Chelsea: The Complete Family-Friendly NYC Neighborhood Guide

Chelsea has it all. Those in search of a good meal or quick snack can eat to their heart’s content with the neighborhood’s awesome food spots then burn off some energy strolling along The High Line or checking out the newly opened Chelsea Green Playground! There’s so much to do, so ready, set, go!

For more family-friendly neighborhood guides, check out Chinatown in NYC: A Complete Family-Friendly Guide

Food and Drinks

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market
75 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

You can’t visit Chelsea without stopping by this amazing food marketmarket. It’s located in the former National Biscuit Company and is now a spot for foodies everywhere. It’s a food hall with options ranging from lobster to baked goods. If you’re craving anything, you’ll be sure to find it here. There are also several shops like Anthropologie and Artists & Fleas. Above all, the location has great historical value with its fountain made using exposed pipe and drill bits from its time as a factory.

Hanamizuka Cafe
143 W 29th St., New York, NY 10001

If you want to try a large array of Japanese foods and desserts, this place is for you. This aesthetically pleasing cafe prides itself on four things: healthy options that make everyone feel beautiful, fresh “fast food” for the ever-busy New Yorker, a modern atmosphere, and affordable dishes. Food includes everything from flavorful rice balls in flavors like cha-shu pork and sweet potato, b.l.t. miso soup, and Japanese roll cakes. Even more, there’s a separate night menu that offers items such as rice bowls filled with meat or grilled rice balls.

The Donut Pub

The Donut Pub
203 W 14th St., New York, NY 10011

Opening in 1964, The Donut Pub’s humble beginnings has transformed into a must-visit for all sweet tooths. Featuring a wall of freshly made donuts, cookies, croissant donuts, and other baked goods — this place is sure to make your mouth water. Flavors include everything from their popular maple bacon to slated caramel. Best of all, everything is peanut and tree nut-free, making it safe for those allergy-sufferers. 

Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market
W 23rd St., New York, NY 10011

What better way to get fresh produce than at a farmers market? Vendors include farms and small businesses from all over New York, all delivering their best. Buyers have access to fresh seafood, olive oil, coffee, and baked goods just to name a few. Moreover, the market has events like cooking demos and the opportunity to sample some items.

BEC
148 8th Ave., New York, NY 10011

Everyone loves breakfast food and almost every New Yorker can attest to ordering a bacon, egg, and cheese from their local deli. Jessica Bologna certainly has anyway. BEC was born out of her love for the sandwich. Specialties include made-to-order organic egg sandwiches. Every sandwich is served over easy and paired with meats that were sourced locally, a variety of cheeses and vegetables. The homemade sauces and spreads are a bonus. If meat isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options on the menu. BEC also has an array of side dishes like baked sweet potatoes, fresh fruits, and avocado toast.

Recreation and Education

Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex
62 Chelsea Piers, New York, NY 10011

Chelsea Piers is a great spot to try your hand at more than 25 different sports, host events and birthday parties. Hence, both parents and kids can find something to do here with the adult leagues and youth classes. There are activities that guests can just drop in for. For example, ice skating, rock climbing for both adults and kids, Rock-n-Roll sessions where kids are grouped and instructed through 45 minutes of gymnastics and 45 minutes of rock climbing, and much more. Some activities require calling for availability like the Toddler Gym and the batting cages, so make sure to do that as a rule of thumb.

Photo via Curbed NY

Chelsea Green Park
W. 20 St. between Ave. of the Americas and 7 Ave.

It’s been 40 years since Chelsea got a new park until the opening of Chelsea Green. It features a playground that’s filled with slides, climbing nets, a rain garden and all sorts of structures perfect for kids. The lawn is made from synthetic turf that’ll be able to handle games of tag without a problem. The area has shaded seating and a space for public art displays and performances, fitting in with the artistic vibes of the neighborhood. It’s a good place to go to get your kids active and happy all day long.

Chelsea Waterside Park Play Area
181 11th Ave., New York, NY 10011

There’s nothing better for kids than a day outside playing to their heart’s content. The Chelsea Waterside Park Play Area originally opened in 2000. After that, the playground had to undergo renovations because it was run down by 2016. With its reopening in the summer of 2018, the playground now features a newly designed play area and a gigantic multicolored wood pipefish. There are numerous fountains and other water areas perfect for kids ages 5 to 12.

The High Line
New York, NY 10011. There are multiple entrances that you can check here.

