As a travel blogger, when I think of where I want to take my girls, and when I’m doing my research, almost always do I decide on places that are interesting for both adults and kids alike, as opposed to more theme-park type destinations. That’s not to say you’ll never see a post from me on Disney, but in general I like to write about places I’d go even on my own…and all the better to expose my girls. That’s why living close to a city like New York is so great – there are endless choices of things to do with your kids that will please and stimulate all ages. One of our favorites is the High Line.
Located on Manhattan’s far West Side between Gansevoort Street and West 34th Street, the High Line is a public park built on an old, elevated freight rail line. Trains operated on it from 1934 – 1980, when it shut down, and for years it was threatened by demolition.
In 1999 Friends of the High Line was formed to preserve the tracks and create a public open space and park. Selecting a design team comprised of developers, architects and landscape architects, it took years of planning, community input and construction to finally open the first section in 2009. Sections 2 and 3 came in 2011 and 2014, and the result was this beautifully designed space inspired by the natural “self-seeded landscape” that grew in and around the non-functioning rail line.
Filled with perennials, trees, grasses and shrubs, this totally unique park came about in a place one would have never suspected years ago. I lived in the city during this time, at least for the construction and opening of sections 1 and 2, and it was all New York, especially the art world, was talking about. MoMA had its own exhibition on it, and the excitement surrounding it was everywhere. The High Line became New York’s new must-see hot spot.
There are many cool features to the park, including the 10th Avenue Overlook, the 23rd Street Lawn, the Chelsea Thicket, the Sundeck, and more, that make it so much fun to explore. You have view after view of both the cityscape on one side and the Hudson River on the other, and being elevated up high makes it all the more exciting.
Being in the hipster area that it is (Meatpacking and Chelsea neighborhoods), one might not expect it to be somewhere to take the kids, but what outdoor park, let alone railroad tracks, aren’t? It’s actually the perfect spot to take the kids for an outing. I recently took my girls there, and they loved winding about and discovering parts of the old tracks and catching glimpses of the Hudson and the streets below. And all the green foliage and pathways and nooks and crannies make it its own little adventure land.
We bought some kid-friendly art in one of the park’s passageways, and stopped for a rest at one of the benches on the sundeck. During the summer months there are weekly art and cultural programs for kids, and just this past September there was a lego exhibiton open to the public in which people, including kids, could participate in creating their own buildings.
The High Line can be as much walking as you want it to be – there are several entry points – but my personal tip is: fuel your kids up on food at nearby Chelsea Market beforehand so they have lots of energy to walk around. We feasted on some gelato and checked out the whole of the market; as anyone knows it is total eye – and stomach – candy no matter what your age. A culinary swirl of sites, smells and tastes, it is a destination in and of itself and a great place to dovetail with the High Line.
If you’re looking for a fun outing in the city with your family, hit up Chelsea Market for some food and then stroll and explore about one of New York’s most historical and beloved parks.
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