I have been living in New York City for exactly five months now, so I have had lots of time to explore the different parts of the city. While there are a lot of sections of New York that I really like, in my opinion nothing can compare to Chelsea. Chelsea is an artsy neighbourhood in western Manhattan near the West Village, Midtown, and the Hudson River, so it's in a really perfect location. Every neighbourhood in New York seems to have its own energy and personality, and these are the reasons why Chelsea is a neighbourhood that I keep returning to:
1. Chelsea Market
Chelsea Market is HUGE and full of every type of food you can imagine. There are sit-down restaurants, food stands, noodle bars, a crêpe bar, bakeries...pretty much anything you could want! I have eaten at a few places in Chelsea Market and been into a bunch of the shops, and I have loved every single one. There's a wine shop that does wine tastings, and you can even buy a bottle of wine and drink it at one of the many tables in the market. Something else that Chelsea Market offers (that I haven't experienced yet, but definitely want to) is live music on the first Friday of every month. They feature small local artists, and it seems like a great time. In the colder months, Chelsea Market is full of people, but the Summer is when it really comes alive!
2. the High Line
You've probably heard of the High Line in NYC. It has become really popular over the past few years and for good reason. It is a mile-long park on top of an old abandoned railroad in Chelsea. The historical aspect of the High Line is so cool, and the views from it are really amazing. You can get a good feel for the Chelsea area, and there are really nice views of the Hudson River. There are beautiful plants and flowers all along the park, and it's the perfect place to relax with some friends. And since Chelsea is so artsy, there's lots of artwork along the way for you to look at! Of course the best times to walk the High Line are in the warmer months, and if you want to beat the crowds, it's worth it to go early in the morning.
3. the huge variety of restaurants
New York City is probably one of the most diverse cities in the world when it comes to food, and Chelsea is no exception to that. Any type of food you could possibly crave, you can find in Chelsea. I've been to so many great hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Chelsea that have really impressed me. If you are hoping for a true New York experience, I would recommend getting brunch at one of the small, quaint restaurants in the neighbourhood. My mom and I got brunch at a restaurant called Westville last time she visited, and the food was so amazing!
4. the cool, eclectic shops
Almost any street you walk down in Chelsea, you are bound to come across a bunch of little shops. There are some chain stores of course, but there are so many independently-owned shops too. One shop that I recently discovered in Chelsea is Story. It's a pop-up store that changes its theme a couple times a year. Right now, their theme is "Your Story" where everything is really interactive and there are different sections of the store with products tailored to people with different interests. It's such a cool idea for a store, and I'm definitely planning to check it out some more to see what their future themes will be!
5. It's modern and historical at the same time.
You can be walking through Chelsea and be surrounded by modern skyscrapers. Then you can turn the corner and be on a side street with old-looking buildings and cobblestone streets. It's so cool and always keeps things interesting.
6. It's a bustling area of the city but way less overwhelming than Midtown and downtown!
Some parts of Chelsea, like Chelsea Market and the High Line, are full of people. But if you're looking to escape the crowds, Chelsea is the perfect area to wander down side streets where you can find some nice quaint and quiet sections of the neighbourhood. I doubt it comes as a surprise, but living in New York with almost 9 million other people can get really overwhelming at times, so it's nice to escape to more peaceful areas of the city from time to time!