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For over 100 years, the Beaux-Arts beauty known as Grand Central Terminal (a.k.a Grand Central Station) has been a testament to the ingenuity and ambition of a great city, impressing both travelers and visitors with its wonderful architecture and pulsating vibe.
Its history is a story of immense wealth, great engineering, a few accidents, a planned sabotage and one terrific ceiling, but most importantly a story of survival and rebirth.
It’s fairly easy to explore Grand Central Terminal on your own. With the help of an audio tour, you can learn all about the station and its history. Alternatively, you can also use a free, self-guided tour to discover the GCT.
Whichever option you choose, these opportunities are typically very affordable and you can enjoy them at any time. This is a great way to avoid the crowd and set your own schedule while you find out what makes this historic site so popular.
Free Tours By Foot
We offer two options. Option one is our guide to Grand Central Terminal, which includes a free, self-guided tour.
Option 2 is our GPS-enabled audio tour. This audio tour is more detailed than the free options. The tour itself costs $1.99 and is currently only offered in English.
The app is free to download, has useful information for when you are out and about in the city and has several audio tours to choose from. Here is a sample.
Grand Central Terminal Audio Tour
GCT offers their own audio tour at a fairly affordable rate. The advantage here mainly that it’s offered in multiple languages.
TIP: This audio tour is included at no additional cost with the New York Pass.
Ratings for this service are pretty good (read reviews here), with most guests giving them at least 4 stars. Several visitors felt that the audio tour was excellent and easy to use. One customer enjoyed the outing but recommended not to take it during rush hour. Quite a few reviewers appreciated the fact that this tour is offered in a variety of different languages.
Most Grand Central Terminal tours run anywhere from 1 ½ – 2 hours in length, making them easy to fit into almost any itinerary. Even if you don’t think you have time to explore this historic station, chances are you’ll be able to find time for one of these trips.
If you can’t squeeze one of the following walking tours into your schedule, there are also self-guided and audio tours that you can enjoy at any time.
Let Free Tours by Foot demonstrate to you how Grand Central went from a land of goat pens and breweries to one of the world’s most fascinating train stations as we uncover the secrets hidden in plain sight. Learn the story of not just Grand Central Station, but of Terminal City as well.
For more information, check out our Guide to Grand Central Terminal.
We also offer 2 other tours that make stops at the terminal.
Sights we cover on the Grand Central Terminal Tour:
This tour takes place mostly inside and is a good choice for any weather.
Duration: Approximately 1 hour 45 minutes.
Where: Grand Central Terminal Information Booth and Clock on the main concourse (map) .
When: @10am Sundays (year round) and @1pm (Jan through mid-March) or anytime with our audio tour.
If you can’t make one of our tours, you might consider one of the New York tourist passes, which include free, guided tours of Grand Central Terminal.
Cost: This tour is free to take, and you get to decide what, if anything, the tour was worth when it’s done. A name-your-price-tour is a tour for anyone’s budget.
OTHER GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL TOURS
Not all Grand Central tours are free, but at least these outings are unique, offering a different experience with the station. From food tastings to a look behind-the-scenes, there are definitely some interesting tales to discover at the GCT.
Although one of these trips will cost almost $90, the other two are reasonably priced at only $25-$35 each. These walking tours typically run for between 1-2 hours, making it easy to fit into your itinerary.
The Municipal Art Society of New York has teamed up with MTA Metro-North Railroad and Orpheo in order to provide these daily Grand Central Terminal tours. With the help of their professionally trained docents, you’ll learn all about the history behind this notable landmark.
Clocking in at only 75 minutes in length, this is a much shorter trip than most of the alternatives, but reviews are pretty good. Prices are fairly reasonable, and you can actually save money on tickets through a variety of methods.
This company is best known for managing the Grand Central Business Improvement District, so you can bet that they probably know a lot about the area. Thankfully, they don’t mind sharing this information for free with their visitors!
Although this tour only runs once a week, it is very highly rated and has actually won some awards. Urban historians Peter Laskowich and Madeleine Levi serve as your docent, providing a lot of interesting stories about Grand Central Terminal and the surrounding neighborhood.
At 90 minutes in length, it should be fairly easy to fit this into almost any schedule.
For those of you who are more interested in how tasty meals shaped New York, this food tour will give you a look at all of the amazing treats available from vendors in and around Grand Central Terminal.
All tastings are included in the price of admission, and they even provide you with an additional coupon book for some of the businesses located at the GCT. Clocking in at 2 hours in length, you’ll have more than enough time to explore the grounds while eating some of the more delicious foods found at Grand Central.
Tickets are pretty expensive, but reviews indicate that this experience might be worth the higher price tag.
Ratings for this service are quite excellent and most customers were in agreement that the food was amazing. Others were simply pleased with the number of details they learned about from their tour guides, who were reportedly very friendly and informative.
After the tour, several guests suggested that the coupon book they received made it very easy to do some shopping at the Grand Central Terminal. This outing was quite popular with couples and visitors who brought a friend for the trip.
Be sure to check out Free Tours by Foot’s line of NYC food tours.
In addition to the other Grand Central Terminal tours listed above, there are also several outings which include a visit to the station. Although your trip to Grand Central won’t be the main focus during these outings, you will have the opportunity to spend some time in the area and learn a bit about its history. The following options are great for anyone who only has a passing interest in seeing the GCT.