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Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal

If the phrase "a night at the station" summons unpleasant memories of cold platforms and missed connections, you really need to get yourself to Grand Central Terminal for a bit of railway rehabilitation. This gorgeous historic building may be part of the daily grind for 200,000 commuting New Yorkers – but for millions of international visitors, it's a case study in just how much fun you can have in a station. Grand Central was billed by its designers as a 'poem in stone', and they didn't exaggerate. But it’s not just the opulent surroundings that will delight you. The delis, the bakeries, the bars, the restaurants, the 60+ shopping venues, the artisan market: everything about this station is designed to make you a little bit happier, right down to the considerate trains, which always leave one minute after their scheduled departure time to encourage passengers not to rush.

Check out the sumptuous Beaux-Arts décor for which Grand Central Terminal is famous: marble floors and staircases, gold clocks, a giant outdoor timepiece fronted with Tiffany glass, and an astrological ceiling with representations of the stars and planets. Once you've glittered through all the gilding, it's time to get stuck into some serious shopping: Grand Central Terminal hosts Apple, L'Occitane and Banana Republic stores among others, as well as a food market where you can buy home-made bread, cheese and chocolates. You can safely wrap them up for later, though, because you're certainly not going to go hungry while you’re in Grand Central: 35 restaurants, cafés and bistros have made the station their home, including the classic Oyster Bar & Restaurant, more than a century old and still packed. Besides its delicious fresh seafood, the bar boasts a glam tiled and vaulted ceiling, and a whispering wall where you can hear a friend's softest murmur from the other side of the room!