Chelsea is a neighborhood that is located on the west side of Manhattan. This trendy area is home to art galleries, rooftop bars, many great shops and restaurants, and a few underrated museums. Hudson Yards is located on the north end of Chelsea. This ultra-modern area is home to glass skyscrapers, a performing arts theater, and one of the newest observation decks in Manhattan, the Edge. In this guide, we cover the best things to do in Chelsea.
Overview of Chelsea & Hudson Yards
Chelsea is a chic, trendy neighborhood that is one of Manhattan’s centers for art. In this neighborhood, there are more than 200 art galleries. It is also a very culturally diverse area and it is home to a large LGBTQ population.
Hudson Yards was once a storage yard and jumble of train tracks. Recently, it has evolved into Manhattan’s newest ultra-modern neighborhood. The trains and their tracks are still here, but this small city has been built on a state-of-the-art platform that is elevated above the railroad tracks. Glass-plated skyscrapers, a shopping mall, a performing arts theater, The Edge, and The Vessel, can all be found here.
Chelsea, New York City
Where is Chelsea?
Chelsea is located in west Manhattan. Its western border is the Hudson River. To the north of Chelsea is Hell’s Kitchen, the Garment District, and Times Square. To the east is the Empire State Building and the Flatiron District. And to the south is Greenwich Village and the West Village.
Below is a map of Manhattan with the location of Chelsea.
Chelsea is the red shaded area on the map.
Things to Do in Chelsea: On a Map
Below is a map of Chelsea, labeled with the best things to do, which we cover later in this guide.
How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.
How Do You Get to Chelsea?
You can get to Chelsea by subway, by bus, by taxi/Uber/Lyft, and on foot.
Getting to Chelsea by Subway
The A/C/E train runs through the east side of Chelsea to these stations: 34 Street – Penn Station, 23rd Street, and 14th Street – 8 Avenue.
The 1/2 train runs through the east side of Chelsea, one block east of the A/C/E train to these stations: 34 Street – Penn Station, 28th Street, 23rd Street, and 18th Street.
The L train has a station at 14th Street – 8 Avenue.
The 7 train ends at the 34 Street-Hudson Yards Subway Station in Hudson Yards.
The PATH also makes stops in Chelsea at 33rd Street, 23rd Street, and 14th Street.
Best Things to Do in Chelsea & Hudson Yards
1. Chelsea Market
Chelsea Market is Manhattan’s top food hall. This building takes up one entire city block and it is filled with restaurants, small shops, and even office space for Google.
Chelsea Market | Best Things to Do in Chelsea
On the first level of Chelsea Market is an amazing array of restaurants. These range from food trucks selling some of the best tacos in NYC (Los Tacos No. 1) to bakeries to sit-down restaurants.
In just one market, you can dine on freshly made doughnuts, tacos with a Japanese twist (Takumi Taco…one of our go-to spots in Chelsea Market), curry wurst, freshly steamed lobsters, bubble tea, coffee, wine, and so much more.
Chelsea Market is a great place to visit for lunch. You can visit a few restaurants of interest, ordering small plates as you go. Or, pop into Chelsea Market for a snack, if you are walking the High Line (which runs right past Chelsea Market).
Did You Know? Chelsea Market was the original site of Nabisco (the National Biscuit Company). The Oreo cookie was invented and produced here.
Chelsea Market is open 7 days a week from morning through evening. For updated hours and a listing of the shops and restaurants, visit the official website.
2. Visit Artechouse NYC
This fully immersive digital art experience is one of the most unique things to do in New York City (it is also the cover photo for this guide).
Located in an old boiler room under Chelsea Market is an audiovisual display that is innovative and almost psychedelic. As colorful images dance on the floor, walls, and ceiling, the visual effects are perfectly paired with audio effects, creating one of the most technologically advanced art experiences in New York City.
Artechouse NYC | Best Things to Do in Chelsea
The experience lasts 30 to 60 minutes and costs $25. The XR Bar, and extended reality cocktail bar, augments the experience.
Visit the official website to purchase your tickets in advance and learn about upcoming art installations.
3. Walk the High Line
The High Line is public park and elevated walking path that was built on a historic freight line. It is 1.5 miles long, running from Hudson Yards to the Whitney Museum on Gansevoort Street. There are 11 entrances onto the High Line, which are staircases that take you from street level up onto the elevated tracks.
It’s free to visit and one of Manhattan’s prettiest walks. Along this elevated path are small gardens, park benches, and great views of Chelsea and Hudson Yards.
It takes about 30 minutes to walk from Chelsea Market to Hudson Yards.
