48 Hours in NYC’s Chelsea and Meatpacking District

Visiting New York City? Explore Chelsea and the Meatpacking District. With restaurants, shops and parks, these neighborhoods will have you coming back again and again.

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You can really pack in the fun in NYC when you zero in on Chelsea and the Meatpacking District (MePa) below 23rd Street, west of 7th Avenue, and north of Gansevoort Street. Buzzing with nightclubs, restaurants, shops, and parks, Chelsea and MePa merge to make one great big hotspot where you can let loose. You might also recognize these streets from some of your favorite TV shows and movies. Someone’s always filming here, so keep your eyes peeled, and you just might spot a star or two.

A large chocolate donut wrapped in paper, held by a person at Doughnut Plant in New York City

W. 23rd Street

What better way to kick off the day than with a big, puffy, cream-filled doughnut and a cuppa’ joe? At the Doughnut Plant, you’ll swear you’ve died and gone to doughnut heaven. Doughnuts with flavors like peanut butter and banana cream, coconut cream, and chocolate-chocolate are ready to rock your world. After you’ve licked every last bit of icing from your fingers, why not poke your head into Chelsea Guitars next door and try out some of the awesome axes lining the walls? Join the pros like Lenny Kravitz and Ryan Adams who shop here by grabbing a pick and strumming some chords.

Two tacos served on a plate in New York City’s Chelsea Market restaurant

Ninth Avenue

When it comes to pizza, New York claims the crown. Lucky for you, there’s sure to be a tasty slice (or two) on Ninth Avenue with your name on it. Gotham Pizza and Stella’s are Chelsea’s go-to pizzerias for the $5 lunch deals you love. If you want to eat your slice like a real New Yorker, fold it down the middle first. Somehow, it just tastes better that way, and it also makes walking while eating it way easier.

If you like having loads of choices for chow, book it to Chelsea Market, a food hall set inside an old Nabisco cookie factory, where you can grab a bite at one of dozens of food stalls. All your faves are here, from tacos and soups to Italian sandwiches and Australian meat pies. Look for the pop-up shops that often spring up selling cool stuff. If brownies, cupcakes, or chocolate pudding are on your radar, stop for a sugar fix at one of the awesome bakeries.

A yellow sign hangs above the entrance to Hector’s Café & Diner with a flag next to the black door and painted red brick wall in Chelsea at night in New York City

Little West 12th Street

Don’t be fooled by the name — there’s a lot of big things happening on Little West 12th Street. The German gathering spot on the ground floor of the Standard Hotel is the place to munch on sausages and pretzels and play a mean game of table tennis. Dig into a juicy ribeye or burger at the Standard Grill. For a basic bacon-and-eggs breakfast, burgers, chops, and sandwiches, Hector’s is a laid-back, old-school corner diner with a menu of quick, cheap eats that just keeps on going.

Empire Cake

Nobody does snack cakes like Chelsea’s Empire Cake on 9th Avenue. At Empire, treats like Ho-Hos, Snowballs, and Twinkies get a makeover like you won’t believe, and everything’s made fresh with primo ingredients. Grab a snack cake to go, or sit down at the counter with a slice of red velvet or Brooklyn blackout cake. Be sure to check out the cool decorated cakes in the windows, too.

A landscape photo of Manhattan’s High Line park pathway on a clear evening with buildings illuminated in the background

The High Line

After chowing down on all that great food, you might want to burn off a few calories with a walk on the High Line, a park built on an old rail line above the streets. It stretches more than a mile, with fantastic views of the city and the Hudson River. The path is lined with wildflowers and trees, and you can also stretch out on wooden loungers on wheels that move along the rail track while you soak up the sun. Look for special events like free movie nights and stargazing with high-powered telescopes.

Silhouette of man hitting golf balls near the Hudson River during the day at New York City’s Chelsea Piers

Chelsea Piers

A one-stop shop for sports and fitness, Chelsea Piers sells day passes, so you don’t have to be a member to drop in and climb indoor rocks, swim laps, or tee off at a driving range on a pier overlooking the Hudson River. You can also save yourself some cash and hit the public biking, jogging, and walking paths that border it along the Hudson River.

Have you found your own favorite places in Chelsea and the MePa? Share them with us on Facebook.

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