Walking the High Line | a complete guide of the park
The High Line park certainly belongs on your must-see list of New York, but what is the best way to visit it? How long does it take to walk the High Line? Where do you start? What can you do on and near the High Line? This guide will help you a lot further. I am happy to share my experience with you and I hope I will answer all your questions in this post. If not, don’t hesitate to write them down in the comments 🙂
We started our day at the High Line around 9h20 at Hudson Yards and walked the park until 10h10. Then we took the exit at 18th Street and did all the galleries next to the High Line until Hudson Yards. If you are an art lover like me, it is most certainly no problem to spend a whole day in this small region. There is so much to see! And if you’re not, you will still enjoy the magnificent buildings and the great atmosphere of the place. You will love it!
Down below you find a map of all the things I talk about in this post, followed by things to do on the High Line. The second part of the post describes the things you can do near the High Line. Not only the park itself is great, the surroundings also have a lot to offer!
Table of Contents
On the High Line
FAQ & Facts about the park
Where is the High Line located?
The High Line Park is located at the Lower West Side of Manhattan, in the neighborhood Chelsea. The elongated park starts at the corner of Gansevoort Street and Washington Street, and ends at W 34th Street.
The park is built on a former elevated rail track. The rail track was in operation until 1980. It used to carry meat to the Meatpacking District and agricultural goods to the factories and warehouses of the West Side. The park was founded by local residents in 1999, and the first part opened to the public in 2009. This was from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street. In June 2011, a second part opened, from 20th Street to 30th Street. The last phase of the project, at the Rail Yards, opened in 2014.
How long is the High Line?
The Elevated park is 2,33 km long. Google Maps says it takes 29 minutes to walk the High Line, but you will probably make some stops along the way so it will be longer.
What are the opening hours?
The opening hours vary by season, they are listed below. Note that the entrance point at the crossing of 34th Street and 12th Ave already closes at sunset.
- Summer | June 1 through September 30 : from 7h00 to 23h00
- Fall | October 1 through November 30 : from 7h00 to 22h00
- Winter | December 1 through March 31 : from 7h00 to 19h00
- Spring | April 1 through May 31 : from 7h00 to 22h00
Is it free?
The park is free to enter, which is unbelievable if you see how clean it is. Dogs are not allowed in the park.
Can I buy food at the High Line?
Yes, you can buy food at several places along the park. A lot of these are food trucks. You can find them at 15th Street, 22nd Street, and 30st Street. At Gansevoort Street, there is an Italian restaurant underneath the park. Every purchase at one of these places supports park maintenance, so that’s an extra motivation to buy here for sure. More information about the park’s food choices can be found here.
Of course there is also a great number of alternatives to the food options of the High Line itself. However, for these, you will have to leave the park. The best places to go are the Meatpacking District and Hudson Yards. For the Meatpacking District, you take the exit at 14th Street or at Gansevoort Street and you’ll be surrounded by various restaurants. You can find more about this district further down this post. For Hudson Yards, you take the exit on 30th Street. You don’t even have to go down, you can just walk right into the shopping mall, where several restaurants are located. More on this further down this post.
Does it get crowded?
Yes, it does get seriously crowdy in the afternoon. The earlier you get there, the more you will enjoy the elevated park. Below you see two pictures of the High Line. The one on the left was taken when we visited the High Line in the morning. I took this picture at 9h50. The one on the right was taken while exploring the art galleries in the streets below the High Line, at 16h05. As you can see, walking the High Line at this time of the day isn’t a relaxing activity anymore.
Map of the High Line: entrance points
The High Line has 13 entrance points, the two most Northern points are not on my map. Some of the entrance points have an elevator so they are wheelchair accessible, some only have stairs. There are several public restrooms in the park.
The Entrance points are on the following streets:
- Gansevoort Street & Washington Street
- 14th Street
- 16th Street
- 18th Street
- 20th Street
- 23rd Street
- 26th Street
- 28th Street
- 30th Street
- 10th Ave
- 30th Street & 10th Ave
- 30th Street & 11th Ave
- 34th Street & 12th Ave
Best spots on the High Line
Best lunch spots
Food vendors on the High Line
As stated above, the High Line has a few food vendors in the elevated park itself. You can buy something here and eat it on one of the many benches in the park. Bonus: every purchase from these vendors supports the maintenance of these incredibly clean gardens. You can find more information about the vendors here.
If you want to eat inside or just want something else, you can go to Hudson Yards. Its location is at the Northern endpoint of the High Line. This 7-story shopping mall hosts a variety of restaurants to choose from. At the ground level is Mercado Little Spain, a Spanish food market. They have a patatas bravas kiosk! Note: this is not a regular food market where you can just walk in. When you enter, there is someone that tells you if there is still a table available. If there is not, you have to wait to go in. We didn’t know this and when we arrived, they told us that we had to wait 45 minutes. So if you really want to go here, be sure to make a reservation ahead.
