Situated on the southwest side of Midtown Manhattan, Chelsea has changed considerably in recent years. Encompassing the area west of 6th Avenue from 14th Street up to 31st, the area was once a locus of industry, with many factories and other industrial buildings occupying the blocks along the Hudson River. Chelsea's explosive growth began in the 1990s and continues today, with new towers expanding the neighborhood as far north as Madison Square Garden. While the northern part of the neighborhood is still a gritty commercial and industrial zone, the rest of the neighborhood has been rapidly gentrifying.
Today, Chelsea has a huge concentration of art galleries and is a popular dining and nightlife district, with the area along 8th Avenue being the center of gay social life in Manhattan. Old industrial structures have found new life as parks, most notably the well-received High Line, built atop a defunct railway, and the Chelsea Piers on the Hudson River, now a huge sports and recreation complex. At the southern end of Chelsea is the Meatpacking District, a small district along the Hudson just south of 14th that was once a major center of meatpacking firms before becoming the hip, trendy neighborhood of today, with nightclubs and high-end boutiques occupying the old industrial spaces. A wave of new construction continues to sweep through the area, transforming this old industrial area into an upscale entertainment destination.
Via subway, there are many lines serving the neighborhood. The A, C, and E lines run under 8th Avenue and stop at 14th St., with the C and E also stopping at 23rd St. Under 7th Avenue run the 1, 2, and 3 lines, with the 1 stopping at 14th St., 18th St., 23rd St., and 28th St., and the 2 and 3 stopping just at 14th St. The F and M lines stop along 6th Ave., stopping at 14th St. and 23rd St. The L train runs east from its terminal at 14th St. and 8th Ave., also stopping at 6th Ave.
There is ample bus service: north-south routes on every avenue and east-west crosstown buses on the larger streets (14th and 23rd), though they can be slow, especially at peak hours.
Chelsea is home to over 300 art galleries. The mid-20s between 10th and 11th Avs. (for example, 25th St.) is the new hot art area. Walk around and see the shows that are up. Check gallery schedules and shows here.
- High Line Park, Runs mostly along 10th Avenue from 34th Street south to Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District, with access points at Gansevoort, 14th, 16th, 18th, 20th, 23rd, 26th, 28th, 30th, and 34th Streets (Subway: to 14th St or 23rd St). Built on a defunct elevated railway that runs 30 feet above the streets, the repurposing of the rail line as a park has made it the focus of major development in the neighborhood. There are plenty of plantings and art installations along the park as it winds its way between (and through!) buildings, and walking the stretch offers some pretty unique views over the streets of Manhattan.
- Rubin Museum of Art, 17th Street between 6th and 7th Ave. Mo 11AM – 5PM, Tu: Closed, We: 11AM – 7PM, Th: 11AM – 5PM, Fr: 11AM – 10PM, Sa and Su: 11AM – 6PM. Art of the Himalayas. Adults - $10, Seniors, Students - $5, Children (12 and younger) - free, Free for all Fr 6 – 10PM.
- Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort St (at the southern end of High Line Park), ☎ . M, W, Su 10:30AM-6PM; Th-Sa 10:30AM-10PM. Founded in 1931 and recently moved to a stunning new building in the Meatpacking District, the Whitney Museum is known for displaying contemporary American art even more up-to-date than the Museum of Modern Art. It is most famous for its long-standing tradition of hosting a biennial art show that displays many lesser-known artists new to the American art scene. $22 adults, $18 seniors/students, free for under 18.
- Gagosian Gallery, 555 West 24th St, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tuesday-Saturday: 10AM-6PM. One of fourteen gallery spaces/shops all around the world owned by Larry Gagosian. Thoughtful and important exhibitions of both modern and contemporary art.
- Matthew Marks Gallery, 523 West 24th St, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tuesday-Saturday: 10AM-6PM. Modern and contemporary art shown through a variety of mediums including: sculpture, photography, painting, drawing, film, prints, drawings, and installation art.
- Chelsea Arts Tower, 545 West 25th St, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. hours vary by gallery. A 21-story commercial condominium in the heart of the gallery district. Built in 2006, this is Manhattan's first art gallery condominium. This building features the Marlborough Chelsea gallery, Tina Kim Gallery, the Flag Art Foundation gallery, Joan Mitchell Foundation, and even the Calvin Klein Studio. This is the perfect place to spend an afternoon with all of its galleries and amazing views. The Chelsea Arts Tower is also home to The Glass Houses on floors 14 and 21. This is one of the most premier spaces for over-the-top parties and events in NYC.
- Visio Dell'Arte, 522 West 23rd St (cross street 10th ave), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Mon-Sat 10:30-6:30PM. Visio Dell'Arte est.2007 in Paris has a second gallery in Chelsea. They feature fine art paintings from masters such as Rasikh Akhmetvaliev, Anatoli Bourykine, Kaloon Chhour, Cosmina, Ene, Anik Legoupil, Helene Modebadze, Oliver Valli and Petre Velicu. All artists are exclusively represented by Visio Dell'Arte. free.
