Chelsea, NYC: The ultimate guide to Chelsea

Our guide to Chelsea, NYC includes the best places to eat, drink, shop and things to do in the neighborhood

High Line Chelsea
Photograph: Shutterstock

What's the deal with Chelsea?

For more than 130 years, Chelsea has been New York City's arts district attracting culture hounds from all over the globe. It started with the opening of the famous Chelsea Hotel that was meant to bridge class divisions and to "value the arts" and is now home to hundreds of art galleries that showcase the most iconic and innovative works in the world.

The neighborhood, which is bound by Sixth Avenue to the east and the Hudson River to the west and about 20 blocks from about West 14th to 34th streets, has only recently become a renowned cultural hub. It started as a Native American trading post, then it became an industrial hub with the Hudson River Railroad, and with the eventual abandonment of warehouses and lumberyards, it became a hotspot for punk music and art and would welcome the LGBTQ community, too. In recent years, its seen major architectural development and an influx of some of NYC's coolest cultural venues and restaurants.

From great speakeasy bars and dives to flea markets and worthwhile gay bars, there's something for everyone, not just art fans. The completion of the High Line and the addition of Little Island have brought verdant, elevated promenades with great views of the neighborhood—a mix of industrial landmarks and gleaming new structures—which are just a few minutes' walk from the eateries and shops of the beloved Chelsea Market.

If you only do one thing

Walk the High Line (because if you haven't had you really been to Chelsea?) and stop at the Chelsea Flea Market (open weekends) to peruse its knick-knacks and snag some good deals on vintage duds.

Go off the beaten track

Dare to get high at the Trapeze School at Hudson River Park, check out Artechouse's trippy digital art show underneath Chelsea Market or get drinks at Coby Club under Elmo.

On a sunny day

Go visit the brand new Little Island where you can grab a coffee and walk its gently sloping hills and ride a CitiBike through Hudson River Park and stop at Pier 52 to see the permanent water-bound art installation called "Day's End."

On a rainy day

Catch a show at the new City Winery at Pier 57, eat your way through Chelsea Market, shop the Housing Works Thrift Store and grab drinks at Porchlight.

Get cultured

Head to the Whitney or Rubin Museums or if you want to avoid the museums, see a show at The Shed at Hudson Yards or to some of Chelsea's best art galleries like the newly reopened Dia Chelsea or the popular David Zwirner gallery.

Chill out

Check out the Starbucks Reserve Roastery which has a 60-foot bar on the mezzanine, where bartenders serve cocktails made with coffee and tea or grab drinks at Boxers NYC or Gallow Green, the rooftop bar of The McKittrick Hotel.

Nearest subway stations

Take the 1, E or F train to the 23rd Street stop and walk to Ninth Avenue.

What else is nearby? 

Hell's Kitchen is to the north and Greenwich Village is to the south—both neighborhoods have some of NYC's best restaurants and ample fun things to do.

Map of Chelsea, NYC:

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Manhattan, NY

Things to do in Chelsea, New York

The best things to do in Chelsea, NYC
Things to do

The best things to do in Chelsea, NYC

From gorging on insanely delicious mac-and-cheese to lounging outdoors atop New York’s only elevated park.

The best restaurants in NYC's Chelsea
Restaurants

The best restaurants in NYC's Chelsea

Chelsea has many excellent places to eat and drink whether you're strolling the High Line or checking out its art galleries. 

The best restaurants near the High Line
Restaurants

The best restaurants near the High Line

Eating and drinking options abound from the Whitney Museum of American Art up to Husdon Yards. 

The best Chelsea art galleries
Art

The best Chelsea art galleries

As one of the major art hubs in New York City, Chelsea's gallery scene certainly takes the cake for the best place to check out art.

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The best hotels in Chelsea
Hotels

The best hotels in Chelsea

Put yourself right in the action of several hot New York ‘hoods when you stay at the best hotels in Chelsea, NYC

The best Chelsea shops
Shopping

The best Chelsea shops

The retail scene in Chelsea offers cool vintage threads, designer menswear, antiques markets and more

The best bars in Chelsea
Bars

The best bars in Chelsea

Whatever your poison of choice, Chelsea is brimming with quality drinking options

The Chelsea Market in NYC guide
Things to do

The Chelsea Market in NYC guide

Everything you need to know about Chelsea Market—NY’s hot spot for food lovers and shopping addicts

