Located in the midst of repurposed warehouses and some of the tallest skyscrapers in New York, you will find Chelsea. Thanks to its art scene, classy night life and great restaurants, Chelsea is one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city. It is also one of the largest neighborhoods, so put on your comfy sneakers and start exploring! You can be sure that such a large neighborhood has a lot to offer. In this insider guide we will tell you about the best things to do in Chelsea NYC during your trip, including attractions, restaurants, rooftop bars and shopping opportunities.
How to Get to Chelsea NYC
You can easily get to Chelsea by taking the subway. Take lines A, C, E or L to ‘8th Ave 14th St’, line 1 to ’18th’ or ’23rd St’. Alternatively, you can hop on line 7 and get off at ‘Hudson Yard’. If you’re already in Midtown, you may as well walk to Chelsea.
Walking through Chelsea NYC
Chelsea is a very cosmopolitan district with a large gay-friendly community. You may hear some people referring to it as a ‘gayborhood’. That’s because you will find a handful of gay bars, restaurants and clubs in the area. People are very open-minded and easy going which leads to a noticeable relaxed atmosphere. Walking through the area, you will see tons of art galleries, a number of bars, pubs and restaurants, as well as cute little and unique stores. At night you’ll notice the liveliness and energy of this neighborhood. A large crowd of Hip Hop and R&B fans are drawn here nightly thanks to some of the greatest clubs, including Jay-Z’s 40/40.
Things to Do in Chelsea NYC
Our Top 5 Things to Do in Chelsea NYC
- Chelsea Gallery District: The number of Chelsea’s outdoor art galleries has increased since the 90s, after rents spiked in SoHo and more people chose to move to Chelsea. Today there are nearly 200 art galleries which makes it quite the attraction. With so many galleries to choose from, you may feel a little overwhelmed. That’s why we picked out our seven favorite galleries for you to visit:
→ Chelm & Read (Address: 547 W 25th Street)
→ David Zwirner (Address: 519, 525 & 533 W 19th Street)
→ Gagosian Gallery (Address: 555 W 24th Street)
→ Mary Boone Gallery (Address: 541 W 24th Street)
→ Metro Pictures (Address: 519 West 24th Street)
→ 303 Gallery (Address: 555 W 21st St)
→ Matthew Marks Gallery (Address: 523 W 24th Street)
Subway A, C, E to 23 St
- High Line Park: The High Line is the most unique park New York has to offer. It’s an elevated park located near the Hudson River. Why is it elevated? Because it used to be a freight rail line, which ceased services in 1980. Almost 30 years later, in 2009, it reopened as a public park. What’s also special is that you can still see some train tracks that remained. The High Line stretches all the way from 34th Street down to 14th Street and along its 1.5 miles you’ll find several entrances. The High Line lets you have amazing views of the city. You can even see the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty from the same spot! Even though it’s a tourist attraction with over 3 million tourists yearly, you’ll also find many locals hanging out in the park.
(Address: 5861 High Line| Subway 7 to 34th Street-Hudson Yards Subway Station)
- The Frying Pan Restaurant: Located at Pier 66 near Hudson River, you’ll find one of New York’s best restaurants with a maritime atmosphere. You basically eat your food on a real life lightship. Yet, what may be even more interesting is that the ship had sunk and stayed underwater for 3 entire years before it was brought to New York and converted to a restaurant. From here, you can enjoy not only excellent food, but also beautiful views of both Manhattan’s skyline and New Jersey. We particularly recommend a visit during sunset!
(Address: 207 12th Ave| Subway A, C, E to 23 St)
- Hudson River Park: The Hudson River Park is the second largest park in Manhattan after Central Park. Besides being a nice place to relax on a beautiful day, you will have a fantastic view of the Hudson River. If you want to do more than just relax, you can take advantage of different activities offered in the park. Check out their mini golf course or carousels, for example! If you are looking for even more fun, you should go kayaking on the Hudson River. The best thing about kayaking? It’s absolutely FREE! We think you understand that we had no choice but to include this park in our top 5 things to do in Chelsea NYC!
(Address: Hudson River Park | Subway A, C, E to 23 St)
- Gallow Green Rooftop Garden: Gallow Green is a unique rooftop bar located above McKittrick Hotel. What makes it so special is its quaint and green atmosphere. The whole bar is overgrown with foliage and certainly does its name justice: It looks like a garden! Not to be forgotten are the delicious drinks that are served there. It’s even listed in our Rooftop Bar Guide 2018 as one of the 34 Best Rooftop Bars in New York.