- Chelsea Piers, 23rd St & Hudson River Park, ☎ . 28-acre waterfront sports village. Amenities include golf, bowling, skating, batting cages, rock climbing, fitness center, spa and more.
- Atlantic Stage 2, 330 W 16th St btn. 8th and 9th Ave, ☎ . This is the Atlantic's 99-seat theater which they use for shows too interesting to go in their larger theater on 20th St. Listings for stage 2 shows that are part of their regular season go on their website. But this theater has many secret shows, like their acting school's semester-end performances, and staged readings during the summer. This other stuff is usually not even on nytheatre.com, but, rather publicized by Facebook and postcard only, so while some of it is technically public, most of the audience may consist of fans, relatives, and friends of the performers. You may have the chance to hear readings by talented young authors from places like Middlebury College before they become famous. If you're invited to something here, it will probably be good and completely irreplaceable, but think twice about making critical comments in such an environment.
- Joyce Theater, 175 8th Ave, ☎ . One of the premier contemporary dance performance spaces in the world, with modern dance and ballet.
- 29th Street Rep, 212 W 29th St, ☎ .
Improv & sketch comedy
- Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre, 307 W. 26th St, ☎ . Laughs as cheap as they come.
- Magnet Theater, 254 W 29th St, ☎ . There's always something going on at the Magnet.
- Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave (between 15th and 16th Streets; Subway: to 14th St/8th Av). The original Oreo cookie factory is now a block-sized market selling gourmet foods, flowers, and knick-knacks, and offering restaurants, bars, art space and special shows. Has free wireless Internet access throughout and smells like a slice of heaven.
- Purple Passion, 211 West 20th St., ☎ . adult store with selections of fetishwear & corsets
- Shoegasm, 71 8th Avenue (between 13th and 14th Sts.), ☎ . Monday-Tuesday: 10AM-8PM Wednesday-Saturday: 10AM-9PM Sunday: 11AM-7PM. Fashionable shoes for men and women at affordable prices. The Chelsea location (one of five in Manhattan) boasts a unique aesthetic with antique furniture, Persian rugs, and brick walls.
- Buffalo Exchange, 114 West 26th Street (at 6th Avenue), ☎ . Monday-Saturday: 11AM-8PM, Sunday: 12PM-7PM. Clothing and accessories bought, sold and traded locally with the public. The inventory changes every day and includes designer labels, vintage, jeans, leather, current basics and one-of-a-kind items. They also have brand new items, clothing for both men and women and is more upscale and fashionable than an average thrift shop.
- Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company, 286 8th Ave (between 24th & 25th Sts), ☎ . Daily 7AM-10PM. Commanding a loyal following, this bagel place is noted for its huge, filling bagels with a heaping spread of cream cheese (or one of the many other spreads available).
- Cafeteria, 119 7th Ave, ☎ . The name is a misnomer; it's a hip restaurant -- a few blocks south on 7th for a broad range of stuff, nicely presented, with sidewalk dining.
- Co., 230 Ninth Ave, ☎ . Mon 5-11PM, Tue–Sat 11:30AM–11PM, Sun 11AM–10PM. This pizzeria features baker Jim Lahey's famous no-knead pizza dough. They offer a handful of classic pizzas as well as many more unique choices.
- Elmo, 156 7th Avenue (between 20th and 19th Sts.), ☎ . A very trendy spot. Filled with chic comfort food, delicious cocktails, and beautiful people. They have a main floor dining room as well as a downstairs lounge perfect for any event and complete with a DJ booth, sound system and full bar.
- Grand Sichuan Chelsea, 229 9th Ave (9th Av. and 24 St.), ☎ . Excellent Sichuan cuisine, for those who like it hot. Stick with the Sichuan and Hunan menus and special menus like the Prodigal Daughter's menu. Do not get "lunch specials" or order from the American-Chinese or Cantonese menus, and do not get Shanghainese "Soup Dumplings" (xiaolong bao) unless you want typical American-Chinese takeout food and dishes made better elsewhere. Get reservations if you are going during peak dinner hours on any day; this location is really popular, and you may have to wait a long time for a table if you just show up.
- Momoya, 185 7th Avenue (at 21st Street), ☎ . Daily 12PM-3PM & 5:30PM-11PM. A traditional Japanese/Sushi menu with a vibrant fusion touch to it.
- Murray's Bagels Chelsea, 242 8th Ave (between 22nd and 23rd Sts), ☎ . M 7AM-8:30PM, Tu-W 7AM-9PM, Th-F 7AM-10PM, Sa-Su 7AM-7PM. This is a place that believes in the pure New York bagel — which means no toasting. Don't even bother asking. But the bagels are so fresh that it doesn't matter. It's often packed with long lines and the service is chaotic, but they give you a healthy amount of spread and toppings.
- Pepe Giallo, 253 10th Ave (between 24th and 25th Sts.), ☎ . Reliable place for panini and pasta, priced fairly.
