The High Line NYC: A Complete Guide to New York City’s Elevated Park

High Line Park
Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

What is The High Line?

The High Line in NYC is a retired elevated freight rail line that was transformed into a public park and is owned by the City of New York. It’s now one of NYC’s most beloved attractions and parks with Tripadvisor reviews awarding it it 4.5 stars. The New York Central retired railroad (in use from 1934 to 1980) was saved from demolition in 1999 by neighborhood residents that formed a non-profit community group called Friends of the High Line – the same group that now maintains the park. The whole space is sustainable in practice and inherently “green” since it has reused industrial infrastructure and in many places, kept the railway tracks incorporated in the design. It’s now a beloved public promenade boasting unique features, beautiful gardens, and picturesque views of the city.

The High Line was built and opened in stages, beginning in 2009. The first section (Gansevoort Street to 20th Street) opened in June 2009, the second (30th Street) in 2011, the third (the Rail Yards) in 2014, and the final section of the original High Line (the Spur at 30th Street and 10th Avenue) in spring 2019. As of 2020, the park is now complete, making it the perfect time to visit!

The floating promenade is an incredibly popular spot for both locals and tourists, offering unique spaces and greenery in the busy city. The High Line is the place to be, with the interior of the park brimming with character and the stunning views of NYC from 30 feet up. It’s not just a way to get from Point A to Point B, but a destination itself.

You can access The High Line NYC for free, but as it’s entirely funded by donations, we suggest making a small donation if you can. If you’re a local, membership is a great way to financially support the park and get some sweet perks!

How Long Does It Take To Walk The High Line?

The High Line is 1.45 miles or about 2.33 kilometers long, which is three blocks. It generally takes about 30 minutes to walk the whole distance, but can take much longer should you decide to stop frequently, admire the art, or take part in an activity. Many locals also use the park to go for runs, in which case it takes far less time to get from end to end.

Unfortunately your pooch cannot walk the Line with you. It should be noted that dogs are not permitted on the High Line because their highly-acidic urine would run off and harm or potentially kill the plant life that makes up the park. Similarly, bicycles, scooters, and skateboards are not permitted.

Additionally, The High Line, as well as all of its events and programs, is completely wheelchair accessible and meets the standards established by the Americans with Disabilities Act so everyone can visit the High Line!

Where Do You Start To Walk The High Line?

Located on Manhattan’s West Side, there are many access points on The High Line. Originating in the Meatpacking District, if you want to walk it from end to end, you should enter the park either at the official entrance located at Gansevoort and Washington Street or at the other end, located at 34th Street.

According to The High Line’s website, you can access the trail at any of the following points:

  • Gansevoort Street and Washington Street (elevator access)
  • 14th Street (elevator access)
  • 16th Street (elevator access)
  • 18th Street
  • 20th Street
  • 23rd Street (elevator access)
  • 26th Street
  • 28th Street
  • 30th Street (elevator access)
  • 10th Avenue
  • 30th Street and 10th Avenue
  • Crossroads Connection (wheelchair ramp access)
  • 30th Street and 11th Avenue
  • 34th Street (wheelchair ramp access)

Where Are The “Amenities” Located?

The High Line in NYC has washrooms, water fountains, and open green space directly in the park. Restrooms are located at Gansevoort Street, 16th Street, and 30th Street. Water fountains are located by the Gansevoort Street, 16th Street, 17th Street, 23rd Street, and 30th Street access points.

While strict rules to stay off the grass and out of the gardens are enforced along most of the High Line, there is one large open area called the High Line Lawn where you can picnic, play, and walk on the grass. This particular green space is located by the 23rd Street access point. The Lawn is a great place to stop and soak up some sun on a summer day!

What To Do On The High Line

You can certainly do the walk on your own, but taking a guided tour will lead to a richer knowledge of the history of the park. The Friends of The High Line run many free and low-cost fun events throughout the year, which can turn a simple walk through the park into a full morning or afternoon! Check out what is coming up or going on during your visit to NYC, including guided tours, here.

While you’re walking, take the time to stop and view the pieces on display that are part of High Line Art. They commission and display contemporary world-class art along the High Line. You can take a look at current and upcoming art here.

You’ll want to wander the park and discover it for yourself, however some of the more magical spots to stop include the semi-enclosed 14th Street Passage (for The High Line video program), the Diller Von Furstenberg Sundeck & Water Feature (for, you guessed it, a gorgeous water feature), and the Philip A. and Lisa Maria Falcone Flyover (which takes you 8 additional feet up, into the treetops). The full list of park features can be found here.

Where To Eat On The High Line

The High Line’s food program is carefully curated with sustainability, affordability, and quality in mind. Nine food vendors are located in the Chelsea Market Passage area of the park where you can get everything from fresh roasted coffee to empanadas to churros to Italian eats and gelato! You can get a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner all within the park. If you want to have an alcoholic beverage in The High Line, you’ll need to stop at one of the designated restaurants along the park, as alcohol is banned otherwise. View the current eateries The High Line has to offer here.

If you’re looking for more of a sit-down restaurant experience (or for hotels for your NYC stay!), head to the Hudson Yards district, one of New York City’s newest neighborhoods and an upcoming culinary hub. You can conveniently access this area right off of The High Line at the end of the park on 34th Street. Here you will find some incredible views and architecture, in addition to memorable food and drink.

Other Helpful Tips

An evening walk offers stunning views of NYC at night, but make sure you check that the park is open before you head out. The Highline opens daily at 7:00 AM year-round but has varying closing times depending on the season. You can get the most up to date information on hours on the park’s website here.

If you need some help or have any questions while you’re walking The High Line in NYC, the Friends of High Line staff and volunteers, who wear identification badges or shirts with the High Line logo, are always happy to help. Don’t hesitate to stop one of them if you need some assistance!

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