If you’re traveling to New York City, you’re going to need to know about Penn Station. It doesn’t matter if your trip is for work, family, or vacation; you’re probably going to be visiting this station!
This railroad station is ridiculously busy. Penn Station is used to travel all over the city. I There are also a number of restaurants and stores in and around the station.
Before you go on your trip, you should definitely find luggage storage in Penn Station. It is very inconvenient to hold your luggage while you wait for your lodging or when you’re moving around the city; this is especially true when it comes to New York.
If you take the train from the airport or you’re coming into town on a train, you’re probably going to be traveling through Penn Station. If you don’t do your research beforehand, it is extremely easy to get lost. Avoid any potential headaches and map out your trip before you get there.
Traveling to New York doesn’t have to be complicated. Knowing how to navigate Penn Station will eliminate one more stressor on your trip. Without further ado, here’s what to know before traveling through Penn Station!
What is Penn Station?
If you don’t already know, Penn Station is a commuter rail station and an intercity station. It is the busiest railroad station in the entire Western Hemisphere, with 650,000 commuters going through the station every day.
Penn Station is the main intercity railroad station in the city. It is the central hub of the Northeast Corridor, providing connections to New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.
This station holds 21 tracks, which are fed by seven tunnels. It serves Amtrak, Long Island Railroad, and New Jersey transit passengers.
This station is definitely not known for its aesthetics. Yet, it is an important part of the everyday lives of New Yorkers. There are renovations underway, so the design of the building could change in the future.
The station is split into two main concourses. You can find Amtrak and NJ Transit on the station’s upper level. You’ll see the Long Island Rail Road on the lower concourse, as well as 1,2,3, A, C, and E subway lines.
The lower concourse is where most of the food options are. One of the most popular restaurants in this area is Shake Shack. Beginning in April of this year, you’ll start to see more restaurants pop up.
How to Get to Penn Station
If you’re traveling from an airport or traveling to one, you can take the Long Island Rail Road from Jamaica to Penn Station. Another option is to take New Jersey Transit from Newark.
If you want to get to LaGuardia, you should avoid Penn Station. You’ll save money and time just taking a cab or rideshare there.
The station is found right under Madison Square Garden and Penn Plaza. Ideally, if you’re going to Penn Station, it is best to travel by foot, bike, subway, or bus. There are six subway lines that go to Penn Station.
Penn Station is located in Midtown West, which has some of the worst traffic in the whole city. Parking is also very difficult to find.
Penn Station is Amtrak’s most active station. It connects travelers to Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Montreal. There are other ways to get to Canada as well.
Amtrak is located directly below Madison Square Garden. At this center, you’ll find booths for customer service and waiting areas for passengers.
Currently, Amtrak is building a new hall which includes an atrium with natural light, a lounge, and retail and food options.
Long Island Rail Road
It stretches from Manhattan to the eastern side of Long Island.
This railroad is used to get to the Hamptons, as well as Jamaica Station, where you can find the AirTrain and John F. Kennedy Airport. There is no waiting room for the Long Island Rail Road, but there are ticket counters and kiosks.
Many people use this line to get to Newark or Philadelphia.
Madison Square Garden
There are many different events offered at Madison Square Garden, so no matter what you’re interested in, you’ll be able to find something for you. If you like music, you can look up what concerts are being offered the week you’re in New York.
To get to the Garden, take the 1, 2, 3, A, C or E trains to 34th Street Penn Station and follow the signs to get to the underground section of Madison Square Garden.
Places to Eat
Penn Station isn’t known for its food options, but there are some quality eats you can find. Besides the restaurants already mentioned, you can also visit Wasabi Sushi & Bento. This asian restaurant serves high quality snacks to go.
This restaurant is located in the plaza concourse level and is open from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, and 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Sunday.
If you want a quick sandwich, go to Pret A Manger. It is found next to the Long Island Rail Road concourse. They serve salads and snack bowls, as well.