More on Chelsea, New York

A cocktail-style coffee bar just opened at Chelsea Market
News

A cocktail-style coffee bar just opened at Chelsea Market

Real New Yorkers are on the constant search for cool places to drink coffee — and a new Chelsea Market spot delivers. Day Drinks, a coffee and tea bar that dubs itself "a bar without alcohol" has officially opened in the food hall. Born from a conversation between the founders of artisan coffee roaster Pulley Collective and specialty coffee shop Ninth Street Espresso, which has been inside Chelsea Market for years, Day Drinks aims to redefine the coffee bar experience. RECOMMENDED: Puerto Rico's best bar is popping up in Manhattan this month with rum-based cocktails Here, guests can order from extensive, locally sourced coffee and tea lists, as well as pick from kegged beverages including on-tap espressos, nitro coffees, sparkling teas, and botanicals. Everything is roasted, brewed, and carbonated on site, meaning that expert bartenders can then work directly with taps and ingredients, and tailor drinks specifically to each customer’s exact tastes, just like at a cocktail bar. By making everything on-site, Day Drinks also has an almost neutral carbon footprint. "After the last year we had, we wanted to create an experience that was chill, fun, and relaxed, a little vacation from the everyday. We have been tinkering with kegged beverages for our own consumption and we thought it was a great opportunity to share our recipes with everyone," said Day Drinks Co-Founder Ramin Narimani. "Sometimes you want something refreshing without the alcohol for a variety of reasons and these will hit the spot. We couldn't think of a better place to present this new coffee and tea experience than at Chelsea Market." View this post on Instagram A post shared by Day Drinks (@daydrinksontap) Day drinkers can sip their beverages at the coffee bar or outside at one of Chelsea Market's outdoor dining areas. Drinks on tap start at $6, with signature drinks, like an espresso tonic or espresso soda, priced at $8.  Day Drinks is currently open Monday through Friday from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm. Private group tastings can also be arranged. 

Barneys former Chelsea store is now a Spirit Halloween
News

Barneys former Chelsea store is now a Spirit Halloween

So many New York storefronts look different than they used to, but this transformation is just plain spooky!  The former home of Barneys Chelsea department store, 101 Seventh Avenue, is becoming a Spirit Halloween just in time for pumpkin season.  Gone are the Gucci sneakers and Fendi bags of the store's past window displays, to soon be replaced by Scream masks and who knows what other costumes will be trending this fall.  Barneys New York, launched in 1923, growing to become one of New York's most beloved upscale department stores until the chain filed for bankruptcy in 2019. The Fifth Avenue flagship, as well as Barneys other stores, all closed in early 2020, leaving 101 Seventh Avenue up for sale. The building, which housed the original Barneys New York, with a stint as a Loehmann's (also RIP) in the early aughts, hit the market in March 2020 with a $40 million asking price. So far, no sale has been recorded, so it seems that Spirit Halloween is a seasonal tenant.   YOU GUYS! I think they’re turning the old Barney’s on 7th Ave into a Spirit Halloween pic.twitter.com/JhuA635pvB — Saint Dickolas (@gawkcid) August 10, 2021 Spirit Halloween is currently setting up at 101 Seventh Avenue, with store hours coming soon. They aim to be a "one-stop-shop" for all things Halloween and haunting season, vending costumes, accessories, party supplies, and more. With the sad loss of the East Village's iconic Halloween Adventure costume shop earlier this year, it looks like major national chains may fill voids beloved New York originals once claimed.  This year, the Village Halloween Parade is scheduled for Sunday, October 31, with the theme, "Let's Play." More details are will be announced, but the parade organizers say, "Get your vaccine, so we can do Halloween!"

