When I lived in New York, I spent most of my time on the east side. If you live on 3rd Ave, it takes a lot of convincing to get any of your friends to go to 10th Ave with you. Regardless, I had a love affair with the west side. The High Line was one of the first places I ever visited when I moved to New York City and I never stopped loving it. Chelsea continues to be my favorite place to explore (and by explore I mean eat, because that is all I do when I'm in NYC). It was only natural when I was back last month that I went straight to the west side. If you are heading to New York any time soon, make sure you check out these things to do in Chelsea.
Fall in love with Chelsea Market
Chelsea Market is this thing that everyone in New York seems to know about, but no one really does. The number of friends who have told me they have never visited Chelsea Market continues to flabbergast me. Especially because Chelsea Market is the first place I recommend to anyone visiting NYC.
From delicious food to artisan shopping, it really is a complete experience. Anything that started as a biscuit factory has to be filled with good mojo, and that becomes obvious once you visit Chelsea Market. While I highly recommend leaving a good chunk of time to explore the whole building, I will mention a few of my favorite spots inside the marketplace. First of all, if you think you've had brownies before, you're wrong. Go try a Fat Witch brownie and you will understand. Then check out Artists & Fleas (pictured above), which is filled with different artists, designers, and vintage vendors. There's a pop-up event space across the hall where different sample sales, holiday shops, and more add to the excitement. Now that you've had time to digest your brownie, head over to The Filling Station to try their unique array of oils, vinegar, and salts. But beware... their ghost pepper salt is only for the bravest of brave.
Then walk around the different food stalls near the filling station. From lavender-pistachio doughnuts to Japanese-Mexican fusion cuisine, you're sure to find something incredible. Finally, before you leave, stop by the Posman Books and grab a book for the road.
Lucky for you, the next place on my list is less than a block away. Let the Chelsea fun continue!
Check out NYC's best date spot
Every time I have been on the High Line, I have fallen in love with whomever I am with. Okay, so maybe that's an exaggeration, but it's true that the High Line is an unforgettable way to see the city. Romantic, beautiful, exciting, unique... pick the adjective that works for you. I promise the High Line will live up to any of these descriptors.
What was once an abandoned train track is now a revolutionary park that stretches more than 15 blocks alongside the Hudson River. The unique architecture, inspiring street art, and panoramic views of the city are truly incredible. But plants and views are not all you will find on the High Line.
At the southernmost entrance to the High Line is a delicious Italian restaurant. Those who cannot afford to spend $24 on spaghetti can still stifle their hunger in a more affordable way along the High Line. The vendors are always changing, so don't get attached, but the last time I went Blue Bottle Coffee, Melt Bakery, L'Arte Del Gelato, and La Sonrisa were serving up some mouth-watering options. For more up-to-date info about the food on the High Line, check out their food blog.
While the park is fantastic on its own, there are also all sorts of events, like stargazing on Tuesdays, worth checking out. And while I have a crush on the High Line every time of day, sunset is when it becomes truly breath taking. The north end of the High Line (the end with the best views of the sunset) closes at dusk, so make sure you get there early if you want to catch views like this:
End your Chelsea adventure with drinks and dessert
While I would never tell you to pass on the delicacies along the High Line, I will suggest leaving room in your stomach (and money in your pocket) for a trip to Cafeteria. On the corner of 18th Street and 7th Ave is one of my favorite eateries in the city. And for once I'm not over exaggerating. Their dinner menu looks amazing, but as a budget traveler I've only ever split their appetizers and desserts with friends. But a dessert at Cafeteria is practically a meal of its own.
Whether you choose to enjoy the full dining experience or just stop by to taste their gourmet desserts and custom cocktails (I'm looking at you, Apple Cider Mimosa), Cafeteria is sure to satisfy. I've been there for dessert an embarrassing number of times, so I can tell you that the deep-fried oreos, red velvet yodels, fallen chocolate cake with passion fruit drizzle, and waffle banana split (above) will change your life.
Go forth and explore!
If I listed everything I loved about Chelsea it would be excessively long and you would stop reading. So what I recommend to anyone vising NYC is to start with these three locations and then go forth and explore! Take random turns, walk into obscure shops, and see what kind of adventures await.