At the Southern part of the High Line, at the edge of Meatpacking district, you can find Chelsea Market. This food market has many options, everyone will find something they want. The seating options here are limited, so this is the ideal opportunity to buy take-away and have a picnic on the High Line itself. A little bit further into Meatpacking district, but still close to the High Line, you can find Gansevoort Market. I have not been here, but it seems like a great food market so this could be an option too.
Best resting spots
10TH AVENUE SQUARE & OVERLOOK
This is one of the broadest spaces on the High Line. It has a lot of benches, and with its central location in the park, it is a popular resting space among visitors.
23RD STREET LAWN & SEATING STEPS
Not far from the overlook, you can find a piece of lawn (which is rare in this park) and some seating steps. It is allowed to sit on the grass and have a picnic here. Bonus: in the afternoon, the seating steps are in the shadow, so the ideal spot in the summer!
DILLER – VON FURSTENBERG SUNDECK & WATER FEATURE
This is a really cool place. On one side, there is water continuously flowing over the ground, but you can still step on it. On the other side, there are sunbeds installed on the old train rails! This means that you can move the benches by rolling them over the rails.
26TH STREET VIEWING SPUR
Only a few people can sit here as there isn’t much seating space, but if you are lucky you will find the bench to be empty. This bench overlooks the streets of New York. You will not get bored on this spot, with a constantly moving view.
Best photo spots
Zaha Hadid Building
This apartment building truly stands out. Famous architect Zaha Hadid designed it, with on the ground floor an office location for her company. Next to the building, a little bit to the left from this picture, also stands the LOVE statue.
At the ending (or beginning) of the park, at Hudson Yards, you will find the Spur. A part of this section, the Plinth, is dedicated to displaying artworks. Every 18 months they display another sculpture here. Be sure to check out the artwork at the time you are there!
DILLER – VON FURSTENBERG SUNDECK & WATER FEATURE
Next to being a great resting spot, the water feature part also offers a picturesque view of the Streets. When you walk past the water feature and look to your right, you will see the beautiful view. You can’t miss it because there are people taking pictures here all the time.
TIFFANY & CO. FOUNDATION OVERLOOK
At the most Southern part of the elevated park, you will find this overlook. With magnificent views, you can’t go wrong. Also, from here you can see the new building of the Whitney Museum of American Art. This ultra-modern building is directly on your right.
Anywhere on the High Line
You can stop literally everywhere in this park and take a beautiful picture. There are so many incredible buildings and lovely plants, you have endless opportunities here.
Near the High Line
A new development at the Northern end of the High Line. It’s a whole new neighborhood, with apartments, a shopping mall, a hotel, offices, and a big square. The main attractions here are the Vessel, which is located in the middle of the square, the shopping mall, and coming soon: an observation deck that overlooks Manhattan called Edge.
The honeycomb-like sculpture contains a mile of walkways and is designed to bring people together, and it works. It is getting enormously popular among tourists, you can easily see why.
If you want to walk the stairs of the Vessel, you have to buy tickets. You can buy a ticket for a specific time of the day for free. Another option is buying tickets for 10 dollars, then you can choose at what time you go. I would recommend to buy them beforehand. We wanted to go on the Vessel at 13u and the first available time was 16u10!
Hudson Yards shopping center
This 7-story shopping mall has something for everyone. From shops like Chanel to Zara, and from fine dining to fast-casual restaurants, everyone will find something they like here.
This is something we absolutely loved! Beginning from W 19th Street and ending at 30th Street, all the streets at the West side of the High Line are full of galleries. And I mean full. According to our schedule, this would take 2,5 hours, but in reality we spent 5,5 hours here! Of course you can choose how many galleries you enter so you can make this as long or as short as you want. We, however, are real art lovers and entered almost every gallery, but didn’t stay inside for long. Not that we didn’t like the art, that is just how we always do it. The art is one great thing, another is that the galleries are inside old warehouses from the port, so the spaces are gigantic!
In my opinion, this is a must. If we now think about this trip, this is something that stands out for us. Maybe it’s because we really love art, but I think that everyone should at least try and do a few of the galleries. In fact, I dedicated a complete blog post to this (I linked it below the picture).
Meatpacking District is known for its restaurants, so completing your day here with some dinner would be a good choice. The overall feel of the district is quite clean and spacious, with a relaxed atmosphere. In this neighborhood, you will find Chelsea Market and Gansevoort Market, as well as numerous restaurants.
Something I didn’t write down on beforehand but surprised us is the Starbucks Reserve. It’s an enormous space where you can find all the different beans they use, buy chic gadgets, and of course, drink their delicious coffee. The Reserve is not like the other Starbucks cafés, this one is way fancier. If you are in the neighborhood, which will probably be the case as Chelsea Market is right next to it, peeking inside is certainly worth it.
For a fine dining experience, I highly recommend Intersect by Lexus. This restaurant also has a bar. They invite top chefs from all around the world. Every 4-6 months, there will be a new chef. Our experience here was fantastic. Although it does not have a Michelin star, and I don’t think they can ever get one with this concept of rotating chefs, the invited chefs most of the time have a Michelin-starred restaurant in their country. Overall, it is a bit cheaper than the Michelin-starred restaurants in New York, so that’s a win!