- Silom Thai, 150 8th Avenue (between 17th &18th Streets), ☎ . Monday-Thursday: Noon-10PM, Friday: Noon-Midnight, Saturday: 2PM-Midnight, Sunday: 2PM-11PM. Cuisine designed around the flavors of Silom Road in Bangkok. Reasonably priced, great ambience, attentive and fast service, & unbelievably fresh food.
- Txikito, 240 Ninth Ave. (between 24th and 25th Sts.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. lunch Tuesday—Friday: Noon-3PM; dinner Sunday—Thursday: 5PM-11PM and Friday—Saturday: 5PM-Midnight; brunch Saturday & Sunday: 11:30AM-3:30PM. Basque tapas restaurant which serves delicious food and wine in a bustling atmosphere. The charges add up quickly for all those small plates, so it is far from a cheap restaurant, but it is fun and a fair value. On the dinner menu, Pintxoak (Basque Canapés): $6-10; Hotzak (Cold Items): $8-15; Beroak (Hot Items): $5-28. Lunch and brunch are cheaper.
- Whole Foods Market, 250 7th Ave (at 24th St), ☎ . Daily 7:30AM-11PM.
- Café Grumpy, 224 West 20th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues), ☎ . The coffee and attitude here are both fantastic, but the elongated shoebox shape and gigantic space-wasting counter area opposite those clumsy tiny tall-tables makes it feel like a hallway. If it were an actual hallway between two other random places, the big building around it might make it seem cozier, but since it stands alone, the sense of jostling bumping linear traffic may make you feel distracted after half a drink. This property makes it perfect for meeting people before a show at the Atlantic Theater one block west.
- Gallow Green, 542 W 27th St, ☎ . Mon–Wed 4–10:30PM; Thu, Sun noon–10:30PM; Fri, Sat noon–12:45AM. Although Gallow Green is closed during the winter months, it is without a doubt a place you want to visit while it's open. It's a garden restaurant and bar located in the McKittrick Hotel. Definitely for the hopeless romantics.
- Paddles, 250 W. 26th St. (between 7th & 8th Avenues). NYC's alternative/fetish/BDSM club
- Chelsea International Hostel, 251 West 20th St (between 7th/8th Avenues; Subway: to 23rd St or 18th St, trains to 23rd St. You can also walk from 6th Ave trains at 23rd St), ☎ . Small and clean. Internet access, 24-hour reception. All guests must show a passport when checking in, including U.S. citizens.
- Hampton Inn Manhattan - Chelsea, 108 West 24th St, ☎ .
- Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan Hotel, 160 West 25th St, ☎ .
- GEM Hotel - Chelsea, 300 West 22nd St, ☎ . The rooms are tiny, though bright and in good condition, as the hotel is new.
- Eventi Hotel, 851 6th Av. (between 29th and 30th Sts.), ☎ , fax: +1 212-564-6790. New boutique hotel near Penn Station.
- Hilton Garden Inn New York/Chelsea, 121 West 28th St, ☎ . A comfortable hotel with moderately sized rooms. From about $220 per night, depending on season.
- The Standard, High Line Hotel, 848 Washington St, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A hip boutique hotel featuring business and event space, an on-site restaurant, bar and beer garden.
- Dream Downtown - Chelsea, 355 West 16th St. (between 8th & 9th Av.), ☎ . With a tree-shaded lobby, metallic lizard banquettes, a glass-bottomed pool, and nightly DJs it is no wonder this place is so pricey. This ‘dream-like’ building has classic furnishing elements such as Turkish rugs and white Beverly sofas complimented with futuristic touches like shiny steel baths. Dream Downtown has created a beach club vibe with suites that lead onto the pool area, sandy patches, and outdoor cabanas. The hotel’s Ph-D Rooftop Lounge will serve up your favorite cocktails underneath their Venini glass chandeliers. From about $295 and up per night, depending on season.
- Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave, ☎ . Free Wi-Fi is offered at this public space.
Chelsea lies in the shadow of Midtown's Theater District, just to the north with its many attractions and iconic landmarks. Just past Madison Square Garden lies the Garment District, with the bright lights of Times Square further beyond. On the Hudson River sits the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum at Pier 86 on the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier, which features a prototype NASA space shuttle, restored jets, and a WWII helicopter.
Union Square is cross-town from Chelsea and definitely worth seeing. There are holiday shops during the winter, a kids summer concert series. and the Greenmarket throughout the warmer months.
If you're up for a subway or cab ride, Greenwich Village is a short ride south. At the center of the neighborhood is Washington Square Park, always filled with street musicians and a great spot for people watching. The Washington Arch is a must-see while in Manhattan.
|Routes through Chelsea|
|Bronx ← Theater District ←||N S||→ Greenwich Village → Financial District|
|Upper Manhattan ← Theater District ←||N S||→ Greenwich Village → Financial District|
|END ←||W E||→ Gramercy Flatiron/East Village → East Brooklyn|