(Address: 542 W 27th St | Subway A, C, E, 1, 2, 3 to 34 St – Penn Station)
Restaurants in Chelsea NYC
Eating definitely belongs in the best things to do in Chelsea NYC, because this district has a lot to offer. Check out our favorite places:
Bars and Rooftop Bars in Chelsea NYC
Due to its proximity to Midtown, Chelsea is the perfect spot to visit rooftop bars. There are several buildings from which you can marvel at the precious Empire State Building. You don’t have a choice but to include rooftop bars on your ‘things to do in Chelsea NYC’ -bucket list.
Shopping in Chelsea NYC
You won’t find a shopping street in Chelsea, like you do in SoHo or Midtown Manhattan. However, if you consider yourself a shopping queen (or king), do not worry! While wandering through the artsy streets of Chelsea, you will discover that it’s full of little unique stores. One book store we found is called 192 Books (192 10th Ave) and sells a variety of books ranging from poetry and art to history and fiction. The store has gained enough popularity for many authors to come and have their readings take place here.
The Antique Garage (112 W 25th St) resembles a flea market that is full of little stores that sell small souvenirs like pictures and interesting knickknacks. Inside the garage you will find the second hand store Store Buffalo Exchange (114 W 26th St), which is one of the Antique garage’s largest stores. Ideally, you should show up shortly after the store opens to snatch the best items at a bargain price.
In the northeastern part of Chelsea, you’ll find Manhattan Mall (100 W 33rd St). This conventional mall hosts many famous brands like Victoria’s Secret and H&M.
Our recommendation for the best shopping experience: Simply explore and discover the little stores, because they are what differentiates Chelsea from many other neighborhoods.
If you are done exploring and you think you got a good coverage of all things to do in Chelsea NYC, you can visit other unique neighborhoods such as Midtown, Meatpacking District, Hell’s Kitchen or Flat Iron District.
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Hip & Trendy
You’re walking through the streets as you spot bearded men in flannel shirts in the distance. They are wearing sunglasses with thick black frames. The women next to them are wearing small, black hats that cover their autumn color hair, falling onto their leather jackets and ponchos. The group is drinking from Mason jars and eating sweet potato fries topped with truffle mayo served on wooden boards. What do you do?
You are using the front camera of your smartphone to ensure your mustache is twisted properly - or - your pastel colored clutch that you just snagged from a fancy pop-up store is hanging off your shoulder. You're happily walking toward the crowd.Weiter
You're curious about these people. You decide to observe them from a closer distance, as you wanted to head that way anyway.Weiter
You're not really in the mood for a circus, so you decide to turn around and go somewhere else.Weiter
Food & Drink
You’re enjoying your day in New York. When your stomach starts rumbling, you decide to…
... get a quick snack to satisfy your hungerWeiter
... look for a top restaurant nearby to sit down and eat, because what could possibly make the day better than a great meal?Weiter
... ignore it! Time is too precious to spend at restaurants.Weiter
You’re strolling through a park and observe a family having a picnic. Immediately, the sight makes you..
... smile, because spending quality family time is the best thing in the world!Weiter
... think that you could really use a cold beer and a hot dog right now.Weiter
... laugh, because (thank God)- you're by yourself and don't need to take care of anybody. Instead you're free to do whatever you want!Weiter
For you, meeting fellow tourists in the most amazing places in the world is like…
... a bonfire at camp: the perfect opportunity to learn incredible stories.Weiter
... a night at a wild party followed by a nasty hangover. You can't have one without the other.Weiter
... a large glas of expired milk: simply the worst!Weiter
We say shopping, you say…
... Michael Kors meets Sex and the CityWeiter
... drop a new item into the online cart and click "Order Now".Weiter
You and nightlife, that’s like…
... the cast of the Jersey Shore out first pumping.Weiter
... Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in the Golden Havana Bar.Weiter
... two bears hibernating in their cave for the winterWeiter
Art & Culture
Back in 2015, one of Picasso’s art pieces was auctioned for a record breaking $200 million. What’s your first thought?
A masterpiece like this belongs into a museum, so everybody can enjoy it.Weiter
I would sell my last shirt to own one of Picasso's works.Weiter
Who would have thought that Pokemon could paint!Weiter
Oh, how lucky I am… always at the pulse of the greatest city in the world – what could be better? New York City is my passion and I’m happy to be able to share my experiences along with insider tips and helpful tricks with you. With me by your side, you’ll never miss a beat!