The High Line and a view of Hudson Yards | Best Things to Do in Chelsea
The High Line | Best Things to Do in Chelsea
The High Line is open daily from 7 am to 10 pm, with longer hours during the summer months. On busy days (weekends and holidays) you need to make a reservation to walk the High Line. Learn more here and get updated hours for your visit.
4. Chelsea Flea
At the Chelsea Flea Market, simply called the Chelsea Flea, over 100 vendors sell vintage clothing, antiques, jewelry, and more.
The market operates on Saturdays and Sundays, so if you are in town over the weekend, this is a great place to add to your to-do list if you like shopping.
5. Visit the Rubin Museum of Art
The Rubin Museum of Art is one of our favorite art museums in New York City.
On display are art and artifacts from the Himalayas…Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet. There are over 3,000 beautiful works of art and artifacts spanning more than 1,500 years, ranging from paintings to sculptures to ritual objects.
There are also interactive exhibits, such as the Mandala Lab and an exhibit where you can bang different sized gongs and hear their different tones. One of our favorite exhibits is the Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room, a fully immersive experience where you get to see how art and artifacts are displayed in a private household shrine. The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room is on display through October 2023.
Rubin Museum of Art | Best Things to Do in Chelsea
For updated hours of operation, pricing, and more information about the exhibits, visit the official website.
6. Atlantic Theater Company
Founded in 1985, this off-Broadway company has two theaters in Chelsea. The Linda Gross Theater has 199 seats and Stage Two is a 99-seat black box theater, a small theater with a more intimate setting. They have produced Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning shows.
For upcoming shows, visit the official website.
7. The Whitney Museum of American Art
Technically, the Whitney Museum sits just outside of Chelsea, but since it is within easy walking distance of several other places on this list of things to do in Chelsea (such as the High Line, which is just a few steps away from the Whitney), I’m giving the Whitney a mention.
On exhibit is contemporary American art from the 20th and 21st centuries. The permanent collection has more than 25,000 paintings, photographs, videos, and sculptures.
This museum was originally located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. In 2014, it was relocated to its current location on 99 Gansevoort Street, just south of Chelsea.
For hours of operation and pricing, visit the official website.
8. Museum at FIT
This fashion museum contains a permanent collection of more than 50,000 garments from the 18th century to the present. You can also visit the museum virtually, by browsing their more than 2,000 garments online.
The Museum at FIT is located in the Fashion Institute of Technology. The museum is free to visit and open daily. Get updated hours on the official website.
9. Street Art in Chelsea
Art museums aren’t the only places you can see great art. Colorful murals and street art adorns the buildings throughout this neighborhood.
Brazilian street artist Kobra has painted murals throughout Manhattan and several of these can be seen in Chelsea.
Above the Empire Diner is a mural of Mount Rushmore with the faces of Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Mount Rushmore mural above the Empire Diner | Best Things to Do in Chelsea
At 21st Street and 8th Avenue, you can see a colorful portrayal of Albert Einstein spray painting I heart NY.
One of the most famous murals by Kobra is “Tolerance,” which features Mother Theresa and Ghandi. This is located above the Chelsea Square Market at 10th Avenue and 18th Street.
Chelsea and the “Tolerance” mural by Kobra. Photo taken from the High Line.
10. 9/11 Museum Workshop
This small museum is one of the most impactful experiences we have had in New York City.
The 9/11 Museum Workshop contains over 100 artifacts and photographs from Ground Zero.
9/11 Museum Workshop | Best Things to Do in Chelsea
Gary Marlon Suson was the official photographer at Ground Zero. He spent seven months photographing Ground Zero and collecting artifacts from the site. These are now on display in this one room museum in Chelsea.
The photos capture the events of 9/11 and what life was like for the workers and firefighters at Ground Zero during the recovery effort. The images are appropriate for all ages, even children.
During your visit, you will use the provided audio guide. Each artifact and photo have a number. Key the number into your guide and the description is narrated by Gary Marlon Suson. It is a very somber, moving experience and I fought back tears a few times while listening to a few of the entries.
While in the museum, you also have the opportunity to talk to Gary and ask questions, as he runs the museum.
On our recent visit to Manhattan, we took Kara to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, and the Rubin Museum of Art. When we finished our visit at the 9/11 Museum Workshop, Kara said “now that is the best museum in New York City.”
Since this is a small, intimate museum, you need to make a reservation in advance. Learn more on the official website.
11. City Winery
Overlooking the Hudson River is Manhattan’s only fully operational winery. This large restaurant and winery serves wood-fired pizzas, craft cocktails, wine, and beer. They also host shows with famous musicians in their concert venue.
The Wine Barrel Restaurant is a beautiful spot for dinner, to have sunset views across the Hudson River. You can also combine dinner with live music by dining in their concert venue.
