The journey out of New York City can be soul-sucking—but some good food, booze and a last-minute shopping plan can go a long way in making it more bearable. Below, we’ve set you up for holiday commuting success at five major transit hubs. And if all else fails, there’s a Shake Shack conveniently located at each one. (Thank you, Danny Meyer.)
Grand Central Terminal
Eat: Sure, you can fight the hordes at the Dining Concourse—or find some better eats at nearby UrbanSpace Vanderbilt, which houses top-notch vendors like Roberta’s, Hard Time Sundaes and Delaney Chicken. If you need to pick up something on the go inside Grand Central, swing by the Great Northern Deli for sandwiches and salads from acclaimed Nordic chef Claus Meyer.
Drink: The newly-reopened Campbell Bar is a cozy, swanky reprieve from the crowds. Looking for something more low-key? The Ginger Man is just a few blocks south, with good craft beers and a fun, buzzy atmosphere.
Shop: Luckily, you don’t have to go far to snag some last-minute presents. The Grand Central Holiday Fair has everything you need under one roof, from jewelry to kids’ clothes to home accessories.
Eat: Thank the tortilla gods for the arrival of Los Tacos No. 1 in midtown earlier this summer. The new brick-and-mortar is slinging the same delicious options as its Chelsea Market outpost, including the juicy pineapple-topped adobada taco and hefty fried quesadilla.
Drink: Escape the cold at the colorful, ’70s-themed Bar Gonzo. The second floor is modeled after Caribbean rum shacks, with bartenders pouring tiki-inspired cocktails like Yuzu Shiso Margarita and the mezcal-and-campari-infused Peacock in Hand.
Shop: The Garment District gets a dose of holiday cheer with its first-ever holiday market. In addition to plenty of snacks, find jewelry made from preserved flowers at Hanami, cold-weather gear from Floga and wooden watches by Mistura.
Eat: If there’s time for a leisurely meal before the train, carbo-load at L’Amico, where you can get a proper meal of pizza and pasta (the soppressata pie is excellent). For a faster pick-me-up, there’s Hanamizuki Cafe, which specializes in omusubi (Japanese rice balls) with a variety of fillings.
Drink: A recent overhaul landed The Pennsy Food Hall in the hands of the very capable group behind the Dead Rabbit and Pier A Harbor House. The sprawling bar opens early and closes late, so you can imbibe on New York-themed cocktails at any time of day.
Shop: Skip the tourist hordes at Macy’s and head across the street to Market 34 NYC, where 30-plus local small businesses are selling fun gifts for everyone on your list (Mus-e-oh has especially fun tchotchkes). In a rush? Pick up a box at Underwest Donuts’ Penn Plaza kiosk—this season’s holiday specials (chocolate peppermint and Hanukkah jelly) are guaranteed to be a hit.
World Trade Center
Eat: Whether you’re eating at Eataly Downtown’s sit-down restaurant Osteria della Pace or taking the focaccias and slices of Roman-style pizza to go, there’ll be no going hungry at the giant Italian marketplace.
Drink: Good beer that’s less than a ten-minute walk from the PATH station? Yes, please. Sidle up to Clinton Hall’s Washington Street location for a seasonal brew and fill up on elevated pub grub, like the infamous doughnut grilled cheese or December waffle special, an apple-flavored collab with boozy ice cream maker Tipsy Scoop.
Shop: The area has no shortage of big-name shops. Pick up stocking stuffers with a quick lap around the Westfield World Trade Center: rosé gummies at Sugarfina, one of Philosophy’s holiday gift sets or sweet treats from Épicerie Boulud.
Eat: Steamy bowls of Korean ramen at Mokbar may be the best way to ease your way into a commute through the busy Brooklyn hub. Even if you’re not feeling like a full-on meal, chef Esther Choi’s small plates—like a crispy pork belly and kimchi-stuffed ho’ cakes—are worth popping in for.
Drink: Atlantic Social has drinks (beer, wine and fancy cocktails with Brooklyn-inspired names), crowd-pleasing food (think General Tso’s chicken wings) and, most importantly, games in the back room for those times when the LIRR is delayed and you have time to kill.
Shop: Find the sweetest gifts—literally—at Nunu Chocolates, known for its intensely rich gourmet truffles. Bonus: The store also has rotating beers on tap, so you can get your Christmas shopping done and knock back a cold one at the same time.