I love wandering the streets of Manhattan in most any weather. I can handle a rainy spring day with the assurance that flowers are soon on their way. And I’ll suck up a sweltering summer afternoon in sacrifice for the cooled down evening, which I know will be that much sweeter.
But winter in New York…that’s a different story.
I think any good guide to a New York neighborhood should include activities you can do in different seasons and on any type of budget. Today, I’m writing specifically about a winter day in Chelsea. To walk between everything in this guide will only take an hour (for New Yorkers, that’s nothin’) and mostly spans 10th Avenue between 28th and 13th streets.
What I love about Chelsea is its walkability and accessibility. It’s perched in a perfect corner right above the West Village…who doesn’t love the West Village?! You can also easily head uptown to Hell’s Kitchen for dinner and a show or take a quick walk across town to Washington Square Park and the East Village. There’s also so much history in Chelsea and the Meatpacking District - from a rich past with the LGBTQ community to being a huge part of Manhattan’s industrial growth because of its proximity to the old Hudson River Railroad and waterfront.
In the summer, Chelsea has everything. Explore the High Line, Chelsea Piers, the Hudson River Greenway…or even The Frying Pan if you’re feeling like a straight up bro, (we’ve all been there, I won’t judge).
But in the winter, your day in Chelsea will look different - it can be filled with art galleries, big brunches and basement cocktails. Hey…could be worse.
Start your morning at the High Line Hotel for an Intelligentsia coffee. Their cozy lobby serves drinks all day, turning from coffee to cocktails at 6pm. If it’s mild out, you can enjoy a drink in their courtyard from their repurposed truck. You don’t need to be a guest of the hotel to indulge in these perks. And they’re dog friendly!
Walk uptown to start your gallery tour, first at Joshua Liner Gallery. Their current exhibition of ‘Pour’ with artist Heather Day is just what we need in the winter - bold, bright and larger than life. Next, zip back down towards the High Line Hotel for the Tanya Bonakdar and David Zwirner Galleries. *Take note that most art galleries are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Then reward yourself at Cookshop with a big brunch (I recommend making reservations). They have a robust menu and lots of seating for various size groups. Try to snag booth seating if you can!
By mid-afternoon, you can head to Chelsea Market for some shopping. They have artisanal local goods, retail shops and an ever rotating list of sample sales. The market has recently expanded to two floors, so there’s plenty to see and it’s a great respite from the bitter cold. If you don’t find a sweet treat, cocktail or coffee of your liking, head to Kobrick Coffee which doubles as a coffee shop/cocktail bar. Ah, New Yorkers…we’ll fit as much as we can into a ridiculously small amount of space, won’t we?
192 Books is my favorite local bookshop in Chelsea. Its clean, bright and modern atmosphere makes perusing easy. 192 Books has a large selection of genres ranging from literary fiction to science. It hosts weekly talks as well!
If you’re visiting on a Friday, note that the Whitney Museum of American Art is pay-what-you-wish from 7-10pm. The Whitney is one of the most iconic museums of New York, especially after its move downtown into such an interactive space, attached to the High Line. An Andy Warhol exhibit will be up through the end of March, and I’m personally pretty excited for Derek Fordjour’s Half Mast exhibit opening in September.
By now…I think you’ll definitely be ready for dinner. I absolutely love all three of the restaurants that I’m recommending, so make your choice solely on what type of cuisine you’re in the mood for. All are cozy and have similar price points and warm staff. Head to Pepe Giallo for Italian, Empire Diner for classic American or Tia Pol for Spanish tapas. Again, I’d recommend reservations for all three of these!
To TRULY forget about the dismal weather, head back to Chelsea Market to their cellar bar - The Tippler. I feel stuck between several time periods and scenarios when I’m down there…something along the lines of the hull of a pirate ship mixed with a secret Chicago speakeasy? They have the best cocktails…I’m a sucker for the Booty Collins.
And there ya have it - your winter day in Chelsea! Stay warm, stay hungry and enjoy the history of the streets you’re walking.