See the menu, check out the upcoming shows, and make your reservation on the official website.
12. Chelsea Piers
Not far from City Winery is Chelsea Piers, a complex of sports and entertainment facilities.
Chelsea Piers | Best Things to Do in Chelsea
Located on the Hudson River, this series of piers houses a fitness club, driving range, ice rink, gymnastics training center, and two indoor rock climbing walls. Chelsea Piers also hosts events such as weddings and bar and bat mitzvahs. If you want to hit a few golf balls, check out the Golf Club Driving Range.
Did You Know? These piers were originally passenger ship terminals in Manhattan that were used by the RMS Lusitania. These piers were also the destination of the RMS Carpathia after rescuing survivors of the Titanic.
13. Visit Hudson River Park
Hudson River Park is a 550-acre riverfront park that runs along the Hudson River, on the west side of Manhattan. In the south, it starts at Battery Park City in Tribeca and runs north for 4 miles, ending at W 59th Street in Hell’s Kitchen. A portion of this park is located in Chelsea.
For New Yorkers, this is a prime spot to go running or biking. In Chelsea, if you are looking for a green space to escape the bustling city streets, visit the section of the park just north of Chelsea Piers. This leafy green part of Hudson River Park has a carousel, skate park, sculpture garden, lawn for sunbathing, and beautiful views across the Hudson River.
Hudson River Park | Best Things to Do in Chelsea
14. Little Island
Little Island is an urban oasis that is located on the Hudson River, near Chelsea Piers and City Winery. In this small riverside park, explore the winding paths through the gardens to viewpoints of the Hudson River and Manhattan.
Little Island | Best Things to Do in Chelsea
The park is free to visit. During periods of peak visitation (such as the summer months), you need to make a timed entry reservation in advance. Learn how to do this and get hours of operation on the official website.
15. Have Dinner and a Drink at Gallow Green Rooftop Bar
This is one of our favorite spots in Chelsea. This rooftop bar is another urban oasis in town. The food, the drinks, and the views really make this place special.
Gallow Green Rooftop Bar is a rooftop restaurant and bar. Railroad tracks run down the center of the outdoor patio. Small trees, shrubs, and flowers create cozy nooks and tucked away in these small spaces are dining tables and comfy sofas. We dined at a table inside of an old railway car.
From Gallow Green, you can see the Empire State Building, the Hudson River, and the sleek and shiny skyscrapers of Hudson Yards.
Gallow Green | Best Things to Do in Chelsea
The drinks are very good and our favorite was the Old McKittrick. You’ll see us here again on another visit to New York City.
See the menu and make your reservation (highly recommended!) on the official website.
16. Have a Drink at Porchlight
This is another great spot in Chelsea for a drink or a bite to eat. Porchlight is a New York bar with a southern twist. They specialize in craft cocktails and also serve southern-style food (smoked cheddar biscuits, fried shrimp Po’Boys, hush puppies, and Texas chili, just to name a few). Their cocktail list is long and we are big fans of the Porchlight Manhattan.
Porchlight | Best Things to Do in Chelsea
17. The Edge & City Climb
The Edge is one of the newest additions to the Manhattan observation decks. Hovering 100 floors above the city streets, this sky deck offers jaw-dropping views over Manhattan. Adding to the thrill is the glass floor, where you can peer down to the city streets far below.
The Edge | Best Things to Do in Chelsea
For an even bigger thrill, or if you just want one of the best views of Manhattan, put City Climb on your Chelsea to do list. While wearing a harness, scale the outside of the skyscraper to The Apex, the highest outdoor observation deck in the city.
City Climb NYC | Best Things to Do in Chelsea
The Edge is located in Hudson Yards and City Climb is an experience that you can add on to your visit to the Edge. Get the full details on how to do this in our Guide to the Edge NYC & City Climb.
18. See the Vessel
The Vessel is the centerpiece of Hudson Yards. This futuristic spiral staircase looks like something out of a science fiction movie.
The Vessel | Best Things to Do in Chelsea
Currently, you can only view the Vessel from ground level. Since its opening in 2019, four people have committed suicide by jumping off of the Vessel. Its future is uncertain, and many people think that the height of the barriers on the Vessel should be increased or that it should be dismantled.
We visited the Vessel and climbed to the top in June 2021. This was just before it closed in July 2021. If you want to see photos of the inside of the Vessel, take a look at our Guide to the Vessel.
19. Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden, the “World’s Most Famous Arena,” is home to the New York Rangers and the New York Knicks. It is primarily used for ice hockey and basketball, but events of all types are held here, including boxing, wrestling, circuses, concerts, and other sports.
