Things to Do on the High Line

This post is about what to see and do on the High Line, as well as tips on planning your visit, where you can eat in the area and what tours are available.

 

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OVERVIEW

The High Line is a park that is 1.45 miles (2.33 km) and runs through several neighborhoods – Greenwich Village, the Meatpacking District, Chelsea, and Midtown Manhattan.

The park is built on an elevated commercial rail line constructed in 1934. By 1980, the railroad was no longer operating and the tracks were abandoned.

In 2006, a non-profit organization repurposed the tracks into a public greenspace and High Line was born. 

Spending time in this unique park with amazing views is one of the most popular activities in NYC

 


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10 THINGS TO SEE AND DO ON THE HIGH LINE

The High Line is so much more than a city park. On the High Line, you are treated to amazing 360-views of NYC. Also, you’ll see stunning architecture and contemporary installation art.

You can stroll through the everchanging landscape or sit and watch the world go by.  

Here are the top things to do when you visit the High Line.


1) Innovative Artworks

The High Line’s art program commissions world-renowned artists to create temporary works of art including sculptures and installations placed along the High Line.

At the High Line Spur (the section of the park north of 30th Street) is the Plinth, where large-scale pieces of art are installed on a rotating basis. 

 

 

Other commissioned works include murals on building walls that can be seen from the High Line.

To see other murals by world-famous street artists, check out our pay-what-you-like street art and graffiti tours.


2) Changing Landscape 

While some of the High Line’s flora is native to the park, most of the landscape was carefully designed. 

Species were chosen for their hardiness and adaptability to changing weather conditions.

 

 

The High Line’s landscape looks quite different during each of the four seasons.


3) Architecture

From the High Line, you’ll see cutting edge architecture like the building known as “diamond in the sky” and the Beaux-Arts style Hoboken Terminal across the Hudson River.

 

 

You’ll walk through the massive railroad tunnels that run through the old warehouses that stand alongside the park. The views of the city are spectacular as well. 


4) People-watch 

There are benches and even deck chairs along the High Line. Sit down and take a rest or lie out in the sun and tan!  

At 17th Street is the 10th Avenue Square & Overlook which has bleacher-like seating where one can see the street below. Take a seat and watch the world rush by.

 

 

While we don’t encourage window-peeping, one cannot help but get close-up views of the interiors of the offices, school rooms, and even hotel rooms in the buildings that border the High Line. 


5) Guided Tours

Exploring the High Line can be a more thorough experience when done with a guide.

There is so much to learn about the park, the history of the area, and the architecture of the buildings. 

You might like to look into taking one of our pay-what-you-wish tours of the High Line.  

 

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We also have a GPS-enabled audio tour of the High Line narrated by one of our professional guides that you can take any time that the park is open.

Below we detail several guided tours of the High Line.


6) Historic Sites

Several historic locations can be seen from the High Line.

Along the Hudson River, between 13th and 14th Street is Pier 54. In 1912, survivors of the Titanic who were rescued by the RMS Carpathia were brought to this pier.

 

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At 20th Street, you can see the warehouse that housed several tons of uranium in the 1940s when America was developing the atomic bomb.

In the streets below the High Line, you can see the former sites of famous – or rather infamous – clubs and bars that were here in the 1980s and 90s, like the Roxy roller disco and a bar called Hogs and Heifers.


7) Events 

The High Line’s public program has several recurring events each year such as free live music and dance performances.

Family festivals are scheduled throughout the year and there are also occasional dance parties and picnics.

 

 

During the summer, you can stargaze for free with the Amateur Astronomers Association. 

Check the High Line Event Calendar to see what is on during your visit.


8) Food

In the summer months, you can get food on the High Line from carts located at the Chelsea Market Passage between West 15th and West 16th streets. 

 

 

You have more choices on the streets below the High Line including the Chelsea Market.

Below we list several restaurants and food shops with a vast array of cuisines and price ranges.


9) Whitney Museum of Art

In 2015, the Whitney Museum of American Art moved from Uptown Manhattan to the southern end of the High Line at Gansevoort Street.

The outside of the museum is stunning. Inside, its contemporary artwork by American artists is among the best in the world. 

 

 

There are also over 300 art galleries in the streets below the High Line. Galleries are always free to visit.

TIP: The Whitney has free entry on Friday nights. See our post on free museums in NYC.


10) Hudson Yards and Edge 

Hudson Yards is a large commercial and residential complex located at the 34th Street access point to the High Line. 

New York’s fourth sky-high observation deck, Edge is located at 30 Hudson Yards. Though Edge won’t be open until March 11, 2020, you can book tickets now.

 

 

With public spaces, restaurants, Edge and a unique sculpture-structure The Vessel, Hudson Yards is worth checking out. 

 


Nearby Neighborhoods

The High Line is flanked by a few neighborhoods that are worth spending some time in.

Chelsea

The High Line runs right through Chelsea, a neighborhood that is a mix of residential streets and commercial avenues lined with restaurants and shops. Chelsea has the largest number of art galleries in NYC having surpassed SoHo decades ago. 

Meatpacking District

This small enclave is at the southern boundary of the High Line. Once filled with over 200 meatpacking plants, it is now home to designer boutiques, hip bars, and trendy restaurants.

Greenwich Village

Located just south of the Meatpacking District is Greenwich Village, known for its food scene and nightlife.

Its charming side streets and interesting history make it a great neighborhood to visit. See our post on things to do in Greenwich Village.

