10 Short Walks from Grand Central Terminal

(updated March 2017) Famously crowded Grand Central Terminal functions as a major crossroads for the city, hosting busy commuters as they come and go from the suburbs via the Metro-North Railroad or within the city via a few subway lines, but the terminal also happens to be a good place to launch short walks. With its south side fronting E. 42nd Street and its massive structure interrupting Park Avenue, Grand Central provides quick access to many of the city's most well-known attractions.


The New York Public Library and Bryant Park are only a couple of blocks away from the terminal, a quick jaunt on 42nd Street. And from there, Times Square is just another block or two farther west of the library, its neon shimmering in the distance. One wonders, standing near the intersection of 5th Avenue and 42nd Street, how many souls have been lured away from their well-meaning library studies by the beckoning lights of the Theater District.

Grand Central Terminal: Before setting out on walks, the terminal itself is worthy of exploration. This heavenly Beaux-Arts style palace of transit, constructed from 1903 to 1913 and successfully restored in 1998, features grand staircases, chandeliers, a soaring ceiling vault painted in cerulean blue and decorated with a zodiac. The terminal encompasses many shops, fine restaurants such as the Oyster Bar, a downstairs dining concourse (essentially a food mall), and Grand Central Market, a gourmet food emporium that is a popular destination for commuters. Be sure to sample Great Northern, a food hall specializing in Danish fare.

10 Short Walks from Grand Central Terminal

The following walks from the terminal conclude at another destination worth exploring. If visitors are in town, tell them to go to Grand Central and pass along this list of nearby things to do. The walks includes suggested routes, many of them straightforward.


View Short Walks from Grand Central Terminal in a larger map


1. New York Public Library and Bryant Park, between 40th and 42nd Streets, 5th Avenue to 6th Avenue. The renovated main branch of the NYPL at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street features special exhibitions and an excellent library shop. Multifaceted Bryant Park is one of the most versatile public spaces in the city, adapting its programming to the changing seasons. Take a look at the restored Main Reading Room at the library.

Bryant Park in late spring

2. Lever House and Seagram Building, Park Avenue and E. 53rd St. Visit two monuments of modern architecture. The 1952 Lever House is famous for introducing the world to the glass curtain wall, and the building has aged well. The Lever House Art Collection displays works of art in the building's courtyard and adjacent spaces. The tall, dark, and handsome Seagram Building (1958), a monument of modern architecture by Mies van der Rohe, also features a popular plaza for people-watching.

3. The News Building, 220 E. 42nd St. The Art Deco building designed by Raymond Hood is most famous for the comic book-like world globe in its lobby. Clark Kent all the way.

4. United Nations Headquarters. 1st Avenue near E. 44th St. Take a tour of the General Assembly while taking in uncommon views of the East River.

5. Morgan Library & Museum. 225 Madison Avenue. Drawings and manuscripts are the strengths of the museum's collection, but be sure to visit the restored McKim Building to bask in the treasures of J.P.'s sumptuous Citizen Kane-like library and study.

6. MoMA at 11 W. 53rd St. serves as its own busy hub, with exhibitions, a renowned gift shop, places to eat, a packed film schedule, and an inspiring sculpture garden. See 25 Things To Do Near MoMA for extended adventures.

MoMA Sculpture Garden
MoMA's sculpture garden in autumn colors

7. Rockefeller Center, Saks Fifth Avenue, St. Patrick's Cathedral. 5th Avenue between 49th and 51st Streets. The trifecta - a landmark destination for its architecture and NBC studio tours, a famous 5th Avenue department store, and the city's most prominent Catholic church, all neighbors. Visit Top of the Rock while at Rockefeller Center.

8. Visit St. Bartholomew's Church and Community House, Park Avenue between 50th and 51st. A church in the Episcopal tradition, St. Bart's is known for its Byzantine architecture and music program. Next door to the now-shuttered Waldorf Astoria.

9. Greenacre Park. E. 51st Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Hideo Sasaki's masterpiece of a pocket park features a 25-foot waterfall that washes away city stress.

The pedestrian friendly Times Square

10. Times Square. intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue (hard to miss). A walk west from Grand Central eventually leads to this other important crossroad of the city. If people watching is a favorite activity, this one's for you. Now pedestrian friendly.

See Grand Central Terminal's website for food, shops, events, history, and more.

Related:

Short Walks to NYC Attractions from the Port Authority.
From Penn Station to New York Landmarks: Measuring Walking Time and Distance in Manhattan.

Quick Links:

25 Radical Things to Do in Greenwich Village

25 Things to Do in Chelsea

25 Great Things to Do in Midtown East

25 Great Things To Do in New York City

25 Things To Do Near the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

25 Great Things to Do Near the Metropolitan Museum of Art

25 Things to Do Near the American Museum of Natural History

25 Great Buildings to Visit in New York


Images by Walking Off the Big Apple.

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