Madison Square Garden is the oldest sports facility in New York City and it is one of the busiest music arenas in the world in terms of ticket sales.
While in New York City, you can attend a sporting event or concert. You can also take a tour of Madison Square Garden.
For upcoming events at Madison Square Garden, visit the official website.
20. Visit Macy’s Herald Square
Macy’s Herald Square is the largest department store in the United States. The building was completed in 1902 and added to the National Register of Historic Places and made a National Historic Landmark in 1978.
This Macy’s is also famous for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Every Thanksgiving morning, balloons and performers parade down 6th Avenue, ending at Herald Square.
Where to Eat in Chelsea
Chelsea Market is one of the best places to grab a bite to eat in Chelsea, since you have so many options in one relatively small area.
Artichoke Basille is one of the great place to go in Chelsea for pizza.
We had one of our best meals in New York City at Estiatorio Milos. This Greek restaurant is located in Hudson Yards and has gorgeous sunset views of the Vessel and the Hudson River. Fresh fish and Greek salads and side dishes are what are on the menu. We highly recommend this restaurant for foodies and those who want a fine dining experience.
City Winery, mentioned earlier in this article, is another great restaurant for lunch or dinner, with sunset views and the opportunity to have dinner and attend a concert.
Mercado Little Spain. This is another favorite restaurant of ours. Mercado Little Spain is located in Hudson Yards. Similar to Chelsea Market or even Mercado de la Boqueria in Barcelona, you can dine at small tapas restaurants, have a glass of wine, or get some food to go.
Bluestone Lane 55. This restaurant is a great pick for breakfast and brunch. It is also located in Hudson Yards.
Where to Stay in Chelsea
UPSCALE: Equinox Hotel Hudson Yards. We have stayed here multiple times and this is our go-to hotel. The rooms are modernly decorated, clean and quiet. Rooms come stocked with healthy snacks, liquor and cocktail mixers, and yoga mats! The onsite gym is phenomenal and the customer service is impeccable.
UPSCALE: Maritime Hotel. Rooms are decorated with a nautical theme at this trendy hotel. Dine at La Sirena, the onsite gourmet Italian restaurant. This is one of the highest rated hotels in Chelsea.
UPSCALE: The High Line Hotel. Once the Theological Seminary, this building was transformed into the High Line Hotel. Rooms are decorated in a Gothic style and can accommodate up to four people.
MIDRANGE: Chelsea Pines Inn. This Bed & Breakfast is located within walking distance of Chelsea Market and it is right around the corner from the 14th Street subway station. Rooms can accommodate up to four people.
The High Line & Hudson Yards
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Chelsea known for?
Chelsea is known for its vibrant art scene and trendy neighborhoods. The High Line and Chelsea Market are two of the most popular things to do in Chelsea, but there are also a large number of art galleries to visit as well as a few excellent museums.
What can you do in Chelsea at night?
At night, have drinks at Porchlight or Gallow Green. You can attend a concert at City Winery, watch a sporting event at Madison Square Garden, or watch the sunset from The Edge.
Is Chelsea a good place to visit in Manhattan?
With its art museums and galleries, street art, restaurants and rooftop bars, and the High Line, Chelsea is a great place to spend one day in New York City. From morning to night, there is plenty here to keep you busy. Plus, this neighborhood tends to be quieter and more laid back than busy Midtown Manhattan.
How much time do you need to visit Chelsea?
One day is all you need to visit an art museum or two, visit Chelsea Market, stroll the High Line, visit Little Island and Hudson Yards, and enjoy the view from The Edge. Chelsea may not be home to some of the most iconic landmarks in New York City, such as the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty, but this is still a great place to spend the day, particularly if you have a few days in New York City or are planning your second or third visit.
If you have any questions about the best things to do in Chelsea and Hudson Yards, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information for Your Trip to New York City:
BEST OF NEW YORK: For a list of the top experiences in New York City, read our article Best Things to Do in New York City.
NYC OBSERVATION DECKS: In our article Best Observation Decks in New York City, we rank all of the observation decks by price, height, and best view. We also have detailed guides on The Edge, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, and One World Observatory.
NYC HOTELS: Need a place to stay? Check out our guide to the Best Hotels in New York City, organized by neighborhood.
NYC ITINERARY: In our article 5 Days in New York City, we included detailed daily itineraries for exploring New York City. You can do all five days or follow just a day or two, if you have less time in the city.
BROOKLYN: If you have plans to visit Brooklyn, read our article How to Spend One Day in Brooklyn.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these affiliate links, we get paid a small commission at no extra cost to you.
All rights reserved © Earth Trekkers. Republishing this article and/or any of its contents (text, photography, etc.), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.