 

 


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PLAN YOUR VISIT

How to Get There

By subway:

  • Northern end: A/C/E to 34th St/Penn Station or 7 train to 34th St/Hudson Station
  • Southern end: A/C/E to 14th St; 1/2/3 trains to 14th St., L train to 8th Avenue
  • Middle section: C/E to 23rd St. 1 train to 18th St., 23rd St. or 28th St

By bus: Crosstown M34, M23, M14, Uptown-Downtown M11, M20

Check out our helpful guides to navigating the New York subway system and which MetroCard to buy.


Entrance Points

Entry points are located along 10th Avenue at Gansevoort St., 14th St., 16th St., 17th St., 20th St., 23rd St., 26th St., 28th St., 30th St. and along 11th Ave. at 30th Street and 34th St. 

 

How Long is the High Line

 

Most entrance points have stairs. There are elevators are Gansevoort St., 14th St., 16th St., and 30th St. The entrance at 34th St. is a wheelchair-accessible ramp.

Note: Restrooms are located on the High Line at Gansevoort St., 16th St., and 30th St.


When to Visit

The High Line is open year-round, and the hours change seasonally.

  • April 1- May 31, 7 am to 10 pm
  • June 1 – September 30, 7 am to 11 pm
  • October 1 – November 30, 7 am to 10 pm
  • December 1 -March 31, 7 am to  7 pm

To avoid crowds, the best time to visit the High Line is during a weekday weeknight. 

If you go on the weekends, visit before 12:00 pm or after 6:00 pm if possible.

For more information about the High Line, see our posts:

When planning your visit to the High Line, consider taking one of our pay-what-you-wish tours of the High Line

If you want to explore the High Line on your own, you might enjoy our GPS-enabled audio tour of the High Line

See below for more information on tours.

TIP: Why not stay near the High Line? Check out the top-rated Chelsea and Midtown hotels on TripAdvisor. 

Our post on 25 cheap hotels in NYC includes hotels that are in the neighborhoods that the High Line runs above, including Greenwich Village, Chelsea, and Midtown Manhattan.

 


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GUIDED TOURS OF THE HIGH LINE 

A visit to the High Line is a richer experience when accompanied by stories of its history, its creation and the architecture of the surrounding buildings.

We offer several pay-what-you-wish guided High Line tours and two self-guided options.  

 

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We also have an audio tour of the High Line narrated by one of our professional guides where you can hear some of the same great stories and historical facts you would on our live tour. 

Listen to an audio sample

 

We know that our scheduled tours may not fit your schedule, but we wouldn’t want you to miss out on a guided visit to this unique New York urban landscape. 

In addition to our guided tours and audio tour, we also have a pdf format High Line Self Guided Tour (en español) and a 30-minute video tour you can see here.

Another option is to take a Friends of the High Line free tour.  Our post on High Line tours lists several companies that offer paid tours. 

If you are considering purchasing a tourist pass, keep in mind that a daily tour of the High Line is included with both the Explorer Pass and New York Pass.  

If you aren’t sure if a pass is for you, we have some advice on our blog about tourist discount pass options.

NOTE: Hop-on, hop-on-hop-off tours, like Big Bus Tours services the High Line at 10th Ave. and 23rd St. Be sure to read our guide on which New York City bus tour is best for you.

 


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FOOD  

For a wide variety of foods that are affordable, stop by the Chelsea Market. There’s more to do here than just eat! See our post on what to see and do at the Chelsea Market.

Places to Eat (by price range)

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Los Tacos No. 1 – 75 9th Ave inside Chelsea Market. Amazing tacos, quesadillas and other Mexican quick dishes. Perfect for take-out to enjoy on the High Line.

Artichoke Basille Pizza – 114 10th Ave. bet. 17th and 18th Sts. This is one of the best pizza places in New York City, with other locations in Greenwich Village and the East Village. 

Empire Diner – 210 10th Ave. at 21st St. A local favorite housed in a historic train dining-car serving up American diner classics.

Brooklyn Bagel & Co. – 286 8th Ave bet. W. 24th St. & 25th St. No need to leave Manhattan to get a great ‘Brooklyn bagel’. Sandwiches and salads are also available.

$$

Whitmans at Hudson Yards – 331 10th Ave. bet. 29th and 30th Sts. American fare, burgers, salads, vegetarian options. Kid-friendly.

Bubby’s – 73 Gansevoort St. bet. Washington St and Greenwich St. American ‘comfort food’ like macaroni and cheese, fried chicken. Kid-friendly.

Gansevoort Market – 353 W. 14th St at Gansevoort. Food hall with vendors offering Asian cuisine, Mexican food, burgers, pizza, ice cream and baked goods. Limited seating. Perfect for take-out and picnic on the High Line.

Pepe Giallo – 195 10th Ave bet. 21st & 22nd Sts. Pasta, pizza, and panini in a warm inviting atmosphere. 

$$$

Del Posto at 85 Tenth Ave. bet. 15th and 16th Sts. It’s pricey (just ask the celebrities sitting near you), but it is worth it. Serves prix fixe pasta, seafood and meat dishes. One of the best Italian restaurants in NYC.

Untitled at the Whitney Museum – Run by established NY restaurateur Danny Meyer. You can count on excellent, upscale American cuisine. Beautiful, modern and sleek design. Reservations recommended.

 


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About the author

Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker fascinated with the city’s history, culture and cuisine. She loves exploring the world, as well as sharing her travel expertise with others.

She joined the Free Tours by Foot team in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She has a law degree, a teaching degree and a worn-out passport. Her motto is “Have backpack, will travel”.