Top 15 Things To Do In Chelsea, New York - Updated 2023

| 5 min read

Located on the west side of Manhattan, the neighborhood of Chelsea is composed of a series of townhouses, apartment buildings, and unique attractions like the High Line, an elevated park built atop old railroad tracks. A modern city built upon its past, former factories have been transformed into more than 200 art galleries alongside the establishment of the iconic Chelsea Market, filled with upscale food purveyors, restaurants, and shops. Like the rest of Manhattan where people of different backgrounds live alongside each other and cultures intertwine, diversity has allowed this neighborhood to be the hub of different cultures and heritage. Book a Vrbo rental in Chelsea or a vacation apartment in a nearby neighborhood, and continue reading to discover the top things to do in Chelsea, New York.

1. Satisfy your cravings at Chelsea Market (from USD 47.0)

Situated on 9th Avenue between 15th and 16th street, a trip to Chelsea Market is sure to get your taste buds tingling and your mouth watering. Housed in the former National Biscuit Company factory building - where the beloved Oreo cookie was once created - the market consists of a myriad of snack stalls and restaurants that will leave you spoilt for choice. Cafes like Ninth Street Espresso and restaurants like Lobster Place, known for its Maine lobster rolls, can be found here. Take your time as you you stroll about hands-down one of the best food markets in Chelsea and perhaps even in all of New York.

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Meatpacking District, Chelsea Market, Highline Walking Tour

Duration: 2 hours

68 reviews

2. Visit the iconic Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ajay Suresh used under CC BY 2.0

Home to teams such as the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL), Madison Square Garden is a multi-purpose indoor arena whose name is hardly foreign to New York and the world. Besides being used for professional ice hockey and basketball, this arena can be also transformed into venues for other activities such as concerts, boxing and professional wrestling, ice shows, and even circuses. Its illustrious history, filled up with the names of top sporting teams and renowned music acts, has altogether made Madison Square Gardens one of the most recognisable landmarks in midtown Manhattan. With a capacity of more than 20,000 seats, witnessing a game or a show here is sure to be an unforgettable and electrifying experience. Afterward, in true NYC fashion, head out to a cocktail bar for a few drinks.

Madison Square Garden

Address: 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001, United States

Website: Madison Square Garden

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3. Take a swing at Golf Club at Chelsea Piers

Source: Photo by Flickr user Dan DeLuca used under CC BY 2.0

In the midst New York’s concrete jungle, Chelsea Piers Golf Club provides a space for fellow golf enthusiasts and sports lovers to head down for a game or two. Besides a scenic view of the Hudson River from this golf club by the pier, it also features a four-tiered golf range with a 200-yard (183-metre) hitting fairway, a teaching academy, high-tech full swing simulators, and also membership options for frequent golfers. The full swing simulators allow players to go beyond the club’s physical golfing space, giving them access to more than 55 Championship courses to choose from. Best of all, the game can go on regardless of rain or shine!

Golf Club at Chelsea Piers

Address: 59 Chelsea Piers, New York, NY 10011, United States

Website: Golf Club at Chelsea Piers

Opening hours: 8am - 10pm (daily)

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4. Discover the Himalayan culture at Rubin Museum of Art

The Rubin Museum of Art
Source: Photo by Flickr user ajay_suresh used under CC BY 2.0

At this museum dedicated to the collection, display, and preservation of the art and culture of the Himalayas, you can find collections of Tibetan art and historical objects from the Tibetan culture. The museum has a collection of more than 1,000 objects including paintings, sculpture, textiles, and ritual objects dating from the 2nd to the 20th centuries. Playing a part in the conservation of the Tibetan culture as well as promoting cross-culture understanding, the museum’s ever-growing permanent gallery promises to spark curiosity in all its visitors.

Rubin Museum of Art

Address: 150 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011, United States

Website: Rubin Museum of Art

Opening hours: Thu, Sat - Mon: 11am - 5pm; Fri: 11am - 10pm (closed on Tue & Wed)

Price: 14 - 19 USD

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5. Hunt for antiques at Chelsea Flea Market

Chelsea Flea Market
Source: Photo by Flickr user Esther Lee used under CC BY 2.0

For more than 40 years, Chelsea Flea Market has been the place where collectors, locals, and the likes of celebrities such as Andy Warhol flocked to in the hunt for antiquities, art, collectibles, ephemera, vinyl, vintage items that have surfaced across time. Countless hidden gems have been uncovered at this market.

Chelsea Flea Market

Address: 29 W 25th St, New York, NY 10010, United States

Website: Chelsea Flea Market

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6. Take a tour around David Zwirner Art Gallery

Various works by Ruth Asawa at the David Zwirner gallery in NYC
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Angel2u4now used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Take a look inside David Zwirner Art Gallery owned by German art dealer David Zwirner. His galleries span across the globe from London, Hong Kong, Paris, to New York, of which two galleries in New York are situated right here in 525 West 19th Street and at 537 West 20th Street. Revolving around American contemporary art, this art gallery has exhibited works by external artists alongside that of its own artists.

David Zwirner Art Gallery

Address: 525 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011, United States and 537 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011, United States

Website: David Zwirner Art Gallery

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 6pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

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7. Break a sweat and stretch your legs at Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex

Chelsea Piers
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Groovio used under CC BY-SA 2.5

Located along the three historic piers of the Hudson River, Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex is a 28-acre (11.3-hectare) sports village where anyone can come for a fun day out. This complex is equipped with facilities for a variety of sports, such as basketball courts, bowling alleys, hockey and ice skating rinks, rock climbing walls, and running tracks to name a few. There is even a gymnastics centre, four batting cages, and two indoor turf fields. The vibrant and active environment makes it the ultimate all-in-one recreational sports complex in Chelsea.

Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex

Address: 62 Chelsea Piers, New York, NY 10011, United States

Website: Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex

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8. Learn about the aftermath of 9/11 at a Ground Zero Museum Workshop (from USD 35.95)

things to do in chelsea | learn about the aftermath of 9/11 at a ground zero museum workshop

Through the Ground Zero Museum Workshop at Ground Zero Museum, this family-friendly GetYourGuide tour seeks to provide an immersive and insightful perspective on the aftermath and rescue and recovery efforts of this tragic event. Visitors will get the opportunity to not only see and hear, but also to touch the items gathered from Ground Zero. With more than 100 images and objects collected and displayed, the true extent of the events is presented to visitors.

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9/11 Museum Workshop: 100 Images and Artifacts "Hands-On"

Duration: 1.5 hour

15 reviews

9. Make a splash at Chelsea Waterside Park

Chelsea Waterside Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tdorante10 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

In this newly revamped waterside park, this is the perfect place for children to cool off in the hot summer weather! With interactive fountains and a yellow-and-navy pipefish structure, you can rest assured that your children will have a whole lot of fun while getting up close and personal with the pipefish, a native Hudson River species. This park also includes a dog run, fields, and a basketball court. We won’t be surprised if you find your young ones begging you to bring them back for a second visit to this eye-catching waterside park!

Chelsea Waterside Park

Address: 557 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011, United States

Website: Chelsea Waterside Park

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10. Learn about Japanese culture at RESOBOX

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

From Japanese art to cuisine, RESOBOX is a Japanese cultural center is dedicated to sharing and celebrating the rich Japanese arts. Do check their website for the most recent updates and schedules on classes at its two locations - the East Village and Long Island City branch. Some common activities these two centres offer include classes like bonsai class, miniature food model workshop, Japanese ink painting workshops, and Japanese cooking workshops.

RESOBOX East Village

Address: 91 E 3rd St, New York, NY 10003, United States

Website: RESOBOX

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11. Enjoy some arts and culture at Luhring Augustine Gallery

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

The Luhring Augustine Gallery is an art gallery in New York located in Bushwick, Tribeca, and Chelsea. The art gallery is a member of the Art Dealers Association of America and was founded in 1985 by Lawrence R. Luhring and Roland J. Augustine. The gallery mostly features works of art by contemporary artists but would sometimes do a resale of select works of art from the 20th-century artists including Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Sigmar Polke, and Pablo Picasso among others.

Luhring Augustine Gallery

Address: 531 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10011

Website: Luhring Augustine Gallery

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 6pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

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12. Have a relaxing day at Hudson River Park

Hudson River Park, New York City - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Colin W used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Hudson River Park is a 550-acre (222.5-hectare) waterside park and an estuarine sanctuary in Manhattan, New York, that stretches 4 mi (6.4 km) from Battery Park City in Tribeca to West 59th Street in Hell’s Kitchen.

What used to be a decaying industrial area has turned into a riverside recreational spot where people can go strolling, jogging, biking, skating, boating, or simply enjoy the views. The park also features a beach volleyball area, basketball courts, tennis courts, a baseball and football field, a mini-golf course, and a skate park.

Hudson River Park

Address: Between Battery Place and West 59th Street

Website: Hudson River Park

Opening hours: 6am - 1pm (daily)

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13. Have a dose of some great 20th- and 21st-century American art at Whitney Museum of American Art

For a dose of some great 20th- and 21st-century American art, check out the Whitney Museum of American Art. This art museum was founded by socialite and art enthusiast Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1930. It features more than 25,000 pieces of art including paintings, sculptures, photos, films as well as a collection of books, portfolios, manuscripts, and papers, showcasing works from young and up-and-coming artists. The Whitney Café and the Studio Bar also offer some light refreshments for museum patrons.

Whitney Museum of American Art

Address: 99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014

Website: Whitney Museum of American Art

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 10:30am - 6pm; Fri: 10:30am - 5pm; Sat - Sun: 11am - 6pm

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14. Enjoy a relaxing night out with the gang at City Winery

Think live entertainment plus good food and a full bar—this is what City Winery is all about. So if you’re planning a night out with the gang, check it out! Entertainment can be a live musical act or a comedy show from popular artists. The menu is globally influenced yet locally sourced that’s meant to be paired with a good bottle of wine.

If, however, you just want to have a relaxing night out with friends without the fanfare, you can choose to sit at the balcony where you can enjoy a peaceful view of the Little Island.

City Winery

Address: 25 11th Ave. (at 15th Street) New York, NY 10011

Website: City Winery

Opening hours: Mon - Tue: 4pm - 10pm; Wed - Thu: 4pm - 11pm; Fri - Sat: 12pm - 11pm; Sun: 12pm - 11pm

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15. Enjoy the great outdoors in style at Little Island

Little Island is a man-made island off the Hudson River Park on the west side of Manhattan. It is a 2.4-acre (0.97-hectare) urban oasis that offers locals and tourists alike a place to unwind and enjoy the great outdoors. The public park features a beautifully landscaped area that sits on top of the Hudson River via tulip-inspired stilts. It also features a playground, three “lawns”, an amphitheater, concrete paths, water fountains, a food stall, and two overlooking points.

Little Island

Address: Pier55 in Hudson River Park @ West 13th Street, New York NY 10014

Website: Little Island

Opening hours: 6am - 9pm (daily)

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Never a dull moment

There is no doubt that Chelsea’s art scene is top-notch and highly diverse, but that is not all that Chelsea offers. From restaurants serving scrumptious meals to amazing rooftop bars, there is always something to do at every turn here in Chelsea. Spend a day out museum-hopping, browsing at a flea market, or even watching a game or show at Madison Square Gardens!

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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