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After finding myself with a full day free in NYC, I decided to head out to Manhattan West to see what I could find. If you’re looking to fill a day, with mostly free activities, and want to try something a little different, here’s are the top things to see in West Manhattan.

Visit Little Island

The newest attraction along the piers is ‘Little Island‘, a floating island with more than two acres of landscape that opened in May 2021.

Along with overlooks of lower Manhattan and New Jersey and garden lined pathways, Little Island is host to a good sized amphitheater for live music and other performances. When I visited I was serenaded with music from Hawaii giving the experience any even more serene and chill vibe.

They also have an open area to purchase drinks and snacks, which was pretty efficient. After you order, you are placed in a “holding” area where your food is served by another worker, keeping the lines going. There is also a bar with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. I was very impressed by their wide selection of (overpriced) alcohol, but if you’re there for a bit and want to enjoy your time, it is a nice treat.

Overall, the island was a little smaller than I expected and the open spaces are bigger than garden areas, but it was fun to visit and see the innovation and the design. Entry is free, just check the website for current rules or restrictions before heading there.

The Details:

  • Cost: Free
  • Opening Hours: Open daily from 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Location: In the Hudson River with entrances at West 13th and 14th Streets
  • Address: Pier55 in Hudson River Park, West 13th Street
  • Closest Subway: A, C, E, and L trains located at 14th Street and 8th Avenue (ADA accessible); the 1, 2, and 3 trains located at 14th Street and 7th Avenue; and the F and M trains located at 14th Street and 6th Avenue.

Walk the Chelsea High Line

From Little Island, I decided to walk the High Line. It’s an elevated old train track that they turned into a park that meanders through the Chelsea neighborhood. The first train ran through the tracks in 1934 and as of 2023, the High Line is one continuous, 1.45-mile-long greenway featuring 500+ species of plants and trees.

I was surprised by all the greenery and plants throughout the walk. Along the path, there are plenty of places to stop and take a rest and enjoy your surroundings. You’ll also get to see a different view of NYC and some views of the Hudson. There isn’t much shade or protection from the elements however, so be sure to bring water, sunscreen, a hat, etc if you plan to walk the entire thing.

The Details:

  • Cost: Free
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 7am – 8pm
  • Entrance: There are multiple entrances into the highline via stairs and elevators. Check the Visitor Info page for addresses and corresponding public transit line.

Explore Hudson Yards

The north end of the High Line will take you right into Hudson Yards, leaving you with plenty of things to do after your walk. One of the bigger attractions in the area is the art centerpiece known as The Vessel. And while you can no longer climb the Vessel, it’s still a unique piece of artwork to experience from the ground level and enjoy the public space surrounding it.

Also, in the Hudson Yards neighborhood is plenty of shopping and food with over 100 diverse shops and culinary experiences. From The Shed, to The Edge, and public plazas you can keep yourself entertained for hours.

The Details:

  • Cost: Free
  • Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am -8pm, Sunday 11am -7pm
  • Location: Between 10th and 12th Avenues from West 30th to West 34th Street
  • Closest Subway: No. 7 final stop at Hudson Yards Station

Discover the Edge

Right across from The Vessel is the Edge Mall. Full of shops and stores and restaurants. It’s a nice indoor mall, that on a hot day is a great way to cool off, or warm up on a cool day.

The other attraction here is the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere at the top of the building. I decided not to do this because there was a rainstorm coming, but it looked really cool! The platform jets out from the side of the building making it feel like you’re standing at “the edge”.

During the summer they also host events such as sunrise yoga, where tickets sell out fast so if that sounds like something you want to do, check the website early and often. 

The Details:

  • Cost: $36 – $81
  • Opening Hours: 9AM – 10PM
  • Location: Located on Level 4 of The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards
  • Closest Subway: No. 7 final stop at Hudson Yards Station

Get Immersed at ARTECHOUSE

For a unique experience, visit ARTECHOUSE and get immersed in their latest exhibition. It’s the first of it’s kinda organization dedicated to the intersection of art, science and technology. 

It’s located beneath the Chelsea Market, taking over an old boiler room, and infused with the largest megapixel count projections of any cultural institution. The XR bar also provides a delicious variety of cocktails to help you experience the future of drinks and art.

The Details:

  • Cost: $17 – $36 ; Kids under 4 are free
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 10AM – 10PM
  • Location: 439 W 15th St, New York, NY 10011 – entrance is located outside on West 15th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue
  • Closest Subway: ACEL at 14 st / 8 ave

Whether it’s your first or your 100th visit to New York City there is always something new to explore! And if you haven’t spent much time in Chelsea and Hudson Yards, mabe now is the time to start.

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