grand Central Terminal, from the famous concourse with its beautifully painted ceiling to the whispering gallery. Tours range from an app, to an audio tour, to a full blown guided tour with someone who really knows what they’re talking about and can answer all your questions!
The Station is a classic example of Beaux-Arts architecture (a style which originated in france, but heavily influenced American architects in the late 19th and early 20th centuries) and is jam-packed with art by American greats and definitely well worth a look!
2. The Whispering Gallery
If you’re not into tours then the one sight I would definitely recommend going to see if you’re at Grand Central is the Whispering Gallery!
Upon first arriving, you might be confused as to why people are standing in the corners of the room with their face pressed right against the walls. However, the whispering gallery is home to a neat architectural feat: it carries voices across the ceiling and into the opposite corner so that two people standing either side of the room might have a conversation without standing near to each other. Rumour has it that many a couple has gotten engaged here, whispering sweet nothings into the walls. Just make sure, that if you do go, not to whisper anything you wouldn’t want someone else to hear.
3. Chrysler Building
If Sights are your tip top must-see then less than a block away to the east is the iconic Chrysler building. Famed for its classic art-deco design, it’s been a symbol of groundbreaking architecture and the new york skyline since its completion in 1930.
Whilst you can view it from the outside, and head into the main lobby for a sneak peek at the art deco interior for free, you can’t actually go inside and take a peek as it’s leased to big businesses and not open to the public. Definitely worth a look, though!
4. The Empire State Building
Another Art Deco design staple, this is the pinnacle of New York design, and probably one of the most famous buildings in the world. It was the tallest building in the world from 1931 when it was built until 1977, and at just shy of 15 minutes walking distance it is 100% worth the walk (which is fascinating in itself too!).
Unlike the Chrysler you can actually go into the Empire State Building. Prices range from $36 for a main deck viewing experience to $500 for an all access ticket – so there really are no holds barred, and the views from the top are INCREDIBLE.
5. Bryant Park and New York Public Library
A short walk from Grand Central is the beautiful Bryant Park, which is definitely a must-see if you want some time out of the hustle and bustle of NYC life – even if it’s just for a few minutes. A small patch of green, surrounded on all sides by tall NY buildings this little space feels like an oasis in the metropolis – much more so than central park, which is so big you could almost forget you were in NYC at all!
Le Carrousel and the Bar and Grill are open everyday, and worth a stop – especially if you have kids! The park has loads of food kiosks and The Southwest Porch is a must-stop for a cup of coffee and a chance to watch the city go by for a while.
The park is at the back of the New York Public Library – a gorgeous building in its own right, and a must see for any bibliophile in the big apple. (Fans of Jake Gyllenhaal will also recognise it from The Day After Tomorrow).
6. Museum of Modern Art
If you wanted to get in some culture I’d definitely recommend heading over to MoMA, as it’s less than a 15 minute walk away from the station and home to some of America, and the world’s, most iconic pieces of modern and contemporary art. Tickets are around $25 for adults, and although this can feel a bit pricey, the main collection really is to die for!
7. Underground Art – Subway Tours
If Art’s your thing, I’d definitely recommend going on one of these tours for a view of NYC’s amazing public art underground. The subway, in being one of the oldest underground transport systems, has long been a haven for art and artists – but few really get to see these beautoful pieces without living and working in the city.
A ‘pay-what-you-like’ walking tour leaves from Grand Central Station once a week, otherwise Darryl (who runs the tour) puts them on twice a day from $25 a head.
Artists include Roy Lichtenstein, Jacob Lawrence, Tom Otterness and Jane Dickson – so this tour is definitely well worth it.
8. Rockefeller Centre
Less than 10 minutes walk away is the Rockefeller Centre. It was built in the 1930s to be a grand plaza for all of New York – and it’s still a vibrant hub of art and commerce today. Another example of classic Art-Deco architecture, and a place in which to could really lose yourself; with an ice skating rink, loads of public art, shops and places to eat and drink you’ll never run out of things to do.
9. Grand Central Market & Lower Level Dining Concourse
You don’t need to even leave the station to grab a bite to eat as the main market has a European style market with all kinds of artisanal produce and food on the go – to more classic restaurants in the Dining concourse where there are 35 different food options to choose from from Michelin starred restaurants to cute little cafes. So, no matter whether you’re Gluten free/ Vegan/ only eating doughnuts for the rest of your life for like, you know, reasons… everything you want can be found here!
Now, on the subject of places to eat and drink, if you’re looking for foodie heaven, and you want to take it out of the station concourse, this is definitely a spot to hit. Just around the corner from Grand Central, it’s a thriving hub of different kinds of artisanal food creators from amazing lobster to great burgers. It’s completely chef driven, and with 20 different stalls to choose from you’re bound sure to find something to tickle those taste buds – and it’s quite a sight to behold!