In just a few short years, the High Line, located in the NYC neighborhood Chelsea, has become one of the world’s most celebrated parks. Formerly a decrepit elevated rail line, the area’s been transformed into a green space, complete with gardens, lawns, city and river views, art installations, food vendors, and community events.
Travel + Leisure has named it one of the best things to do in NYC. And we don’t blame them. Here’s what to know about the High Line, and why you should go.
History of the High Line
Long before the High Line, the Hudson River waterfront was once a bustling industrial district of piers, warehouses, and factories. In fact, it was so bustling it became known as “Death Avenue” for the tangle of trains, trucks, and wagons that caused pedestrian fatalities.
Enter the solution: an elevated rail line (or “high line”). In 1934, the line was built 30 feet above street level to carry meat to the Meatpacking District, agricultural goods to factories and warehouses (and sometimes directly into them), and mail to the main post office.
Eventually, freight trucks replaced locomotives. Rail deliveries ceased in 1980.
The result? The line sat derelict for decades. The decaying eyesore was scheduled for demolition…and then community activists saved it and formed the nonprofit Friends of the High Line, which saved the line, created the park, and oversees ongoing operations.
High Line entrances
Many entrances can be found running primarily west of 10th Avenue, the High Line park stretches from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District, to West 30th Street. Some of which are even wheelchair accessible.
Entrances are at located at :
- Gansevoort Street
- *West 14th Street
- *West 16th Street
- West 18th Street
- West 20th Street
- *West 23rd Street
- West 26th Street
- West 28th Street
- *West 30th Street
Note: The asterisk indicates elevator access.
Walking the High Line
Some of the highlights along the High Line include:
The Rail Yards (at 30th St.):
This restored section was revitalized and opened to the public in the spring of 2014. It features views of the city’s skyline and river. This final third of the rail line gives an idea of the High Line’s condition before restoration.
26th Street Viewing Spur
A rest area providing a framework for views of the city. The viewing frame recalls the billboards once attached to the High Line.
A metal walkway above the park’s surface, which allows moss and shade undergrowth and sumac trees. The enveloping buildings create a micro-climate, which supports dense plant growth.
22nd Street seating/23rd Street lawn
An open gathering place with the park’s only lawn, as well as bleacher-style seating.
10th Avenue Square
A terraced, theater-style area that faces not a stage, but windows looking over the traffic of 10th Avenue and beyond to the Manhattan skyline.
Chelsea Market Passage
This section features the old Nabisco Biscuit factory (where the Oreo cookie was first manufactured). Plenty of art installations and temporary art installations also are showcased here, along with performances, and special events. The High Line’s selected food vendors are here as well. (There’s a vast selection of food, dining, and shopping options inside the building, too, which is the renowned Chelsea Market.)
Diller-Von Furstenberg sundeck and water feature
This popular sundeck features wooden chaises (with wheels on train tracks), great views of the river and harbor, and, in warm weather, a layer of water running over the west half of the deck.
A lush grove of trees, grasses, and wildflowers with great views of the Meatpacking District below.
Getting to the High Line
If you don’t want to pay for a cab, don’t worry! New York’s public transportation system, MTA , offers many subway lines and buses that will get you to High Line park. If you opt for taking public transit, be sure to download transit apps so you can search for the subway and buses in real time.
Helpful lines for getting to the park:
- The L line
- The A/C/E to 14th Street and 8th Ave.
- The 1/2/3 to 14th Street and 7th Ave.
- The 1 to 18th or 23rd Streets and Seventh Ave.
The High Line NYC: FAQs
Are there bathrooms at the High Line?
Don’t worry restrooms are available along the path, so there will be multiple opportunities to take a bathroom break along the way.
Can I take a tour of the High Line?
Want an in depth history of the High Line? Then you’ll want to join the free, guided walking tours of the High Line that are available every week and led by High Line docents. Be sure to arrive early to guarantee yourself a spot.
Where can I find art on the High Line?
Friends of the High Line commissions and produces public art projects, including site-specific exhibitions, sculptures, performances, video programs, and a series of billboard interventions.
How long does it take to walk the High Line?
If your goal is simply to walk through the entire area, it will will take approximately 30 minutes. However, if you’re looking to immerse yourself, enjoy live music or performances, grab a bite to eat, explore art, and unwind, you might find yourself spending an hour or more in the area.
Things to do near the High Line
Want to explore more of New York after the High Line? Here are a few places in the area to check out:
- Explore the hidden rooftop gardens at the Rockefeller Center
- Stroll over to the Empire State Building and admire the architecture
- Grab a bite to eat at Kossar’s Bialys for some delicious kosher food
Have you ever walked the High Line? What did you think? Tell us in the comments!
Update Notice: This post was updated on December 11, 2023.