The High Line is a park built on a 1.45 mile-long elevated rail structure. Founded by the residents of the neighborhood, it stopped the track from being demolished. Due to that, it’s now a public area that is welcome to all. Visitors can enjoy the amazing view, experience art, and nature. The High Line lawn is a great place to settle down and picnic with the family or for kids to play. They also have events every month like free stargazing and their “From Freight to Flowers” tour for instance. If you have a sudden craving, you’re in luck because The High Line also has food and dessert options.

Rubin Museum of Art

The Rubin Museum of Art
150 W 17th St., New York, NY 10011

For all who want to spend a quiet day looking at art from the past, this museum is a great place to do that. Showcasing pieces from the Himalayas, India, and neighboring regions, this museum does its best to promote cultural understanding and provoke thought. Guided experiences offer a deeper understanding of the displayed art. Tour guides are also available for more casual chats about the pieces. If you prefer to guide yourself, The Rubin Museum has a free audio guide app as well. After that, you can dine at Cafe Serai (this doesn’t even require admission!) and eat delicious meals like tandoori chicken, coconut shrimp, and matcha ice cream. Children 12 and younger get in for free, students pay $14 and adults $19.

Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014

Focusing on works from living artists, the Whitney Museum presents a full range of twentieth-century and contemporary American art. Located right along the High Line, the Whitney gets sweeping views of the city and the Hudson with tons of natural light — even on a gloomy day it’s beautiful. There are tons of events for kids to interact with the exhibits from activities for kids who are on the autism spectrum to several art-making projects. They even have stroller tours that welcome parents/caregivers and their crying babies to explore the Whitney in the morning before they open their doors to the public.

Pier 62 Carousel
Hudson River Park between 22nd & 23rd Street

This 36 ft carousel was created using 33 hand-carved wooden figures of various animals and one chariot. It also seats many, allowing for up to 36 passengers, per ride. Guests can ride with their families or even get a ticket discount on large groups. There’s even an option to have a VIP birthday party with unlimited rides and a private party area!

Kids at Work
123 W 20th St. #2e, New York, NY 10011

Founded in 2007, Kids at Work has since grown into a loving community of parents, caretakers, and children. The classes at the facility are focused on education in subjects like art, music, and cooking. Kids also have the opportunity to partake in sports programs or even learn sign language. Every teacher undergoes ongoing training to make sure that the kids are well-taken care of and that they can learn to the fullest. Kids can go to any class at any time with a reservation, or register for a drop-in package at a discount. Kids at Work also host summer camp, birthday parties and more.

Attractions

CAMP
110 5th Ave., New York, NY, 10011

CAMP is much more than just a retail store! It’s an immersive place for families to explore with tons of activities for a one-of-a-kind experience. Here, the kids will never get bored because CAMP keeps an ever-changing theme going on that keeps them on their toes. Enter through a magical door that will lead to a variety of workshops, interactive areas, and more! Right now, kids can travel the world at CAMP through crafty events from making DIY Tibetan prayer flags to making macaroons out of clay. Even better, if you become a member, you’ll get to reap some of the many perks such as Milk Bar or dropping the kids off for ‘Date Night’ events.

Chelse

Annex Markets: Chelsea Flea Market
29 West 25th Street New York, NY 10010

This flea market is open every weekend and has an entrance fee of just $1 to get access to around 100 vendors. If there’s a holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas, the market will still be open. In other words, you’ll have a place to get any unique last-minute gifts should you need to. The original market was opened in 1976 under the name of The Annex Antiques Fair & Flea Market. Currently, vendors sell everything from art, vintage clothing, antiques, jewelry, collectibles and more. Most noteworthy, the market does allow some haggling if you want a deal. However, the market does ultimately respect the vendor’s set prices.

Hudson Yards
Between 10th and 12th Avenues from West 30th to West 34th Streets

The hype was everywhere when Hudson Yards opened this past year. If you haven’t already explored this new addition right on the border of Chelsea neighborhood, what are you waiting for? This architectural icon has it all from retail, attractions, living, gardens, and more! Make sure to visit the Public Square and Gardens that span over five acres of public space with plazas, gardens, and groves. One of the biggest attractions that is hard to miss is the Vessel! You can climb and explore to the top and catch some unique views of the newly developed area. Once you make it down, replenish by visiting some of the kid-friendly restaurants inside like Shake Shack, or grab a treat at Dylan’s Candy Bar! You can also hit up the several stores inside which has an H&M with a kid’s department (located on the 3rd and 4th floor).
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