After Central Park, the High Line has become the most visited park in New York by tourists and locals alike to get a breather from the concrete and enjoy a green area and the best views of the city. It has been freshly completed (it is located on a former railroad line abandoned until recently and leads to Hudson Yards, the trendy neighborhood of Manhattan.
Along its track (about one and a half miles) you can enjoy its peculiar design, which mixes art and nature, while walking a very cool route that crosses Chelsea and reaches the Meatpacking District from Hudson Yards (or the other way around).
For me, the best part is the views of the skyscrapers of the different Manhattan neighborhoods: the path is so entertaining that you won't realize how far you've walked until you see it on a map. This is the route along the High Line that I recommend:
1. Start with the first section: Hudson Yards
I suggest you start your visit at 34th Street at Hudson Yards. Before entering the High Line park, check out this hip, emerging neighborhood of Manhattan, full of stores, luxury skyscrapers, and trendy restaurants.
The entrance to the High Line from this area is via a ramp, which is an advantage for people in wheelchairs or pushing a stroller.
Be amazed by the Hudson Yards skyscrapers
Located on what was once a dreary train depot along the Hudson River, a modern residential and entertainment neighborhood known as Hudson Yards is in the works today, the hippest thing in Midtown in the Big Apple.
An area with a lot of potential that already has some tourist attractions recently inaugurated such as The Edge observatory, The Vessel, the Little Spain gastronomic market or The Shed cultural center. You will have a great time dropping by this neighborhood. Take a look at my guide about Hudson Yards to know the must-see places before your visit.
2. Continue on to The Spur
During this part of the tour, you will walk among skyscrapers and design buildings. The contrast between the different shapes, decorative elements, and the height of the buildings is very striking, although to be honest, being in New York, you will always feel like you're a little ant among these huge constructions. The ones located at the 28th Street entrance are amazing, so don't forget to take some pictures of them.
There are also some very nice sculptures at this point, like those of Love&Amor and at certain points the vegetation grows so lush that it invades the road and for a moment it seems as if you were in the middle of a forest. However, the car sirens in the background remind you that you are still inside the High Line park in New York.
3. Take a break to enjoy the street art
In addition to the works of art you'll see along the High Line Park, if you pause the tour to exit at the 23rd Street entrance you can stroll around the area to marvel at some of the graffiti by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra.
- Mount Rushmore, on the facade of the Empire Diner restaurant, as a tribute to artists such as Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
- Tolerance, which pays tribute to Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Gandhi.
- We love NY², features Einstein as the protagonist who expresses his squared love for New York.
Don't forget to take pictures!
With some great souvenir photos, return to the High Line park to continue the tour. Don't put your camera away because a little further down 21 Street, on the left there is a very peculiar sculpture under whose arch you can take some more pictures.
4. Cross Chelsea
We've reached the last stretch! At the height of 10th Avenue is the High Line Observation Deck, a grandstand where you can rest awhile and watch the views before entering a small area where you will find stands selling souvenirs of High Line Park and food (ice cream, empanadas, German currywurst, etc).
The views of Chelsea Market
In this third section of High Line Park, I advise you to make another stop on the way because at the level of 10th Avenue and 15th Street you will see a kind of bridge that connects two buildings in Chelsea that currently correspond to Chelsea Market.
This is one of the most famous gastronomic markets in New York: it was formerly the Nabisco cookie factory, the one where Oreo cookies were invented! In fact, if you look closer, the walls of the market are full of references to them. If you decide to grab a bite in this area, you will see that there are some tables where you can sit. Anyway, later I will tell you where to eat near the High Line.
5. Relax on the last stretch, the quietest one
If you continue walking a little bit more along the High Line you will find one of my favorite spots in the park: the wooden loungers. Here you can not only relax lying in the sun or in the shade of a tree but also take your shoes off and cool your feet in the water that springs from the tracks, which can be a real treat during the summer. It's like a little oasis in the middle of High Line!
The good thing about this area of High Line Park, to the southern end of the track, is that it is not as crowded as in previous sections and there is plenty of shade, which is especially appreciated on hot days. The next thing you will see on the route, just in front, is the hotel The Standard whose rooftop bar has great views of the city.
To the left is the Gansevoort Street entrance, which means the High Line Park walk is over, but not the fun! If you like modern art I advise you to go downstairs and then go to the Whitney Museum, which specializes in 20th-century American art.
6. Get cultured at the Meatpacking District
Meatpacking District is a small area of Greenwich Village well known for its bars, hotels, art studios, and sophisticated boutiques. Its industrial-looking buildings and cobblestone streets will still remind you of the working-class past it had in the early twentieth century, when this place was the biggest butcher shop area in New York (hence the name of the neighborhood). A great contrast with the avant-garde skyscrapers of Hudson Yards.
In the 80's it went through a difficult period when the neighborhood fell into marginality but there is no trace of that era and today it is a very popular place with a glamorous, alternative air.
Isabel's Traveller Tip
Climbing to the rooftop of The Standard hotel is an alternative to other viewpoints in New York. There is no entrance fee but, if you go up, getting a drink while you enjoy the views of the skyline is a perfect way of picking yourself up after a walk.