NYC’s largest wine bar opens this week on the Hudson River at Pier 57
News

NYC’s largest wine bar opens this week on the Hudson River at Pier 57

Broadway is closed until June 2021 and indoor dining is still in the nascent stages of reopening, but the west side of Manhattan continues to be a hotbed of development. Enter the largest wine bar in New York City. Oenophiles and live music fans are already familiar with City Winery, which will open a sprawling 32,000-square-foot space at Pier 57 in Hudson River Park on October 15th. The waterfront views will be just as expansive as the wine menu, featuring at least 1,200 different bottles from 20 different countries. While you sip a glass of Sancerre, you’ll also have views of Barry Diller’s Little Island, which is set to open next spring. Photograph: Adam Pass There will be 270 seats—70 outdoors and 200 indoors—total for the time being as restaurants enforce social distancing guidelines and abide by a 25% capacity limit for indoor dining. There will be 990 seats once restrictions are lifted.  The original location of City Winery opened on the edges of Soho in 2008 during the financial crisis, and it closed in August last year as the venue prepared to move into its new home. Photograph: Courtesy of City Winery “No matter what happens in the world, City Winery will remain a place for people to come and enjoy the small pleasures in life like food, wine, music and community,” said Michael Dorf, City Winery’s founder and CEO, in a statement. “I am looking forward to opening our greatest version of City Winery ever, in my home New York City. The goal is to give my neighbors a much-needed feeling of normalcy and offer a safe dining experience where we can escape, even if just for a night.” From the outside of the new urban winemaking facility, you’ll see a barrel storage room and stainless steel tanks while strolling along Hudson River Park. Once live music events resume, there’s a 350-seat concert hall and a more private 150-seat loft space. Photograph: Courtesy of City Winery Of course drinking isn’t allowed without ordering food these days in New York. Chef Robert Hamburg oversees a Mediterranean-inspired menu with past favorites like a whipped feta spread, mushroom-and-goat cheese risotto balls and flatbreads. Today, there are 10 City Winery locations across the country but venues in Philadelphia, D.C. and Boston are temporarily closed. Photograph: Adam Pass Most popular on Time Out - The best October events in NYC- The most haunted places in NYC- The best Halloween events in NYC- The 100 best movies of all time- Broadway is now officially closed until June of 2021 Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.

A new exhibition in Chelsea showcases vanguard Black artists
News

A new exhibition in Chelsea showcases vanguard Black artists

This summer, a host of museums across the city are unveiling exciting and urgent exhibitions centered around identity as Covid-19 restrictions ease up. The Met recently staged an expansive retrospective dedicated to the late painter Alice Neel, who made her black and brown neighbors in Spanish Harlem a chief focus of her work. While The Whitney is currently exhibiting the decades-spanning work of photographer Dawoud Bey, who captured a nostalgic era of Harlem replete with Black-owned shops and cultural centers. Over the weekend, the Gagosian Gallery unveiled its own contribution to the current wave with an exhibition showcasing the work of 12 in-demand contemporary black artists titled Social Works.  The exhibition is the first staged under the purveyor of art critic and writer Antwaun Sargent, who was appointed director and curator at the influential gallery in January. Speaking on the topicality of the exhibition, which features reflective work from Carrie Mae Weems, Theaster Gates, and others, Sargent told The New York Times last week, “Given the last year of the pandemic and protest and the history in which Black artists operate, the work does more than just sit quietly on the wall.” Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York and GagosianThe British Museum, 2006– Digital c-print 50 1/4 x 50 in 127.6 x 127 cm Edition of 5 + 2 AP © Carrie Mae Weems     The work on display comes from some of the most celebrated Black artists of our time. One standout piece is Theaster Gates’ work “A Song For Frankie” (2017-2021), which features the artist’s collection of over 5,000 records from the pioneering house music producer DJ Frankie Knuckles. Another eye-catcher comes from the Houston-based artist Rick Lowe in the form of his visual piece “Black Wall Street Journey #5,” a work that commemorates the 1921 Tulsa Massacre. Meanwhile, photographs from Carrie Mae Weems, who won the MacArthur Fellowship in 2013, sees the artist posed in front of various significant national monuments and institutions, providing a powerful reflection on where Black people sit within the narrative of American history.   Courtesy of the artist and GagosianBlack Wall Street Journey #5, 2021 Acrylic and paper collage on canvas 108 x 192 in 274.3 x 487.7 cm © Rick Lowe Studio Photo: Thomas Dubrock   Overall, the exhibition showcases Black artists reflecting on their past, contextualizing our present, and envisioning a more equitable future. Allana Clarke, a Trinidadian-American artist featured in the show, described the show as “a really complex view of Blackness” to the Times. Social Works is on display at Gagosian Gallery’s West 24th Street location (just a short walk from The High Line!) from now through August 13. You can find more information about the show here. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio Courtesy of the artist, Matthew Brown Los Angeles, and Gagosianthe bodily effect of a color (sam), 2021 oil paint applied with rubber stamp letters and color pencil on debossed Igarashi Kozo paper, in artist's frame 40 x 30 in 101.6 x 76.2 cm © Kenturah Davis

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