7. Eat like a king, or queen, at High Line
From a gastronomic point of view, few cities in the world can boast such a varied offer as New York. The advantage of working up an appetite during your visit to High Line Park is that in the vicinity you can choose from several delicious places to have a bite to eat that will leave you with a good taste in your mouth.
I recommend you visit the Chelsea Market, where you can try delicious sushi, tacos, noodles, pasta, or seafood (the specialty of the market) in their fast food stalls. In addition, it also has sections dedicated to wine, coffee, or sweets, so if you have a foodie friend back home, you can be sure that they will be delighted if you bring back a tasty souvenir from New York.
Old Homestead Steakhouse
Next to the Chelsea Market is Old Homestead Steakhouse, the temple of beef lovers and an icon of the Meatpacking District as it has been open since 1868.
The reputation and popularity of this place are thanks to its mouth-watering steaks, although you can also find other dishes on its menu. The portions are of great quality, delicious and quite generous, which is reflected in the price, by the way. However, I assure you that you will dream about this place once you've tried it.
Little Spain Market
In Hudson Yards you can't miss the Little Spain Market, a gastronomic space dedicated to the flavors of traditional Spanish cuisine by chef José Andrés and brothers Ferrán and Albert Adriá. Here you can unleash your gluttony and order tapas, sandwiches, cocas, cheeses, Spanish wines, churros, and much more, the best of Spanish cuisine outside Spain!
The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards
Drop into this trendy mall for a bite to eat and a little shopping. There are plenty of restaurants to get your fix, such as the famous hot dogs and burgers at Shake Shack, the clams with hot sauce at Kawi, or the Japanese panko-covered pork katsu sandwiches at Peach Mart. Yummy!
8. High Line Park: a perfect walk any time of the year, any time of the day
Since High Line Park is open year-round, any time is a good time to come and take a nice walk in the fresh air in this area of New York. However, being a park it is true that the scenery changes each season.
When, in my opinion, High Park's vegetation looks most beautiful is during spring and summer. The trees are lusher and the sun shines through their leaves creating a beautiful play of light and shadow along the path. In addition, the trail is filled with colorful plants and flowers.
During fall and winter, the days are shorter and the temperatures are lower. The vegetation is scarcer and the landscape changes completely although the snow gives it a special charm. In addition, there are always new art exhibits to see which is also an incentive to visit the High Line Park in the colder months of the year.
And the best time of day?
My recommendation is to budget some time early in the morning to walk High Line Park at your leisure, as the track is narrow and it is a very popular site that tends to get crowded easily (especially in the evenings and on weekends). Later in the day, in some sections, you may feel like you are dodging people rather than strolling.
However, another option is to visit the High Line park late in the evening when it starts to get dark. The track is illuminated from bottom to top and you can appreciate the contrast between it and the surrounding buildings. Something to keep in mind, especially if you are a photography enthusiast.
9. Consult its calendar of events and visit it with children
In addition to being a place where you can enjoy nature, outdoor art, and a nice walk, High Line Park also organizes free astronomy events, pilates, or guided tours given by volunteers. You can see the calendar of activities and all the park's news at the official High Line website.
Is it worth going with children?
Of course it is! They will love to have some time to play along the park, and there are special events for the little ones at the High Line.
10. Get organized for your visit: practical information
- Start: 34th St (subway: 34th St - Hudson Yards)
- End: Gansevoort St (subway: 14th St - 8th Ave)
- Hours: Monday through Friday from 7AM to 7PM. Weekends from 10AM to 6PM.
- Price: Free
Where is High Line Park?
High Line Park is located between Gansevoort Street and 34th Street. Its one-and-a-half-mile straight-line route starts (or ends depending on which direction you take) to the north near Hudson Yards. It then runs through Chelsea and finally ends to the south in the Meatpacking District next to the Whitney Museum.
The great thing about the High Line Park is that along its route there are intermediate accesses to get out and explore or re-engage with the walk via elevators and stairs so you can get to know the area at your own pace making as many stops as you like.
Access to the High Line
- Gansevoort St (elevator, public restrooms, and stairs)
- 14th St (elevator and stairs)
- 16th St (elevator, public restrooms, and stairs)
- 20th St (stairs)
- 23rd St (elevator and stairs)
- 26th St (stairs)
- 28th St (stairs)
- 30th St (elevator and stairs)
- 34th St (stairs)
How long does it take to complete the tour?
It takes about an hour to complete the High Line Park tour, although it will take a little longer if you stop to take photos, enjoy the views, have a snack or rest on one of the benches or loungers.
But how did High Line Park come to be?
The history of High Line Park dates back to the 1930s when the West Side of the city used to run freight trains that supplied New York with meat. Sometime later, when the highway began to be used to transport goods, the tracks fell into disuse and weeds began to sprout on them, giving them a neglected appearance.
In the 1990s, there were plans to dismantle the railroad tracks to make room for new construction, but an eye-opening Chelsea neighborhood association called Friends of the High Line saved them from being dismantled to preserve this piece of Big Apple history.
It was finally decided to restore the tracks and transform them into an elevated urban garden, the first section of which opened in 2009. In 2011 and 2014, the second and third opened respectively, and The Spur, the latest addition, came in June 2019.
Since then, High Line Park has completed its first decade of life and has become one of New Yorkers' favorite gardens to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the scenery by taking a pleasant stroll or exercising.